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  • The Ultimate Guide To Independent Travel In Cuba on Nov 11, 15
    • If you manage to get a taxi to use the meter, a small tip is welcomed, but if you’ve agreed on a price before taking off (recommended) then no tip is necessary.
    • There is no need to tip at your Casa Particulares, but a small gift from your home country would be very much appreciated.
    • The CUC is pegged equal to the USD and can be obtained from ATM machines, or via Cadecas (Cuban money exchange booths) around the country.

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  • Getting around Cuba by bus - Lonely Planet on Nov 11, 15
    • Bus travel is a dependable way of getting around Cuba, at least in the more popular areas. Víazul is the main long-distance bus company available to non-Cubans, with fairly punctual, air-conditioned coaches going to destinations of interest to travelers. Víazul charges for tickets in convertibles, and you can be confident you'll get where you're going on these buses – usually on time. Buses schedule regular stops for lunch/dinner and always carry two drivers. They have daily departures, but are becoming increasingly busy. Reserve ahead on the more popular routes.
    • Reservations with Víazul are advisable during peak travel periods (June to August, Christmas and Easter) and on popular routes (Havana–Trinidad, Trinidad–Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba–Baracoa). You can usually prebook a day or two beforehand.

      The Víazul bus out of Baracoa is almost always booked, so reserve a seat on this service when you arrive. It is now possible to make reservations online at However, like all Cuban websites it is prone to 'crashing.'

  • Getting around Cuba by car - Lonely Planet on Nov 11, 15
    • Renting a car in Cuba is easy, but once you've factored in gas, insurance, hire fees etc, it isn't cheap. Prices vary with car size, season, and length of rental. Bank on paying an average of CUC$70 per day for a medium-sized car. It's actually cheaper to hire a taxi for distances of under 150km (at the time of writing taxis were charging CUC$0.50 per kilometer for intercity routes).
    • Rent a Car and Driver


      Sure, there’s not a lot of traffic on the roads, but driving in Cuba isn’t as easy as many people think, especially when you factor in teetering bicyclists, baseball-chasing children, galloping horses, pedestrians with limited or no peripheral vision, and – worst of all – a serious lack of signposts. To avoid hassle, you can hire both a comfortable, modern car and a driver with a growing number of companies, most notably Car Rental Cuba whose drivers are skilled, punctual, bilingual and friendly. The company has a head office in Santa Clara, but operates all over the country. You’ll pay CUC$60 a day (CUC$55 October to April) plus CUC$0.25 per km, only marginally more than many hire cars once you've factored in petrol and insurance, plus the driver and car will be at your disposal 24/7.

  • Vinales national park - Review of Valle de Vinales, Vinales, Cuba - TripAdvisor on Nov 09, 15
    • “Experience traditional Cuba with a wonderful Cuban family”
        5 of 5 stars  Reviewed February 27, 2012  

       We loved Vinales as the people were friendly, the sites were beautiful and very interesting. Our hosts (Osvedy y Leyani) were a lovely young couple, so warm and full of hospitality. Cost is 25 CUCs for the room per night. Their casa is only 3 years old, very comfortable beds, very clean and with a lovely view of their farm. (This includes vegetables as well as a few pigs, chickens, ducks) Their friend Luis drove us around in a vintage car to the various sites ( 3 hours for 25 CUCs) and we saw a tobacco farm, caves with boat ride and a horse drawn carriage ride. We ate breakfast and dinner there and it was excellent. Breakfast cost 4 CUCs each and dinner was 8 to 10 CUCs each depending on what you ordered.
      We stayed at 4 different casas on our trip and this one was the best, mainly because Leyani was so wonderful and the town of Vinales seemed like stepping back in time to the old Cuba.

  • Exploring Viñales, Cuba's scenic backyard - Lonely Planet on Nov 09, 15
    • A traveller’s first impression of a place is invariably where they wind up staying, and in Viñales every second house is a homely guesthouse known as a casa particular. There are more than 300 such places to stay in Viñales: the range of accommodations here is actually greater than in Varadero and second only to Havana. With such diversity, competition is high and therefore standards (as well as the friendly welcome visitors get) are continually being raised. Expect some of Cuba’s best local cooking and phenomenal roof terraces from which to feast your eyes on the mogote-backed views of guajiros tending their fields. A feature of any place you’ll stay in are the sillones, (rocking chairs) on the porches. You’ll soon pick up the local ways: sitting, rocking, sipping a drink and relaxing. In fact, many people come to Viñales specifically to do just that.
  • Casa Frank (Playa Larga, Cuba) - B&B Reviews - TripAdvisor on Nov 09, 15
    • We spend 2 nights. The hospitality was amazing. It's 10 min from the beach and not far from the Crocodile farm. you can easily spend couple of days there enjoying the place and the roof top to relax. The family is very welcoming and very friendly. We will definitely be back for more.
      And the food wow no words.
    • Casa Frank is a beautiful casa only a 10 minute walk from the beach. The house is absolutely stunning, you can quite easily spend the whole day just relaxing on the roof terrace, in the hammock or jacuzzi, drinking Pina coladas from the bar. The rooms are clean and spacious with air conditioning. The food is absolutely amazing and of 5 star hotel quality. We had the lobster, crocodile and fish, as well as breakfast every day, and everything was cooked and prepared to perfection! Amazing vegetarian food is also available. The casa owners and family are very helpful and friendly. They take pride in providing a great service with great attention to detail. An amazing casa, one of the best in all of Cuba!
  • Hotel Playa Larga (Cuba) - Hotel Reviews - TripAdvisor on Nov 09, 15
    • The hostal is called La Terraza de Mily and as you leave the main entrance gates of the hotel Playa Larga, turn right, then take the first left. There is a side street of hostals there and La Terraza de Mily is the green house on the left.
  • Facebook on Nov 09, 15
    • tell everyone you will be less available and accept the fact that internet is a luxury and then enjoy the freedom that buys you - pick up some old fashioned Lonely Planet Guides, speak to the locals, speak to others on the road for the info you need and don't fret about what you miss, you saw or experienced something else instead - and then maybe binge once a week or so in a city with decent wifi in cafes - sorry, I know that's not the answer you were looking for but the internet is just not readily available in some of the most interesting places - we wasted a stupid number of hours searching out internet cafes and battling with slow connections trying to keep up with what we eventually realised were unrealistic communication commitments we'd made
    • For offline blog related stuff, I would highly recommend the gmail offline plugin to get all your emails done without a connection, and windows live writer, which allows you to format and put together blog posts (including images) which you can then push as a draft to your site. Save your precious connectivity with a few final touches and not drafting it out online. Gmail offline is huge too, don't waste your connection responding to non-urgent emails, just download the latest batch and respond later when you don't have a connection. I also process and export all my photos in batches, export to dropbox, which will then get synced to my phone when I have a connection and can then upload to instagram.
    • We have a WiFi extender and use it regularly - without it'd be a real pain. Data SIMs only help if there is coverage - which too often there isn't.
  • Peninsula de Zapata National Park (Cuba, Caribbean): Address, Attraction Reviews - TripAdvisor on Nov 08, 15
    • A great place for bird watching.
    • We stayed at a lovely Casa in Playa Larga, so access was easy.
    • FYI you must have a guide to tour any part of the park. This applies to all national parks in Cuba. Something we only learned upon arrival. The cost is about 10 cuc per person. You also need an off-road vehicle to access much of the park. This cost us an additional 20 cuc for the day. The experience made the cost seem minimal. It was a highlight to our time exploring Cuba.
  • Apple iPad Mini 4 review - CNET on Nov 07, 15
    • Now, of course, I wonder whether I even need an iPad at all, since phones are larger and laptops have gotten more versatile.

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