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Old 08-15-17, 07:30 PM   #1
drousseau33
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Cuba - Suggestions for a couple touring without camping

Good evening!

Me and my girlfriend are looking for a week off in Cuba around the new year.

We'd like to go on a tour, but without camping, we would like to stay in people's home and practice our spanish.

In fact, my girlfriend is a Spanish Teacher!

We both are very active.

Do you have suggestions, adresses, etc?

Thanks
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Old 08-15-17, 07:42 PM   #2
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Old 08-15-17, 08:26 PM   #3
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Give Airbnb a try. There was also a thread in the spring about a couple who did just what you are looking to do, use the search function to look it up.
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Old 08-16-17, 09:50 AM   #4
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Cuban state tourist bureau is a place to contact via Cuban Interest section of Swiss embassy , (US embargo era procedure)

unless there has been a re introduction of a Cuban Ambassador, and embassy in the US..

you, not in the US, US passport holder the Politics are simpler..


Did you ask here? http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/eeuu/EN/Home.aspx

they probably prefer you stay in the Tourist catering Hotels...









....

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Old 08-16-17, 10:13 AM   #5
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There's an entry in Lonely Planet's Epic Bike Rides of the World.

Their "toolkit" reads:

Start // Santiago de Cuba End // Marea del Portillo Distance // 106 miles (170km) along a rutted but easy-to-follow road. Getting there // The nearest airport is Aeropuerto Antonio Maceo, 4 miles (6km) south of Santiago de Cuba. From here there are daily flights to Havana, and direct flights to Canada. Bike hire // This is rare and unreliable in Cuba. Most serious cyclists bring their own bikes with them. Where to stay // Club Amigo Marea del Portillo (+53 23-59-70-08; www.hotelescubanacan.com); Campismo La Mula (+53 22-32-62-62; www.campismopopular.cu); Brisas Sierra Mar (+53 22-32-91-10; www.hotelescubanacan.com) When to ride // The best time is mid-November to late-March. However, the road is prone to flooding and closures. Check ahead in Santiago.
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Old 08-18-17, 08:24 PM   #6
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Thanks Everyone, I'll have a look into these and get back to you!
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Old 08-18-17, 08:48 PM   #7
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Don't eat the food from any even vaguely questionable sources! Most people get sick.
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Old 08-18-17, 08:54 PM   #8
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Don't eat the food from any even vaguely questionable sources! Most people get sick.
I guess I ain't most people. Never been sick
😁
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Old 10-08-17, 07:54 PM   #9
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Good evening folks! I did bought the book Lonely Planet's Epic Bike Rides of the World. Thing is, the trip is one way, and with only 6-7 days in Cuba, we don't feel like doing the same road back and forth :/

Any other suggestions for Cuba? The airplane tickets we found would get us to Holguin (to and from). In fact, we didn't yet bought our tickets, so any suggestion welcome!

Thanks!
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Old 10-09-17, 08:43 AM   #10
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This page has 6 links in information about bike touring in Cuba. While not all of them will be use to you, the information provided might help you.

It looks like one of them still exists but is not reachable at the moment.
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Old 10-11-17, 06:12 AM   #11
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This page has 6 links in information about bike touring in Cuba. While not all of them will be use to you, the information provided might help you.
Thank you so much Raybo! These posts were very useful to us!

We finaly got tickets for Varadero as they were WAY cheaper than any other destination in Cuba. From there, we plan to take a bus or taxi to Havana when we get there and after a nice meal and a good sleep, we'll head west for a few days then take another bus from Pinar del Rio.

We will update you with our plan once we're done, but it looks like we won't miss Santa Lucia for a quick dive and Vinales for the great views!

BTW, we did not pick the original suggestion of going West of Santiago de Cuba, after some taughts, with only 6 days ahead of us, this seemed like a more remote location with not much services. We would have needed much more equipment.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 10-11-17, 06:50 AM   #12
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it would probably be a good idea to try to get some reliable information about hurricane damage and how it is affecting certain areas for all the various reasons, roads, how regular people were affected etc etc.
Dont have ideas of where to ask, but it's probably prudent.
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Old 10-11-17, 07:51 AM   #13
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it would probably be a good idea to try to get some reliable information about hurricane damage and how it is affecting certain areas for all the various reasons, roads, how regular people were affected etc etc.
Dont have ideas of where to ask, but it's probably prudent.
All Canadian embassies maintain a web page with current reliable local information. That would be the first place to look re hurricane damage.
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Old 10-11-17, 12:40 PM   #14
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I have been to Cuba many times and visited many areas of the island. Although I have never brought my bicycle, I do bring the perspective of a seasoned bicycle tourist. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Cuba does not have much infrastructure to support independent travelling. Visitors are not even supposed to use Cuban pesos. Instead, we are supposed to use a special currency: convertible pesos. My understanding is that convertible pesos can only be exchanged in facilities expressly set up for visitors. Exchanging currency could be an ever-present problem if your travels take you off the beaten track. I'm not even sure about the legality of visitors having Cuban pesos. (And you definitely don't want to get mixed up with their legal system. Before you go, make sure you understand what is and is not legal.)

However, when I was in Cuba earlier this year, I heard chatter that the government might be getting rid of convertible pesos. If and when this happens, it would greatly facilitate independent bicycle touring.

2. When I have gone on bus tours across the island, the towns and villages did not appear to be set up to provide food, shelter, or information to people who are passing through.

3. Most visitors to Cuba stay at tourist resorts. This might be the path of least resistance for a bicycle tourist. You would have a place to sleep, a hearty breakfast before leaving for the day, and a big supper when you return at night. Then spend each day travelling to a different destination within, say, three or four hours.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:17 AM   #15
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Bring hearing protection.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:26 AM   #16
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I've frequently read elsewhere of "casas particulares" being the lodging of choice for touring cyclists in Cuba. If you google that, you'll get lots of hits.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:44 AM   #17
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I did an independent two week cycle tour in western Cuba about ten years ago. We went in March, arrived in Havana, first night was in Guananajay, second in Las Terezas, third in Bahia Honda, then I think we spent four nights in Vinales before moving on to Pinar del Rio from where I eventually took a bus back to Havana. Not a huge amount of cycling for various reasons.
Guanajay isn't a tourist town so we had difficulty getting accommodation till a local vendor arranged some for us on the black market.
I second everything that's been posted here about the dual currency and restrictions on accessing local orientated restaurants and hotels.
Be careful in Havana with various scams mostly relating to cigars and currency conversion plus non-violent theft is common so watch your stuff.
Travel from Europe is expensive but from N. America Cuba is probably a more economical destination. I was glad I went but have no desire to return.
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Old 10-12-17, 01:02 PM   #18
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Don't eat the food from any even vaguely questionable sources! Most people get sick.
Nò way! I totally disagree with your comment. Bin dere, Dunn dat.

Cuban good is as safe as the food in Hastings, Nebraska... and elsewhere.
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Old 10-12-17, 04:24 PM   #19
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Don't eat the food from any even vaguely questionable sources! Most people get sick.
i have made 80 trips to cuba, for 2-4 weeks each trip. traveled the country extensively and never have gotten sick. i wonder what mountain mitch advise comes from?

i exchange us dollars for cuban pesos 90%, 10%cuc. i found casa's in every town. every town has a street market with fruits, veggies, and pork, chicken and fish. bought with cuban pesos. the people are very friendly and helpful everywhere. i prefer everywhere but havana.

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Old 10-12-17, 04:55 PM   #20
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i have made 80 trips to cuba, for 2-4 weeks each trip. traveled the country extensively and never have gotten sick. i wonder what mountain mitch advise comes from?

i exchange us dollars for cuban pesos 90%, 10%cuc. i found casa's in every town. every town has a street market with fruits, veggies, and pork, chicken and fish. bought with cuban pesos. the people are very friendly and helpful everywhere. i prefer everywhere but havana.
That's almost 4 - 8 years spent in Cuba!
You certainly have more experience of Cuba than I have (or ever hope to have). Been there twice with my wife. She got sick both times; me only once. So 75%. Not likely to go back. I'm guess just different experiences.
I thought it was illegal for a tourist to use Cuban pesos. But maybe you're considered a citizen!

Last edited by Mountain Mitch; 10-12-17 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 10-12-17, 06:01 PM   #21
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Heard on the news today that two recent visitors to Cuba contracted the Zika virus.

Florida confirms 1st local Zika infection for 2017 - Health - CBC News
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Old 10-13-17, 02:05 AM   #22
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Heard on the news today that two recent visitors to Cuba contracted the Zika virus.

Florida confirms 1st local Zika infection for 2017 - Health - CBC News
Reading that story doesn't suggest to me I'm any more likely to contract the virus in Cuba than in Florida.
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Old 10-13-17, 06:54 AM   #23
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Reading that story doesn't suggest to me I'm any more likely to contract the virus in Cuba than in Florida.
The OP is planning to travel to Cuba, so comparing to Florida is irrelevant. Cuba has been in the news lately for sonic attacks on human beings, and there is a mosquito-borne virus one should be aware of. No doubt there are other things the OP should take into consideration.
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Old 10-13-17, 09:12 AM   #24
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The OP is planning to travel to Cuba, so comparing to Florida is irrelevant. Cuba has been in the news lately for sonic attacks on human beings, and there is a mosquito-borne virus one should be aware of. No doubt there are other things the OP should take into consideration.
Every danger, real or imagined, is relative.
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Old 10-16-17, 02:09 PM   #25
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That's almost 4 - 8 years spent in Cuba!
You certainly have more experience of Cuba than I have (or ever hope to have). Been there twice with my wife. She got sick both times; me only once. So 75%. Not likely to go back. I'm guess just different experiences.
I thought it was illegal for a tourist to use Cuban pesos. But maybe you're considered a citizen!
i don't know where you went, but yes experiences are different . i have taken many(30-40) friends there as well, and everyone had a great time. we travel via casa particulars, and not cuban tourist hotels, actually i have never spent a night in a tourist hotel. havana is not on my list of goto places, but everywhere else is. we have shopped at local farmer markets everywhere with cuban pesos, never had an issue. the cuban national parks have locals, and hardly a tourist. they are unknown to the tour guides, but our favorite places to go. all of the trade is in cuban pesos. my guess is your sickness was from food preparation or handling. everything we eat, is alive free range minutes before its cooked, or fish caught fresh in salt water only. everything else is fresh fruits or veggies. we always buy bottled water. we do buy locally brewed beers that aren't sold in tourist stores(50 to 70 pesos) per case of 24. crystal or bucanero is brewed in cuba for tourist but cost $1 to $1.5 each in convertible pesos, vs .10 cents. we often stay in the eastern mountain region, maybe see 1 or 2 local cars in a day, quiet, clean air, star filled nights, mountain streams. we pick coffee beans, roast and grind them for wonderful coffee. a whole/live pig cost about 250 pesos to have a cuban pig roast. local rum is 2 or 3 pesos a liter. havana or varadero doesn't have this option. in case you can't tell, i enjoy everything about being there. experience "real" the local culture. playing dominos, helping people repair their modest houses, swimming in a cool mountain stream, enjoy the smells of tropical forrest. this is all not totally problem free; i was arrested for giving away bibles, again for giving away baseballs and bats. and fined for bringing medicines for the people, that aren't available to them. i have traveled to over 100 countries, and go back to cuba most often.
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