Solo Traveller 2 weeks in Cuba
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Dec 3, 2012 4:51 AM Last Post By: Didist
Nov 19, 2012 10:42 AM
Solo Traveller 2 weeks in CubaHello !
I am a Solo traveller (male 23) Heading to Cuba in January. Was hoping to hear from anyone who has gone to Cuba solo and what their experiences were of doing so. I am recently returned from 5 months in South East Asia and am not expecting a scene like that !!
I am thinking of catching the train (possibly the French one ?) to Santiago de Cuba then working back up towards Havana. Anyone got any must see's or must not see's ?!
Any other advice would be great
Nov 19, 2012 12:23 PM
1I always travel solo to Cuba. I understand that different people have different motivations when traveling. Solo is the only way that works for me as that makes it much easier to interface with the Cuban people. I do have native friends scattered around the country.
One of the few things that everyone (visitors and locals alike) agree on is to avoid the train. I have ridden the train but only for the experience and not to actually get somewhere and understand why. Most Cubans would prefer to try to catch a ride in the back of a truck instead of taking the train as the back of a truck is more comfortable, less prone to break down, and quicker. The fabulous "French Train" to Santiago appears to have been taken out of service for repairs several years ago. I do not know if has been put back in service. Long haul bus service (Viazul) is great.
There is so much to be said about Cuba that spending $20 on a guidebook and reading it is really worthwhile.
Be assured you will have a great time as the Cuban people are friendly and easy to get along with. They more than make up for everything else.
Nov 19, 2012 1:36 PM
Nov 19, 2012 2:25 PM
3For a recent experience of train travel see #6 in this -
If you have not been to Cuba before, I suggest limiting your time to two or three places maximum, at the western end. You could easily fill two weeks in Havana if you wanted.
Nov 19, 2012 3:23 PM
4Mark: the first timers thought about Cuba is to try to "see" as much of the country as possible. My opinion is that Cuba is not a place to "see" but to "experience". Actually, it all pretty much looks the same to me. And while the experience differs a bit due to small cultural differences, you need to be in one place for a while to begin for it all to soak in. I always say that the 5th day in the same place yields more than another first day in the 5th place.
Two weeks is my standard trip. I always do Havana and one province (Sancti Spiritus or Cienfuegos or Vinales) but no more. I have probably spent close to 100 days in Havana and still finding new things there. Not to dismiss Santiago as I am going there in a few weeks but that is in lieu of Havana. Beardo's comment about limiting your time to 2 or 3 places around Havana makes perfect sense to me.
Nov 19, 2012 3:44 PM
5The advices make perfect sense. Havana and top one more province will fill your 14 days iwth variety. The food is not much different, the language is the same, people are the same, beer and ron are the same, prices are generally the same for tourists. And right now the eastern provinces are not in top shape after Sandy.
Nov 19, 2012 4:32 PM
6Oh for heaven's sake. There's absolutely nothing wrong with Santiago now that a few extra tourists wouldn't help to cure. Tourism is just what a cyclone-damaged city needs.
I appreciate what people say about Havana, it is a fascinating place and you could spend all your time there for sure. But I also think your idea of starting out in Santiago (you can fly there from Havana in the evening) and wandering up the island from there has merit. You won't find as many tourists and you'll meet a lot of interesting people as long as you have the time to stay in one place for a while.
It is so, so different from S-E Asia. More expensive, but the music is phenomenal :-)
Nov 20, 2012 12:57 AM
Nov 20, 2012 1:19 AM
Nov 20, 2012 1:59 AM
Nov 20, 2012 9:36 AM
10Thanks guys some interesting reading ! Guess I will just play it by year, get to Havana and see where the wind / rum takes me !
Probably going to be the last time I am in Cuba for sometime as next year I leave for Asia to teach English for a few years so im torn between trying to get as much in as I can and taking it slow and soaking it all up
Nov 20, 2012 9:46 AM
11My experience with Cuban cleanup after a major storm . . . a giant tree was down in our street . . . men came and cut it up . . . moved it to the side . . .BUT it wasn't until about a year after that it was removed. This was Havana and dare I say they have better resources than the other side of the island.
Nov 22, 2012 11:27 AM
Nov 22, 2012 11:34 AM
13Anyone ever scuba dived in cuba ?? I am open water certified any idea on price ??
Nov 22, 2012 12:27 PM
14#11. They say that if you stick a piece of wood in the ground in Cuba it will grow to a tree that gives you shade in 3 years. How long does it take for a cut tree to rot, or do the Cubans use the wood to start up their barbecue? In the east people carry it away little by little to use it for fire wood for cooking food. I am sure they do that in Havana as well.
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