general advice and do I need to book all my accommodation in advance?
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Dec 15, 2012 4:19 PM Last Post By: chefhagan
Dec 14, 2012 3:01 AM
general advice and do I need to book all my accommodation in advance?Hi
I just tried to book flights through a uk company cubadirect. Well first of all they quoted me £625.00 online but on the phone said £660 (same as if I book direct with Virgin). Then he said he could give me flights for £649 but only if I book ALL my accommodation for the whole trip with them.
he also told me that if I don't book it all in advance, we won't get rooms as we are travelling at peak time (april 25th - may 6th) . He said that as tourists we will be complete prey to con men and will definitely get ripped off and that I must remember that Cuba is a socialist country and not like other countries in this respect.
Can anyone confirm - is this a true picture? Don't most countries have hustlers and con men in their tourist areas?
We were planning to book a hotel for the first night or two and then use casas, maybe travelling to trinidad or similar distance in the middle (very short trip)
Any advice would be much appreciated, we are well travelled but I'm actually feeling a bit put off following this phone call.
Dec 14, 2012 4:45 AM
Hey there. First: the person on the phone has probably never been to Cuba. There are people love to "tell you how Cuba/Cubans/Havana is" despite never having been here. Personally, Im sick of them and have dedicated long, frustrating hours to writing about what life actually looks/feels/smells like on the ground. Here is a selection you may find relevant
Your plan for a hotel to settle in, then casas is good. Don't let this comemierda deter you from having a fabulous trip!
Dec 14, 2012 7:23 AM
2Continuing from Conner's post, once you snag that first night's hotel room and then your Havana casa, you are "in the system." Your casa owner will arrange for a casa for you in Trinidad, for example, the Trinidad casa owner knows a casa in Santa Clara, who sets you up with a casa in Viñales, etc. They will tell you where to book those terrific Conectando buses or arrange car and driver to your next destination, and they'll arrange same to take you on day trips, such as to the hike to the falls out of Trinidad or Cayo Jutia out of Viñales. If your casa owner arranges something, you know it'll be there for you. We used no pre-trip booking agents and never had a problem.
Dec 14, 2012 9:04 AM
3He said as tourists we will be complete prey to con men and will definitely get ripped off
Whenever you travel to a new destination for the first time you will encounter hustlers, con men and frens looking for a free lunch and that includes Cuba but I have been to other places that are worst and not as safe as Cuba. You are getting hustled before you leave home.
Maybe you can use your website http://adbusters.org in your profile and your global network of culture jammers to debunk the urban legends of the island.
Dec 14, 2012 9:24 AM
4ha ha ha 'hustled before you leave home' that's exactly what it felt like. The website says the staff are all cuban and he said he was but I guess he was just doing the hard sell on me as many a travel agent does the world over. Thank you so much for all the positive and helpful advice, feel re-inspred now!
Dec 14, 2012 9:50 AM
5Just to confirm, high season ends about Easter time. There is then a quieter time before the summer peak.
I think that time is about the best to go to Cuba.
Dec 14, 2012 10:30 AM
6Lilompey, you've got excellent advice from all the above posters. Go and enjoy! Poster #1, by the way, LIVES in Havana, and you won't find anybody who knows the city better than she does. The other posters, who hail from different countries, are also very familiar with Cuba and Cuban ways, and know whereof they speak.
Dec 14, 2012 5:02 PM
Dec 14, 2012 11:03 PM
Looked at both those sites -very useful! I guess it's ok to book my flights direct through Virgin Atlantic? It looks to be around £100 cheaper than through Cubaism or CTN and I'm at the tope of my flight budget already - how prices have risen! Could book hotels through them though.
Am on the verge of booking flights - it's going to be arpril/may or november. It's going to be a surprise for my partner as it's bee our dream to visit cuba since we met two years ago - we both love architecture and urban decay (sad though that can be sometimes) V excited!
Dec 15, 2012 1:38 PM
Dec 15, 2012 4:19 PM
(2 star Hotel)
From US$144.00 per night
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(0 star Hotel)
From US$20.54 per night