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Would like beach vacation in Cuba, any ideas?
Old 01-12-2015, 07:01 PM   #1
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Would like beach vacation in Cuba, any ideas?

The Obama announcement got me and the kids talking about our next vacation plan, we were considering beaches and we like foreign travel, loved Mexican beaches, so thought about Cuba as a destination beach vacation. Does anyone have experience with resorts there, or ideas of best way to do a plan? Looking forward to frosty bebidas with a nice ocean breeze.


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Old 01-12-2015, 07:15 PM   #2
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I think you're going to be disappointed in trying to vacation on a Cuban beach:

Quote:
All Americans can now travel legally to Cuba -- with some limitations.

The longstanding ban on Cuba travel has been amended to allow all Americans to take part in tours to Cuba that encourage “people to people” contact. Previously, only religious, educational, and cultural groups could legally travel to Cuba, and then only with specific permission from the U.S. State Department.

The bad news is that Americans still can't simply book a flight and a hotel and head to Cuba. You'll need to travel with a Cuba travel organization that has an official license from the U.S. State Department, like Insight Cuba and Central Holidays.

And, while your tour may include stops at museums, historic sites, or even the Bay of Pigs or a local Communist Party block meeting, purely recreational activities -- like visiting the beach or scuba diving -- are prohibited from tour itineraries, which are limited to experiences that brings American and Cuban people together.
How to Travel to Cuba If You Are an American
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:42 AM   #3
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Of course you can go around that just like you could in the old days by booking through Mexico or Canada. You need to get a Cuban visa in one of those places too.

Of course I never did that since it was illegal. But had i done so, say back in 1997, I would have booked via Mexico, gotten my visa there at the embassy, and stayed in the Melia in Havana. And I would have had to bring a lot of cash since American visas and debit cards wouldn't work there. Which of course I didn't do, since that would all have been illegal.

Anyway it's easy enough to get info about Cuba tourism, it's a pretty popular destination from Canada and other places. There's a decent lonely planet guide.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:21 AM   #4
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Here is a Cuba trip with lots of beach time

Cuba Sea Turtle Adventure
Join us for a unique exploration of Cuba. Travel to Guanahacabibes National Park, the island's westernmost point to look for green sea turtles and swim crystal blue waters. You'll meet local experts, enjoy Havana, and visit a small rural community. This trip will be led by Brad Nahill, co-founder of SEE Turtles and an expert in sea turtle conservation and travel, along with a Cuban guide.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:44 AM   #5
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Just do a tripadvisor search on Cuba, lots of resorts. Fly to Jamaica, then over to Cuba.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:47 AM   #6
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The beaches in Cuba are wonderful. One of our favourite beach destinations in the winter...from Canada.

Food is very mediocre though.
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:14 AM   #7
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The biggest impediment for US travelers looking for a quick getaway is the fact that there are no direct commercial flights to Cuba. If you're connecting through another Caribbean island or Mexico, why not just enjoy that island or Mexico and skip the second flight (if all you want is a beach resort)?

Dominican Republic, for example, has plenty of resorts, it's relatively inexpensive, and offers direct flights from major US gateways. And the people look very similar to Cubans, so you can almost sell yourself on the idea that you are actually in Cuba.

An occasional poster here at the ER forum visited there a while back on his way from Mexico to Taiwan (he's a professional globe trotter with the lowercase g and t). Here are his personal blog posts on Cuba: Cuba Archives - Go Curry Cracker! Wonderful photos!
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:39 AM   #8
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Being Canadian, I've vacationed in both Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The food is better in the Dominican (around here, the food at the Cuban resorts is generally regarded as a step below other Caribbean destinations). The beach itself was nice but there were a lot of jellyfish at the time we went, which we didn't encounter in the Dominican.

If you plan to just stay at the resort, I agree with Fuego, there's no real draw to Cuba over the other destinations. For Canadians, Cuba is usually cheapest so that's why people go there.

The neat thing about Cuba would be to go into Havana and see the actual city & local lifestyle. We didn't do that on our trip (our resort was quite far from Havana) but that would definitely be worth doing before the restrictions lift too much farther and cause the uniqueness to decrease.
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:24 AM   #9
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Good chance I'll be going to Cuba this year, but it's 'cultural group', so we're unlikely to see much beach time and looks pretty scheduled - an unusual kind of trip for me. But we'll be playing baseball against Cuban senior teams, so it will be a good time.
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:50 AM   #10
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I follow this group on Facebook. Can't wait to retire so I can take advantage of some of these:

Road Scholar Cuba Adventure
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
The biggest impediment for US travelers looking for a quick getaway is the fact that there are no direct commercial flights to Cuba. If you're connecting through another Caribbean island or Mexico, why not just enjoy that island or Mexico and skip the second flight (if all you want is a beach resort)?

Dominican Republic, for example, has plenty of resorts, it's relatively inexpensive, and offers direct flights from major US gateways. And the people look very similar to Cubans, so you can almost sell yourself on the idea that you are actually in Cuba.

An occasional poster here at the ER forum visited there a while back on his way from Mexico to Taiwan (he's a professional globe trotter with the lowercase g and t). Here are his personal blog posts on Cuba: Cuba Archives - Go Curry Cracker! Wonderful photos!

I agree with El Senior Fuego. If beaches is what you want, go somewhere with a direct flight

We spent some time on a beach in Cuba. It was... OK. I've seen much better. We aren't resort people, although we met people that went to a resort. They'd also seen better

During our stay, we had bad food and overpriced bad food. We also had bad service and overpriced bad service. Imagine how you might feel if some Imperialist visitor was spending your whole annual salary on a meal when all you had at home was rice and beans


We did meet some really nice people. For example, we hired a driver for a day. He was on vacation from his day job, and was more than happy to take our $70 to play tour guide for a day, as his monthly salary was only $40. He used his father's car, because he was prevented by law from owning a vehicle. His profession didn't require one. Why would a cardiologist need to drive?


As someone else mentioned, seeing Havana was the reason we visited. We wanted to see it before the wall came down, so to speak. There are a lot of photos on the link Fuego shared. It was a real dump. Sure, it has 1950's era cars, which made us appreciate the invention of the catalytic convertor

For us the highlight of Cuba was far from the city or beach, but in the national park of Vinales (with an n-ye) It was very cool to watch people plow fields with a pair of oxen (they didn't have a tractor.) It has an amazing natural beauty, and people were friendly and laid back. The pictures from that place are my favorite
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:50 PM   #12
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Thanks so much for all the input. I am now reconsidering my thoughts of Cuban vacation. I had naive vision of beautiful classic resort maintained like that 1955 Chevy. I did a trip into east Germany when the border opened prior to the wall coming down years back and it was fascinating. Excellent food at low prices and friendly curious people. Maybe Cuba destination should wait or I modify trip to see some Cuban cities and go on to beach at Grand Cayman.


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Would like beach vacation in Cuba, any ideas?
Old 01-13-2015, 07:58 PM   #13
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Would like beach vacation in Cuba, any ideas?

My dad went on vacation to Cuba last November. He stayed at what was advertised as a 4-star resort but it was very different from what we are used to in first world countries. The amenities were basic and the food was sometimes pretty bad. He still enjoyed his trip very much. The highlights were the Cubans themselves and the colonial architecture in Havana.


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Old 01-13-2015, 08:26 PM   #14
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My brother's wife is Cuban. If I were to have visited there thirteen years ago or so I would definitely have gone to Baracoa which is a tiny beach with about 4 little cabins making up a tiny resort. There would have been incredibly friendly and helpful people running the resort and actually no other guests so we would have had the beach to ourselves. In Santiago I would have been amazed by the welcome Cubans give to Americans. I would have had an incredible and memorable experience enjoying the great people, architecture, and old cars. I would have also been over all disappointed in the food. Of course it would always improve ones experience to have an insider as a guide. The Cuban food I've had made in the USA by my DSIL has been great. I'm told that post Russia pulling out of Cuba there has been a big change in recipes and diet due to lack of access to ingredients. Too bad about that travel ban and we are all very glad that things are changing for the future. I hope to be able at some point to visit my in-laws.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:28 PM   #15
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Wait for a good Cuban cigar(boat) to get you there.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:58 PM   #16
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The conditional perfect tense is coming in handy here. Woulda, shoulda, coulda......
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:49 PM   #17
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Just came to me that the specific beach I would have gone to was Via Maguana which is just a short distance from Baracoa.
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:10 PM   #18
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As an old FL gal, Cuba was on my bucket list. I pictured great cars, Art Deco architecture, good food. Maybe I'll do sumthin else in my dotage
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:51 AM   #19
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New regulations were released governing travel to Cuba. Still no tourism, but travel is now allowed for other purposes.

Fact sheet released from Treasury and Commerce Depts FACT SHEET: Treasury and Commerce Announce Regulatory Amendments to the Cuba Sanctions

An article from the Miami Herald U.S. eases Cuba travel but don’t book your Spring Break just yet | The Miami Herald
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Starting on Friday, travelers can go to Cuba to mount exhibitions, run marathons and check out Havana’s growing restaurant scene — all without having to apply for a license. But there’s one thing they can’t do: commit acts of tourism.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:29 AM   #20
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I have a Canadian friend who has been - she said don't bother. Unless you are going for cultural stuff, then it's fine.
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