traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
User avatar
singvomblatt
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:48 pm
Location: 79006 Freiburg/ Germany

traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:17 pm

hello everybody,

for this year I decided to go and see Cuba. Well first preparing and organizing the trip: renewing the pass port, ordering tickets, etc. will take time. But I am already very excited to find out about how people live there now since America has somewhat lifted the embargo. What it actually means, I am not sure. Foremost I am fascinated with the music, the great and strange rhythms, I always had problems with.
I heard booth Cuban natives: Manuel Barrueco and also Joaquin Clerch several times playing in Koblenz / Germany and also in Hersbruck an I also attended their masterclasses. Very fascinating !!
Havana is, I think the most popular town and there I will start looking: for architecture, buildings, music, concerts, guitars, restaurants, food, maybe cigares ?
So can you give me some input on these ? should i be little afraid as a middle aged woman traveling alone there ? what should I look out for ?

User avatar
Cary W
Posts: 4641
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:12 pm
Location: North of Montreal

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by Cary W » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:52 pm

Hello. Cuba is a very popular destination for Canadians. If you choose to stay in Havana, note that most hotels do not offer an all-inclusive plan. Streets and markets relatively safe.
You might prefer an all-inclusive in Varadero, a 2 hour bus ride to Havana. Wonderful beaches, and village life nearby.
For a total escape, try Cayo Coco, dotted with all-inclusives. Day trips available to Morón, Cuban railways through the back country, cigar factory, etc Also day trips on catamaran for snorkeling.
I would like to try Trinidad on the south side of the island...a world heritage site.
Many singles travelling in Cuba...you'll be fine! :)
2008 Yamaha GC31C Indian/cedar D'Addario EJ46
1987 Yamaha GC-3 Indian/cedar D'Addario EJ45

User avatar
singvomblatt
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:48 pm
Location: 79006 Freiburg/ Germany

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:07 pm

hello Cary,

thanks a lot for your input. What about guitar music ? did you experience something like that? Guitar makers workshops etc.? How is life there? Is it expensive what currency do they have ?

Lovemyguitar
Posts: 2932
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:50 pm
Location: Canada

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:18 pm

I would offer the opposite advice from that given by Cary. Avoid all-inclusive hotels at the beach resorts: you could be almost anywhere in the tropical world at one of those resorts, you will not get any idea of Cuban culture, and overall they are really quite horrible (disclaimer: I absolutely hate all-inclusive resorts, and I hated Veradero -- I went there for one of those silly "destination weddings". The village was okay, but rather dull. I escaped to Havana as quickly as I could!).

Definitely plan to spend much time in Havana! It is an awesome city, vibrant and exciting. Just go for a walk in the evenings, and you will hear the most wonderful live music coming from almost every restaurant/bar. And, there are so many restaurants, the fun is in trying different ones (rather than eating the bland swill offered by all-inclusives, not to mention the watered-down drinks). Paella is a national dish (a spicy rice and fish dish), and you must drink a mojito (white rum with mint and lime!).

There is so much history in Havana, so much wonderful architecture, and it is a very safe city. It has been about 10 years or so since I was there, so I can't recommend any specific place, but I did have great fun one day being driven all over the city in a "coco-cab" (which is something you must do in Cuba!).

Oh, I just saw your new post. I was not yet playing guitar when I was there, so I can't comment on workshops, but most live bands -- a lot of Cuban latin-jazz -- have a guitar player or two. As for currency, they happily accepted US dollars almost everywhere I went, although they have their own Cuban dollars. It is easy enough to change money to the local currency, particularly if you have US dollars. It is not particularly expensive. It is a fairly poor country, probably better now, but you will see a lot of poverty and things are a bit run-down here and there.

DerekB
Posts: 441
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 10:22 am
Location: Bollington, Cheshire UK

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by DerekB » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:19 am

We are off to Cuba for the first time in May so any advice I can give is gleaned from guidebooks and TripAdvisor rather than first-hand experience (yet) but my advice would be to take euros rather than US dollars. US currency is subject to a 10% surcharge. There are two types of Cuban peso - one for the Cubans and one for the tourists. The tourist peso is worth about one US dollar. Prices are low in normal currency but not as low as you might expect in the tourist currency. One important change that is taking place shortly is that the booths where you pay the exit tax ($25 CUC) are closing from 1st May and the tax will thereafter be paid by the airlines.

For accommodation in addition to the hotels there are casas particulares, which are cheaper although the standards may leave something to be desired. One current topic on TripAdvisor which is causing my wife great amusement is the shortage of toilet seats outside the big hotels. Some Canadians are wondering whether they should take their own.

Cuba is a large island with a poor road system so traveling around can be slow. You may want to book some internal flights if you want to see more than just Havana. My son-in-law tells me the train system is to be avoided.

As for music, most towns have a Casa de la trova. The trova is a type of Cuban song which originated in the nineteenth century but is still popular. It usually has guitar accompaniment.
I've suffered for my music. Now it's your turn... - Seasick Steve

Ana Espinosa 2014 Swiss spruce/IRW
Yulong Guo 2009 640mm scale cedar/IRW

User avatar
Cary W
Posts: 4641
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:12 pm
Location: North of Montreal

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by Cary W » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:49 pm

If you prefer the no-frills adventure, then watch this:


Youtube
2008 Yamaha GC31C Indian/cedar D'Addario EJ46
1987 Yamaha GC-3 Indian/cedar D'Addario EJ45

User avatar
singvomblatt
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:48 pm
Location: 79006 Freiburg/ Germany

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:19 pm

thanks so much everybody !! thanks lovemyguitar, Derek B, Cary W,

great hints !!
I will definitely not search for hotels, unless I need a quiet, peaceful place once in a while. Mostly I look for BandB places, Hostels etc. I don't mind a lot of walking neither. The trip will be probably the most expensive one since I am only able to travel during the summer vacation time. :x
What about museums just in case there are rainy days. I would also like to attend some rhythm classes if there is somewhere an opportunity. Anybody knows a place where I could find rare scores, or where I could try out different guitars.

This really amused me:
the shortage of toilet seats outside the big hotels. Some Canadians are wondering whether they should take their own.
What is this all about? ha? :lol:

Lovemyguitar
Posts: 2932
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:50 pm
Location: Canada

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:43 pm

singvomblatt wrote:This really amused me:
the shortage of toilet seats outside the big hotels. Some Canadians are wondering whether they should take their own.
What is this all about? ha? :lol:
I had forgot all about that! Indeed, there are almost no toilet seats anywhere in Cuba, which can be a nuisance (particularly for women). Why? Who knows? But, be prepared for that! (It might also be a good idea to have a small roll of toilet paper with you at all times, in case the supplies in the public facilities are minimal or non-existent).

User avatar
singvomblatt
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:48 pm
Location: 79006 Freiburg/ Germany

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:23 am

does that mean that there are two steps only standing up toilets ? like in France ?

Lovemyguitar
Posts: 2932
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:50 pm
Location: Canada

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:11 pm

singvomblatt wrote:does that mean that there are two steps only standing up toilets ? like in France ?
No, they are normal toilets, they are just missing the seat part.
Joy of Cuba.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

simonm
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6551
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:22 am
Location: Germany, Würzburg. Spain, IB

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by simonm » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:22 pm

Some friends here in Germany went to Cuba a few years ago. They booked mainly private b&b's directly and really enjoyed the trip. I don't recall the route. I could put you in touch if you pm me.

Simon

User avatar
singvomblatt
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:48 pm
Location: 79006 Freiburg/ Germany

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:50 pm

hello Simonm,

wonderful !! are your friends also Guitar players ? do they love CG ? I would love to meet people there, just to get a real native Cuban experience, maybe to learn something from this kind of 'free style' creative and joyful culture (Germans can sometimes be sooo stiff and reserved so 'heavy head loaded')
I will send you a pm soon. Thanks for your help !!

thanks lovemyguitar for the picture !! now all clear !!! no questions of that sort any more !!!
( I hope this thread does not turn into discussions about toilet seats !!)

keep on thinking about Cuba !!!! music rhythm !! how can I prepare !!! I am so excited !!!! anybody want to come with ?

simonm
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6551
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:22 am
Location: Germany, Würzburg. Spain, IB

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by simonm » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:46 pm

singvomblatt wrote:… are your friends also Guitar players ?...
Neither of them play any instrument that I am aware of. Sorry.
Hope the info they sent was useful.

User avatar
Frousse
Posts: 323
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:02 pm

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by Frousse » Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:20 am

If possible, please share your impressions upon return from your trip to Cuba. I look forward to visiting there within the next two years.

User avatar
singvomblatt
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:48 pm
Location: 79006 Freiburg/ Germany

Re: traveling to Cuba this summer any suggestions ?

Post by singvomblatt » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:13 pm

Thanks so much for you replays and suggestions keep them coming !!

Since I am constantly on the search for reasonable prices, today I got an offer for 975,97€ from Amsterdam to Havana 2.8.-9.9.2015. Is it getting any cheaper ? The travel time will be 15 hours to go there, and back 17 hours. As far as I can see direct flights, no stops in between !!

People speak spanish there don't they? so that will be another goal. I would like to be able to understand and to speak to a certain degree.

And again are there any guitar lovers, players who could give me some hints ? Thanks !!

Return to “The Café”