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Never been to Cuba

by graememooney Online Now Mar 11, 2011 at 2:58 AM

Hi, we're planning a trip to Varedero Apr 9 and have never been to Cuba. Is there an 'unofficial' currency exchange where you might get more bang for your buck?

What day trips are there to do in the area and how much do they cost?

Any hotels to avoid?

Looking at 3 star hotels on exitnow.ca.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

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6 Answers
  • idram's Profile Photo

    Re: Never been to Cuba

    by idram Online Now Mar 14, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Hola

    Currency exchanges in Cuba are controlled by the governement.
    Exchange your money at a Bank, CADECA or at your resort. Best exchange is in that order. As of today, the Cuban government has changed the exchange rate back to par with the USD so good news for us as well in Canada.
    You will be exchanging you CDN to the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC).

    You require medical insurance to enter Cuba and may have to pay for it in Cuba if you can not produce valid insurance. Many work plans are sufficient but I purchase as home anyway for peace of mind.

    There is a25 CUC (paid in cash) exit tax at the end of your vacation so save this.
    Many people will put this away with their passport till the end in their room safe.

    There are numerous excursions from Varadero. Best to go to your orientation and ask questions ... they will direct you to the reps for this.

    Look at several travel sites for best prices ... But I have used exitnow with good success.

    Being close to the town affords easy access to many things by simply walking but other clubs and sites are easy access via cabs as well. Budget1 CUC per KM.
    There is also a hop on hop off double decker bus that travels the length of the peninsula and you can hop on hop off as many times for a mere5 CUC per person. (Sevice is something like 7 to 7)

    Good bang for the buck is the Palma Real resort.
    Not directly on the beach (probably why a 3 star) but lots of amenities and great location so off sets the short walk.

    Mardi

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  • graememooney's Profile Photo

    Re: Never been to Cuba

    by graememooney Online Now Mar 14, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    thank you so much idram, that's very helpful. though i haven't come across that hotel yet, but I will look for it now.

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  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo

    Re: Never been to Cuba

    by Camping_Girl Online Now Mar 19, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    I think a day trip to Havana is a must see while you are in Varadero - the city is incredible and is only a little over an hour drive from Varadero. You can book a tour at your hotel. Or if you befriend one of your hotel workers you can usually arrange a private tour for a lot less money. I also really enjoyed the jeep tour and the catamaran tour, both were excellent value IMO. I believe the jeep tour was about80CUC and the catamaran was60 CUC when we went. Both included lunch.

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  • graememooney's Profile Photo

    Re: Never been to Cuba

    by graememooney Online Now Mar 21, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Thanks camping girl. Where did you book the catamaran tour? I think the Jeep tour is a bit pricey. When we were in Margarita they were only30. Yeah, we're planning a trip to Havana, but we've found that it says 3 hours to get there. We'll find out soon enough.

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  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo

    Re: Never been to Cuba

    by Camping_Girl Online Now Mar 24, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    Well it's about an hour and 20 minutes to Havana from Varadero. But if you're going on a tour group you may well stop other places along the way, hence the 3 hours.

    The jeep tour was a full day, we were picked up at 8:30 and we got back to our hotel about 12 hours later. I couldn't believe all that was included with the trip. You should be able to book any tours you want right at your hotel, just inquire after you check in. There will likely be some information for you to look through about everything that's available, and then a representative who can book a tour for you will probably be in your hotel somewhere every morning for at least a couple of hours. That's how we booked our jeep tour and our catamaran tour.

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  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo

    Re: Never been to Cuba

    by Camping_Girl Online Now Mar 24, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    If you have a look at my Varadero travel pages, you will see some information about the jeep tour. I actually had to make 3 tips, to include all of the info, that's how much we saw and did on the tour. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

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