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Rail Paul

Visiting Cuba in 2015?

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The NY Times has an article about the issues emerging as the US loosens travel restrictions to the embattled island. The lack of hotel rooms is shaping up as a major area of concern. Surprising to me, the article doesn't mention the probable use of cruise ships from the US. As in other island destinations, the numbers of visitors can be controlled. Packages, bus tours, collections of fees, assignments of reliable guides, supervised visiting, etc become much easier to manage.

 

One woman on a culinary group tour chatted with the chef at their lunch restaurant, and found herself invited as a line cook for that evening's dinner service.

 

 

“I think there’s going to be a shift overnight from group travel to individual travel and from elite travel to budget travel,” said Mr. Laverty. Americans, he said, could now ask themselves: “Do I prefer to go on an overpriced tour with people that I don’t know because it’s the only way to go, or do I prefer to go on my own?”

People-to-people trips tend to attract wealthy, late-middle-aged Americans who enjoy the comforts of four-star hotels after days spent in lectures or shuffling through artists’ studios and organic farms. Americans are popular among guides, who can earn hundreds of dollars in tips from one group.

Ms. Grush’s eight-day trip, which included return flights from Miami to Havana, a trip to Pinar del Rio, a tobacco-growing province west of Havana, activities, some meals, and accommodation at the Iberostar Parque Central Hotel in Old Havana, cost $3,850 per person.

Individual travel — particularly if ferries or commercial flights open between Cuba and the United States — could be much cheaper. A meal in the best privately run restaurants costs about $35. A typical bed-and-breakfast in Havana charges $35 to $50 a night.

 

Whether the Cuban government wants Americans hitch hiking all over the island and sleeping in fields isn't clear, but I'd rather doubt that's in their plan.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/15/travel/looser-rules-for-travel-to-cuba-a-destination-already-in-transition.html?action=click&contentCollection=undefined&region=Footer&module=TopNews&pgtype=Blogs

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I flew over Cuba on Sunday. It was very exciting just to look down on it from the sky.

but boy are your arms tired. am i right?

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We cruised by Cuba on our way to Curacao last year. Although this was early in the monning, hundreds of people were on deck for a glimpse.

 

I think this could be huge.

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I do wonder how different it actually is, on the ground, from the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico.

 

I understand the glamor of concealment, of course.

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I do wonder how different it actually is, on the ground, from the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico.

 

I understand the glamor of concealment, of course.

With regards to PR, it is poorer, less modern, larger and the cars tend to be 1950's Chevys and we have many Hondas, Dae Woos, Toyotas and BMWs.

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I do wonder how different it actually is, on the ground, from the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico.

 

I understand the glamor of concealment, of course.

It's also the history. My in-laws used to fly down to Havana for weekends in the early '50s. They didn't fly down to Santo Domingo.

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Of course, they could have flown down to the DR in the 50s, where Trujillo was in the process of murdering some 50,000 of his fellow citizens, because he was a jolly good friend of the United States. :)

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Blondie has been at least once, and iirc plans to go again this year. I think she's been going for work.

 

Huh, must have missed this when it was first posted. I am 100% certain that I never said I was going for work (because I'm not), so I'd appreciate if you would let me answer for myself.

 

For the record, I am going back this weekend, and if all goes well, I'll be staying for the rest of March. First trip was a photography tour, but these last ones are humanitarian missions. Although we do end up doing some fun, touristy stuff (real-deal daiquiris (frozen!) at La Floridita and as much nightlife as we can handle), it's tempered by our work in public health (visiting children's cancer wards, rural hospitals, and delivering food and income support to families and individuals with no safety net). It's very humbling and a much more meaningful experience for me than the tourist bubble of the fancy photo tour.

 

I've been remiss in taking notes and photographing the restaurants and food on past visits, but I'll try to remedy it this time. If anyone is considering going, I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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I do wonder how different it actually is, on the ground, from the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico.

 

I understand the glamor of concealment, of course.

 

I wish I could answer this question, but the only time I went to DR we stayed at Casa de Campo the whole time (not my choice) :(

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