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Mario2019-01-31T19:38:41+00:00

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  • Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210

    From the Havana airport, it will be difficult to find cheap transport. Did you already rent a casa in Cojimar? If so, then contact the landlord and ask them if they can send a friend to pick you up. As far as taxis go, there will be no cheap option.

    You would have to walk for a mile out of the airport until you get to a residential area, and then take a bus.. but the buses there will be crowded and take like 2 hours to get to Cojimar. It’s not really practical to take a city bus.

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210
    in reply to: Guanabo #34074

    In Guanabo there are always be many communal taxis passing on the main street (Ave. 5ta) which will take you back to Havana. Hail a taxi particular traveling west (driving on the beach-side lane). Tell the driver you are heading to La Habana. Most of the taxis driving west will be going to Havana, so it will be very easy to find a ride. The trip costs 50 to 100 pesos (MN). In Playa Santa Maria, there is a large park located in front of the Tropicoco Hotel. In this area you will find many communal taxis which will offer to take you to Havana. The cost is 50 to 100 pesos (MN).

    The #400 and A40 city buses also travel between Havana and Guanabo and only cost 0.40 pesos (MN), but they pass infrequently and are often very overcrowded. There is also the T3 HavanaBusTour (hop on hop off)  bus. The T3 route goes from Old Havana to the Hotel Atlantico which is located on the boarder of Playa Santa Maria and Guanabo. You can catch this bus on Prado street, in front of the Parque Central in Old Havana. You will see a red sign saying T3 HavanaBusTour.  It costs 5 CUC per person for a round trip. The bus departs about every 40 minutes.

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210
    in reply to: 4 weeks in Cuba #33574

    Hi Sharon,

    I have heard it said a million times that the best thing about Cuba is the people. And my number 1 tip would be to interact with locals as much as possible. Try to build relationships with a few people. Once you gain the trust of a Cuban family you will gain a lifetime of friendship.

    There are many beautiful attractions and things to see and fun places to visit in Cuba. I include many great Havana locations in my book. But always know that in Cuba, friends and family always come first and the culture and people are the number one reason to visit the island.

    With that out of the way, I would say, try not to spend too much time in vehicles, driving from one place to another. It’s fun to visit many towns and cities, but I feel it is more meaningful to get to know a couple of places really well versus many places superficially. Be careful of people who ask for money or gifts and don’t take unsolicited advice. There is a huge transportation crisis right now in Havana and the taxi drivers have jacked up prices. The government has tried to mitigate this problem by adding more buses to the system. Use the buses, especially the yellow ones. They function similar to collective taxis, but are cheaper. I would suggest doing all the tourist stuff right away, so that you can settle down after and get into the local Cuban mindset. Shop at markets. Cook. Eat at tiny mom and pop restaurants. Fancy and expensive looking places should mostly be avoided. If there is a lineup of tourists outside, skip. If there are locals, that’s the place to be.

    Keep an open mind. Be careful of scammers and try to get by on a budget (because that’s what ever single Cuban does). Have fun!

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210
    in reply to: sim card #33568

    Hi Jayne, the price for the sim rental covers only the rental. It is possible that the Cuban telephone company now has other options, so you would have to discuss details concerning rental pricing for the duration if your trip. You might be able to get a deal if you rent for a week or more

    Once you rent the sim, you have to put money on your account. It’s always pay as you go. There are no phone plans in Cuba. So you would put 20cuc and then add more as you need it. Local calls are like 35 cents per minute during the day and 10 cents per minute at night. Texts are like 7 cents each I think. They offer data options too (recently started). The data is expensive and usually works terribly, so it might not be a great option.

    I hope this answers your question. Have a great time

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210

    Hi Lorna, congrats on visiting Cuba. And good luck with your return trip. Here are some interesting places for you to consider.

    Bayamo has a nice boulevard with bars and clubs. It’s a fun town and well off the tourist trail.

    Playa Larga has more tourism but there is snorkeling and diving and the town is quaint. Not lively, but small and local.

    Cienfuegos is a larger city but a lot of fun. It is also close to the El Nicho natural park where you can see waterfalls and swim in lagoons.

    Cardenas, right beside varadero can be fun. Despite it’s proximity to varadero, it is not touristy at all.

    Pinar del Rio is a nice small town, close to Vinales. Again, not touristy at all.

    I like Las Tunas and Manzanillo, but they are not particularly lively places. TBH, most of the residents of those towns would say that the towns are terribly boring, but I enjoy them because there are few tourists and have an authentic Cuban soul.

    I hope this helps and if you have more questions, just ask.

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210

    Hi, we just sent you an email. We just need the flight number and the destination in Havana and we can confirm taxi transfer for you. Once we get that info, the transfer is confirmed, but since the office is closed now, we will reply to you once more in the morning.

    Also, just to note, for the airport pickups, you can see more details about where to meet your driver here: https://bestcubaguide.com/faq-items/meeting-your-taxi-driver-at-the-airport/

    And if you have to exchange money at the airport, there is info here: https://bestcubaguide.com/faq-items/exchanging-money-at-the-airport/

    But please meet your driver before exchanging money, so you don’t get lost in the airport.

    Have a great trip!

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210
    in reply to: sim card #31814

    Have a great trip!

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210
    in reply to: sim card #31807

    Click on this link and then click on Internet and Phones category for all the info.

    https://bestcubaguide.com/cuba-and-havana-questions-and-basic-answers-checklist/

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210

    Hi, standard protocol for airports is to arrive 3 hours before takeoff time. I can tell you that even as an experienced traveler (been to Cuba many dozens of times) I still always try to be there 3 hours before takeoff time. The checked baggage usually stops 1 hour before takeoff. But still, 1 hour is never enough to do everything.

    My best advice is to give it at least 2 hours. I would never take chances with a flight, because if you miss it, it’s a huge hassle.

    PS, I’m pretty sure there is air conditioning at the terminal. It is not luxury at all, but the terminal is not bad and should be comfortable enough. What you can do is check your bags and get your ticket but then just hang around the airport a bit, without going through customs. There are some shops in the airport and the outside esplanade. And then, an hour before, you can pass customs (which is usually very fast). This way you don’t waste an hour in the terminal.

    Take care!

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210
    in reply to: santa clara #31517

    Hi, Santa Clara is about 3 hours drive from Varadero. From Havana it is about a 4.5 hour drive. It would be much easier to go to Santa Clara directly from Varadero. You can either take a private taxi or try to use the viazul coach bus.

    In my opinion, one day in Santa Clara is enough. While it is a pretty city, it is small and outside of the tiny tourist area there is nothing much. But, considering the long drive from Varadero, you might want to spend a night in order to make the trip less exhausting.

    Just tell me if I can help with anything else.

    Take care.

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210

    If you want a tour of Havana, simply fill out the form here: https://bestcubaguide.com/havana-taxi-guided-tour/

     

    We have many great drivers who speak multiple languages and with a variety of car options.

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210

    We do not have houses with pools. In the neighborhoods of Vedado, Old Havana or Central Havana there are no house with pools, as far as I know. For a house with a pool you would have to go to a neighborhood either east or west of the city. My recommendation is to stay in a hotel, as the pool would be much better than anything you will find online and it would probably be cheaper.

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210

    Hi Brenda, Havana is on the main island of Cuba. Cayo Largo is a remote island off of Cuba. You can only get there by airplane and it is a considerable distance from Havana.  Bay of Pigs is on the main island of Cuba, but it does not have an airport.

    The only way to do your trip is to take a plane from Havana to Cayo Largo and then a plane from Cayo Largo to Havana and then a bus or taxi between Havana and the Bay of Pigs.

    https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/23.129562,-82.3284578/Cayo+Largo+del+Sur,+Cuba/@22.3701755,-82.4884102,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m8!4m7!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x8f2cff78bf2e1a31:0xf52a625ed8e46f93!2m2!1d-81.5288929!2d21.6117789

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210
    in reply to: Massage in Havana #28748

    Hi, my best advice would be to talk with your casa landlord. They usually know people in the neighborhood who do massages. The landlords can ask around until they find somebody for you. These will be inexpensive and are usually of high quality.

    There are many places which advertise massage services online. These will be more expensive. Usually, if you look beside these locations (in the neighboring buildings), you will find other providers who charge lower prices.

    https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g147271-d12000923-Reviews-Yuma_Massage-Havana_Ciudad_de_la_Habana_Province_Cuba.html

    Mario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 210

    Hi, this is a great question. Very unique. But to be honest, I don’t think you will find much info about this while in Cuba. I would advise you to do some research online about the solar power situation in Cuba. There are many nice headline about new solar projects being set up. But on the ground in Cuba this is really not something which is talked about much. I think the media in Cuba and the world likes catchy headline about renewable power but the fact remains that Cuba has an antiquated power grid with blackouts happening every day. Moreover, most of the power generated on the island comes from burning dirty oil.

    There is a small solar farm in the middle of the island but it does not produce much. It’s located in the middle of nowhere. You won’t be allowed to visit it. The government keeps most of this stuff hidden because they don’t want to be embarrassed publicly. You won’t be able to check out any factories or things like that. The government is very secretive when it comes to factories and energy projects.

    You might find some info about solar power in the Museum of the Revolution, but again it will mostly be catchy headline with very little substance.

    I hate to be so pessimistic but other than the headlines I dont think there is much progress being made on renewable energy in Cuba.

    There are some urban gardens which are cool. (https://youtu.be/0W6c5ZOiwi8) but again, these gardens are all talk and no show. They are tiny gardens and most of the year nothing grows there. On the occasion that there is a healthy crop, the government will invite all the journalists to take photos. It’s just for show…

    Good luck! Enjoy Cuba and meet some locals. They are great people and it’s a fascinating culture.

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