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Anonymous
Fri, 01/14/2011 - 20:08

How much money do you need for this trip?
Are the trip notes recommendations accurate?
Is it easy to find atms and are they reliable - guide books say not!

Sat, 01/15/2011 - 16:07

I went on this trip this time last year and took about £800 which was way too much - we changed our monies mainly in the hotels and it was easy enough - I did not use atms so can't help on that one.  We only changed some at a time but be aware that you can change it back in the departure hall at the airport after you have gone through security.  Its  a fab trip you will have a ball- enjoy x

Anonymous
Mon, 01/17/2011 - 00:25

My concern is money , being that we are going to be in 3 major centres with ATM's would cash withdrawals on my Visa card work do you think, also Kate you mentioned taking $800 was that cash or travellers cheques. Any advice would be helpful.

Mon, 01/17/2011 - 12:23

Hi I took cash sterling which I think was what was advised in the trip notes-as mentioned did not use the atm so not sure about that.

Anonymous
Mon, 01/17/2011 - 19:14

depends who which bank has issued your visa card, any ties with american banks and they will not work, i have a natwest and a tesco credit card. I have phoned both companys and neither could give me any assurancies that their cards would work in cuba, both said try them and see  which would b great if the atm swallows your card.

 

Anonymous
Tue, 01/18/2011 - 17:38

Thanks ann for the tips was going to take that amount for 2 but do you think that would be enough - did you find food expensive? Was worrying about taking lots of cash for obvious reasons that was why thought using the odd atm would be the answer but if the machines eat your cards not so good! Hoping we have a good time and thanks for the reply. Kate

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 18:26

I can't quite remember but I am sure I brought back about £400- I had worked down the trip notes allowed for the exchange rate working on the top side and as I said needed nothing like what I took.  I don't remember thinking that food was expensive and I am a drinker so had beer every night and always a pre dinner mojito or two! At no time did I feel unsafe but would have used the hotel safes where available for money passport etc .  I know where you are coming from personally I always like to have too much rather then run out. I did take my credit cards as back up but did not use them (just like to have them if I have to book an emergency flight home in case something happend there).   

Anonymous
Fri, 01/21/2011 - 15:33

Dear Ann

Thanks for the info it is good to chat with someone who has done the trip the trip notes are good but not always the full story! Was the trip tiring are there lots of early starts? And did the hotels have any laundry facilities? Was the tropicana worth a visit?

I am looking forward to it as think it will be a bit quirky!

Best wishes

Kate 

Fri, 01/21/2011 - 17:02

I did not find the trip  tiring- some early starts but nothing too bad - usual leave at 8 or 9.  There are some long bus journeys so if you are lucky enough to be able to read on a  bus (unlike me) take a good book other wise mp3 or audio books were good.  I have to confess I never use laundry facilities when away so not sure but some of the hotels you stay in (or at least we did) are 4/5* and would def have these facilities - all assuming you are there long enough.  The hotels we stayed in Santiago De Cuba and Havana were both Meile and very top market I think there was only 1 "basic" one.  I chose not to go to the tropicana as I felt it was too expensive but everyone to their own.  I also chose the free day in Havana because I LOVED the city but those who did the optional that to to Vineales (sp?) said that that was good also.  Its a great trip and and you really get to see a great deal of the country - when are you going?  I myself am off next month (with exodus of course) to Kenya/Rwand/Uganda and have just been to the docs and had three injections this afternoon in prep

 

Anonymous
Sat, 01/22/2011 - 19:41

Dear Ann

Thanks for the tips I dont usually use the laundry either but there are only a few 2 nighters so thought it might be an idea this time will see how it works out. I agree about the tropicana but will see how i feel it is very expensive and I know my husband wont go! We will probably do the vinales trip and the el yunque one you did - we go next sunday 30th so coming up quite soon! I may have a few more questions hope you dontmind otherwise hope you enjoy your next trip too sounds good lots of animals no doubt! I expect you had to have yellow fever jab? Best wishes kate

Anonymous
Sun, 01/23/2011 - 18:03

Thanks Kate for the reply, was talking with my Bank, Will order some CUC from the bank and that shoukd solve the problem, while on the trip will get a handle as to the ATM's.

Thanks Again.

Sun, 01/23/2011 - 18:38

Not sure if you can order CUC in the UK but you can get it easily on arrival at the airport in Havana and at the hotel when you check in in Havana-hope this helps-have a great trip

Anonymous
Fri, 01/28/2011 - 16:10

Just some advice regarding changing money, if I may.

 Most hotels, and certainly those in Havana have a currency conversion office.  DON'T USE THE ONE AT THE AIRPORT or you will be about 10% in the hole before you start.

They will exchange just about any currency, but the preferred currency is the Euro. If you are changing US Dollars, be aware that there is a 10% surcharge on top of the exchange rate.  $1 = 80 CUC (that is CUban Convertible  Pesos).  Each CUC = 26 CUP (Cuban Pesos, used by the residents).  If you are traveling from the US, you really should get to your bank and convert money into Euros before going.  The difference is 10% and you don't get it back when you exchange on the way out.

Even though they are not supposed to accept US$, they do, but they are not happy because they also lose the 10%.

You will use the CUC everywhere.  If you go to a farmer's market, for instance, all the prices are in CUPs, so if you buy 6 tangerines @ 2 pesos each,  they are CUPs and that would amount to one half CUC and you would get change back in CUPs.  For the most part, however, the CUP is a local currency and you won't be involved in using them.  Just consider them to be Monopoly money and keep a couple for mementos.

Again, with regards to ATM and Credit Cards, even if your bank is in the UK, if there is a branch in the US, your card are likely to be refused.  Be sure that your bank has no branches in the US to be 100% sure.

As to costs, we were there for 14 days in December on a medical-humanitarian  trip and had permission from the US State Dept. to travel.  I spent about $400 during that time, but our breakfasts and dinners were included in the trip cost.   I would guess that if you plan on 30 Euros a day, for meals, drinks and extras, you will be in the ballpark.  Of course, if you plan on dancing the night away and spending a lot of time in the bars and nightclubs and have several cigars a day, you might want to double that.  We were in Havana for all but 4 days and those were in Trinidad de Cuba on the south shore.

Beautiful Island, beautiful people, very friendly and outgoing.... the infrastructure is crumbling.  The average Cuban earns less than 15 Euros a month.  An orthopaedic surgeon might make as much as 25 Euros.  People leave the professions and become tour operators or guides so that they earn tips in addition to their government salary.

There are now private restaurants, owned by homeowners who have passed government inspection.  One of these is La Casa Restaurant, Calle 30 #865, e/ 26 y 41, Habana Nuevo Vedado.  It is superb and I highly recommend it if you have the time.

Bon voyage.  

Anonymous
Sun, 01/30/2011 - 20:23

Hi Kate which departure date? I'm on 27th

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