Planning our Cuban Honeymoon.
Replies: 26 - Last Post: Jul 27, 2012 6:07 AM Last Post By: ryannm
Jul 18, 2012 2:47 AM
Planning our Cuban Honeymoon.Hey, we're planning to go to Cuba in June 2013 for our honeymoon. What we want to do is Fly from London to Havana staying here for 3/4 days then off to Trinidad for 3/4 days and finally end up at a nice beach resort for 6/7 days where we can swim with dolphins, experience some diving and drink cocktails on the beach. After all this we would need to make our way back to Havana to fly home. I have several questions and appreciate all comments!
1. What is the best Area (beach resorts) for Diving, Dolphins etc. we we're thinking Guardalavaca as Cayo Coco seems a bit remote.
2. Are the regular buses or trains from Guardalavaca that will take us to Havana and how can we book these.
3 Flights to Cuba.. What airline does the cheapest flight from London to Cuba.
4. Travel between Havana - Trinidad - Guardalavaca - Havana. Whats the best way to travel? Is it best to pre book this travel or easy to arrange on the day?
5. Is it possible to do all this with only 2 weeks?
Thanks for reading I look forward to reading your replies =)
Jul 18, 2012 1:06 PM
1IMHO if you are going to be there for 2 weeks,and plan to arrive in Havana,do not go to Guadalavaca. Take your beach resort time in Varadero,less than 150km from Havana. Varadero gets a lot of slagging on this site,but for a honeymoon trip,it has what you want. There is a dolphin attraction on the penninsula,and dives can easily be arranged through most resorts. I have seen them doing check-out/fam dives in hotel pool.
I have only stayed near KM 6 on Varadero penninsula,close to the town,but that is said to be the nicest stretch of beach. A nice long walk in either direction,and easy walk into town. :-)
Guadalava is beautiful too,but a long days travel from Havana.
Matanzas is worth 2 nights if you are interested in the Bellamar Caves. Fantastic spelunking in very well lit and safe cave.Bar and resto above.Tour guides in several languages are included in admission fee.
You can also do a days boat trip up Rio Canimar to La Arboleda, a ranchon approx 15km inland .Great(Cuban BBQ) food,kayak and paddle boat rental,horse and ox riding,hammocks to chill in, and good swimming in river. I rode there from Martanzas on bicycle, but saw groups arrive that came upriver on boat from Coast.
Both these sights can be done as excursions from Varadero resorts,if you are OK with being herded like cattle. I found it very relaxing to go solo and on my schedule. Cabs easily arranged in Matanzas. IDK about public transport. I did not see any when I was there (Nov 2011),but did not look either as I had my bike.
If you have not booked anything yet,look for a resort package to Varadero and ask about a flight change. You can often get the 1 week package cheaper than just the flight,especially in June. For a small(?) fee,you can move the package air date up a week to go to Havana etc. for a week before your resort week begins. Do this part first then you can still get the airport transfer at end of trip.
Viazul busses are clean,air-con(and then some),cheap,convenient and reliable.
Re-reading your post,I see you wish to visit Trinidad. Strongly recommended. In that situation do the Matanzas sights as day trips to break up your beach week.
So: Arrive Varadero on package 1 week early. Taxi to Matanzas ($20CUC) and O/N. Bus to Havana next day for 3 nts,bus to Trinidad for 2-3 nts,bus to Varadero for 1 week beack bummin'
ps-PM me if you wish info on Matanzas for Casa or Taxi.
Jul 18, 2012 3:38 PM
2Yes, forget about Guardalavaca. It is over 800 km from Havana and the train is unreliable at best; at worst (which is most of the time) dirty and/or broken down. Do a day or two in Havana, then take the Conectando Cuba bus to Trinidad, which is about 6 hours. Or you can go only as far as Cienfuegos, which is on the way and 5 hrs from Havana, and there take a taxi out to Hotel Faro Luna which is right next to a corral where they keep dolphins with which those who don't mind seeing wild animals maintained in captivity for this purpose can swim.
Trinidad is one hour beyond Cienfuegos. There you should stay in a casa particular (Cuba's version of our B&B) as the casas will be within easy walking distance of anything you want to do in Trinidad--street craft market, museums, music venues, parks, etc. One of the best websites for choosing a casa in Trinidad is: www.cubacasas.net The beach is only 14 km away, and the mountains, if you want to hike in the cloud forest, only 20 km away. Or you can take a little choo-choo train out through the sugar cane fields.
From Trinidad I would suggest that you take the Viazul or Conectando Cuba bus directly to VARADERO. There you can either stay in one of the big all-inclusive beach resorts to the east and west of town, or stay in one of the older hotels on the beach right in town, or stay at one of the casa particulares in town that is on or within a block or two of the beach. To see a list of some of the casas available, go to: www.cubajunky.com Varadero has every conceivable kind of tourist activity, including swimming with prisoner dolphins.
Poster #1 is correcting in saying that it is often possible to get a cheaper flight to Varadero than to Havana. If you did decide to get a package like that, then you could do an itinerary such as: Varadero-Cienfuegos-Trinidad-Havana-Varadero.
Jul 18, 2012 5:53 PM
Jul 18, 2012 9:22 PM
4If it were me I would not do my honeymoon in Cuba. There are much better places. Cuba is interesting and a lot of fun, but IMHO its not a romantic getaway by any means. Accommodations kind of suck. The beaches are just OK. the food is marginal and the service is as terrible as the human oppression.
If you insist the advice above stands.
Jul 18, 2012 9:43 PM
5Quetz, I would not question your experiences; they are what they are. But if you have found that all accomodations in Cuba "suck," you obviously haven't stayed at the right places. If you found the beaches "just okay," you obviously haven't gone to the right beaches. If you have not found Cuba to be romantic, you obviously haven't been there with the right person!. Pobrecito!
Jul 19, 2012 8:25 AM
6Rosa, I am waiting for an invitation from you so Cuba can be romantic. Romance can be found in Cambodia if you want. Beautiful beaches can be found in Maine or even Canada. Great accommodations can be a palapa in Tulum. When I think great honeymoon trip for someone from a developed country I don't ever think Cuba. But why? The beaches are often dirty and underdeveloped with intolerable no-see-ems that bite the living crap out of you. The hospitality infrastructure is marginal because of the marginal investments made. The best accommodations in Cuba are equal to a 3-star place elsewhere. The overall country infrastructure is falling apart. It's not romantic to be making love on you 10 count sheets and having the electricity and AC go out for several hours, not to me anyway. Its not romantic to be making love at sunset and your behind get eaten alive by jejenes. It's not romantic to wait for a bus that never comes. It's not romantic to argue and get frustrated because you are lost because there are no street signs to guide you to destinations. It's not romantic to pay over $300+/night to receive 3-star accommodation at a place like Hotel Nacional in Havana.
When you and I get married Rosa, be assured I will NOT be taking you to Cuba or like place. We will go to a truly romantic place like Hawaii or Thailand, but since you are a 60s child remnant I think I have been to a couple of absolutely beautiful beaches in Brazil that you will love and we could make love all day and night without the encumbrances of roughing it in Cuba.
Jul 19, 2012 3:02 PM
7Well, OK, Q, that was pretty funny.
The jejenes would mostly be biting your ankles and not the more fleshy bits, although I wouldn’t speculate as to the qualities of your own behind.
Also, I didn’t see the OP mention looking for romance as the main priority, or defining it. Maybe they are looking for novelty, adventure and an overall memorable experience to mark their honeymoon, in which case Cuba will offer all. Certainly the specifics of dolphins, diving and cocktails on the beach are all an easy bill to fill there.
Finally, when someone posts on a Cuba travel board that they are already planning their honeymoon in Cuba, and they are just asking about details, why would you presume to advise them “no, no, don’t go there”? Why not instead just post your wonderful memories of honeymooning in Maine, Cambodia, Canada and Tulum in the appropriate forums?
Jul 19, 2012 3:30 PM
Jul 19, 2012 3:56 PM
9mikebristol: I hope that you and your spouse have an incredible honeymoon in Cuba and that emotion lasts for the rest of your lives. You seem to have a plan in mind and I hope that works for you.
However, I do suggest you google the phrase "dolphins in captivity" prior to making the decision to support one of the places that do such. This is especially so if you do not live close to the ocean and have much first hand experience with dolphins.
Jul 19, 2012 5:52 PM
10#9 ditto both paras!
Re second - also do a search on Trip Advisor Cuba re "swimming with dophins".
Jul 20, 2012 10:39 AM
Jul 20, 2012 2:26 PM
12I was going to get into Flipper's bitnez bud decided I had my handful trying to win Rosa's affection. Agree though, having a poor animal pull you around so you can have a good profile picture on FB. Although, the OP will be going to a country with some 18 million people imprisoned in mostly concrete and stucco enclosures. Varadero does have them if you insist.
Now back to jejenes, they bite ankles because they are low and they stay low close to the sand; therefore, if Rosa and I are in a horizontal plane close to the sand and she is laying on a towel the next closest source of flesh is....well, you get my drift.
Yes, correct, i don't know the OP and assumed they wanted romantic. I could be wrong, it could very well be Trinity from the Matrix and want an adventurous honeymoon. I was simple presenting my side of what she and others can expect. If you have never been to Cuba and you don't know it's many shortcomings it could be the difference between a memorable honeymoon and an unforgettable honeymoon.
Jul 20, 2012 9:22 PM
13Quetz, we don't agree on much, including honeymoon plans (or partners), but I must agree with you that it is essentially for honeymooners--and all other visitors to Cuba--to take precautions to avoid getting eaten alive by jejenes. OP, if you don't know what that is, it's tiny biting gnats that you can barely see and don't feel when they bite but will itch like crazy for days. To avoid them be sure to apply a DEET-based repellant (30% is okay, but don't forget to reapply the instant you come out of the water!). And don't forget toes, ankles, and elbows, which they love. They are especially bad near sunset, so at that time better to also put on cover-up clothing (including socks) and make sure the doors and windows to your room are closed. Incidentally, they are less bad, and sometimes non-existent, in Varadero. Not sure why--maybe they spray more there or something.
Jul 20, 2012 10:51 PM
14We agree jejenes are well beyond normal mosquito bites and they tend to come out every sunset and the way to keep them away is to dress like you are skiing-- not y idea of a honeymoon. Having electricity go out is not my idea of a honeymoon. Not having hot water, not my idea of a honeymoon. Not having running water, again not my idea of a honeymoon. Where do most of these issues go away? In places like Varadero and if you are going to go to Cuba to go to Varadero there are much better options is my opinion.
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