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Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

dublin
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Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

Hello ! I am interested in visiting Havana later this year (early November) , for a shortish visit - about 5 days. And am wondering if anyone could help with any suggestions on the following ?

1. A safe clean budget hotel in Havana, somewhere from which I can walk to and from most of the historic sights.

2. A way to get to and from this hotel from the airport ?

3. Any day tours to other parts of the city or the Island that independent travellers can join when they are there ?

Thanks for any advice / suggestions :)

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Havana, Cuba
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11. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

I don't see anything in the question that makes it a given that the OP would prefer a casa particular over a hotel... Why are you assuming, Tsanborn? The casa experience certainly is cheaper, but it's not for everyone. Lots and lots of people are more comfortable in a hotel than a casa.

1. A safe clean budget hotel in Havana, somewhere from which I can walk to and from most of the historic sights.

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Look for anything around Habana Vieja and Parque Central. Some reasonably priced hotels would be Park View, Hostal Valencia. Even cheaper options are Deauville, Lincoln, Lido.

3. Any day tours to other parts of the city or the Island that independent travellers can join when they are there ?

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You can join all sorts of tours, shows and day trips. Just check with the travel desk in your hotel lobby. A day trip to Viñales would be a great experience to see something else than Havana, but with only 5 days there, I doubt you want to overnight outside Havana.

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Hostal Valencia
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Hotel Deauville
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12. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

DT, my thought behind suggesting a casa is that with only 5 days, i assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the OP may want to cram as much authentic Cuba into his trip and that casa's add that authentic flavour that one would not neccessarily get in a budget hotel.

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Huatulco, Mexico
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13. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

We just came back from Cuba today, we stayed in Casa Dania in Havana Vieja, dcastillo092@gmail.com It was the best choice we made as lodging; very clean and centrally located. We did our own walking tours in Havana, we found it really easy to get around, even if you get "lost" you will find yourself in a great little plaza or street. The hop-on-hop-off bus is also a great way to see the city. Our favorite places: For brunch was Cafe Mercurio in Plaza de San Francisco de Assis, La Imprenta and Lamparilla on Mercaderes st., for tapas (wich we found out was the best deal) and drinks, great service. Restaurant Los Nardos across from Capitolio is excellent for dinners, big portions and a great service, which is hard to come across. Cafe Monserrate for great music.

Sorry to say I won't be going back to Cuba any time soon as it was the worst vacation ever, for a variety of reasons.

Alfredo

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14. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

It's certainly not for everyone. I'd be interested to hear why you personally found it so bad.

Cheers,

Terry

Calgary, Canada
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15. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

Alfredo, I too am interested in your experience. Please note that Cuba is not for everyone, we understand that greatly. Please post here, or on a new topic, or feel free to Private Message me as I am taking some newbies and would like to know how to mitigate the negative experiences you may have had.

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Melbourne, Australia
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16. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

Alfredo - we're waiting for you to elaborate...

We're planning to go to Havana for a few days with our teenage son at the end of the year. What should we aware of do you think?

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colchester
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17. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

If you click on Alfredo's profile, and then his contributions, you'll find a couple of other threads where he elaborates eloquently on what he felt was wrong with his vacation.

As already noted Cuba is not for everyone - I hope I love it as much as I want to when I leave, but then I think we've done all the research.

Jaycine x

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18. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

Hi,

My friend and I were in Havana in January, 2009. We stayed in the Hotel Tropicoco (see my review) and went to Havana every day: you can either take the free shuttle bus OR pay (at that time) 5 pesos for the hop-on-hop-off bus, it stops right in front of the hotel. I think this is THE BEST DEAL YOU CAN GET! For 5 pesos you will be able to use all three bus lines, ride along the Malecon, get to the Colon Cemetery, Plaza de Revolution, Parque Central... we spent so much time on those buses and enjoyed every minute of it!

By the way, I posted a lot of photos from Havana in my Flickr album: flickr.com/photos/…. If you have any questions, contact me.

Regards,

Jack

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Melbourne, Australia
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19. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

Thanks Jaycine, I've now checked Alfredo's previous postings. Hopefully his was a rare occurence, but baggage can go missing anywhere in the world. It happened to us in Lisbon a few years ago and didn't show up until days later. We now know to pack everything vital in our carry-on luggage. Like you Jaycine I'm really looking forward to going to Cuba. We will be using the services of a guide for our short time in Havana though, to look after us and to make sure we see & learn as much as possible in the time allowed.

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key west
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20. Re: Help me plan a trip to Havana ?

I just got back from an amazing 8 day trip to Havana, I was a solo traveller who wanted to learn to salsa dance, stay in the heart of old town, experience the culture, learn about life there, see the sights and 'feel' the city and that is exactly what I accomplished. From my experience this is what I can now recommend:

1. Stay in a casa particular in Havana Vieja. I can 100% recommend a place called Casa Habana Lourdes which was located centrally in old town walking distance from most major things. Just walking around old town itself for hours taking in the sounds and sights is an amazing thing. The family were extremely nice and helpful and I learned a lot about life in Cuba from them. If you do a search on this site for that casa you will find great reviews.

2. Email Jorge, who lives in Havana and can help organise anything you want. I booked my airport transfer through him, a walking tour of old Havana and he helped find my dance teacher. I met him while I was there and he is a super nice person. His email is jorgeguide2004@gmail.com

3. Do a walking tour of Old Havana. Jorge can book this for you and ask for a guide called Diana. She speaks fluent English is very intelligent and can tell you anything you want to know about the city. I had such a good time walking round the city with her for 3 hours and I learned a lot. It was a great introduction to the city and i am so glad I did this on my first morning as it really helped get me orientated with the city.

4. Take a tour of the other parts of the city in an old car. I saw Vedado, Mirimar and the suburbs this way. I found a guy called Ernesto with a great classic open top car who also speaks fluent English and can give you a very informational tour. His number is 052751654 you can call him when you get there. The cars are amazing and I just had to ride in at least one!

5. Take at least one salsa class. Havana is all about music and dance so why not try a lesson. I found a great instructor called Natacha. She speaks ok English. Her number is 052819288.

6. Spend time walking through through the streets of old Havana, visit some sites, take a stroll down on the Malecon at night, sip a cuban coffee in the cafes, eat black beans and rice, drink mojitos and experience the music and dancing! Havana is a captivating city!

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