Cuba - Homestay: experiences / advice

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Cuba - Homestay: experiences / advice

Postby gerry balding » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:42 pm

Hi,

On our forthcoming trip to Cuba we are spending 10 nights homestay. What are other peoples' experiences (good or bad) of homestay in Cuba and do you have any practical advice? :?

Many thanks

Gerry
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Re: Cuba - Homestay: experiences / advice

Postby debandpat123 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:01 am

hello. we just returned from CCC on jan 6 2013. i was pretty freaked about the homestays, but they turned out to be a wonderful part of our time there. our "casa mamas" as we called them were all so nice and kind. (well, except that one... and we were given the chance to change casas the next day.) everyone was so lovely, and the homes all so different. i don't feel that i would have "gotten a taste of cuba" without these wonderful opportunities. don't give away all of your soap, as you may need some towards the east! buen viaje, deb (you can ask more stuff if you would like, but didn't have any electronics so can't help with that.)
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Re: Cuba - Homestay: experiences / advice

Postby gerry balding » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:38 am

deband pat many thanks for your reply. It is certainly helpful especially regarding the soap. Like you we thought that we wouldn't experience the real Cuba unless we did homestay. Over a number of years Tricia and I have had foreign language students stay with us so we know about homestay from the other side. Most of our students were great, many have remained friends and we have even had a couple of memorable holidays abroad as a result. We are looking forward to our trip, just over a month to go. If we have anymore questions, we will get in contact.
Best Wishes
Gerry :D
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Re: Cuba - Homestay: experiences / advice

Postby debandpat123 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:19 am

hi again, just another word of advice i must share, though not concerning the homestays... the sunset picnic on the beach in trinidad was great, but we were all eaten alive by sand fleas, no see-ums, etc.. we all used different kinds of repellent, and were all affected in varying degrees. i was the worst! :x none of us had calamine lotion or other anti-itch meds with us, but were able to get some triamcinolone ointment at the pharmacy, which helped a lot. next time i would definitely put on thick socks for the party! deb
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Re: Cuba - Homestay: experiences / advice

Postby gerry balding » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:42 pm

Thanks for the warning! :o We shall add it to the list of things to bring!
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Re: Cuba - Homestay: experiences / advice

Postby kylesmith » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:25 am

I also have plans to have a vacation in Cuba, we're 6 people and its our first time to go to this place. Such suggestions are very much helpful in our travel plan.
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Re: Cuba - Homestay: experiences / advice

Postby alicia_vancouver » Wed May 08, 2013 12:43 pm

I was on the Cuba Colonial trip last March. The homestays were absolutely one of the highlights! The hotels we stayed at were not nearly as comfortable. Do not worry one bit. The Casa Mama's & Papa's are fantastic! All of the rooms were clean & very comfortable. It was a little awkward at the first casa, as we had never experienced staying in someone's home before. As the trip went on it became just like checking into a hotel.

Alicia
Vancouver, BC
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Re: Cuba - Homestay: experiences / advice

Postby careau » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:10 pm

I highly recommend the homestays. Very few mamas and papas spoke English and thus it was a wonderful opportunity to learn Spanish. The meals in the casa (albeit overpriced by local standards) are delicious and I thought, well worth the price. It was a great way to support those families. They treat you like family and take great pride in being good hosts!

Cautionary tale: In some towns, the houses all look the same so pay close attention when you leave to make sure you can find your way back. I took pictures (digital bread crumb trail of sorts). My only complaint is that some do not provide a key to the front door and so you have to make arrangements or plan your comings and goings. They usually have someone there or have neighbor watch out for you, but it`s a bit of a nuisance.

Note that while all were comfortable, they are not luxury accommodations by any means. Expect bugs and thin linens. I loved my experience and would recommend to all with REALISTIC expectations. If I had to do it over again, I would bring my camp pillow. Can`t fault the mamas and papas for giving you old thin pillows, there are none for sale anywhere...but then, that`s what makes Cuba such a unique place. Enjoy the experience!
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