Cuba Travel Stories

Havana is Better With Tourist

There are times when a country full of foreigners is better than meeting the locals. Christmas season tourists, the city of Havana, Cuba is filling up, in the last three days this city has changed from boring to interesting. Two week ago I was seldom saw a foreigner in Central Havana walking around, since last weekend it has been filling up at an incredible rate.



I believe, high season has come to Cuba, I will speculate it will be busy here from December 15 until about February first, maybe until the first of March.

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Havana Habana Cuba Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Centro Habana
By Andres Hidalgo with editing
Travel Gear
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Two Major Changes

1. Women are now sitting around everywhere asking if I want a Novia, or looking directly at me and giving me a long-distance kiss. If you say hello, they are instantly to consider this an invitation to talk, generally with horrible Spanish. I am not sure where the sudden surge came from, I think I know why.

2. An older group of single men and women between the ages of 25 and 60 are populating all the Casa Particulares.



This is Not the Backpacker Group

This is not a groups of 25 Dollars per day travelers, although many are here for two to three weeks, many for over a month, they appear more than willing to pay 10 Dollar for lunch and consider 1-2 dollars cheap for a beer. The starting budget for Cuba, not including the flight has to be 50 Cuban CUC per day; this is about the minimum the ordinary person will surely spend. I have been spending about 25-35 CUC per day. One CUC is roughly one USA Dollar.

Cabarets, swimming pools, and tour groups this place has come alive with tourist. Generally, Cuba is beginning to remind me of 7 day, 6 nights, all-inclusive trips to Cancun, Mexico, this is generally a place for backpacker who spend 100 dollars per day. Strangely, many people call themselves backpacker paying over 100 dollars per day. Everyone now calls themselves a Backpacker, so truly the term is losing meaning.

25 CUC is the standard price of a Casa Particulare room, and the quality varies greatly. I learned of an internet site called Cuban Junky, that is probably a great resource. Unfortunately, at 8 CUC per hour to use the internet, I do not want to go look at this internet site here inside Cuba.

With a lot of research prior to coming to Cuba, intensive reading, somehow learning about the ins and out of Cuba prior to arrival. A person who is willing to spend 100 dollars per day could probably have a great time wining and dining Cuban women, going to expensive restaurants and drinking beer around swimming pools until their hearts content.

I do not expect to see this group in Central or South America, however many are going to Thailand, I am sure Cancun is a good fit, maybe Playa del Carmen.

Cuba has been good, but lonely, I happy Andy the HoboTraveler.com agreed to allow me to come in and write for him. The prices in Cuba makes it uncomfortable for long term travel, but a great 100-300 dollar per day Vacation Country. Not all countries are made for Backpackers; Cuba is straight-line tourist package, no danger, no hassle, no problems, plenty of service providing women.

The enjoyment in Cuba is not in making friends with Cubans, it is in partying with the other tourist from all over the world.

I am going stop writing, I will return to Haiti soon, and discuss the pros and cons of Cuba with Andy, and he will be sending out a newsletter with links to all the photos taken in Cuba. There is an overabundance of photos for Cuba, this is for sure one the best countries for Photos, with a never ending variety of faces, black, white, rich and poor, anything is possible in Cuba.

I would love to hang out in Cuba, if I was a millionaire from Canada. Please think about this, I have not exchanged emails with one Cuban person, however have with about five foreigners, I am here, but not here, this is Cuba.

Andres Hildago, December 2009

Havana is Better With Tourist


Budget Travel Map to Havana Cuba

The cheap way to visit Cuba is an all-inclusive trip originating from Cancun, Mexico or Toronto, Canada. However if you are sitting in Guatemala, or Mexico and happen upon a round-trip ticket to Cuba for less than 300 Dollars, you may appreciate this map.



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Havana Habana Cuba Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Centro Habana
By Andres Hidalgo with editing
Travel Gear
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Zone 1:
Very few tourists, a place where the Moneda National is easy to spend. The costs of room are from 20-30 CUC, this does not change much.

Zone 2:
Probably the best place to live, an easy walk to the Central Park, but far enough way you will not be accosted by Cubans trying to hook you into something nefarious.

Zone 3:
Half Casas Particulares and half Hotels, this area is hopping, full off action, but also full of temptations to spend money. The CUC is common here; it becomes increasingly difficult to use Moneda Nacional.

Zone 4:
Parque Central, the middle of action in Havana, the place to be if you are a tourist, have the money and want to live in, looking out. The Hotel Inglaterra is the center; the Hotel Parque Central is modern and has internet, truly pay and play.

Zone 5:
Habana Vieja, I do not know, there are probably some Casas Particulares in this area, and some Tourist Hotels,

You can live in any of these areas easy for 25 CUC per night; the advantage for a budget traveler is cultural. If you want to see and feel Cuban people, than Zone 1 is the optimal.

How to go budget?

Walk into a “Cadeca,” a place where you exchange money, called a Casa de Cambio. Not in a Hotel, but on any side street area, there are many, change your money for “Moneda National.” Use or spend only this money, I will personally guarantee you will be on a cheap budget. When you are tempted to spend CUC, you know you are over budget.

99 percent of tourist come here to just enjoy the Architecture, take photos, go to a few Cabaret type shows and try to find women 1 percent are learning Spanish, find a boyfriend, girlfriend, then jump in and try to understand why there is two types of money.

If a person is talking in CUC, this is a tourist, if they are talking in Moneda Nacional; they are putting their finger on understanding Cuba. If you are told, I cannot use Moneda Nacional, then you are talking with the silly and clueless.

50 US Dollars per day should pay for room and food, it there are two of you; the price of a room stays the same, and truly the best way to save money.

Budget Travel Map to Havana Cuba


Why the USA Sanctions Cuba

Here are a few explanations I have heard, and of course, comments are needed.

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Havana Habana Cuba Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Centro Habana
By Andres Hidalgo with editing
Travel Gear
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By JR Garcia:

Mind you, I am Mex. and not anti-Cuba, but might the isolation places on Cuba by the USA have something to do with JFKs death. If some super secret document, etc. points to the fact that Castro Regime had something to do with or assisted in Assassination, then this would explain such an attitude towards Cuba. Remember that JFK and others, have tried (US ALONE) over 11 times to kill Castro. (CIA) What do people think about this? To me this is only plausible reason for such prolonged isolation.

William Professor from USA:

The Mafia owned all the property that was nationalize, it would be difficult to make restitution to the Mafia.

Dade County Florida:

American illegally here in Cuba says, there is a block of a half million ex-Cubans in Dade Country Florida who do not want the sanctions lifted. These were the rich people that had their property nationalized by Castro, they are angry, they want revenge. This group votes as a block, and demands as a block the sanctions should remain. He went onto explain, this is the only group with money that cares, therefore the sanctions remain.

I personally believe Fidel Castro and Cuba needs the Sanctions, he controls the hearts and minds of Cubans by having a common enemy, the big guy, called the USA. He endears the rest of the world by standing up to the USA. He plays and excellent game of politics, and the people and the politicians in the USA truly have no stake in Cuba. The rich people who were forced to leave Cuba, ran to the USA are the only people who care about Cuba. I personally feel this group is entitled to what they desire, they are Cubans, and the average American does not have any reason to be involved in this situation. The sanctions are not causing true problems for Cubans, the problems for Cuban is 100 percent caused by Castro. He makes imports and exports a problem with his two forms of money, one for the poor, one for the rich, and guaranteed taxes on every move you make. The taxes are used to fund his dreams, not the dreams of the Cuban people.

This regime has for 50 years maintained a revolution, Castro is the revolution, he is Cuba, and the Sanctions how he maintains power in Cuba. This is not a Communist country, it is not a socialist country, it a country called Fidel Castro, to him, by him, and for him. 10 USA Presidents have come and gone while Castro has lead this country, whenever there are dissention, when the mob disagrees, he puts them on a boats, sends to them to the USA and keeps the his person revolution alive.

They could and would be lifted instantly, if Castro decided to be a friend, and not an enemy to the USA. It is always hard to forgive, forget, and work with a person who says he is your enemy. Keep your eye on the ball, he was pointing nuclear bombs at the USA, and he is fanatical in this obsession to remain an enemy.

I am not in Cuba, I am the country called Fidel Castro. There is a little boy playing baseball in the streets of Havana today, this dream will die in Cuba.

I would like to see the sanctions removed while Castro is still alive, it would be great to allow him to see his country destroyed by tourism, put the stake of capitalism right through his selfish little heart. This country if full of tourist, may as well triple that number.

This argument is between the Cubans in the USA and Castro, it seems wise to stay out of the argument, there is no humanitarian reason to get involved.

Andres Hidalgo, December 2009

Why the USA Sanctions Cuba


Pizza in Cuba

It appears that Pizza has become a staple food in Cuba, at least in Centro Habana where I am presently staying.



I asked him to smile, this is as good as it gets.

I paid 8 Pesos of the Moneda Nacional for the cheese Pizza, and 1 peso for the lemon drink. This is approximately 35 cents USD.

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Havana Habana Cuba Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Centro Habana
By Andres Hidalgo with editing
Travel Gear
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In the cool of the evening, right before sunset, these small shops have people lined up waiting for a slice of Pizza. I had noticed the pies being mass sold in the local bakeries.



The price list, it is best to always pay with Moneda National at any local restaurant, even when you are not sure. They will tell you if you need the CUC, it is not really tourist money, it is money that is needed to buy non-essential type things.



I feel that social status is extremely important in Cuba, if a person uses CUC or the Convertible Cuban Currency, they are making a social statement, saying I am not poor. While if you use the Moneda National, it says, I am in the lower rungs of society. I have not been able to get locals to explain the reasons whey there are two currencies. I am not sure they know, they just accept it and know how to use them, not trying to figure out why. The locals need both currencies, the Cadecas or the Casa de Cambios are everywhere, and this is a huge business in Cuba. They are constantly losing money to the money changers, another indirect tax of Cuba.

I have Moneda Nacional in my left pocket, CUC in my right. I know when I spend the money in the left pocket I am understanding the working class, when I pay with CUC, I am learning about the upper social strata.

I believe the normal working person in Cuba makes about 5-10 US Dollars per day, and this noise about them making 20-40 CUC per month is just gossip. It would take me months to figure out the truth, there is too much obvious wealth to say they earn 30 dollars per month.

Pizza is an Americanism.

Pizza in Cuba


Cuba No Shirt No Shoes No Problem



Where are his shoes or sandals, this is strange.

This man is walking from the Centro Habana area towards the Gulf of Mexico with snorkeling gear and a spear gun.

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Havana Habana Cuba Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Centro Habana
By Andres Hidalgo with editing
Travel Gear
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Generally, Cubans where shoes, they do not where sandals, it is more of gym shoe country, often people have on dress shoes. However, they are not opposed to walking around with no shirt, no shoes, there is no problems.

I find this curious, I was in Haiti for about five days with Andy, and I know most of Central and South America. Generally, people feel obliged to wear shoes and a shirt. By some quirk of Cubans have no social stigma associated by not wearing shoes.

There are 100’s of people sitting on the stoops in front of their homes, old men with no shirts. I have tried to take photos of them daily; however, it is a difficult photo. To photograph a person who is not looking is rather easy, but to take a photo of a person looking right at you is Paparazzi arrogant. This is the photographer’s dilemma, a person has to weigh the value of the photo, and to point a camera right at person is bad manners. To make a person the single subject of a photo is a problem. The person can get angry, and maybe should.

People who are sitting on stoops in front of their house are looking around, they never stop looking around, and that is the purpose of sitting on a stoop. They are usually aware I am standing around with a Camera, they are watching me.

Cuba No Shirt No Shoes No Problem


I Apologize to Rich Cubans

I find myself morally and ethically torn today, not sure what to say. I feel like I should just stop explaining Cuba for fear of making dreadful misrepresentations of the country. I have said all along that Cuba is rich, however many of the photos I have taken in Centro Cuba may be abnormal, not the normal Cuba.

What is the real Cuba, I do not know, this cake called Cuba has many layers. I now feel I have been looking Centro Cuba thinking is normal, while in reality it the slums of Havana. However, I know that Fidel Castro is genius, his regime orchestrates a great propaganda show, keeping the best of us confused. I on the other hand, do not want to point the one piece of dirty laundry and call it a country.



This may be real Cuba, or at least real Havana. It is not fair to judge or even include in many ways Centro Havana where I am living in an honest evaluation of this country. However, to understand Communism, and a Socialized system, then yes, a person needs to see Centro Havana.

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Havana Habana Cuba Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Centro Habana
By Andres Hidalgo with editing
Travel Gear
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Do not feel sorry for Cuba, any problems Cuba has, are caused by Castro. I will again say it, this country is rich, it is number 48 on the Human Development Index.

What Happened Yesterday



I took the Hop on, Hop off tourist bus from the Parque Central to Marina Hemingway, a distance of approximately 10 miles for 5 CUC or 6 USD; this is an all day pass.

I must again say, Fidel Castro is a genius, he has continually argued with the USA for 50 years, while socially engineering his own little island country of 11 million people. He has pitched his story in way as if somehow he is the underdog, the tortured soul, which his people have suffered. Yes, however again, all Castro needed to do was just once try to become friend with any of 10 Presidents of the USA and the people of the USA and his country would go from rich to extremely rich. He is a political genius, and master of his fate, now what to do with Cuba after he dies is the question.



This is the bus; it is easy to board at the Parque Central and take a Hop on, Hop off trip around the city. There are not quite enough buses to really say hop on and hop off, but it works. The wait between stops is sometimes hours. I was lucky; I took two buses, and went all the way to Mariana Hemingway trying to investigate this statistic saying that 100,000 American come to Cuba every year. I believe this is propaganda, I was told there were many at the Marina Hemingway, there was one American in the Marina, and this 100,000 may be propaganda.



The bus weaves it way through approximately 15-20 miles of Havana, and a person can get a great overview of the Northern half of the city. The minute we left the Parque Central, that is located between Centro Habana and Habana Viejo it became obvious. Centro Habana is the blighted areas of Havana. Is the old run down part of Havana, however is still clean and prosperous, however beat. Are the people of Cuba beat, I would still say yes, they have been living under the hammer for the last 50 years, in a state of limbo, not part of the world, not always included, set to the side.



There are no trees in Centro Habana, and the Malecon is dreadfully bleak and hot during the day. I discovered the story of the Malecon. I have learned that at night, maybe around 10-12 PM, the central city of Havana goes to the Malecon. They sit, drink, party, play music and socialize, so what is normally a rather bleak looking walk along the water becomes a huge party at night. The person who was explaining said,
“Castro took all the prostitutes out of the brothel, now they are all on the Malecon at night.”

I hope to go investigate and confirm this on Wednesday night, I know everyone talks about the Malecon, and I avoid it at all cost during the day, a hot stretch of concrete with highway traffic, not a wonderful place to walk.



This Hotel looks majestic from the top of a double decked bus, riding along with cool air blowing through our hair. It is somehow nestled into the top of a hill; I have yet to figure out how to walk up to this Hotel. There are some economic and physical barriers between people in Havana. It often feels, if you want to go see the rich part, you must pay a regular taxi. If you want to learn the poor, you can walk around. The city of Havana can easily seem impoverished on a 30-40 US Dollars per day budget; the city needs a 100 dollar a day budget to truly enjoy. This is not a country for cheap budget travelers; it is a Caribbean Island that has been breaking out into full on tourism ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and Castro turned to tourism to save the economy. If and when the USA allows tourist to come to Cuba, this will turn from a mild tourist trap, into one the best of the best in the Caribbean.



I am paying approximately 35-40 US Dollars per day to visit Cuba; this is double or triples what a person needs to pay in Central and South America. It is about the same as Mexico. From Guatemala to Chile can be incredibly cheap, except for Costa Rica, which can easily be the same as Cuba. Both Cuba and Costa Rica are tourist traps, place that put you in channels that are difficult to escape. I can live in Cuba very cheap, but it takes a lot of work, and truly are you seeing a country when the only thing you are doing is trying to go cheap. I have not seen anything in Cuba, which cannot be seen in my home country of Colombia. However, Cuba is perfect for tourist how are afraid and need to be 100 percent safe and clean.



I find this rendition of Che Guevara on the side of a building great. Looking at photos of Che Guevara smoking his cigar, lounging back, there is this feeling he is sturdy and tough. As if he was able to live in the jungle and survive, the irony is this is on a high-rise hotel or building in the middle of prosperity. Herein lies the confusion of Cuba, where are the lines drawn, how can a person extract reality from the many faces of Cuba. What is real, I would say Cuba is some naughty child, ran by one person, whom did a fine job of giving a good life to his people. The is the question of whether he is justified, or if his methods were correct.

I sit back and ask myself, if I was able to kick out all the extremely rich, and the extreme poor out of Colombia, what the country would be like. For example, say a person in the who is living in the USA could take the people in their slums and send them to Cuba. If they could take all the rich and powerful government officials, the people who control the cities, if they were made to immigrate to Cuba, would this be good. What would be left over in the USA would be closer to paradise. Generally, dictators have to kill all their enemies; they do not get to export them to the USA.



It is like put a cowboy on the side of a skyscraper.



A country should be judge by their curbs and sidewalks, then count the number of street vendors per block. Cuba does not have street vendors.



A highly developed country has zoning laws, which allows people to live in peace. One of the telltale signs of prosperity is the grass between the sidewalk and the curb, if you see this in a country you are probably in a nice neighborhood.



I took a bus trip that took me through 10-20 miles of street in Havana that looked like this. I have only seen one beggar in 14 days in Cuba, and she was more of an opportunist than a beggar.



This feels to be a typical street in Havana; I do not know what is outside of Havana. I suspect a person can travel though the countryside of Cuba and see farmers. These farmers will be considered poor, but the overall quality of life outside a city is normally better, however not as sophisticated which confuses city dwellers.



Centro Habana is a concrete jungle, devoid of trees, except for the beautiful Parque Central. This rest of Havana has tall palms trees and beautiful areas, which transforms the city from bleak to inviting.



Cuba is an enigma, I would recommend you try to feel indifferent about Cuba, do not take sides, yes, there are some problems, but when you compare Cuba to the rest of the planet, it is hard to feel the least bit sad for Cubans. Generally, the people of a country get what they deserve and want; the very rich and very poor need to be ignored. They tend to make too much noise and both these factions want to rule the country, both are fighting for the control of money. While the middle just lives their lives, and enjoys the day.

The study to be made, is how Fidel Castro socially engineered a small country into his own personal home to do with as he wishes. Then to study, who are the stakeholders in this game, who won, and who lost. Again, Cuba is number 48 on the Human Development Scale, if you want to get on a soapbox and scream at the world about social injustice. Maybe better to go next door to Haiti at 148, of Sierra Leone, and Niger the bottom.

Castro wants the USA as an enemy, without the USA his person revolution would end, all he is, all has ever been would cease to be, he is the revolution defined by the USA. Cuba is his little Island Empire, the King and his fiefs.

Andres Hidalgo - Havana Cuba - December 15, 2009

I Apologize to Rich Cubans


Havana Cuba Medicine

I have now walked into four pharmacies, and asked questions. The first one, was no, no, and no we do not have that, I believe they did not want to serve foreigners. I happened to enter a friendlier one farther away from the tourist area, and the service was good, and a little curious. The third and fourth shops, while empty, where asleep.



I suspect, or believe that readers believe Cuba has great medical facilities. It is a 50/50 guess on my part, I do believe the Cuban people have the desire and natural ability to learn to be Doctors. I do not believe they have the medicines or equipment.

They appear to be me to be good carpenters, who do not own a hammer or saw. Generally Cuba wants to put its best foot forward, while hiding it other foot, I can see that many tourist see the good foot, and forget to ask, where is your other foot?

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Havana Habana Cuba Monday, December 14, 2009
Centro Habana
By Andres Hidalgo with editing
Travel Gear
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Fourth Store Ibuprofen - This is not a childproof cap.



40 Ibuprofen 400 Milligrams - I paid 1 CUC or about 1 USD, however the price on the container says $3.90. The women at the counter said, 3.90 pesos, I believe that was for one tablet, but she gives me the bottle, then changes the price to 1 CUC. The people in the store stopped when they realized I was a foreigner.



What I failed to capture here in these photos is the amber bottles of medicine. The medicine appears to be manufactured and packaged in Cuba. They labels on the bottles are simple as if printed, then hand applied to the bottles.



The Pharmacy store are large, however give you the feeling they just opens and are waiting for medicines to stock their shelves. This is the same for most stores, lots of space, however no need to have a lot of inventory.

The Cuban Pharmacies are not clean, bright and happy places, they feel old, ran down, and like the built them in the 1950, and forgot to ever update to current standards.



5 Peso or about 25 Cents USD per container.

I purchased this cream in the second store that was curious, while the Ibuprofen was purchased in the fourth store. I was only able to take photos in the second store, where they people were a little curious.

I feel it proper to judge professionals by their curiosity. If a traveler walks into an establishment, does something obviously out of sorts, telling the person, I do not live here. To me a professional who is ahead of his game will ask a few questions. When a person fails to ask questions, when properly baited, shown the proper respect, introduced, presented and showing proper form. I am lead to believe, their minds are stagnant, or asleep.

Would I go to Cuba for major surgery? No, I would trust the Cuban Doctors, however they do not have access to current books, and educational materials generated by the USA. They are an island country trying to be a empire, 11 million people is not sufficiently large to create cutting edge knowledge. While the majority of the planet could just get on the internet and search, this generally is years away for the above average person, and unavailable to the average.

Education without books, is a drivers license with no car.

I can find many books about Che Guevara, and Ernest Hemingway. What a path to follow, one gets killed in Bolivia for causing trouble, the other kills himself. 1-2 millions Cubans are sitting in Miami, looking at Cuba, while about 11 million are looking back, a lost generation, not quite sure what to do with yesterday, today, or tomorrow.

Havana Cuba Medicine


Photos in Cuba House

I am living in a Casa Particulare, this means private house, and maybe this is closer to a Bed and Breakfast. Alternatively, maybe the same as a Hostel without the benefits of guest kitchen, you have Air Conditioning and a shared shower.



The old woman from France who smokes, is quite friendly, I think she has a Cuban boyfriend. I share a common shower with her, it is ok, I never seen her shower. She says she has come to Cuba 48 times, that is an incredibly large number, something is not correct.

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Havana Habana Cuba Sunday, December 13, 2009
Centro Habana
By Andres Hidalgo with editing
Travel Gear
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Straight ahead is the dining area, and I think a kitchen, they owners have never shown me farther than the table. The problem with a private house is there is no common area. The owners expect you to leave during the day because we are tourist.



I have an air conditioner, I do not use it because it too noisy. My room is nice, full of furniture, they give me a fridge, I guess for beer, but no way to cook or prepare food. I can pay to have my laundry done, and breakfast essentially cost five CUC. The owners reduces the price by five CUC and do not include breakfast, I purchase the same for .50 CUC. Five CUC is about 6-7 US Dollars. You are not living as part of the family, you are living as a boarder in the home.



I am not sure what is up, I never see anyone, however it is a common courtyard area, and this could be noisy if I was unlucky.



There are bars on the window, and three deadbolt locks on that large door. The owners say it is safe; however, the security is still very good. The national pastime is sitting on the steps in front of the homes. I would want a home that has a place to sit in front and enjoy the national pastime of Cuba. Cubans are slow to talk, they do not say hello, unless you say hello first, but once they become your friend, they will open up and talk a lot. I sit on the steps in front of the building often, the owner of the house do not seem to like this, however they are richer, and they do not behave like the other people.



A color television with VCR and DVD players, the room is wrapped in furniture that looks like “I Love Lucy.” They have a television and tend to watch it every night, while their children watch it all day.



Casas Particulares are very difficult to assess from the outside, you must enter here in Havana to see what is inside. The closer you are to the Parque Central, the more the people will follow you around and the more the girls with flirt, or do a gesture to kiss you. The closer you are, the more store that sell product with CUC, and the less store that sell with Moneda Nacional.

In my 10 days of living in the Casas Particulares, I have seen approximately eight people who were obviously living in this type of travel rooms. Today is December 13, 2009; I know there is a high season and a low season. However, I do not know where this is high or low, but for sure; there is an oversupply of this type of accommodations.

The people become indignant when you negotiate; they treat you as if you are a second-class citizen. The owners of this house have stopped talking to me, as soon as I got a discount, they distanced themselves from me, and more or less open they door and close the door.

I have tried to negotiate with three houses. The say no, it is not possible, we must pay taxes. I was only able to get a discount when I was really negotiating. It is not fun to be treated as if I am cheap. Yes, I am cheap in Cuba; however, the overall bundle of benefits of these rooms on a global basis merits no more than 10 dollars per night. The oversupply and the lack of tourist make this type of homes work on by being clever. The game in Cuba is always the same, we are you friend, we like you, we want to get to know you, how can you ask for a discount, we need the money and we are your friend.

I have lived in two Casa Particulares, in this time; nobody has come to the door looking for a room. I have never seen one person walking down the streets of the neighborhood with a backpack.

I do believe, there are Cubans returning from abroad, who stay in these houses. It is impossible to differentiate them from the locals.

I have seen one USA citizen in the 10 days I have been here, mostly I see Europeans tour groups around the Parque Central.

The highest and best usage for Cuba is as a Caribbean Island Resort, and fortunately or unfortunately, this also could if you wish include sex tourism. If you wish to see the architecture of the city, this can be accomplished in two to four days.

I feel the best reason to come to Cuba is to study socialism or communism before it completely fades away. Dictators are not fading away, they just die and are replaced by new ones.

I suppose negotiating or demanding good value for my money is a capitalistic concept, and in socialism or communism, I need to say I am happy.

Photos in Cuba House