Could you kindly provide input to our Havana New Year's Eve Plan....
  • Hi Terry,

    My wife an I are US Citizens currently living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  We plan to visit family in Florida over XMas/New Year's Eve and have planned a Cuba trip.  We have booked tickets to Bahamas from Miami and then to Havana, Cuba.  Here are some questions....

    1)  What documentation we need to fly from Bahamas to Havana, Cuba?  I believe we need a tourist card.  Can I get the Tourist Card at the Ho Chi Minh City Cuban Consulate here in Vietnam?  Or do I need to get it at Nassau Airport prior to departure?

    2)  I booked American Airlines from Miami into Nassau and 3 hrs after arrival, we catch the Bahama Air flight to Havana.  Any input as to avoid trouble with US Immigration at Nassau upon our return from Havana?  I know Bahamas will Stamp our passports upon entry and once again on exit from Bahamas.  Then I expect Bahamas will Stamp our passport once we return from Havana.  I understand Nassau is one of those airports that the US Immigration Entry is actually done at the Bahamas Airport....Will they care?

    Finally, I could use some guidance on booking hotels, etc.....any pointers?  Many thanks.
  • I'm trying to answer but I get a "post needs to be moderated" warning. Hopefully my post will show up at some point...

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • 1.) You need a Tourist Card. You can buy it at
    Nassau Airport. Everyone on your flight will be doing the same,
    you can't board the aircraft without it.



    2.) No one cares about illegal tourist travel to Cuba anymore.



    Here's my basic Cut & Paste for first timers who are exploring
    options for independent travel in Cuba, starting with Havana...





    ==================================





    FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT: Buy a Guide Book from Time Out, Rough
    Guide, Lonely Planet, Moon, etc. Any Cuban guide book holds 1,000
    times MORE info than any thread on an Internet Travel Discussion
    Forum so it's a CRUCIAL investment to start your research so you can
    come back and ask specific questions.



    Further thoughts:




    1.) If you're an experienced traveller in developing countries
    and you've stayed in inexpensive hostels/hotels elsewhere then
    Cuba will hold no surprises. Travelling independently in Cuba will
    be easy.




    2.) Cuba is no longer an exotic destination. There are loads of
    excellent guide books like the ones mentioned above and there are
    several Internet forums/blogs (like this one) that make it an easy
    place for specific research.




    3.) The whole country is very safe and non-threatening.
    Crime/scams are minimal compared to most other Latin destinations.
    http://debbiesreviews.proboards.com/thread/20937/crime-scams-cuba




    4.) Cuba has a very defined Gringo Trail with decent transport
    and accommodation options, if you're still nervous it's easy to
    have a local guide/resolver/travel agent give you a nice comfort
    zone by setting you up with a semi-arranged itinerary so you're
    not completely on your own. See websites @ #7 below.




    5.) Money Exchange: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g147270-c109329/Cuba:Caribbean:Money.Exchange.html




    6.) Purchase this app for Havana: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/havana-good-time/id385663683?mt=8

               

    7.) For casa particulars (Cuban version of a Bed & Breakfast),
    local guides and other local services and info have a look here:



    i.) http://www.cuba-junky.com/



    ii.) http://www.yourowncuba.com/



    iii.) http://pototocuba.com/Pototow/




    iv.) http://www.jorge-cubaholidays.com/



    v.) http://www.cubaccommodation.com/



    vi.) http://www.destinohabana.com/




    vii.) http://cubacasas.net/




    The list goes on and on...



    8.) Some Havana hotels: http://www.habaguanexhotels.com/




    9.) Havana Restaurants: http://www.cubaabsolutely.com/Havana_Guide/where_to_eat.php




    10.) Itinerary: The usual recommendation for first timers is
    Havana (big crazy city) and Trinidad (small, quiet colonial town
    with beaches nearby) and Vinales (village with rural life.) You
    can juggle a decent combination depending on your interests and
    how many days you have.




    11.) Internet: Cuba is in the Dark Ages. Here's the deal with
    WiFi, http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g147270-c202146/Cuba:Caribbean:Places.With.Wifi.In.Cuba.html




    12.) Transport Options:




    i.) http://www.yourowncuba.com/cuba-tours-services-transfers-guide.html



    ii.) http://taxivinalescuba.com/



    iii.) http://www.cubanacan.cu/ofertasPDF/CONECTANDOCUBA.pdf



    iv.) http://www.umbrellatravel.com/cuba-hotels/transfer/transferOnly.aspx



    v.) http://www.viazul.com/





    For a first time visitor a guide book is by FAR your most
    important (and cheapest/easiest) investment to start your
    research.




    Have fun.




    Cheers,

    Terry


  • Hi Terry,

    Sorry your post got flagged, we're working on the problem!

    Anya
  • Terry - Super helpful, many thanks!
  • Wow, the formatting goes right out the window when you Cut & Paste...

    Have a good time, Manolo.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • Terry,

    Cutting and pasting from Word documents or other websites carries formatting with it, resulting in things like this. The best way to avoid this is to copy from simple programmes like Notepad or Wordpad. These only carry text.

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