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Cuba
Post: #1
A few questions - 1. What is the size of the group going to Cuba? 2. Should I take tea bags? (Hotel supplied ones are usually those nasty Earl Grey things or weak Twininings stuff). 3. I would like to take things to leave behind for the population - any suggestions? I have been advised that stuff like soap, toothpaste, paracetamol and clothes would help but any ideas? 4. Am I right in thinking that an information sheet will be winging its way to me soon with information on money, electricity plugs, wi-fi access etc? 5.What is good to bring back in the way of souvenirs? (I like silver jewellery, is leather stuff good, panama hat, cigars I like anyway). 6. I can't remember whether I booked as a vegetarian - is it too late? 6. Am I panicking?
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Post: #2
Hi mycatfootso,

Firstly, calm down and trust me that you're in safe hands with Just You. Secondly, what date are you booked on? I will get all this information for you and hopefully answer all of your questions.

Kindest regards,
Monty
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Post: #3
Hi Monty,
Sorry, definitely panic setting in. I'm on the 7th March 'til 22nd March trip (2016). (As a 'lefty' and Che Guevara fan I've wanted to go to Cuba for 40 years and now with Obama loosening it all up for US travellers, and his newly announced visit it looks as though I shall be just in time to avoid McDonalds and Starbucks on every corner. I so hope that the Cuban people can maintain some sort of distance from the lure of the mighty dollar.) I'm not what you would call a 'people person' so am a little apprehensive of solo travel. However, if this goes well I shall be up for more. I've been interested in Madeira and wonder why JY do not offer any trips there. All for now, regards.
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Post: #4
Hi mycatfootso,

As a multi time visitor to Cuba I can perhaps help with some of these.
2. I did this tour in 2014 (albeit with Travelsphere) and from memory no tall hotels had in room tea/coffee making facilities. I had a travel kettle which was a life saver some mornings and I am not a tea drinker so not sure what tea was offered (when there were facilities) so I would suggest you take enough bags of your favourite brew.
3. Gifts are always good. I have usually gone through the wardrobe and taken a few shirts etc that could bear one last wear & leave them there. Your TM/Guide can advise re redistribution! As regards toiletries then it is pretty much expected that the toiletries in the room will be "liberated" by guests for redistribution and anywhere you are for more than one night it is expected that "liberation" will occur daily to maximise on what is being redistributed! Last trip there was a collection & these were taken back to the east of the island which is the poorer area. Pencils etc arte always good but I would caution against medicines (although needed) unless you can explain what they are & how they should be used. I would only give these via the guide. Last time I went I took some nylon guitar strings having got them for a knock down price from my local dealer. These are hard to get hold of in the more remote arteas and were very gratefully received.
4. You will get the blurb from Just You but in a couple of places I found European adaptors worked - usually in the bathroom socket! Useful therefore to have both - I charge a lot of camera batteries!
5. Lots of choice here - it depends what catches your eye. On the street and in private shops everything is negotiable. As for cigars then everything you are offered by hustlers on the street is likely to be bogus. Buy boxes etc only from proper cigar shops - if not regular cigar smoker then there are plenty of opportunities to buy single cigars as you go round & you can try a variety & then buy your favourites when you get back to Havana.

Monty will give you the specifics re your tour. Hasta la vitoria sempre! IanWight
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Post: #5
Hi mycatfootso,

I couldn't say it any better than IanWight! What fabulous tips - thank you!

1. There are 19 travellers booked on your trip with ages ranging from the mid-40's to the mid-70's, so there should be nice mix of people.

2. Cuban hotels do not usually provide tea/coffee-making facilities in their rooms. I always advise taking your own tea bags to guarantee a good brew.

3. As IanWight mentioned, we would recommend you stay clear from donating any medicine unless otherwise mentioned by your Tour Manager. Other than that, bars of soap, toothpaste, pencils etc should be fine to donate.

4. We will be sending out your final documents early next week, so keep a look out for it them on your doormat towards the end of the week.

5. I completely agree with IanWight here. Either make sure you travel lightly to ensure you have some space remaining for souvenirs or take clothing that you wouldn't mind leaving in Cuba. Just be wary if you purchase larger items, such as furniture, carpets, pottery and ornaments as it can become costly when they are delivered back to the UK.

6. We have noted that you are vegetarian, but regret this cannot be guaranteed. Local specialities include black bean soup, pork and red beans with rice and the hotels usually offer pork, chicken or fish as main courses. With this in mind, I can't see your dietary requirements being an issue.

7. Again, there is no need to be apprehensive. You will be joined by 18 other travellers and an experienced Just You Tour Manager to keep you company. The atmosphere will be relaxed and you'll have a chance to get to know the group over an evening drink on your first night.

If you have anymore questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Kindest regards,
Monty
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Post: #6
Hi,
I am going on this trip in November so thank you Ian. Your tips are very much appreciated.
Angie.
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Post: #7
Hello Ian and Monty,
Thank you both so much for the great advice and assurance - panic mainly over now. You can tell I'm a mainly European traveler - expecting a kettle in the room indeed! "None of those namby pamby soft options for you gringo!" My Spanish language skills are basic and although I travel to Spain to visit my parents every year or so I forget it all as soon as I return. I'm sure the mojitos will oil the wheels of understanding though (with a little help from a basic phrase book). Yes, I am definitely looking forward to the trip and meeting my fellow travellers. Thanks again for the postings. Love and peace,
mycatfootso
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Post: #8
I went on the Sept 2015 trip........ hotels don't have kettles so take your own water heater and tea. As a group we used to collect all the hotel toiletries and even lo roll to give to our guide, who would later give to people. But every day you will get Cubans near the hotel asking you for soap, shampoo etc . They basically need anything as everything is rationed in Cuba. When you leave, you can give any clothes you don't want to your guide.
Wifi access is very limited and very poor, so basically forget it for the trip!
Enjoy your holiday!!
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Post: #9
Thanks for the tips, I am going on the Nov 16 trip.
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