Salsa > Going to Cuba - has anyone been?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Claire_Brummell, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm off to Cuba soon as we're planning on running a holiday out there next year and I wondered if anyone here had been there before?

    Basically I'm trying to find out as much info as possible before I go and wondered if anyone had any recommendations on places to visit / dance / avoid / good restaurants / excursions etc. All the usual info!!

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    Thanks :D

  2. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    No, not yet... but maybe someday...
  3. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    LOL Squirrel - Well I'll let you know when we're organising the holiday next year and maybe you can come along with us! :D
  4. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    Thanks Claire... I would love to!
  5. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    Keep me posted, too! One of my biggie dreams, to get out there. Seems quite a few of us on DF are from the US, where there is a ridiculous embargo and draconian laws preventing us from (legally) visiting the country, so I doubt any of the Americans here, myself included, have made a trip to Cuba yet. I will go, embargo or no embargo, and am looking forward to the fun, dancin' and live music. :D
  6. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    LOL - I'll definately keep you all in the know - at the moment we're looking at doing it next May for two weeks (but obviously you can just do one if you want!) - I'll have more information once I get back from my trip and then I can fill you all in!!

    Watch this space... :D
  7. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    You betcha! Thanks and have a great time! :D
  8. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Thanks hon - I intend to!! :D
  9. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Out of interest - where in Japan are you? I might be coming out there later this year and I'll be after some dancing recommendations... ;)
  10. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    I'm in western Japan, between Hiroshima & Osaka! Let me know when you'll be coming-we may be having some events...
  11. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Cool - will do! :D

    I'll be in Osaka if I come so seems perfect! :D
  12. cocodrilo

    cocodrilo New Member

    Great! Feel free to PM me anytime!
  13. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    A future df meeting!! :banana: Welcome to df Claire_Brummell. :D
  14. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Will do - thanks!! :D
  15. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Thanks for the welcome Sagitta - I'm delighted to be here!! :D
  16. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Welcome to DF, Claire! I really want to go to Cuba, especially for dancey reasons :wink: , so I'd love to hear some word of advice from our fellow Cubanos or DFers who have been to Cuba.
    Wheeeee, Havana nights! :D :D :banana:
    I'm Greek. No stupid embargo. Hehe. :wink:

    Twilight Elena
  17. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Thanks for the welcome Elena - I'll fill you in when I get back - and I can keep you posted on the holiday next year if you're interested? :D
  18. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Sure, why not? :D Have you already planned next year's holidays?

    Twilight Elena
  19. Claire_Brummell

    Claire_Brummell New Member

    Well this trip is to organise the holiday in Cuba next it won't be long before we have all the information for you all! :D
  20. Claire,

    Welcome to DF.
    My Cuba experience is quite old and many things have changed since I was there (1992 and 1993. But since nobody so far has given you any info, let me pitch in.

    It is a beautiful island! However, traveling is very different from other places. It is best to have connections among Cuban locals. Try to find a way to see the island. (car rental is outrageously expensive). Havana is a jewel by itself! Unfortunately, a lot is in ruins because nobody takes care of it. If it was maintained and painted like old San Juan (Puerto Rico), it would be like a big open air museum! You can still breath the nostalgia of the old days.
    By the way, the movie “Havana nights” was made in San Juan.

    Other great places to see:
    - the western part of the island: Pinar del Rio and the Viñales valley;
    - Trinidad, an old colonial town
    - Cienfuegos
    - Santiago de Cuba

    Try to avoid Varadero, though. Yes, it has great beaches but it is big rip-off business. It is full of tourists and it seems that everybody tries to ripp you off all the time. Do you speak Spanish? That would help a lot, but even when you are fluent in Spanish and can defend yourself, they will find ways to get your dollars in Varadero. I did not like it!

    I cannot give you any info on dancing, restaurants etc. because things have considerably changed since I was there. In 1992/93 there was only food in restaurants for tourists (in the big hotels), you could not buy anything (!!!) in the streets or in Cuban stores, they were completely empty. Now, they have privately owned restaurants with real Cuban food (I went to real Cuban restaurants in Miami, not in Cuba), markets etc. Then, we went dancing but I don't know if those places still exist.

    We went to an outdoor dance place called “Cabaret Pinomar” in Santa María del Mar (Playas del Este, outside of Havana). They had a great live show and we had a wonderful time.

    There was a real beautiful place somewhere in Havana (not in the centre), but I don’t remember where in Havana, it is called “Club 1830”. It is also an outdoor dance place at the water, with a small fortress where you can walk, very romantic! They played good salsa music there.

    You have to ask the locals where to go. We found these places only thanks to locals.

    You get the best Mojito at the Bodeguita del Medio (Hemmingway's favorite bar) near the Plaza de Armas. If you need a cheap hotel, there is Hotel Caribbean at the Paseo del Prado, between the Malecón and the Capitolio, in the heart of old Havana. It is a small, basic but clean hotel. There are only a few rooms with bathrooms with windows (all have a bathroom but most do not have a window). Ask for the ones with a bathroom with a window. From the window you have a view on the Paseo del Prado, the former main street of old Havana. A double room was $18.00 when I was there.

    You have to be very careful with your belongings, always lock your dance shoes into your suitcase when you are not in your hotel room (also in the bigger hotels!). I had nothing stolen in the Hotel Caribbean, but yes I had things stolen in other bigger and nicer hotels. When I was there, people had a hard time to get shoes, and believe me, dance shoes were a hot commodity!

    This becomes quite long now and I better stop. Maybe someone can contribute some more current info.

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