Just returned from our Cuban adventure!!!

We had an excellent time during this adventure with Tauck. No other tour company could have made it more
pleasant. Our tour director, Gaston, was informative and considerate of all of our needs.

The Cuban Travel associate was pleasant, if a bit defensive of her homeland. Perhaps this is to be expected.

Tauck did the best job preparing us for this unique cultural experience. The hotel was lovely, our room
large and facing the sea with a balcony. Very few hotel staffers spoke English. On the tours where
Tauck used locals, there was a lot of translating going on. One of the best experiences was the
tour through the cemetery - the local guide there spoke English and was wonderful!!!

It is true that some of the places we visited had bathrooms that lacked the conveniences we're used
to in the USA....and that's putting it mildly....but its all part of the experience. Again, Tauck provided us with coins needed to get into the bathrooms and explained routinely that "it is what it is". If you don't like Havana or its
culture, have a mojito and just enjoy!

Tauck had a few surprises for us that were unique and FUN!!!

The food in Cuba, for the most part was just fair. Don't go there expecting a culinary experience. The best food was at the paladars, the privately run enterprise recently just beginning to thrive in Cuba.

My husband and I came away with a much better understanding of Cuba ; its government, its peoples and its
multi-layered political scene. I invested in the Tauck-recommended book "Cuba: What Everyone Needs To
Know" and found it invaluable in understanding past and current life in Cuba.

Comments

  • So glad you enjoyed your trip. I really liked it as well. One other tip for future Cuba travelers that I would add is that you can probably find some Cuban history and guidebooks at your local library; I did.

    We had an excellent time during this adventure with Tauck. No other tour company could have made it more
    pleasant. Our tour director, Gaston, was informative and considerate of all of our needs.

    The Cuban Travel associate was pleasant, if a bit defensive of her homeland. Perhaps this is to be expected.

    Tauck did the best job preparing us for this unique cultural experience. The hotel was lovely, our room
    large and facing the sea with a balcony. Very few hotel staffers spoke English. On the tours where
    Tauck used locals, there was a lot of translating going on. One of the best experiences was the
    tour through the cemetery - the local guide there spoke English and was wonderful!!!

    It is true that some of the places we visited had bathrooms that lacked the conveniences we're used
    to in the USA....and that's putting it mildly....but its all part of the experience. Again, Tauck provided us with coins needed to get into the bathrooms and explained routinely that "it is what it is". If you don't like Havana or its
    culture, have a mojito and just enjoy!

    Tauck had a few surprises for us that were unique and FUN!!!

    The food in Cuba, for the most part was just fair. Don't go there expecting a culinary experience. The best food was at the paladars, the privately run enterprise recently just beginning to thrive in Cuba.

    My husband and I came away with a much better understanding of Cuba ; its government, its peoples and its
    multi-layered political scene. I invested in the Tauck-recommended book "Cuba: What Everyone Needs To
    Know" and found it invaluable in understanding past and current life in Cuba.
  • I'm going to Cuba this summer. Wondering about purchases and how much money to exchange. Are there post cards available to purchase? cost? what about fun earrings or maybe a bright necklace? I guess that could be considered ART and the USA would allow? Would and exchange of of $100 US be enuf spending money? Did you leave your leftover Cuban money in your hotel room? or keep it?

    For the lady that was skiddish about traveling as a single...I'm 80 yrs old and have travelled all over the world single. It is great. People that travel with Tauck, Nat'lGeo and Lindblad are very congenial and sharing. I have trips booked for the next two years SINGLE.

    Looking forward to the Cuban trip.
  • @samintx, Being in Cuba reminded me of traveling in the former East Germany back in the 1970s - virtually no shops and nothing to buy, except the artwork done by the artists we meet on our program. And the schedule is so full of activities that there's really very little time to walk around shopping, even if there were things to shop for.

    That said, if you could find a bright necklace and wear it through customs with a bright smile, how would they know where you got it? Not that I'm advocating breaking our government's laws - I'm just sayin', as they say. :-)

    You mention that you are a frequent traveler. If you happen to have euros, bring them to exchange instead of US dollars. You'll pay about 3% exchange fee instead of 13%. See my post under the Changing Currency thread.

    My husband and I changed 100 euros. We bought a small piece of art, gave lavish tips to the maid and the lovely woman who served us at breakfast every day, spent a bit more on this and that, and still had a little CUC left over to change at the airport when we departed Cuba. I had brought several hundred euros, though, just in case.

    And - Brava!! for being an enthusiastic solo traveler at 80! You sound like a lovely person, so of course everyone you meet would be inspired to be lovely to you right back! Have a wonderful time in Cuba - it is a very special destination and I'm sure the people you meet there will remain in your heart as they have in mine. Memories of them will be your best souvenirs.
  • edited May 2012
    [quote=samint

    For the lady that was skiddish about traveling as a single...I'm 80 yrs old and have travelled all over the world single. It is great. People that travel with Tauck, Nat'lGeo and Lindblad are very congenial and sharing. I have trips booked for the next two years SINGLE.

    [/quote]

    What an inspiration! Go you! And of course, you always have .;) Many years ago, on a Swann Helenic cruise around the ancient world, I met a lovely elderly lady from somewhere in the States. We shared a round at the bar and she instructed me, on her dime, to order her a double because ... it saved her getting up again since she always ordered 2 drinks. This taught me a couple of things ... she was very generous to a young single who'd saved very hard for the trip and could only afford a 1/3 share of a cabin with 2 strangers, so she insisted on buying me a drink and that she was determined to travel the world on her terms ... and have fun doing it! You should have seen her control her donkey on the assent and descent, up and down that steep, slippery path at Santorini! That donkey had no option but to obey!

    Groovy ladies of the world unite and have fun, I say!

    Cheers,

    Jan
  • A topic interesting...
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