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Varadero to Havana

There are nine of us going to varadero early november, can anyone suggest the best way to visit Havana or what to see. Would buying a tour from the hotel be the best.

thanks
Neil

First off, have any of you ever been to Cuba and or Havana before?

You could take an official tour. With nine of you, it is less easy to grab a cab and do a private one, but you could take the Viazul bus to Havana and use a guide book or meet a guide there. A good one who can arrange a tour for you is Jorge.

jorgeguide2004@gmail.com

I have used his services and he is excellent. He can likely arrange transportation as well if you prefer.

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. If you want to do the private tour both Pototo and Jorge are highly recommended. I think they can even send a van to pick you up at your hotel. If you take a tour package from the resort it will be a “packaged” tour and you will be lumped in with a lot of other tourists and have no option to customize.

Pototo’s coordinates are:

Pototo Tourist Services
Calle San Francisco # 214
Between Neptuno and Concordia
Centro Habana
Cuba
Phone: (+53) 7 878 5973
Cell: (+53) 5 291 0643
pototo1956@yahoo.com.mx

For me personally, I would rather a tour, either a private guide, or the resort tour, the first time I went to Havana. It is a very busy hustle and bustle place and until you get familiar with the area, could be a little bit intimidating, but after you’ve been there once I’d do my own self guided tour. That’s just my opinion.
I like the idea of getting to Havana on a Viazul bus because it’s very inexpensive, and then meeting up with a private guide.

Agree, a 4 hour walking tour with Pototo or Jorge is a perfect introduction to Havana and either of these guides will customize a tour for you. I personally have used Pototo’s service and can highly recommend him.

One couple has been to cayo coco, the rest of us will be our first time there.
Thank you for all the responses.
sounds like a private tour from one of them mentioned will be best.

I have to agree with Iggy1; for your first time to Havana a packaged tour from the resort is a good idea or a private tour. Much better to get your feet wet with someone knowledgeable than winging it, first time around. Personally, I’d go with a private tour where you can call the shots re length of time and what you see. I would strongly suggest that you do a bit of research, prior to going, so you have a bucket list of what you want to see/do in Havana. It’s a fascinating city and I hope you enjoy your visit.

My suggestions of what to see:
Jose Marti Memorial Museum and Revolution Square. Take the elevator to the top of the tower for incredible views of the city.
A tour of the Capitolio
Ambos Mundos Hotel - take the “have to see it to believe it” elevator to the roof top restaurant/bar, have a reviving cocktail and take in the incredible views over Old Havana
My favourite passtime is just wandering the streets of Old Havana soaking in the incredible architecture and keeping a sharp eye out of photo ops…they are everywhere :slight_smile: This is where research is important so that you know what to keep an out out for as you wander around.

You want to go to the bar Hemingway used to hang out in, it has a life size bronze statue of him at the bar, if I’m not mistaken it’s called The Floridita, and the big straw market, and you’ll need a picture of you and the cigar lady, there is so much but those are a couple of my suggestions

Just remember, she’ll expect a tip for the photo op :wink:

1 CUC for the cigar lady, the kissing girls in the square came up to me last year and wanted 5 CUC, I told them to get lost, but I did give them 1CUC
Apparently they are hired to do this by the government to help pay for the rebuild

I would spend a lot more time in Old Havana than New Havana, if you have any control over your itinerary.

1 CUC for the cigar lady, the kissing girls in the square came up to me last year and wanted 5 CUC, I told them to get lost, but I did give them 1CUC
Apparently they are hired to do this by the government to help pay for the rebuild[/quote]