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Touring Havana alone

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Hello. I am traveling to Havana on the Empress Of The Seas in August. I will be doing a few of the ship excursions and want to do some touring on my own. Will I be able to walk through Havana after my day tours (which are approximately 5-6 hours) have ended? I would appreciate any input or suggestions. Thank you.

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Yes. I will be doing that too. I booked independent tours and then will see what I have time to do after those.

 

The Cuban gov't doesn't care what people do, and the forms you must fill out for the US Gov't are not going to be checked, face it, there's not enough staff to do it back here. (yet, but still) . The forms are CYAs for the cruise lines so that they can continue to offer sailings to Cuba

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And to treat another facet of your question.....

Cuba, including Havana, is very safe, day and night. You should feel comfortable walking just about anywhere on your own.

What you might want to see and do on your own may depend on what your formal tour covers, but it is worth just finding a spot to people watch the locals and absorb the atmosphere of Havana. There;s lots of different styles of music in many different venues at night.

If you are young and attractive, and sometimes even older and not so, the jineteros may try to pick you up for romance/money, or sell you services whose price they get a cut of, or hit you up with the sad story of how their baby needs expensive milk. Just say No Thanks.

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Thank you for the information. It does feel a bit intimidating going to Havana, especially hearing different things about what you can and can’t do under People to People.

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The regs are written very vaguely. This causes two main responses, opposites. The uniformed are intimidated, sometimes even into not traveling. The experienced travelers use the vagueness to do exactly the trip they want.

 

Intimidating going to Havana? Keep in mind:

a) No one is checking what you do (or likely ever will); no one is following you around recording what you do

b) with PtoP the organizing agency is responsible for your full-time schedule/itinerary and for certifying what you did (should it ever come to that)

c) Cubans are very nice people and don't really care where you, spending your tourist money, comes from

 

 

.

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We are on Holland America in November. The booklet of excursions states that we must book through HAL. Is this just a ploy to get us to book with them and not use independent tours? Our first time to Cuba so still learning. Thank you.

 

Sent from my SM-G965U using Forums mobile app

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We are on Holland America in November. The booklet of excursions states that we must book through HAL. Is this just a ploy to get us to book with them and not use independent tours? Our first time to Cuba so still learning.

 

Scare tactics. Purely scare tactics. Playing on passengers confusion and/or lack of understanding of the regs for those departing from the U.S.

 

You can check the OFAC reason for travel category "Support for the Cuban People" and go out and do so by spending your money in restaurants, shops, on classic car rides/tours, private guides, etc., any independent entrepreneur. You are essentially saying that you believe your itinerary meets the requirements for a 'general' licence for this category. It should be a "full time" schedule of activities, but the term (ft) has not been precisely defined.

 

However, if you check "People to People" or "Educational", these days you are supposed to be doing your itinerary with an entity (the cruise line in this case) who has shown that itinerary to OFAC for approval for a 'specific' licence.

 

Enjoy your trip.

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And to treat another facet of your question.....

Cuba, including Havana, is very safe, day and night. You should feel comfortable walking just about anywhere on your own.

What you might want to see and do on your own may depend on what your formal tour covers, but it is worth just finding a spot to people watch the locals and absorb the atmosphere of Havana. There;s lots of different styles of music in many different venues at night.

If you are young and attractive, and sometimes even older and not so, the jineteros may try to pick you up for romance/money, or sell you services whose price they get a cut of, or hit you up with the sad story of how their baby needs expensive milk. Just say No Thanks.

 

 

RIverblues--are you familiar with

LA ZORRA Y EL CUERVO

 

 

 

We'd like to hear some great local musicians

 

 

advice?

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Yes, it is one of the places in Havana to go to hear jazz. Starts late.

Another is Havana Jazz Cafe (which also has timba and salsa once in awhile). It has a view over the Malecon, which you can walk in during the day to see, and some interesting sculptures.

Easy to get a taxi to and from.

 

There are more music venues listed in LaHabana online magazine (with contact phone numbers and addresses), but it seems they are no longer publishing monthly with schedules and bands/singers for each. You can get an idea of the venues and the many different styles of Cuban music though. Some clubs have an afternoon session (which attracts a lot of locals) and a late night session.

Since they quit publishing monthly, I usually have someone call around to see who's playing on any given night.

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Yes, it is one of the places in Havana to go to hear jazz. Starts late.

Another is Havana Jazz Cafe (which also has timba and salsa once in awhile). It has a view over the Malecon, which you can walk in during the day to see, and some interesting sculptures.

Easy to get a taxi to and from.

 

There are more music venues listed in LaHabana online magazine (with contact phone numbers and addresses), but it seems they are no longer publishing monthly with schedules and bands/singers for each. You can get an idea of the venues and the many different styles of Cuban music though. Some clubs have an afternoon session (which attracts a lot of locals) and a late night session.

Since they quit publishing monthly, I usually have someone call around to see who's playing on any given night.

 

 

Thanks

 

We are hoping to have dinner out at a place on the water... then "bar crawl' in order to hear local musicians. May have our local guide do some sleuthing for us so we can have a little bit of a plan

Really want local flavor and not so focused on the tourists. Though living in a tourist state ourselves we understand the difference between places tourists frequent vs locals

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The bar musicians are not always the best, especially the ones on/near the major plazas in Vieja, popular with tourists. If you really are interested in the music, hit one of the clubs listed in LaHabana, or even one of the BVSC shows. The Fabrica del Arte can be interesting; art, drinks and music in the same venue, with a mix of tourists and better-off locals.

The bar crawl bars are likely to be packed with tourists. Some of them, like La Bodeguita del Medio and often La Floridita, are so packed with tourists you can't even get near the front door.

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