My Cuban Suitcase!

Packing for your holiday in Cuba needs some thought! We at Encompass Tours are familiar with the situation and we’d like to pass on some packing tips!

Apart from the usual “clothing to suit the weather conditions and activities you plan to participate in” What else??????

Knowing what conditions are on the ground and that the US trade embargo means that shopping for EVERYTHING can be either limited, difficult or impossible to get in Cuba.

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Bring everything you think you will need for your stay. Any thing you can not live without and maybe some extras to give away to Cuban friends you have made during your stay!

My list might help you!!!

Toiletries

Sunscreen, Shampoo, Conditioner, Moisturizer, Insect repellent, soap antibacterial hand wipes/gel, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, eye drops, toothpaste.

Medicines

Aspirin, Paracetamol, Neurophen and any thing you take on a regular basis

Food stuffs

Travel kettle, Tea bags, instant coffee, black pepper (if you like pepper) chili sauce (if you like spice) Chocloate, Nuts.

Other essential items

Universal adapter

Phone plus charger

Camera plus charger

Chargers for any i pod, pads, tablets

Books to read on the flight

Clean English Pounds, Euros, Canadian Dollars, Australian Dollars in Cash (not travellers cheques)

DO NOT BRING

Scottish Pounds!! US Dollars!!

Damaged notes of any type

Dongles of any type or GPS will automatically detain your arrival in Havana and hours will pass waiting for the forms to be filled in and your hardware confiscated. You will be charged for it and can pick it up on your departure from the airport!!!! Best to check your baggage and not make delays for your self!!!

 

 

Music Port Festival

Music Port is Whitby’s annual world music festival! Encompass Tours will be promoting its famous “Cuban Snapshot” and “Mi Cubita” tours and asking the question “What do you want from a Cuban Holiday?” All input from you the general public will be considered in planning our new tours and increasing our ability to satisfy your holiday dreams!

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Join us from October 18th to 20th at the Whitby Pavilion for a “Journey through World Music” a holiday requiring No Visa or Passport!

Bring your dancing shoes and a thermos of tea for a beach party in the comfort of the Whitby Pavilion! For more information please download the flyer and poster from the links below.

Hope to see you there!

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A stroll down Obispo.Cuba

Obispo is Havana’s Oxford Street!

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Let’s take a stroll down Obispo! Turn your back on the central park and head down towards the harbour. Obispo acts as the main tourist route connecting the Parque Central to Plaza de Armas a stone’s throw from the bay of Havana.

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On your right Bar Floridita professes to be “the cradle of Daquiri”  and “one of the seven most famous bars in the world” it attracts crowds and is one of the many places Hemmingway left his mark!  The romance of his novels and the many stories of his years spent enjoying the good life in pre revolution Cuba are legendary.

Take your time! There are many things to delight and surprise the eye, the ear and the nose!

The street has blossomed into a cacophony of bookshops, bars, money exchanges, home goods stores, pets in tiny cramped cages, tacky tourist trinkets, and numerous cafes with musicians supplying the background rhythms.

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A couple of blocks on, the figure of Sancho Panza greets you on his mule and musicians play in the shade of some ruins converted into a restaurant and bar.

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New relaxations in the laws have triggered a fast growth of small business and enterprising Cubans are making the most of their new opportunities. Tourists have become more abundant and more approachable and hustlers who have always been present now have licenses to offer their services! Tourist police patrol the designated tourist areas and Cuba is very safe for tourists.

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If the heat is getting too much you might be feeling a bit thirsty. Why not pop into “Lluvia de Oro” for a coffee or a cocktail and imagine yourself back in the cold war days, a secret agent in Graham Green’s Film “Our Man in Havana”. It’s normally hot and the bars do well! Back out onto the street, music floats into your ears from all directions.

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It’s impossible to walk down Obispo without being approached by someone to buy something, go to bar, visit a restaurant or part with some cash to feed a needy family. The choice is widening and Cubans are learning about competition!

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Museums, tourist information, ice cream sellers, pizza sellers, opticians, artists’ studios/shops, shoe shops, clothing shops, flower sellers and Hotels.

Museums, mainly small, are everywhere! Many free to enter.

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The famous Café Paris is small but great music is usually on the menu, whether you stop for a cerveza or a meal. On the walls are memorabilia and photos of the much loved “Caballero de Paris”

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From here the aroma of baking will attract you in to Pastelaria San Jose and there is sure to be something sweet for a tasty snack.

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You are now on the door step of Hotel Ambos Mundos Hemmingways favourite! The view from the roof terrace is worth a visit in the beautiful old lift!

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Continue on past Mercaderes and you enter the colonial architecture of Plaza de Armas surrounding a park with some lovely Palms and flowering Frangipani trees. This Plaza is where second hand book sellers congregate. Beyond the glint of the sea can be seen below the huge fortifications defending the harbour!

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If you would like to see it all for yourself, why not join us on tour this winter to enjoy Cuba at its best!

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A Cuban Snapshot  http://encompasstours.com/tours/a-cuban-snapshot-7-days/

Mi Cubita  http://encompasstours.com/tours/mi-cubita-cuba14-days/

To read more of our Cuban news posts please link to Cuban News Posts

Havana Aquarium, Miramar

HavanaAquariumMiramar1A Cuban family outing!

Its the weekend in Havana. The city is full of tourists sitting sipping Cuba Libre and Mojitas in old Havana’s street side restaurants and cafes.
The air is hot and the breeze from the sea is only slightly cooling!
Young men and children plunge into the sea as it laps against the walls of the Malecon, down by the harbour these brave young men are delighting in the freshness and excitement that being in the sea brings. The only way to learn to swim is to take the plunge in the open sea!!

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Cuban families living in Havana don’t have many options for days out!
Going anywhere costs money and there is no sandy beach in Havana city for a cheap beach party.

Havana does have an Aquarium in Miramar and that can certainly entertain the family group!
The entrance is cheap and there are buses that stop outside the gates!

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Sadly not much information about the animals housed inside is displayed! It’s a case of looking, watching, asking friends if they know what names of the creatures are in the tanks, or even drawing some and finding out at school next week!

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Highlights are the shows! Dolphins and Sea Lions jump through hoops and balance balls on their noses while the crowds cheer and laugh in the blazing sun.

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Turtles seems to thrive in the murky waters of the central pond but their lives are not unmolested! Poked and prodded they endure manhandling from the children who know no better and from adults who should know better! Guards sleep in the shadows….

Wild Pelikans drop by for a snooze in the shade, but they are freeagents!!

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If you are a tourist you can take the Hop On Hop off bus tour and spend some time at the Aquarium or take a taxi!

Tourist price is in CUC convertible pesos locals in MN moneda nacional.

Have you tried our virtual bus tour?  Click on this link to Hop on the bus!
http://encompasstours.com/2013/04/virtual-havana-bus-tour/

Why not join us on tour and see Cuba for yourself

A Cuban Snapshot 7 day holiday
http://encompasstours.com/tours/cuba/a-cuban-snapshot-7-days/

Mi Cubita 14 day holiday
http://encompasstours.com/tours/cuba/mi-cubita-cuba14-days/