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Old 01-17-2015, 11:36 AM   #21
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If you go to Cuba from a third country, will you be questioned at the U.S. immigration when you come back, since it is "illegal"?
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:48 PM   #22
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I have it on good authority that, if they ever discover your stamp, you could be given a pretty hard time.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:22 PM   #23
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I've been and won't be hurrying back. I'll take Mexico any time. If you have Cuban family, it would be different.

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Originally Posted by BellBarbara View Post
I have a Canadian friend who has been - she said don't bother. Unless you are going for cultural stuff, then it's fine.
Beach was nice, the resort was great (except the mediocre to bad food), Havana was interesting even in the 50 degree rain (was told it was very unusual).

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If you go to Cuba from a third country, will you be questioned at the U.S. immigration when you come back, since it is "illegal"?
Maybe if US immigration asks. I've been and USA doesn't know. I am Canadian.

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Originally Posted by jon-nyc View Post
I have it on good authority that, if they ever discover your stamp, you could be given a pretty hard time.
Cuba did NOT stamp our passports. Instead they charged yet another ~$25 for a piece of paper they put between passport pages. They may have charged another ~$25 to 'recycle it when we left.

Final score? Go somewhere else.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:38 PM   #24
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I can't wait to go check it all out and go scuba diving!!!
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:45 PM   #25
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Cuba did NOT stamp our passports. Instead they charged yet another ~$25 for a piece of paper they put between passport pages. They may have charged another ~$25 to 'recycle it when we left.

I was not so lucky, despite being assured that they would stamp an external page if you asked/paid.

The actual stamp in my passport had the word 'bank' at the bottom. In English. I thought it was kind of funny.

My passport was quite full, so I thought it wouldn't get noticed. Then 9-11 happened. The first time I flew after that, maybe 2-3 weeks after, the border security guys were eyeballing every page. That's when I got 'noticed'.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:44 PM   #26
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I went there about 15 yrs ago, via Canada.
Stayed in an all inclusive resort (food and booze) on the south end inside a National park.
Every room viewed the water.

Took a tour to Santiago as it was close by using a 'borrowed' van for a cost of $25.
Everyone was friendly, outside the resort most only spoke Spanish, I don't so it was a challenge.
I went because it was CHEAP.
Some of the buffet meals were very mysterious in origin, all the staff were wonderful.
I was offered a tour to go overlook GITMO, which I declined as viewing Americans was not a novelty to me

There was a lack of army patrols/police considering it was a communist as I had expected to see them all over.

Saw lots of 1950's cars, and other modes of transportation like bikes, donkey carts.
It was easy to see the wear and tear in the city due to the lack of materials/pride of ownership.
The official things like where Castro gives a speech (I missed it by 2 wks) looked fine and were totally polished.
I literally brought $450 to blow on trinkets and tours and came back with $400.

One store I went in on my tour was a local type store (not a tourist destination) and its shelves were maybe very bare, possibly about 40% used with lots of empty areas. I was told by the guide this is because the store owner simply could not get the stuff to stock the shelves (or got paid more to sell it out the back).

I would go back for a vacation, but your standards have to be low as its not like most civilized places, yet it was safe.
I drank the water to the alarm of my companion, and I didn't get sick.
When I cut my foot swimming, I went to the resort medical room and found out they only had some bandages, so I went back to my room and poured vodka over the cut to clean it.

We walked alone for miles in the park along the road, and fellow travellers told me about biking for tens of miles the other direction and nobody had any dangerous issues.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:32 PM   #27
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We've been twice, but not to resorts. I have heard from fellow Canadians that resort food is poor. The first time, we spent a week at the Hotel Parque Central, a Spanish-run (reak) four star hotel in the centre of Old Havana. It had a very good breakfast buffet, and we had dinners out around the city. We had no bad meals during our week, and really enjoyed exploring the city. The beaches are easy to get to by tourist bus, or by 1950s American road boat taxi. For our second visit, we stayed in casas particulates, private accommodations run by individuals (Cuba-Junky - All About Cuba Traveler's information and reviews) for US$25 a night in Trinidad and Cienfuegos, or $35 a night in Havana. Accommodations were more rustic, but clean, and we met interesting people. Excellent breakfasts were available for $5 each. Dinners in restaurants in these cities were always good. I am really glad we got to see Cuba before the coming American invasion, but also very glad that the Cuban people will be able to benefit from more economic opportunities. Cuba has a lot to offer.
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