Subject: Re: Cuba
Hi Marge

We were in Cuba February 2003 and had a great time.

In my opinion Havana should not be missed and most definitely deserves more than the day visit that many people take from their resort in Varadero. Almost everyone I've spoken to who has taken the day tour has made negative comments about Havana - e..g. "so much begging" 'poor food" etc. Well there is begging for sure , as there is in Vancouver and Victoria and many large cities but we didn't find it difficult to deal with - gave to those we wanted and politely said "sorry" at other times.

Cuba is not a place for "foodies" but the fresh fish we ate in Havana was good and we loved the great music and ambience of the restaurants. On the other hand I can't say anything encouraging about the food in our all Inclusive in Varadero'

In Havana we stayed at the Hotel National which was built in the 1930's by "The Mob". Our room was large and everything worked even though it was a bit dated. The public rooms and outdoor areas were spectacular and we thoroughly enjoyed just hanging out there and chatting wwith visitors from all over the world.

We walked a lot around Havana and found friendly people happy to speak English to us. At night, we took cabs but that would be the same in many large cities.

Other than Varadero, I don't know any Beach areas. The beach and water were quite wonderful at Varadero but it is, of course, simply an area of all-inclusives built specifically for tourists.

If we go back, we'd like to make our way to Trinidad also. We met some people as we were walking along the Malecon in Havana who were heading off there by train and we later received a card from them saying how much they enjoyed their stay there. As an aside, we actually re-met these people as it turned out that the woman had gone to Grad. School with my husband some 35 years ago!! As we always say it really is a small world..

Best regards Judy Abbotsford BC