Cuba Colonial - advice needed :)

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Cuba Colonial - advice needed :)

Postby k8rich » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:31 pm

Hey everyone.

Please can anyone offer any advice?

I am going on the Cuba Colonial Tour on 9th March, and only just booked on and I have a lot to do!

So I will list my few questions I need help with :)

1. I have no idea how much money i should be taking to spend...I hear you can't take too much CUC into Cuba, but credit card charges are extortionate, there's not many places to take money out and the places that exchange money aren't always accessible- what do I do? (I'm from England by the way) I didn't want to take all that much cash on me- but is that the only way to do it? I don't want to be short of money, but from what I've read I can't take all that much money (or just CUC?) in with me so will I have to find somewhere to exchange it there?? I've read quite a few contradictory things so am now a bit confused! :?

2. What am I to expect from the home stays? Do you stay on your own? How do they fit into being with your group?

3. What essential items do I need to take?

4. Does it get chilly in the evenings? Also when going out in the evening do people get a bit more 'dressy?'

Many thanks in advance!

Kate :)
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Re: Cuba Colonial - advice needed :)

Postby kateyb » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:16 pm

Hey Kate, I am on that same trip as you! I talked to someone from G Adventures and they said there are ATM's to pull out money. However, I will be bringing Canadian cash with me...I am planning on 800 CUC's as a few people said this should do it for me. I don't plan on going out for expensive meals as I would rather spend that money on rum! I will of course have my ATM and credit cards for emergencies...

Don't know what else to expect though! When do you arrive? I don't get there until early evening on the 9th and I fly out on the 25th.

Kate (Hope there isn't a third Kate or things will get confusing!)
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Re: Cuba Colonial - advice needed :)

Postby Zuleika » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:11 pm

Hiya - I went on this trip March last year - its fantastic - hope you get Guillermo as your leader he was wonderful.
There are ATM's but mostly THEY DONT WORK so dont rely on them - there is one in Havana old town that does work down Obispo street which is near the hotel. BUt there are queues.
Take cash. Cash is King.
I too am from the UK and I took £400 per week and went on this trip and the Cuba libre trip,(3weeks in all) there are plenty of money changers so it wasnt a problem to change cash. Out of £1200 I had about £200 change after 3 weeks so I was about right.
I took an internal money belt and wore it during travel days and locked it in my suit case at the home stays at night - these homestays incidentally are VERY safe and your stuff will be fine there. Definitely leave your valuables, passport, money etc in the home stays rather than taking them on a night out - the tour leader re-iterates this, which was contrary to what I would have thought but bang on.
I have posted to some other Q's on this forum re Cuba if you have a search around you will find them for other info.


I LOVED CUba and am planning on going back very soon!!

Weather - hot in the day, cooler at night, I took a light cardigan which I used in the evenings - but it got stolen off the back of a chair half way through :( - so dont put anything down defo not a bag - wear that cross body,and keep a hold of cardies - tie it round the waist - it is a poor country remember. I used to wear dressed up jeans in the evenings so I could put my money and door key in the pocket so I didnt take a bag out - you will be salsa-ing most nights so a bag gets in the way! The Cuban men are to die for and it doesnt matter if you cant dance because you soon will learn with them!!!!
Meals are mostly at the homestays either with the group or in your own home stays - this is definitely recommended and far better than govt run cafes and restaurants which are pretty terrible, homestays also gets cash into the community. Dont forget to tip each home stay if they are good - and they mostly are excellent! Cubans are lovely friendly people in the main. Take a spanish phrase book if you cant speak Spanish thou as lots dont speak English.

And oooooh yes - rum is the way - daiquiri's, cuba libres, mojitos - nom nom nom
"Live the life you love, Love the life you live"
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Re: Cuba Colonial - advice needed :)

Postby kateyb » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:39 pm

Thanks Zuleika!
Did you find that jeans and a nice shirt will be good enough to wear when you go out at night?
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Re: Cuba Colonial - advice needed :)

Postby k8rich » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:46 pm

Hiya!

Thanks Zuleika! Very helpful info :)

I'm getting really excited now, also looking forward to a daiquiri and a salsa! :wink:

Couple more questions you may be able to help with...I've read the list of what they recommend to pack and just wondering if I need to take a couple of the bits...do we need hiking boots? Or will walking sandals be enough?...they're heavy to take if unnecessary! Also, do we need binoculars and a penknife. I ask because I've sometimes taken bits 'just in case' or that have been on the list, and not needed them...so it'd just be good to know...I'm not good at packing light as it is! :lol: Also what's the mosquito situation like?

Also while I think of it...I've seen we need a Visa and a tourist card...are they the same thing?

Kate - I was thought your name might be Katey because of your username! :) Oh dear! lol. Anyway, I think I'll be arriving on the evening of the 8th and flying out the night of the 24th. I am booking flights tomorrow...was hoping my credit card would come through but alas....can't wait any longer.

Thanks both

K 8)
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Re: Cuba Colonial - advice needed :)

Postby Zuleika » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:30 am

Dressy top and jeans in the evening is what all the locals wear so u will be fine with that and they wear mammoth stilletoes!!! But I just took some evening sandals that I knew I could dance in.
No to hiking boots, I lived in my walking sandals and flip flops by day.
Penknife - no
Binoculars, prob not necessay but up to you
Mossies - some but not too bothersome , more in the Cuba libre tour.
Have fun girls!!!!!
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Re: Cuba Colonial - advice needed :)

Postby debandpat123 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:10 pm

hola, we returned from this trip in january, and you are in for a treat! we didn't see mosquitoes, but were eaten alive by sand fleas at the beach picnic in trinidad. we all used different kinds of repellents. i had meant to put on socks, but forgot to do so. i know it might sound silly, but take some knee high socks and put them on before sunset. for those who get bitten, (which was all of us), you can get triamcinalona ointment at the big pharmacies. it really helped a lot. i did some research on this when i got home, and saw that lighter skinned folks tend to get bitten the worst, and that was me. :cry: it also was helpful to take a small flashlight out in the evenings. walking home in the dark on the cobblestones, especially after a few mojitos, can be challenging. hope this helps. deb
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