Accommodation in Non Tourist Towns
Replies: 26 - Last Post: Jan 23, 2013 8:13 AM Last Post By: BeardoUK
Jan 19, 2013 3:58 AM
Accommodation in Non Tourist TownsI will be cycle touring in Cuba for a couple of months and am wondering about finding accommodation.
There seems to be plenty of accom in the tourist towns, but what about the non tourist towns? Can I expect to find a Casa or cheap hotel open to foreigners in most small to medium sized towns?
..................and if I am allowed a supplementary, is it usual to be supplied with a (bath) towel?
Jan 19, 2013 7:08 AM
1Even the smallest towns have casa particulares with towels. If not, there are small rooms for rent for cuban pesos(CUP). Young people rent them for recreational sex. You have to be discreet when renting them, because it is illegal for foreigners. Everything in Cuba is illegal, almost.
Jan 19, 2013 2:33 PM
Jan 19, 2013 2:59 PM
Jan 19, 2013 4:16 PM
4Simon if you detail the approximate route we can comment on casa availablity plus you can look at various casa booking sites to see the prevalence of casas. In most cases getting your current casa mumma to phone ahead to the next probable stopping point will work provided that there are casas there. And yes as per Beardo hotels (and camps) are a fall-back. Heaps of good info from ttjpdo e.g. here on this subject.
You could also get a reputable travel arranger to assist with your planning e.g.
Jan 19, 2013 5:54 PM
Jan 19, 2013 6:50 PM
6Where does he say that? I thought he was simply saying a "non-tourist" town will not have a legal casa.
Indeed by definition a "tourist town" WILL do so. The only exception to that rule was Varadero but no longer.
Anyway a skim of the plethora of case booking sites will clarify this for Simon.
Jan 19, 2013 7:04 PM
Jan 19, 2013 7:37 PM
8When my friend and I took the wrong turn late in the afternoon on the way to Santo Domingo and ended up in a little town just to the east of the Sierra Maestra at sunset, we attracted quite a crowd. BUT there was no legal accommodation there and even though we faced a 1 to 1.5 hour drive after dark to try to find Santo Domingo, and although we looked pretty harmless, no one in that town offered to put us up. We considered sleeping in the car, but there wasn't even a bathroom we could have accessed, so we drove on... well, back....
Jan 19, 2013 7:52 PM
9Chef your north american syntax got me! My apologies.
And no only San Diego off the top of my head has a licenced casa but all 3 spots DO have relatively cheap hotels
Jan 19, 2013 8:13 PM
10SimonHill: I understand your general question and your need to have flexibility in your schedule. As a bicycle tourer in my past, I appreciate the ability to not have to adhere to a plan where to stay every night. There is both the personal freedom issue and daily mileage being influenced by weather and other factors.
The real question is what happens when you arrive in a small town as the sun is going down, you are hungry and your body is tired. Then you realize that town has no accommodations of any kind, nor any places to eat or buy food. You look at your map and realize the nearest town that has such is 50 Km down the road and you will have to ride until 10PM to get there. (been there, done that, just not in Cuba)
Understand Cubans are almost always warm and caring people when it comes down to the basics. Somebody will take you in. You may have to sleep on the floor because there are already 2 or 3 people in every bed. You may have to bathe in cold water. You may have to eat eggs and rice for both supper and breakfast. But they won't point you down the road. Will it be illegal? Yes. Will anyone care? No.
I always carry a camping towel no matter where I go. I mean one of those artificial chamois types that weigh nothing and take up no space. Better to have it and not need it than vice versa.
Jan 19, 2013 8:24 PM
Jan 19, 2013 8:53 PM
12For off route overnight experiences some nice reads in the recently published from our ttjpdo's CUBA UNSPUN
or Dervla Murphy's The Island That Dared
Jan 20, 2013 2:50 AM
13I agree about the hospitality of the Cubans. Though I only was cycling some daytrips, they were always helpful and I should prefer to end a bit clueless in Cuba's twilight zone than in many countries where the issue (il)legal is hardly existing.
Jan 20, 2013 4:22 AM
14Thanks for all the replies, interesting discussion.
Bob (post 10) sums it up. I don't want to have to work out a detailed plan, I often don't even like pre booking the next nights accom as this ties you to a set day's ride. If I were on a two week tour it would be OK, but having a lot longer I like to be flexible. I know roughly where I am going, but even judging daily distances in an unfamiliar country is difficult until you have been there for a while, know the road conditions, etc.
I am an experienced cycle tourist and you normally get to know where you can find accom., including the parts of town to look in. Of course Cuba has the added problem of discriminating against foreigners - like those other Communist stalwarts of China and Vietnam used to before computerisation meant they could keep an eye on you wherever you stayed.
What I meant about 'non tourist' was essentially short hand for not in a guide book. I realise that there are plenty of internet sites with Hotels and Casas, but unlike good old China and Vietnam the internet doesn't seem to be widely available for a quick daily (or more frequent)check when on the road.
I seem to be getting a very mixed message here - yes you wil be OK, no you won't. I suppose only time will tell. If I find I get stuck, then I will have to start booking ahead.
To give you an idea, I thought about leaving Habana towards Australia (both with accom in guidebook), but that is too far in a day and I would need somewhere inbetween. Is there likely to be anywhere?
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