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Cuba Today: People and Society

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9 Days | 8 Nights
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
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EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
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Discussion Board

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Nicki Hamilton Feb 13, 2016 at 05:01 PM

In December I didn't have a problem. But I did bring packets of Off to dab on my skin.

Ronda Stevens Feb 13, 2016 at 02:26 PM

What are folks' experiences with going to or making plans to go to The Tropicana while in Havana? From what I have gleaned, it is somewhat pricey ($75 and up per person) plus a taxi ride, so maybe primarily attended by tourists? Worth it? The only ticket sale I found on-line is in Spanish, though I don't think I'd want to book ahead of being there unless that's necessary. We'll be with the group that begins on 2/23 with Cienfuegos as first stop.
Carolyn Butler Feb 13, 2016 at 02:55 PM

I'm interested in hearing about people's experiences with the Tropicana too. Even if it's pricey and touristy, it's so iconic that it would be fun to actually be there.
Ronda Stevens Feb 13, 2016 at 02:58 PM

Exactly! When are you going, Carolyn?
Catherine Hurst Feb 13, 2016 at 03:07 PM

I wanted to do this but couldn't roust any interest from traveling companions. There is a comparable, somewhat smaller, show at the Nacional. We went to see the Buena Vista Social Club Show (in a different venue at the Nacional) which was OK. Concierge at the hotel should be able to help you with Tropicana Reservations.
Carolyn Butler Feb 13, 2016 at 03:11 PM

I'm taking the Best of Cuba: People, Life, and Culture tour beginning March 31. I'm plugged into all the Road Scholar Discussion Boards that relate to Cuba in an effort to learn as much as I can from other people who are going or who have been to Cuba. The Tropicana is on my wish list of things to do and see. I had hoped to see the National Ballet of Cuba during my time in Havana, but they don't have any performances on the dates when I'll be there. I'll miss them by about two weeks. Fortunately, we'll be seeing a couple of contemporary dance companies as part of our RS itinerary. I wish you a marvelous trip and I hope you'll post some of your impressions and experiences on this Board.

Linda Osborn Feb 13, 2016 at 08:35 AM

My name is Linda Osborn and I am from Illinois. I'm still trying to connect to anyone going on the Cuba Today: People and Society-Havana and the Countryside from March 15 to 23rd flying out of Miami.
Roslyn Lang Feb 13, 2016 at 03:21 PM

I looked at the Tropicana website's video and I don't think it's my kind of show. Buena Vista Social Club is playing at the Nacional Hotel on Sat night, and we get to Havana on Sat, so I'm aiming for that one instead. I would also consider a jazz club in the city. Going to Cienfuegos on 2/23.
Catherine Hurst Feb 13, 2016 at 03:24 PM

Buena Vista Social Club was OK--not great.
Roslyn Lang Feb 13, 2016 at 04:26 PM

Good to know, Catherine. In what way not great?
Catherine Hurst Feb 13, 2016 at 05:04 PM

Opening act (about a half hour) was a comedian/musician who was really not good. We almost left. When the band came on, they were pretty good, but the audience really didn't catch fire. They had a pair of dancers who were OK (but I've been spoiled by Dancing with the Stars). There was a female soloist who was the best of the whole experience but she only did a couple of songs. The room was about half empty, and our waiter was pretty annoyed that we weren't buying more drinks.
Roslyn Lang Feb 13, 2016 at 05:26 PM

Thanks for the heads up! I love their music and have an album, but this sounds very touristy. I'm really interested in the music - not comedians and dancers.

Catherine Hurst Feb 13, 2016 at 08:35 AM

Donations: I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about this before I went; here is what I ended up bringing. Batteries, hair elastics and barrettes, colored pens, crayons, thumb drives, baseballs, sponges, hand towels, band-aids (plain and fancy), and alcohol wipes. As I've mentioned before, I would also include a good quality paperback book or two and condoms (both for the bookstore which requests these items). And I brought Hot Wheels cars to give to kids in public places (not beggars, but apparently there are very few toys in Cuba). And soaps (bar or liquid) for people who ask for it on the street.

Carolyn Hayek Feb 12, 2016 at 09:12 PM

How big an issue are insects?
Carolyn Butler Feb 12, 2016 at 10:12 PM

This will be my first visit to Cuba, and I'll be there in April. Without knowing for sure what to expect in the way of insects, I'm going prepared with both Picaridin and DEET. I've got lotion and wipes. I'm considering pre-treating my clothes by washing them with Permethrin or taking Permethrin fabric spray repellent along with me. This is the same chemical used in the manufacture of insect-repellant-impregnated clothing. Sawyer seems to make a good product. There are others you can check out as well. Here's a link to an article about Permethrin: http://sectionhiker.com/treating-your-clothes-with-permethrin/.
Bonnie House Feb 12, 2016 at 10:55 PM

I was bitten by sand flies on the beach at Bay of Pigs. These bites lasted several weeks and were very itchy.
Carolyn Butler Feb 13, 2016 at 12:57 AM

Good to know, Bonnie. Thanks for the info on the sand flies. They're very bad on the west side of the south island of New Zealand too, so we went very prepared. In that case, it rained the whole time we were there, and the sand flies don't some out when it rains, so we didn't get to put into use our full sand fly assault plan.
Catherine Hurst Feb 13, 2016 at 08:31 AM

I brought a standard insect spray with me and only used it when we were at the botanical gardens in Cienfuegos.

Nicki Hamilton Feb 12, 2016 at 01:24 PM

I didn't notice a smell of smoke in my hotel rooms.

Nicki Hamilton Feb 12, 2016 at 01:23 PM

You can rent a room safe. What I do is I have a light cotton case that hangs around my neck under my clothes and I wear my passport and my money.
Barbara R Carter Feb 12, 2016 at 01:28 PM

I locked things in my suitcase, as did our American guide.

Carolyn Hayek Feb 12, 2016 at 12:21 PM

It looks like we will each be carrying hundreds of dollars of cash. What's the best way to keep it secure? Are there in-room safes? Is there much street crime?
Janet smith Feb 12, 2016 at 12:46 PM

Janet smith Feb 12, 2016 at 12:49 PM

I wearva neck pouch when on the road with my passport, credit card, and cash. no need to worry about street crime at all, virtually non-issue and you are totally safe physically, unlike in much of US. yes, there are roomsafes available. registet at the front desk. at Nacional thry come up and set it up, at Jaguain ".
Janet smith Feb 12, 2016 at 12:50 PM

Janet smith Feb 12, 2016 at 12:52 PM

to continue...at the Jagua in Cienfuegos we registered, paid a fee and that was it. upon checkout they requested the reciept we had been given for the fee and the box is all.
Barbara R Carter Feb 12, 2016 at 01:05 PM

There is no street crime, especially toward Americans!! Cubans are thrilled we are coming there and look out for us.
LaVance Davis Feb 12, 2016 at 01:45 PM

Miramar in Havana had room safes. No,charge to use the I bOught a small piece of original art at a market for 5CUC.
Catherine Hurst Feb 12, 2016 at 05:38 PM

We had safes in both hotel rooms for $1.50-$2 per night fee. I used the safe for my extra cash, passport, and credit cards, and left other items to protect (costume jewelry, etc.) in my locked suitcase.

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