IRISH TIMES: Squaring up to Cuba
- The Irish Times - Saturday, April 30, 2011
Squaring up to Cuba
GO ASK JOAN: From a teenage girl who wants party action in Estonia, to a young woman who would like a quiet activity break with mum, JOAN SCALES has the solutions
I want to travel to Cuba independently
I would like to go on a trip to Cuba before Castro dies and it becomes all Americanised.
I'm not interested in going on an organised tour as they are very expensive and all seem to go to Varadero which is an all-in resort so you might as well be anywhere.
I would like a week in Havana, to see the city and take a few tours outside. Would this be difficult to organise or would I be better off booking with a travel agency? It seems that very few airlines go there. Is the flight expensive and would it be safe to book a hotel on the internet? Is it easy to get a visa?
I would like to stay in the old part of the city if that's safe.
You are not alone in wanting to visit Cuba before things change. Because it is a long way away the airfare will be in the region of 1,000-1,300 return.
One of the most convenient ways there is with Air Canada from Dublin via Toronto. This only operates until September and fares are around 1,000.
Other airlines going to Cuba include Iberia via Madrid, KLM via Amsterdam, Air France via Paris and British Airways via London.
I think it would be a good idea to talk to a travel agent about your plans: Gordon Penney of Cuba Travel will be able to help you. He can be contacted at (01) 241 2385 and on Gordon@....
You do need a visa to visit Cuba, and the Embassy is at 2 Adelaide Court, Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, (01) 475 0899.
You should consider organised tours, not all of them go to Varadero and some do explore the real Cuba.
Explore.co.uk has a Cuba Solo Adventure that includes three days in Havana and visits Viñales and Santa Clara, the Bay of Pigs, Trinidad. There is also a boat trip to Cayo Blanco and no Varadero. It costs from 1,614 including flights, single accommodation, some dinners, and all tours.