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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Morning, Folks.

It looks like hubby and I will be heading to Cuba for about a week. Along with some beach time, we're hoping to learn a bit about how the Cuban people live and cope with their situation.

A couple of questions -

Preparedness wise (for emergency / disaster while traveling), what would you pack?

Learning-wise, is there a must-see highlight of Cuba?

My husband speaks basic Spanish, and I can say 'hello' and 'thank you', and we are both seasoned backpackers with extensive travel experience. However, this time, we will be trying a resort.

Thanks, all!
 

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The wanderer
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Preparedness wise (for emergency / disaster while traveling), what would you pack?
A folding boat? :lolsmash:

Seriously, I hope you have a great trip. When you get back, would you tell us about it? That would be interesting.
 

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a dude
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From Canadians I've heard two totally contrasting views on vacationing in Cuba. Please share what it was like when you come back. Have a wonderful trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A folding boat? :lolsmash:

Seriously, I hope you have a great trip. When you get back, would you tell us about it? That would be interesting.
I would love to tell you all about it! Nothing I enjoy more than sharing travel stories...I visited Istanbul with my sister in '05, then caught the bug, took a year off work and backpacked Europe with my Mom, Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan by myself, and Canada by couch-surfing with friends. Hubby and I honeymooned by backpacking in Guatemala and Belize for a month in '09.

It is amazing what you can learn about peak oil, primitive farming, architecture, community planning, primitive transportation, water conservation, and a million other things, just by traveling in third-world conditions. I visited desert oases in Morocco where people were happy to show me how they rationed irrigation water and fertile soil within their community. In other places, I have seen one plot of land do double or triple duty, with trees, ground crops, and livestock sharing space (the original permaculture idea, if I have understood it correctly). While I would not be able to grow orange and olive trees in Saskatchewan, I can swipe the idea of multi-tasking with land, and grow, say, apple trees, hops, and grapes on the same bit of land. Seeing this stuff in real-life applications really helps with planning and visualization for the homestead.

Sorry for the rant, but learning from other cultures is something that totally excites me!

We go to Cuba in mid-November. Will be sure to post all about it when we get back...
 

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performing monkey
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carry a lot of small denomination bills... in US CURRENCY (idk, canadian might be ok too) but from experience I can tell you that $5 will solve almost any problem, of course I was on a boat & you'll be in a FORTRESS with ARMED GUARDS... & they WILL warn you not to go walk-about alone after dark off the compound... the movies are full of crap, there's NO all-night-party-scene of people just waiting to have fun with YOU in the towns

have fun, be safe, take advantage of the fact that you will basically have your own personal slaves for the duration of your stay... :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
carry a lot of small denomination bills... in US CURRENCY (idk, canadian might be ok too) but from experience I can tell you that $5 will solve almost any problem, of course I was on a boat & you'll be in a FORTRESS with ARMED GUARDS... & they WILL warn you not to go walk-about alone after dark off the compound... the movies are full of crap, there's NO all-night-party-scene of people just waiting to have fun with YOU in the towns

have fun, be safe, take advantage of the fact that you will basically have your own personal slaves for the duration of your stay... :D
We're not really late-night party people...we are normally in bed by 9, lol. We are going to an all-inclusive, but have plans to go into Havana for a day or two, and if we get bored, we will likely wander to other areas, as well. Would you believe it was cheaper to book an all-inclusive than a plane ticket? :dunno:
 

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performing monkey
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NOT a big fan of Havana... depending on how far you can go (assuming your permit only allows you in La Habana Province) I can recommend Mariel or Surgidero de Bataband

but your mileage may vary ;) :D

hope this helps
 

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a dude
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"Following the breakfast that is the product of our agricultural workers, despite the efforts at embargo by the capitalist yankee dogs, we have a full mandatory schedule. Today we will visit the beach between 0900 and 1100 hrs., you will dress appropriately and pay attention to the zone markers. You will eat lunch at the Che Cafe, choosing from any of our three selections and you will enjoy it followed by shopping at the approved vendors. Dinner will be at 1800 hrs., followed by mandatory festive dancing. You will remain with the group, and we will have roll call prior to bed checks, comerads. I remind you again, do not leave your rooms after 2100 hrs. Make no contact beyond those we permit. You've been provided with a list of prohibited discussion items. Enjoy your stay in Havana."

High on my list of things to pack would be a return ticket.

I can't wait until their old guard dies off and we get back in there with the Mafia and make it a fun place again...it was before my time, but man, the stories...
 

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a dude
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Canadians go to Cuba all the time without problems.

Everyone likes Canadians.
 

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performing monkey
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Permit? Seriously? Keeping in mind that I am Canadian?

Return tix...already packed, lol
uuhhh... you need papers to travel merely from province to province in Cuba, it's :nuts:
 

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Adventurer at large
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I am looking forward to the passing of Uncle Fidel and his Communism. Once he's gone, they will welcome the Yankee dollar and open tourism again. It'll take awhile to get the big hotels and casinos going again, but it'll be an investment frenzy among the American financiers. The Donald will figure heavily it this, I am sure.

Me, I look forward to visiting all Papa Hemingway's haunts and seeing his preserved boat. :)
 

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YourAdministrator, eh?
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My parental-units went to Cuba for 3 weeks and they loved it there. What I would recommend is packing two digital cameras, lots of batteries and carry 4 spare memory-cards.

Pack your swim-suits, good walking shoes, good sand-shoes and good water-shoes.

Tip very well the first day there and you will be taken care of and then tip very well the last day there. No need to bring "gifts" along - the people and children are quite well-off now with cell-phones, televisions and internet access ...
 

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My fellow crew members from Blackbeards Cruises have been going there for the last 20 years and recomend taking lots of $1.00 bills. Some of them have taken lots of t-shirts from the goodwill to trade for beer and cigars, don't know if that level of interest is still there though. I for one can't wait to go scuba diving there, I hear it is pristine. Report back when you get home.

Travelwise I have traveled all over the Western Carribean and the Bahamas. I have roamed all over Western Europe with a backpack and seen most of The USA and Canada out the window of a Freightliner. I took my wife to Morrocco on our honeymoon, we are getting divorced now. I can't wait to start travelling again!
 

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a dude
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The two extremes in what I heard about Canada from Canadians were:

"Everything was wonderful. They had the trip so organized for us."

and

"No freedom. It was wonderful if we were sheep."

Well, one good thing, they won't let that couple that is always there, always last and you have to wait on them hold everyone up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hmm I did not realize you need papers to travel province to province there. Might be interesting slipping out of the all inclusive to spend a few nights in Havana, then - we're staying in Veradero. I'm sure we'll have a good time, either way...
 

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Shoots to Thrill
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I've never been there on vacation, but my spare time in Havana was great, I could definitely see Cuba as a great place for resort life. Just like many "tropica paradises" (Bahamas, Jamaica, etc.), once you leave the resort, the standard of living drops out. The rules are mainly to keep you safe so their reputation stays intact. Imagine if Canadians started getting robbed or killed. There goes one of the only money imports Cuba has.

Pack just like you would for any other tropical tourist destination. Definitely spend some time in Havana though. They have a great nightclub scene there. Hold on to your hubby though, as many of the local ladies work at night. If they see he's taken, they'll leave you guys alone, and you'll still have fun.
 
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