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Varadero is not really Cuba

Nanaimo
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Varadero is not really Cuba

Varadero is in Cuba, but really isn't Cuba in the way (say) Havana is.

As of Feb. 2012, If you are staying in Varadero and want to see a typical Cuban town, there is a Hop on Hop off Bus that leaves the far end of Varadero at about 9:30 AM. It arrived at calle 54 about 10:00 +. It is $10 return to Matanzas. We came back on the 3:45 bus. Its well worth the trip which took less than 1 hour. We had a coffee in the Hotel Valesco on the square for a touch of class, at a reasonable price, then explored the town, which has the wonderful Cuban combination of elegant restored building and composting ones.

If you buy something from a small shop or bakery - keep in mind that the $3 loaf of bread is NOT priced in CUC !

Calgary, Canada
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51. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

Thanks to the mods for reinstating this thread.

Here's a little anecdote from two weeks ago in Havana... it's 4:00am and I'm in a bicitaxi heading back to my casa. Bicitaxi drivers are (obviously) pretty low on the economic totem pole. My driver Jorge is a guy who I've used several times in the past and I've been to his house - typical situation with 2 tiny rooms for 3 generations of family to live in, bucket shower, 2 burner hot plate, etc. In other words, Jorge barely has a pot to pi$$ in.

As we're meandering through Centro another of Jorge's bicitaxi pals pull up beside us. As we pedal down the dark street they whip out their cell phones and Jorge's pal Bluetooths a bunch of music over onto Jorge's smartphone.

The juxtaposition of a guy who showers with a bucket - yet wirelessly downloads a pile of music from his (equally poor) buddy in the middle of the night while he pedals me home pretty much sums up Cuba...

Cheers,

Terry

Havana, Cuba
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52. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

Though I disagree that bicitaxi drivers are pretty low on the economic totem pole. I know some families where a son with a bici takes care of 3-4 persons with that income. I would rather put them somewhere between the regular Cuban 12-cuc worker and those with their hands in tourism.

And thanks TA for reinstating the thread. I am always amazed when threads like this get killed. I don't understand the moderation system, but seems TA is somehow happy with it.

Toronto, Canada
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53. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

Glad this was reinstated. Reminds me of one of my “real Cuba” experiences. Was spending the night in Camaguey with friends and having dinner in their home, when out of the corner of my eye I happened to spot the biggest cockroach I have ever seen heading my way. I tried to ignore it but coming from my sanitized spotless Canadian home where even the smallest ant is quickly sent on its way, it was impossible. At one point we had two musicians and a prominent surgeon trying to kill this thing, (couldn’t stop laughing probably on account of all the rum we had enjoyed) we finally called in the dog to dispatch it.

Later that night we visited a Cuban club where we were the only non-Cubans. It was an open air place I would describe as “rustic”, the men’s washroom was a hole in the floor, the door which was a few feet from the hole would not close so one foot was on the door and the other trying to keep balanced while well, you get the picture. The music was great, but the most bizarre thing was the last song of the evening was a rousing rendition of my way, with everyone joining in. Cuba is truly a land of contrast and contradiction, and I love everything

54. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

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Removed on: 27 February 2012, 19:35
Barrie, Canada
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55. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

Also glad that we are back on line...really enjoying everyones experiences off resorts in Cuba...Keep them coming...

montreal
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56. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

Once we went to Cardenas and of course got lost and had problems finding friends house as i had no street name or adress .

So this guy sees my car coming around once again and he asks me what i was looking for and i told him that i knew friends house was close to the Fireman Museum so he tells me were to go .

Problem was he told me to go to the Fire Department so we are driving once again around and he sees us he asks no questions sits on the back seat were my son was with his girlfriend scared as hell from this Cuban stranger and my wife also not to happy with this guy sitting with us in the car .

Finally he brought us to the house we were looking for as friends were about to start looking for us in Cardenas lol ...

57. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

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Removed on: 25 February 2012, 20:35
Winnipeg, Canada
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58. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

Well I certainly have no agenda for a soapbox, I've always agreed with you on the subject of gifting, this just brought questions to my mind.

Fredericton, Canada
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59. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

I think it is a case of what you are offered and what you choose to do, whether you live off or on resort.. and then you may find that Varadero is actually a part of the Cuban fibre.

montreal
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60. Re: Varadero is not really Cuba

Problem is most tourists only know 1 Avenida in Varadero as you just have go to the back streets you will see life its about the same as in Santa Marta Cardenas Matanzas and other places in Cuba ...

Things maybe look prittier from the outside but the inside its Cuban life like ay other place i have seen in Cuba ...