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riffatsea

O excursions in Cuba that you enjoyed??

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I am really thankful to everyone who has answered on this thread!!

To me thinking and planning and learning about a country I am going to visit is a great pleasure!!

 

@kitty9,

I would not just assume that you cannot go on any tours. You may not be able to take your scooter but perhaps a portable wheelchair would work?? I would start getting in touch with either Oceania or local tour operators to see what they could offer you. You could definitely do a driving tour in one of those 50s cars!

Edited by riffatsea

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6 hours ago, riffatsea said:

I am really thankful to everyone who has answered on this thread!!

To me thinking and planning and learning about a country I am going to visit is a great pleasure!!

 

@kitty9,

I would not just assume that you cannot go on any tours. You may not be able to take your scooter but perhaps a portable wheelchair would work?? I would start getting in touch with either Oceania or local tour operators to see what they could offer you. You could definitely do a driving tour in one of those 50s cars!

You can see a whole lot on a driving tour,  much more than a walking tour.  It is a big city with many good places to see away from the harbor.  Go for an old car tour.   Lots of fun. 

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On 1/9/2019 at 6:25 PM, Go-Bucks! said:

Here's what we did in Cuba:

 

Havana (2 days & overnight)...during the days we wandered all over Old Havana and had a great time! Also took a 1 hr tour of the city in a classic car. At night we took a ship tour and it was fantastic....saw the Buena Vista Social Club in the Havana Club at the Melia Cohiba hotel. Great music, dancing, food and a drink.

 

Cienfuegos....what a fantastic city!! We took a  private tour with Fernando Mora's tours (guide, Beatriz). I agree with a previous poster who said that this was the most upscale of the 3 cities. We loved our day there.

 

Santiago de Cuba....I also agree that this is the poorest city and we would definitely not walk around on our own! We took a private tour with Yuri, but DO NOT recommend him. The sites we saw were very interesting, but we were led to believe that we would have a personal tour but it was not. 

 

Hope you enjoy Cuba....we LOVED it and hope to return in the future. 

How did you arrange the 1 hour tour in the classic car?

Most I see are longer than that.

Also did you just hang out in Havana on your own when you say you "wandered the city"???

That's what I usually do on land trips but am hesitating to do that here.

 

 

 

 

Edited by riffatsea

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On 1/10/2019 at 3:33 PM, kitty9 said:

Is there any shopping close to the dock in Havana?   Since I’m a scooter user, I don’t think there are tours that I can use, but I’d like to pick up a few trinkets.

 

Thanks. 

The ship docks right across from the main central square. However, the use of a scooter is a potential problem. Americans are accustomed to accommodations for people with disabilities. Not so anywhere in Cuba. There are no compliant bathrooms. There are high curbs and steps everywhere. No curb cuts, handrails etc. If you are completely scooter dependent, I would recommend a tour by automobile. It will be easier for you, and, you will see a majority of the sites. The large uneven cobblestones, the missing gaps in the streets potentially are a problem for you.

Shopping: They dropped us off at the local terminal market which was only a few blocks down from the ship. The quality of the artwork was very poor, punctuated by the pleading efforts of the local artists to sell us something. It was sad, and, the only place we were bothered by beggars in Havana the entire trip.

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On 1/12/2019 at 10:22 AM, riffatsea said:

 

Riffatsea:

 

Sorry, I didn't see your questions since you added them to the end of my post instead of in the answer area.

 

Classic car tour:

 

We walked over to a large square near the Capitol where there were lots of classic cars parked, waiting for tourists to ask them for a tour. We chose the car we liked, paid the fee (80 CUC's is most common) then he took us to many sites in Old Havana before dropping us off at the ship when the tour was over.

 

Walking around Havana:

 

Yes, what I meant about "wandering" around Old Havana is that we just took off walking up and down streets...went into small shops, museums, cafes, churches, parks, etc. Nothing preplanned....just did our wandering on the way over to the square with the classic cars.  It was Sunday so we attended a church service too.

 

You do not have to take a tour in Cuba....you can head out on your own to DIY. I don't recommend this in Santiago de Cuba,  though. 

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Thanks Go Bucks! We are comfy in Spanish and wandering but wondered about the car.

DH will have fun picking one out to ride in although he'd prefer to have a chance to drive himself which I know is not allowed!!

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2 minutes ago, riffatsea said:

Thanks Go Bucks! We are comfy in Spanish and wandering but wondered about the car.

DH will have fun picking one out to ride in although he'd prefer to have a chance to drive himself which I know is not allowed!!

 

We knew there was a square with these cars near the Capitol, so we just kept walking toward the Capitol dome (which you can see over top of all the buildings). I don't know the name of the square, though. I only speak a little Spanish but we met many people who spoke English....they all learn it in school. Many Cubans came up to us when they heard us speaking English together and said they wanted to practice their English so we had conversations with them.  Such friendly people!

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On 1/9/2019 at 9:40 PM, dingsterkat said:

Second day day in Havana we did another private tour with OldCar Tours -

Since you enjoyed a wonderful tour....I am curious what the tip should be for the driver and the guide.  We are doing a three hour tour in Jan, 2020.  They have quoted us 120CUC but I don't know what would be an appropriate tip amount.  Thanks for your suggestions.  

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Cubans don't tip. Tipping is American culture(not European either) and so I don't think there is a particular amount although they probably expect Americans to tip something.

In general I'd guess that 10% would be adequate but really up to you.

BTW the square with the cars is Revolution Square.

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We were on the Dec. 10th Sirena cruise. We did all ship's tours. We booked cruise only and booked the unlimited package of tours.

 

We did the Colonial Havana walking tour in the morning and  a panoramic bus tour of the whole city in the afternoon on the first day. Did the Buena Vista Social Club replacement the first night.

 

2nd day we did the Hemingway tour which included a mojito and a frozen daiquiri at the 2 bars he frequented most.

 

In Cienfuegos we did the Trinidad tour. This was not included in our package but we got a deep discount due to having the unlimited package so we only paid about $90 pp. The Trinidad tour included lunch at a nice restaurant.  

 

In Santiago de Chile we took the Road to the Revolution tour which we found fascinating.

 

Total was $1056 for the 2 of us for 6 tours each, including the extra charge for Trinidad.  We enjoyed our tours. All the guides were at least good, some were excellent. All spoke pretty good to excellent English.

 

Would LOVE to go back.

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We are talking about going back.

It was special, and, we want to go back before it's ruined when Starbucks and Burger King arrive.

After that, it will never be the same.

 

 

IMG_1344.JPG

IMG_1341.JPG

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2 hours ago, studebhawk said:

It was special, and, we want to go back before it's ruined when Starbucks and Burger King arrive.

After that, it will never be the same

Very true.

Just look at China in the 80s and today; or Russia pre 1990 and today.

Any number of countries fall into that category - Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, etc.

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Just now, Paulchili said:

Very true.

Just look at China in the 80s and today; or Russia pre 1990 and today.

Any number of countries fall into that category - Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, etc.

Do you think the Trade  embargo will be lifted for US business to operate in Cuba ?

Does Cuba  really want  Burger King?  😉

 

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

Do you think the Trade  embargo will be lifted for US business to operate in Cuba ?

Does Cuba  really want  Burger King?  😉

 

Maybe a future administration will lift the sanctions.

As for Burger King - who wouldn’t want BK or McD :classic_biggrin: The Cuban government may not want it (yet) but I am sure the people do. It’s what you can’t have is what you want most. 🙂

Remember the sensation the first McD caused in Moscow or Beijing?

Edited by Paulchili

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10 hours ago, studebhawk said:

We are talking about going back.

It was special, and, we want to go back before it's ruined when Starbucks and Burger King arrive.

After that, it will never be the same.

 

 

 

 

 

Cuba,  to clarify, is in ruins now. If it had it not been completely devastated by communism, would have had BK, Starbucks et al long ago. Havana would have continued on its path as a global city and It would have also had its beautiful colonial architecture probably in pristine  condition along with its commercial, and residential sectors functioning as any normal capital. Cuba also would have had a population that was well fed,  with basic conveniences and the right to partake in establishments alongside foreigners...not barred as they still are in many cases.  There is nothing special and worthy about that. One can only hope they can one day emerge from that and that indeed “it will never be the same. “ When that day comes, it will be a country that will be rejoicing and truly more special than ever.

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Thanks for all your advice. Looking forward to this visit.

Wondering though since Vietnam and China are also Communist countries, perhaps Cuba was not just devastated by its choice of governmental structure but was pushed farther into its crumbling by our choice of embargo??

We are in trade talks with  China at the moment . China and  Vietnam  seem to be functioning better, but this is not the best place for economic or political discussions.

This is all about travel!

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Yes, no politics intended.

The point was that Cuba is "splendid' in its dysfunction.

As Cuba moves forward without the Castro brothers, things will never be the same.

The Cubans that we met on our cruise admitted that.

 

IMG_1450.JPG

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Understood and agreed. However, we wanted just to point out that there truly is nothing special or whimsical about its current state so it cannot be ruined. The current government was not a choice & what is there now is not real Cuba as it should have been...we hope indeed that there soon are real stores & businesses thriving ...and modern cars once again on the streets for all, with the antique cars coexisting just for tourists enjoyment. Happy cruising especially to Cuba...hoping this fuels change!

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well a big  change  already   is that more Americans get to travel there  

good or bad 😉

 

 

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