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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the most thorough handbook on Cuba
If you're familiar with Lonely Planet, Rough Guides or Footprint, it comes as a bit of a shock when you first pick up the Moon Handbook - the best researched and most authoritative guide to Cuba (though it needs yet another update!)

Before visiting the island, I spent two days sprawled on a sofa in my local bookshop with a pile of 12 Cuba guides beside me. I...
Published on 17 Dec 2008 by Geoff Parkes

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly outdated and very shoddy writing in places
I was just in Cuba for a month with my friend, and found the places to go listed in the guide book by and large rather outdated- places touted as 'off the tourist trail' had clearly found their way on there by Easter 2014. Phrases such as 'the village was devastated by a devastating hurricane. Crikey!' were common and did nothing for the author's credibility to discern...
Published 1 month ago by Jessica Hao


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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the most thorough handbook on Cuba, 17 Dec 2008
By 
Geoff Parkes (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
If you're familiar with Lonely Planet, Rough Guides or Footprint, it comes as a bit of a shock when you first pick up the Moon Handbook - the best researched and most authoritative guide to Cuba (though it needs yet another update!)

Before visiting the island, I spent two days sprawled on a sofa in my local bookshop with a pile of 12 Cuba guides beside me. I went through comparing them town by town, topic by topic, map by map. The Moon Guide was in a league of its own. Four years and five visits later, I repeated the exercise (December 2008) with updated editions. Moon is still in the lead, though by a smaller margin.

Actually, I had never heard of Moon. Their guides, published by Avalon USA, cover USA, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. However, Moon Cuba is written by Englishman Chris Baker, a fluent Spanish speaker who has been to Cuba numerous times, including one epic trip on a motorbike visiting every far-flung corner of the country. He writes with intelligence and wit, telling us all we need to know about accommodation, travel and attractions but also offering insights into the history, people, customs and politics which most writers cannot hope to match. The maps are plentiful and detailed. Information on casas (family-stay accommodation - the best choice for most) is far more detailed than other guides, listing facilities and even interests and characteristics of the owners. The book is aimed at intelligent, curious travellers (most who visit Cuba are), whether backpackers on a tight budget or the less impecunious. So it's the best guide - but is it the best guide for everyone? Maybe not. If you're going for two weeks or less, and you think you'll never go again, you won't need its 800-odd pages. Rough Guide, with about 600, is probably the best of the rest. If you need glossy colour photos to whet your appetite, and you prefer hotels to private casas, choose either the Insight Guide or DK Eyewitness. Lonely Planet, the market leader, is also good (I rate it third) but you may not want it after you've seen Moon! Don't touch any guide with fewer than 300 pages: Cuba is a complex country and you'll need plenty of help!

Finally, remember that ALL guides are out of date before the ink is dry. This is especially true of Cuba, where change is more rapid and radical than most places. If you're wise and/or lucky, you'll buy a Moon edition published within 12 or 18 months of your trip. Buen viaje. Que lo pases bien!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best BUT !!!!, 26 Feb 2011
By 
Graham Hooker (Sussex UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moon Cuba: 650 (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
Invaluable in terms of comprehensive coverage and commonsense recommendations. But its still WAY out of date eg In Havana the Capitolio is closed for rennovation, as is the Hotel Inghilterra (long closed). And you bet they will remain closed FOR YEARS. But do try the roof terrace on the Hotel Parque Cental, at the back of the swimming pool. A neglected haven of peace and quality service for refreshments and a very reasonably priced lunch snack with fab views.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 15 Nov 2011
This review is from: Moon Cuba: 650 (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
This book is spot on with everything. Wasn't disappointed. All information correct and provides really good insights into areas besides Havanna.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great but missing cross references, 9 Feb 2011
This review is from: Moon Cuba: 650 (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
This is a great book with lots of great information on both history, sights and activities. Only thing really missing is a cross reference to a map with the description of a sight, restaurants etc. Only address is listed but when you don't know where the streets are, a reference to a page with a map and a location on the map would be great. Much like what LP does. Otherwise great book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must have, 30 Aug 2010
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of all the guide books we've used for Cuba this is the best-it knows Cuba better than ANY of the others!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good guide, 30 Nov 2010
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It's definitely bigger than the Lonely Planet guide. Some bits I didn't like - the maps sections for example, but it has got good sections on history, economy etc - very insightful comments. If you don't mind its size, get it. When I was in Cuba, every one had the Lonely planet guide, which is half the size of this one, but not as useful.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly outdated and very shoddy writing in places, 4 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Moon Cuba: 650 (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
I was just in Cuba for a month with my friend, and found the places to go listed in the guide book by and large rather outdated- places touted as 'off the tourist trail' had clearly found their way on there by Easter 2014. Phrases such as 'the village was devastated by a devastating hurricane. Crikey!' were common and did nothing for the author's credibility to discern. Often we found the casa prices had been raised since publication: perhaps because owners had discovered their new listing? Looking through the suggested itineraries at the front, it seemed the author was not geared towards writing for the long-term, 'slow' traveller: his suggestions involve 1-2 day pit stops in many different places around Cuba. One line I recall which we found particularly amusing was 'Cuba is no small country: it will take one month to explore its entirety'. We chose this because we assumed most people would be using Lonely Planet and therefore we would avoid the most popular tourist traps, but perhaps this was rather misplaced. Cuba itself is, however, a country in which it is difficult to leave the tourist trail, and Baker does a pretty good job of ensuring you have the best time possible if you are looking to stick to the tourist experience. We particularly enjoyed the section at the back with an insightful 'Cuban culture for idiots' short guide.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good book but already out of date, 15 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Moon Cuba: 650 (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
Great book but already out of date due to the rate of change taking place in Cuba. A good tip is to get which ever publisher has an up to date guide. History section very good and fascinating and an easy read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cuban insight, 26 Jan 2011
By 
J. Jennings (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moon Cuba: 650 (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
I've never used a "Moon Guide" before (usually it's RG) but thought I'd give them a go as it had the most recent publication date. I particularly liked the insights into Cuban life and its complexities. Our Cuban born guide said it was the best she'd found and sounded as though the writer had really lived there rather than just been on holiday!
When travelling independently the Casa recommendations were useful as even when they were full they passed us on in the system. We also used the paladar recommendations successfully.
I would have liked a more thorough language section, mainly because I forgot my dictionary! Only piece of dodgy information we found was that not all the International banks open on a Saturday, indeed the branch at the Havana Libre is only open till 1.30 in the week anyway!
Otherwise it was reliable, covered a lot of ground and gave a thought-provoking and enlightened commentary.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Handy Handbook for Cuba, 14 Nov 2010
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I bought the Moon Handbook to help plan my trip to Cuba, although I've been a loyal Rough Guide gal for many years. I found the Moon guide refreshingly different in its approach, and the author's passion for Cuba informed and enhanced the text. It's been an interesting and enjoyable read, and its helped with my planning, but in the end I bought the Rough Guide as well for the comfort of the familiar style.
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Moon Cuba: 650 (Moon Handbooks)
Moon Cuba: 650 (Moon Handbooks) by Christopher P. Baker (Paperback - 11 Nov 2010)
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