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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Trader Vic's/Polinesio, Havana, Cuba (restaurant)
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Trader Vic's/Polinesio, Havana, Cuba (restaurant)
nui 'umi 'umi
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2011
Posts: 2445
From: La Mirada Atoll
Posted: 2015-11-13 12:45 am   Permalink

Mike, our recent trip to Cuba was organized by Kkjz radio out of Cal-State Long Beach here in California.Our tour was a jazz music appreciation visit. Hotels,Visa’s, Itinary all taken care of by the station and Havana Tours (offices in L A and Miami). We already had passports which you of course gotta have.
Flying to CanCun and then to Havana will save you a ton of moolah. Staying at private residences you’ll pay as little as 25 bucks a night as opposed to several hundred a night at for example the Hotel National. The govt. run Hotel National is the “flagship “ in Havana. There was a minor water leak in our room the first night and we were forced (upgraded) from a basic room to a luxury suite. I checked the rate chart and the basic room goes for about 200 dollars-The suite is upwards of 400 a night. It was a true suite and so big that we never used the separate sitting room. THe hotel has several bars (lotsa rum) and dining rooms and chock full of history. Plus you are only a couple of blocks from Polinesio in the Havana Libre Hotel, formerly The Havana Hilton. Polinesio is a must-see. If you can , Pack a couple of your duplicate mugs as gift’s for Osvaldo the manager/barkeep at Polinesio. He’s a gent and a tiki frteak. Small flashlights with extra batteries,nail polish etc. are much appreciated by the hardworking Cuban people.You’ll get a wonderful warm feeling when you slip these little gift’s in their hands.
Don’t worry you will know exactly when and who to give em to.
Not a big selection but absolutely the best prices on rum and cigars at the duty free shop at Havana’s Jos’e Marti Airport.They put it in a tamper proof bag and you take it on the plane in your carryall. If you have a connecting flight in the U S you’ll have to move the rum to your under the plane baggage. Caution though, some friends returning from Cuba Via Mexico had their rum and cigars confiscated by a custom agent who told them he was unclear on the rules so he was taking them just in case. We had no problem in Miami although the agent was puzzled why "anyone would want to go to Cuba”.
Good luck and please keep us posted.
Btw, feel free to P M me with any questions.

[ This Message was edited by: nui 'umi 'umi 2015-11-13 00:46 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 09, 2004
Posts: 1095
From: The Haole Hut, London, UK
Posted: 2015-11-18 02:52 am   Permalink

Remember, there is a lot more to Cuba than Havana! It is like going to New York and claiming you have seen America.
Cuba, outside of Havana, is incredibly safe and friendly. Although so is Havana, just a few Jineteros looking for a quick buck.
Hire a car, get off the beaten track, drive for hours without seeing another car down 8 lane highways and country roads.
Stay in the "Casa Particulaires" with local families who will treat you like their own. The food will be fresh and way better than anything you will find in Hotels.
The Cayos are nice to visit, but mainly Western Hotels. Make sure you book with a travel agent (usually at a desk in the Hotel) rather than at the desk, it will be a fraction of the price.

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Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2199
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2015-11-18 06:16 am   Permalink

cheekytiki, great advice, thanks so much for sharing. You're bringing me (and probably others) closer to making a visit to Cuba a reality.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11587
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2015-11-21 1:17 pm   Permalink

Anybody who is thinking to go, but not with an organized tour: I know a great local guide who knows the city and all the vintage time warp places. She speaks English, and can show you the sites that we love.

Hit me up on Facebook if you want the info.

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 917
From: Austin
Posted: 2015-11-25 1:52 pm   Permalink

Thanks everyone for your feedback! I don't want to derail this thread from it's focus so I'll message people privately for extra info as needed.

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