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Has Anyone Here Been To Cuba?  
User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7443 posts, RR: 62
Posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2290 times:
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My grandmother and a few of my cousins went to Cuba a few years ago in order to meet some old relatives that they had not seen in over 30 years.

I must say, since then, I have been dying to go and visit some of my more distant roots. Also, I think seeing a recent movie, Havana Nights, has increased my interest.

Has anyone here been there? Please share.

[Edited 2004-10-22 06:56:28]


Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJeffM From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3266 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2266 times:

I have been there. Not quite the paradise everyone makes it out to be, but worth the trip just for the sake of saying.." been there, done that, got the T-shirt." Having family there would put a different perspective on the trip, and would have definitely made it more enjoyable for me. But my family tree has no Cubans in it.

I will say that the water was incredible. I don't think I've seen water any clearer then there. Like glass, you could see for what seemed like 100 yards under water.


User currently offlineJkw777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2232 times:

I went in May (Cayo Coco, which is separated from the mainland with a huge causeway.)

Absolutely awesome place! I second with what Jeff said about the water, it's just fantastic.

I didn't really get to see too much of the real Cuba, for example Havana and so on, but I still saw the place!  Smile

Just a question out of interest, how easy is it to get into Cuba from the US?

Many thanks,

Justin  Big thumbs up


User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 2227 times:

"Just a question out of interest, how easy is it to get into Cuba from the US?"

You can fly via Canada and Mexico but your not supposed to do it without government authorization for legitimate purposes only (e.g., business, family member visits)...they are really cracking down now on illegal visits, trying to catch those who do visit illegally...

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineXnv From Canada, joined Jan 2000, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2135 times:

I have been to Cuba a couple of times, it is a really beautiful place.

It is very unique because it is one of the only places in the Caribbean not smothered by US influence (due to the ongoing embargoes). They still drive cars from the 50's, and it isn't commercialized to the extent of resorts in Mexico, The Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, etc.

When Castro dies many cities in Cuba will become Montego Bays or Cancuns. The poverty and oppression is overwhelming in Cuba, but the people are wonderful, the culture is beautiful, the history is amazing, and it is truly the jewel of the caribbean. While I do not agree with the way Castro runs his country, when he goes the transition to a more western style economy will be very painful on the people and I fear the outcome. I am glad to have visited it now, I think it will soon change and maybe not for the better.

The US doesn't allow it's citizens to travel there because they are trying to teach Castro a lesson. Well, it's been 45 years and he's still in power, so this little grudge match isn't really working.

See it now if you can... soon it will never be the same.


User currently offlineLH526 From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 2352 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2127 times:
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What? US Citizens have to get governmental approval to visit Cuba? Like the poor people in communist countries had to ask their head opf states when they wanted to travel abroad? Go figure!!
I like the USA ... but that procedure is somewhat strange.

Mario
LH526



Trittst im Morgenrot daher, seh ich dich im Strahlenmeer ...
User currently offlineMYT332 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 9112 posts, RR: 70
Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2107 times:

Yep I've been. I think I went to the same place as JKW777, I think I even saw him once or twice.  Big grin

It really is a great place and what Xnv said is totally right. I thought the people were very nice to us and the place has an amzing culture. We actually managed to visit the mainland for the day, we went to Moron and it was really crazy. I felt like I was in that 1950's town in 'Back to the future' but I was loving it.

I'd probably go again and I'd reccomend it to people who haven't been.

If anyone's interested here's two video's of the t/o and landing at CCC. You can see the Cayo's pretty well in the vids. I made them so don't expect the world.

Plug 1
http://www.tmfy.com/movies/ccc-landing.htm

Plug 2
http://www.tmfy.com/movies/ccc-takeoff.htm

 Laugh out loud



One Life, Live it.
User currently offlineLVZXV From Gabon, joined Mar 2004, 2041 posts, RR: 37
Reply 7, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2090 times:

I was planning to visit Cuba back in Easter with some relations but the trip was cancelled at the last minute. I was about to buy my ticket with Cubana (from EZE) and everything, and could practically hear the Il-62 in my sleep. I do feel a sense of urgency about the place, i.e. it is about to change completely, so it remains at the top of my list of places to visit. Maybe next year.

On a historical note, I am truly amazed by Castro's political longevity--he's already outlasted Franco, Stroessner, Peter the Great--name it! Is he the longest serving political leader (excluding constitutional monarchs like Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth II) in modern times?

Some cousins of mine did visit Cuba in April, and they absolutely fell in love with it. What they told me was similar to what Xnv said, that Cuba was definitely no paradise but beautiful nonetheless and inhabited by remarkable people, though they added that there was a sort of "wind of change" in the air.

I look forward to seeing for myself...

Regards,

ZXV




How do you say "12 months" in Estonian?
User currently offlineQb001 From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2053 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2079 times:

Been there twice, Varadero and Gardalavaca (keep the cow !) Nice place, beautiful people, good cigars, excellent rhum (although I've discovered that en enjoy my Montecristo #4 with a glass of brandy rather than with a glass of rhum). Beaches are superb, but forget the waves, at least the places I've been. Food was okay. I visited the Old Havana (Spanish colonial period) and I was a bit disapointed; but maybe I had too much expectations.

Rented a bike for a day once and I was free to go wherever I wanted to. Met the people face to face and it was a really nice experience. Basically there not too happy with the current regime, but they are quite aware that they are better off than the Dominicans, the Haitians and most people of the Carabean region. So they see their glass as being half full. Considering that it used to be empty, they feel it's somewhat okay. But they would welcome a regime change.

I wish I go again soon.



Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
User currently offlineJkw777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2068 times:

Yep I've been. I think I went to the same place as JKW777, I think I even saw him once or twice.

You ball breaker!!  Laugh out loud

I second with what nobby (Myt332) said about it being great, I would also encourage anyone to go. It has such a nice feeling out there.  Smile

Lovely beaches!

Nice!

Can I go back?!

Hot Hot Hot!!

Ok why did I just do that? Now I wanna go back!  Sad

Cheers,

Justin  Big grin


User currently offlineKYIPpilot From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1383 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2017 times:

I have not, but one of my prof's was there, and she said it is one of the last places in the Caribbean that has beautiful uncrowded beaches because there are no huge resorts yet. Although, nowhere is tourism growing faster than in Cuba. I would love to go, but it seems like too much hassle for an American. You can't use your credit card anywhere, just cash.


"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
User currently offlineMYT332 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 9112 posts, RR: 70
Reply 11, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2009 times:

Ahh yea KYIPpilot but it's American cash.


One Life, Live it.
User currently offlineJkw777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1998 times:

But they give out the small change in their currency.. Which I threw in the bin!  Big thumbs up

Cheers,

Justin  Big grin


User currently offlineMia From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 869 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1997 times:

I have been. I have family in Varadero and in Vedado. If you go as a tourist and you do the touristy things it is the paradise it is cracked up to be. But I go to visit family and stuff and while I have an awesome time when I go its not the same. Cuba is changing though, for the better. You can travel from anywhere all you need to do is buy the 20 (or 15) USD 'visa' that is a little piece of paper you buy so that they dont stamp your passport.

The funny thing about living in America, the fabled home of the free. My father cannot goto Cuba to visit his 90 yearold aunt, his oldest living relative. Isnt life grand.



"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."
User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7443 posts, RR: 62
Reply 14, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1939 times:
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I just got off the phone with my cousin who lives in MIA.

She, my grandmother, my aunt and 3 otehrs went in 2000. I just called to ask her how tough it was. She said Thay going through Bahamas was almost a given and it was no problem. Thy did not stamp her passport yet, when returning to US Custons in MIA, she told them exactly where she was. No problems.

I am still doing research on the subject. Sounds too easy.



Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
User currently offlineItsjustme From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 2768 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1881 times:

I thought the "Trading With The Enemy" Act of, I think 1919 made it illegal for American citizens to travel to Cuba. I know President Carter repealed the law in the 70's but Regan had it reinstated with stronger language than the original act carried.

User currently offlineCsavel From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1362 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1856 times:

I went to Cuba in '79 when for a short time Carter rescinded the restrictions on travel to Cuba, we flew MIA to HAV in a DC-3!

I remember walking along the tarmac at Jose Marti next to Aeroflot and CSA IL-62s.

Lovely place, beautiful country. At the time at least, it was no poorer than other Latin American countries, and while I'm sure the people were on their guard, I saw no overt measures to stop people from talking to me. We were allowed to go anywhere in Havana we wanted even though we were from the US. Frankly most people really didn't seem to care too much, and remember this was '79. I do remember it was a hopping salsa party though.

I think the deal with the restrictions is technically, you *can* go to Cuba, you just cannot spend any money to do it. In fact you can't spend any money that will go to Cuba at all if you are "under US jurisdiction." That is interpreted to mean if I light up a Cuban cigar in Montreal, since I'm a US citizen, I'm violating the law. But if I had a Canadian friend who bought me a vacation in Cuba and spent only his money to take me there, and if I didn't even pay for a cab in Havana, theoretically, I can do it, although I wouldn't try it out in the current US climate.

One of these days, when sanity returns to my country.



I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
User currently offlineCanuckpaxguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1842 times:

I've been to Cuba, but many years ago. I think I was about 10 or 11, so that would about 18 or 19 years ago. My Mom took my sister and I to Veradero. From what I remember, the resort we stayed at was no different than one you'd find in Mexico or the Dominican.

Friends of mine have been there since and apparently they're really done a nice job in the touristy spots. The areas certainly aren't as wealthy as say Bermuda or Grand Cayman Island, but decent beaches all the same...only usually a lot cheaper.

Havana is acutally a pretty cool old city from what I'm told.

G


User currently offlineKYIPpilot From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1383 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1836 times:

So for an American to go, is it best to fly Air Canada ( I live about 3-4 hours from Toronto)? Can I fly Cubana? Would I have to pay cash at the Cubana counter in YYZ? If you stay overnight, you just keep paying cash everywhere you go?


"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
User currently offlineCanuckpaxguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1838 times:

If you want a cheap flight, take one of the charter airlines if you can stand it. Air Transat and Skyservice for example often have much cheaper flights to Cuba than Air Canada.

Have we figured out if Americans are able to travel to Cuba even if through another country? It seems odd that one would need governmental approval....Is that really true?

G


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16824 posts, RR: 51
Reply 20, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1828 times:

"I am truly amazed by Castro's political longevity"

Not being bond by silly things like elections or term limits will help any politician/dictator.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineLatinAviation From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1276 posts, RR: 15
Reply 21, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1804 times:

Mario,

TACA used to (perhaps still do) operate JFK-HAV as a charter with ABC Charters of Miami. Just fyi, but you would need the US gov't approval to travel on this flight.


User currently offlineCsavel From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1362 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1790 times:

KYIPpilot, Canuckpaxguy

Americans would not be able to pay to go to Cuba, even from a third country. As a matter of fact, US Citizens cannot buy Cuban products in a third country even if consumed in a third country. Technically, I broke the law when I was in Monteal a month ago and bought and smoked a Cuban cigar. There is actually a thread about that!

But, according to the law, you cannot bar US citizens from actually going to Cuba, you can just bar them from spending money. But I'd like to see an American say to the customs man, "Oh, yeah, I just got back from Cuba, but I didn't spend a dime, my rich Canadian uncle treated me to the trip!"

Something tells me they'll prosecute first and ask questions later.



I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
User currently offlinePhotopilot From Canada, joined Jul 2002, 2719 posts, RR: 18
Reply 23, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 1782 times:

Been to Cuba 7 times and the 8th trip is coming up this December 17th.

I travel independently and don't stay at hotels and generally go to Havana. I have friends there and stay in a private home. It's a city that is rundown because of age and lack of funds for maintenance. But it also has super Spanish colonial architecture, wonderful people, great cigars and VERY SMOOTH rum. And it's the ambience, music and charm of the people that keep me coming back.

As to being an American and travelling to Cuba through YYZ (Toronto).

You can either take the TACA flights direct YYZ-HAV or their are Air Canada flights and also Cubans flights. For an American, I would STRONGLY suggest that if you do decide to go through Canada, that you take the Cubana flight. Why you ask? Because due to American anti-terrorism activities, they are now forcing all air carriers to provide full passenger lists to the American authorities. I know that TACA and Air Canada do in fact provide these list to the US government. If they don't, they'll loose their landing rights in the USA. However because Cubana does NOT land in the USA (except for flights hijacked to Key West from Cuba, and they don't count) Cubana does not provide passenger lists to the Yank authorities. So to maintain your anonymity you can see why it's best to fly Cubana.

Cubana flights are Wednesday's, Friday's and Sunday's and leave Toronto just after 6:00 pm. It's CU181 down and CU180 for the return leg.

Travel safe, travel Happy
Steve



User currently offlineKYIPpilot From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1383 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (9 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1758 times:

Cubana flights are Wednesday's, Friday's and Sunday's and leave Toronto just after 6:00 pm. It's CU181 down and CU180 for the return leg.

Do you know how I would be able to pay for it? Cash at the Cubana counter?



"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
25 JGPH1A : RE: I know that TACA and Air Canada do in fact provide these list to the US government The requirement to provide passenger data is limited to flights
26 Santosdumont : Been there three times. Cuba is a fascinating place that leaves me with a sense of joy tinged with sadness. What's inescapable is the electricity that
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