While I always think Planning a Holiday is as much fun as the holiday itself. Cuba may be more of a challenge, than usual, if you are planning an independent itinerary.Planning your holiday or vacation in this fascinating country could well become an exercise in compromise and decision making , as you decide what you will do and what you must leave out.
Finding out the information you need is not always easy for Cuba, especially if you are planning your holiday independently. The criteria for visas and best currency to take, does change. Do not reply on an old Lonely Planet. The questions below are important – be sure to answer each, and then decide the best travel plan for you.
o How do you get there?
o Where should you stay?
o How can you best get around ?
o What currency should you take ?
o Do you need a visa?
o Do you need to worry about the weather?
o Is Cuba a safe country for travelling?
o What sort of food will they have?
All these questions may seem daunting, when you review the options.But they are overcome by working through them one by one. Cuba is a little different to other countries, with more restrictions and limitations.It does depend on which country you are from, what the criteria for visas, and travel to Cuba will be. e.g.Getting there is not as simple as just getting on a plane, as you cannot fly directly from USA.
Firstly decide how long you will be in the country. You will almost certainly have nowhere near enough time to fit everything on your list into the time frame you have for your holiday. So decide what is most important to you.
Cuba is not a cheap destination! Take a reasonable amount of cash.Credit cards are limited in use to large hotels.Be sure you check your card will be accepted . They do not take many credit cards. The cost of each transaction is also very expensive, so cards are best used only for large amounts.
Cuba may be a relatively small country, but their variety of geographic areas, gives you many choices in activities and places to visit. Historic towns, beautiful beaches and interesting sights mean you will find your activities and attractions list will offer a vast selection of both outdoor excitement, wonderful music and indoor culture.
Here are some tips for planning your Cuban itinerary:
o Accommodation – Hotels or Casa Particulares – You will need to decide what level of comfort you require! A Casa is a good way to see Cubans in their own homes.
o Negotiation – If you are travelling with another person, or your family, the art of compromise will no doubt have to come into play. Each choose several activities you want to do, and then negotiate if time means some cannot be included! The beach at Varadero or the historic town of Trinidad – they re very different places to spend your time.
o Travelling Solo – Deciding how you travel will be a little easier if you travel on your own. Although you will still be limited to what you have time for, and what suits your budget. Travelling solo will perhaps send you in a different direction. Maybe a tour, or semi independent tour will work best. Or are you just going to take local transport or share a rental car or taxi with others you meet along the way.
o Package Deals – Some activities are fun, but expensive. Look out for package deals if you want to go to a resort. You can get “all inclusive deals “, for often quite a considerable saving.
o Independent Travel or a Tour – A tour might work better for you, rather than travelling independently. Perhaps a bicycle tour, or Intrepid tour where you still have plenty of independent time. stay in a mix of hotels and Casa’s so have the best of both worlds.For some of you the full hotel tour will be your chosen option.
o Culture or Beaches -Do you want to see the historic and cultural Cuba, or are you going for the beach, sun and sand?
o Getting Around – Will it be by bus, mini bus, taxi – perhaps shared, rental car or bicycle.
Ensure you allow enough travelling time between places. Travel in Cuba is slower than you might expect, with limited transport options, and connections that may not always be timed for a smooth transition. E.g. Buses from Vinales get to Havana too late to connect the same day for Trinidad.
If you decide to hire a car, the distances invariably take longer than they look on a map. So do use a distance calculator, and check the road conditions. Travel could be slow on the less than perfect roads!