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Travelling from Varadero (Riu Varadero) to Havana


#1

Hello All,

First trip to Cuba and i’m extremely excited. Staying at the Riu Varadero so any tips will be much appreciated.

But was looking for help in getting from Riu Varader to Havana. Booked a night at a casa (San Rafael 752, Havana, Cuba) and was wondering what the best way would be to get there? Was thinking the Viazul but it seems like such a long trip. Anyone know how much it will be for a taxi from the resort to the bus terminal. Where is the bus terminal? Is the Viazul the best way?

Plus once in Havana, any must see places. Going to do a few…
Old Havana, Old Square (Plaza Vieja), and walking along the Malecon (is there a certain section to walk or just enjoy the site?) to just relax and explore. Any good recommendations for good coffee shops and restaurants? Will i be able to pay in CUP or only in CUCs??

Thanks for the help! what a great forum this is, wish I found this out earlier!


#2

A reccomendation I’ll give you for lunch/dinner is Dona Eutimia, a Paladar in Plaza de la Catedral, at the end of a small street just to the left of the large restaurant in the Square. We had the most wonderful dinner there in Feb. You can e-mail Ariel and make reservations before leaving home.
Walk the side streets of Habana Vieja, have a Mojito on the Terrace at the top of Ambos Mundos Hotel, walk the Prado, have a “Specialty Coffee” at the Roast coffee house in Plaza Vieja, etc, etc, etc. No lack of things to see and do in Colonial Havana.
Don’t know about travel from Varadero… someone else can help you there


#3

Hi, imhungrynow, and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

Of course going into Havana via Viazul would be your cheapest option compared to taking a taxi.
I came across this comment regarding taking Viazul to Havana:

[quote=@cubamiga]It is easy to take the Viazul bus from Varadero to Havana. $10 each way. If you leave at around 8 am you get to Havana around 11 or so. It is a safe trip on a reliable bus similar to a Greyhound. You can get off at the first stop after the tunnel and be right in the heart of things.
[/quote]

Varadero is about 2 hours from Havana. My suggestion, as you are a first timer in Cuba, is to speak with your tour operator rep, at the resort. The rep should be able to provide some guidance regarding using Viazul. If you decide to go with a taxi, as with most hotels, you should find them outside the entrance. Private taxis are now legal. Speak to the drivers and get a quote on price. You can, probably, arrange drop off and pick up, for the next day. Personally, if we had the option, we’d use the Viazul. Unfortunately, the resort we stay at is halfway to Havana and Viazul is not an option.
As for Havana there is just so much to see:
[ul]
[li]Revolution Square and the Jose Marti Memorial-go to the top as the view is incredible & offers great photo ops
[/li][li]One of my favourite streets, in Old Havana, is Obispo (check out the small craft market on this street)
[/li][li]Walk down the Prado and cross the Malecon and turn left and walk along the Malecon - again, great photo ops
[/li][li]A tour of the Capitolio, if open
[/li][li]Take the elevator to the rooftop restaurant/bar at Parque Central Hotel - have a drink and take in the views and photo ops
[/li][li]Check out the gorgeous bar in the Saratoga Hotel (and have a drink)…humm, I see a trend developing ;D
[/li][/ul]
In Old Havana, alone, there is so much to take in it can become overwhelming. Study a guidebook and zero in to specifics of interest to you then ask any questions you might have. We’ll be happy to help out.


#4

Wow thanks for all the tips!!

Sounds like its going to be a lot of relaxing and drinking and taking in the views!

I heard the ice cream there is good… any particular places in Havana? Steve’s review showed a place but it is all the way in Vedado. Are taxis expensive to go from say Old Havana to Vedado??

Picked up the lonely planet guide and will be bringing that a long to.

Question about the Viazul, do i need to pre purchase right now while I’m in Canada or can i do it when I’m in cuba?

Oh an how much money do you suggest to bring to cuba? Staying at an AI plan to do a few excursions plus this overnight Havana trip. Total is 8 days. How much do ppl tip at an AI? Where do you leave the tip (on the bed) and do you tip the bartender for EVERY drink?

Thanks!!


#5

Buy your bus ticket in Cuba.
We do an overnighter (at a Casa) each year and, trust me, you really need to do your homework and zero in on what you want to do/see in Havana. Havana is a large city and Old Havana alone can take up most of the time you will have visiting the sights. It’s easy to get around. You can hire one of the “classic” cars for 1 hour for 30CUCs, about 30$. We did this and went out to Miramar to a cigar shop and it was so much fun! Or, another fun tour is the horse and buggy. We’d put off doing this over the years but were told by someone else that they’d enjoyed it so, 2 years ago, we gave it a try. It’s a great way to shoot video 'cause you aren’t zipping along like in a car. I think it was 10 or 20 CUCs - can’t remember- but it was pretty cheap. Always get a price quote.
As for the Coppelia - check out this site and the reference to a better place to get ice cream on Obispo (the street I mentioned in my earlier post). http://www.havana-unwrapped.com/coppelia-ice-cream.html
As for tipping, everyone has their own views. I leave 1 CUC for the maid, daily, on the pillow. If you leave it anywhere else, they won’t take it and that goes for gifts, also.
Tip waiters in the restaurants discreetly. We leave 1 CUC, per meal, under the edge of a plate, etc. on the table and 3-5CUCs at the ala cartes depending on the amount of service and the quality. As for the bartenders, no you don’t need to tip every drink. If I have a fancy drink made I’ll tip 1 CUC. To avoid continually visiting the bars, take down a thermal mug or double walled acrylic glass to use for drinks. It saves getting drinks in those small plastic glasses and the drinks last much longer. We budget about 10 CUCs per day for tips but it can run higher depending on circumstances. Some people don’t tip anything.
As for how much money to take - keep in mind that cash is the easiest form of payment in Cuba. Forget about debit cards. Check out the money thread for information about money in Cuba. Consider most or all of your Havana overnighter being paid for in cash and budget accordingly. The only thing we use the credit card for is purchasing cigars.
http://debbiesreviews.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=cubageneral&action=display&thread=20296


#6

Hey, hungry ! IF you do the horse and buggy in Old Havana as Steffie mentioned ask for David Williams - yes that’s his name and he is Cuban !! He is an older Gent, slightly built and wears a worn fedora. His English is perfect as he lived as a fisherman in British Columbia for 15 years and has also lived in the USA and other countries. He will give you a FULL perspective on Havana and will take you to sights and explain things like we’ve never had done before. 25 CUC and a tip for the horse ! He has a driver so he can speak to you as you “motor along”. If I remember correctly they’re by the Harbour entrance across from Morro Castle (Ave. de la Misiones and Ave. del Puerto).