Cuba Colonial - CCC

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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby debandpat123 » Wed May 02, 2012 9:39 am

i'm glad to hear you say that it was worth it! ireland... lucky you! how often did you eat at the CUP places, and how much should i exchange for CUP for the trip do you think? from what zu has said, i think the prices there sound kind of high for food and drink. would love to hear any more helpful hints that you might have for me. what optionals did you do and how worthwhile did you find them? also what was your impression of the casas particulares? i just hope for a private bathroom... did you have one? thank you for your help, d
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby mol » Wed May 02, 2012 12:08 pm

Aaargh! I had written you a long email but the site then said I wasn't logged in, and by the time I logged in again, the email was lost :?
I'll reply again when I have time
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby kat6942 » Wed May 02, 2012 9:06 pm

I'm sure I'm not the only american who wishes the US government would get their heads out of their butts and learn to play well with other countries so I had less travel restrictions.
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby debandpat123 » Thu May 03, 2012 9:18 am

hi kat, are you going to cuba or have you been?
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby mol » Thu May 03, 2012 6:24 pm

debandpat123 wrote:i'm glad to hear you say that it was worth it! ireland... lucky you! how often did you eat at the CUP places, and how much should i exchange for CUP for the trip do you think? from what zu has said, i think the prices there sound kind of high for food and drink. would love to hear any more helpful hints that you might have for me. what optionals did you do and how worthwhile did you find them? also what was your impression of the casas particulares? i just hope for a private bathroom... did you have one? thank you for your help, d


Hi D,
Usually the group eats in CUC restaurants as some people don't bother buying CUPS, but on your non-group nights it is easy to eat in CUP restaurants. I can think of 2 offhand - the Jardines del Oriente in Havana Vieja and in Santiago there was Casa Micaela.
Even in CUC restaurants, you can find cheaper ones. Los Nardos in Havana is very reasonable and good quality and huge portions. You may have to queue to get in though.
I didn't do many optional tours. in Trinidad I just hung around town for the day, visiting art galeries, chatting to locals, drinking canchanchara (yum), listening to music and just chilling. Note: don't wear heels in Trinidad, you'll twist your ankle on the cobbles. The others went on the catamaran that day to some cayo. None were very impressed. Expensive and yet the toilets were still disgusting. I was glad I had a relaxed fun day around town.

In Baracoa I did the Alejandro Humboldt trek. I really enjoyed that, even though I got bit numerous times, i am a mozzy-magnet. Beautiful there though. The others did El Yunque and really enjoyed that too.

The casas particulares vary. Most are clean and tidy though. They vary in attitude of the owners (very friendly and chatty down to practically sullen). Santa Clara was the worst, Trinidad and Baracoa were the best. I had a private bathroom everywhere I stayed. Water pressure etc not as good as home. But if everything were like home, then we might as well stay at home!

Hope that helps.
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby debandpat123 » Sat May 05, 2012 10:01 am

thank you mol, for all of the helpful hints. i really do appreciate them. what is canchanchara? i haven't worn heels for years so i won't be in trouble in trinidad, unless i drink too much canchanchara... i read that men aren't supposed to wear shorts out in the evenings, is that true? husband doesn't like to dress up much. was there much to do at your casas in the evenings? did you hang out there or go out? did you eat at your casas? anything else i should know? i really do thank you for all of your help. deb
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby mol » Sun May 06, 2012 5:18 pm

Hi Deb,
Men could and did wear shorts going out. Maybe not to dressy places like Tropicana, but certainly to regular places there was no problem.
I ate occasionally in the casas particulares, if I didn't feel like going out to a restaurant.
There is nothing to do in the casas at night I'd say. You would just be staying in your room, like a B&B in this country. I usually went to the local Casa de la Musica to listen to salsa and watch the locals dancing. Plenty of music and dance in every town.
Canchanchara is a drink in Trinidad, made of raw run, honey, lemon and sugar and a few other ingredients (I think). It is served in a little bowl. It's gorgeous.
Also try the sugar cane juice...yum.
Try everything!!!!
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby debandpat123 » Tue May 08, 2012 9:22 pm

hey mol, thank you for your continued help with my endless questions. we paid today for the trip, so we're going. i think my "jitters" have subsided, it is not illegal for americans to go to cuba, only to spend money there. yep we'll have to buy food, but i doubt that the government of the u.s would want us to starve to death in the only country in the world to which we are supposedly denied access! i was hoping to hear that the "casa family" would be warm and friendly, and that we would eat, drink, and be merry with them. we speak a fair amount of spanish, and hope that we can "bond" with them. were you allowed access to the rest of the house, as in a TV room? normally after a long day i am too tired to go out and dance, or even watch others! did you follow zu's and my exchange on "pre-trip Q and A?" i am finally okay with it, and we're going! woo hoo! may i ask where in ireland are you? it's been a few years, but how we loved it there! thank you, deb
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby mol » Wed May 09, 2012 5:43 am

Really, don't worry about the whole american/cuba thing. Just go there as if you were going to any country in the world and just enjoy it.
Most of the casa families are warm and friendly, as are most cubans. I didn't really check on TV rooms as I never planned to stay in on any evening! Not all houses do have tv's, but I'm sure if they have one you would be quite welcome to share. Cubans don't have a lot, but they share what they do have. Soccer and baseball seem to be quite popular on the TVs I did see there. In the hotels you will have a tv in your room. Some have american stations such as CNN if you are interested in those too.
Me, I'm from Cork, in the southwest of the country. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. If you liked Ireland, you'll probably love Cuba too. Lots of similarities. And Ché's great-grandfather came from Ireland so that rebel blood was passed on :D
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby debandpat123 » Fri May 11, 2012 9:17 am

hi mol, thank you for your encouragement! i LOVED ireland. we had a house in bantry on the bay for a week, and then an apartment in galway for a week. stayed a few nights in b&bs along the way. please tell me how ireland and cuba have similarities? i need to read about che, didn't know he had irish roots. gracias amiga, deb
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby mol » Sun May 13, 2012 6:54 pm

Both small islands overshadowed by bigger bullying neighbours who at some time or other have wanted to conquer, colonise and rule them! Hahahahaha! :lol:
The people are quite similar too - both generally friendly and open who enjoy meeting visitors and foreigners who visit their island.
They both love art and reading and other cultural outlets
Both have 'island mentalities' - i.e. love living on an island, but have a natural wandering spirit and want to visit as many other places as possible, as an island is limited. Unluckily for Cubans, much and all as they want to travel, that particular possibility isn't open to them yet. The Irish, in contrast, have been wandering the world for millenia and continue to do so.
You picked 2 nice areas to stay in Ireland - West Cork ad Galway! Glad you enjoyed it.
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby debandpat123 » Sat May 19, 2012 11:28 pm

hey mol, i never thought about "island mentality", never having lived on one. that's an interesting observation. art, reading, and other cultural outlets are right up my alley. we were lucky to stumble upon a trad music session in doolin one night, in the front row. the musicians were great, and very friendly. a night that will never be forgotten. i look forward to cuban nights such as that... still in the back of my mind i am worried about going to cuba as an american.... thanks for all of your kind help, deb
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby mommadoc » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:44 pm

We are from the US and we will be on the tour with you (and our 22 year old daughter). We are flying in and out of Mexico City. I really don't think it will be a problem. But I do want to go NOW before any kind of political shift that may happen.
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Re: Cuba Colonial - CCC

Postby debandpat123 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:33 pm

yay mommadoc and family, i was beginning to think that we'd be on the tour all by ourselves. i haven't even checked here for ages, so now i'll check in again. nol gave me lots of good advice here. any thoughts on preparing for the trip? peace, deb
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