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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect - but as good as you're likely to get
I've just used this book to help me in my travels round Cuba and while it's not perfect, it was invaluable. The potted histories and local insights are all as well written as you would expect from the Rough Guides.
The book's usefulness is, admittedly, limited by the rapidly changing nature of much of Cuba. Paladars (the privately run restaurants) open and close...
Published on 10 Feb. 2004

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as other Rough Guides
We used this guide to travel around Cuba independently for two weeks. It's not as good as other Rough Guides we've used in the past (Kenya, Egypt).

While it isn't particularly bad, there are a few issues:

The maps of Havana are worse and smaller than in the previous (2005) edition of the guide, and there's no map of the area between Centro Habana...
Published on 20 April 2008 by Jonathan


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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect - but as good as you're likely to get, 10 Feb. 2004
By A Customer
I've just used this book to help me in my travels round Cuba and while it's not perfect, it was invaluable. The potted histories and local insights are all as well written as you would expect from the Rough Guides.
The book's usefulness is, admittedly, limited by the rapidly changing nature of much of Cuba. Paladars (the privately run restaurants) open and close all the time, musicians spring up here and there and then vanish again apparently without warning. And such seems to be the way of things in Cuba at the moment - all part of the charm. You just have to go with the flow and sometimes you strike gold, other times you find that the gold has moved on.
This guide contains accurate maps (better than many tourist maps available in Cuba - one good reason to buy it) and fair assessments of the more stable attractions such as museums, hotels etc, and that's about as good as you can hope for in a rapidly changing country.
To my knowledge the Rough Guide is currently a more recent edition than offered by its main competitors which in my opinion is a big selling point, given the changing nature of Cuba. If you're going, I recommend it. Don't rely solely on local maps and guidebooks which aren't plentiful and also tend to be slanted to emphasise what the Cubans think we tourists want to see and what they want to show off.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as other Rough Guides, 20 April 2008
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We used this guide to travel around Cuba independently for two weeks. It's not as good as other Rough Guides we've used in the past (Kenya, Egypt).

While it isn't particularly bad, there are a few issues:

The maps of Havana are worse and smaller than in the previous (2005) edition of the guide, and there's no map of the area between Centro Habana and Vedado - you have to flick between two maps and there are no street names on the overlapping area. We ended up carrying the DK Eyewitness travel guide for Cuba just to have a half-decent map.

The writer(s) seemed to get bored of Cuba and there's a thread of cynicism and sarcasm that, while generating a smile at first, does become very tedious as it threads throughout the whole book.

Also, there are no bus timetables included.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Rough Guide not quite up to usual standard, 3 Sept. 2003
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Mr. Timothy Woffenden (Sevenoaks, Kent) - See all my reviews
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This guide book is not as reliable as others in this normally excellent series. It tends to over-rate some of the sights - such as the comically old-fashioned Camilo-Che room in the Museum of the Revolution, and the restaurant recommendations are often wayward. The text often contradicts itself, and among the unmissable recommendations at the beginning of the book there are sights which are hardly remarkable.
This being said it is the most thorough guide book for Cuba, and is awash with listings.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really, Really Useful and Up-to-Date, 9 Nov. 2007
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We have just returned from a 2-week holiday in Cuba - including Havana, Santiago,Trindad, Camaguey and Guardalavaca. The book is a bit unwieldy to carry around but is bang up-to-date. We used it for example to find "paladares" in which to eat. It is informative, contains an amazing amount of detail and is very thoroughly researched. And the advice about what to do - and what not to do ( or avoid) is spot on. A great buy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It would be hard to write a perfect guide to Cuba but this does a very good job., 31 May 2009
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C. Frost "Charlie Frost" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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Having read the other (very mixed) views on here I have to say I found the Rough Guide to Cuba one of the best country guides I've used.

As has been mentionned by another reviewer, the authors often have a slightly cynicical view of Cuban facilities and destinations, and upon reading it before we went it made me wonder if the place was going to be pretty awful, as usually Rungh Guides are so enthusiastic. Now I've visited the country, I would give the exact same advice as the authors - and I loved the place.

I think that rather than falling into the typical trap of being so enthusiastic about everything that the reader doesn't know which are the best places to visit and panics that they can't see it all, these authors are very genuine about which museums etc are a waste of time and which are worth seeing. I found that if the author said something was good we also found it was worth seeing. In regard of any of the other negatives they talk about, I think you need to be aware that Cuba is not some glossy holiday resort - it is a very poor country where people do not have the same attitudes as we do, so you will be very disappointed if you aren't aware of this before you go.

I think this is the reason for the lack of timetables for buses and trains - as everything runs on "Cuban time" I think it would be pointless to publish one, as we were told that buses could come "30 minutes either way of when they're meant to"... basically you have to go to a bus stop and one will turn up within an hour or so!

The part I found most informative (both before my trip and for consulting during our holiday) was the history section at the back. I didn't really understand the ins-and-outs of the revolution before I read this, but due to the information in this book I could understand why things were as they were around Havana and could have respectful conversations with the Cuban people we met.

I would really reccomend this book to anyone who plans to do any exploration of Cuba, even if you are on a package holiday - thankfully this book is not like many others who look down on you if you're not traveling round on the back of a horse and cart!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My guide round Cuba, 18 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Rough Guide to Cuba (Paperback)
I travelled round Cuba for 2 weeks and found the guide invaluable. In a country where public transport is tricky to navigate, the book offered pretty up-to-date information and options.
The most useful recommendation was a lovely woman who owned a Casa Particular in Centro Habana. She was full when we arrived so got her son in law to put us up. It was right in the middle of "real" Havana and I happily spent time just being part of life there. Her recommendations kept coming, with CP to stay in Trinidad and Santiago - both of which were the most beautiful colonial houses and owned by the loveliest people.
Places to eat were spot on, especially if you learn to love the ubiquitous "delicious black beans". Things change so fast in Cuba that sometimes we found some things had moved on or ceased to exist - like a salsa dance studio - but some chat with the local Cubans soon found an alternative place or experience. In short, the book was a great guide, starting point and crutch, the rest of Cuba soon unfolds through the people...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS BOOK, 10 May 2011
This review is from: The Rough Guide to Cuba (Paperback)
Don't leave for Cuba without this book!
On my recent trip I found this book invaluable. When planning my trip it provided excellent overviews of each region to help me and my friends plan our 3 week stay, but when we arrived into Cuba the book came into its own and really helped us get the most out of this holiday. The restaurant recommendations were faultless and really helped us negotiate the best tasting and value places to eat. We also took the advice on staying in Cuban homes during our stay which enabled us to really get in touch with the Cuban culture and people, who all proved to be ultra friendly and helpful families - the best of which was in Havana at Casa de Miriam y Sinai.

There was so much to see that I could have missed out on some real gems if I had not read the book, especially the Havana section. There were also some nice touches, with snip bits of info on the history of Cuba which helped me to appreciate how interesting the country really is.

Brilliant book, well written, with exhaustive information to assist anyone making the trip over to Cuba.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't leave home without it!, 3 Oct. 2010
This review is from: The Rough Guide to Cuba (Paperback)
Just got back from a month travelling around Cuba with the new edition of the Rough Guide to Cuba and found it absolutely invaluable. Reading some of the other reviews I can only assume that this guide has improved greatly since earlier editions as I found both the maps and the reviews very reliable. My friend and I used the restaurant recommendations to determine where we ate out most nights and we always felt the reviews were accurate. Anyone who's been to Cuba will know that eating out is a bit of a gamble but the authors fully acknowledge this and we always knew what to expect thanks to the guide - and discovered some unforgettable restaurants. We stayed in houses with Cuban families (called casas particulares) everywhere that we went and thanks to the guide we found some amazing houses and this really made our stay. Personally I would have liked to have had a bit more on the current state of Cuban politics in the history section but this is a minor criticism of what is overall a brilliant guide.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A travel guide missing the point of travelling, 8 Aug. 2008
In short, the rough guide to Cuba was a sincere disappointment to me.
Of course it was not all bad, the almost 700 pages certainly contain loads of background information about Cuba which are informative and worthwhile to read. However, there a three major points that bug me the most and which I consider to be essential to any travel guide.
1) Maps: Detailed maps of Cuba, its provinces and its cities are vital for travelling around. Especially the regional maps lack in detail with important places left of the map. When directions in the guide are phrased as such: "the best place to stay in the mountain area is the villa santo domingo, about 68km souhtwest of Bayamo" and the place is not on any map it is somewhat hard to find.
2) There is an awkward logic to the guide, I found myself flipping back and forth through the guide in search of where the information is. This could have easily been solved with references to other pages. Also information on (hotel) prices are vague and general.
3) But, most of all the guide is written by a car-lover, who has neglected travel information on busses and trains. Over and over again the authors write that you need a car to go around (which of course is partly true at best). Bus and train routes, timetables and prices are severely neglected, probably because the authors assume you will rent a car anyway. For example, to reach Bayamo by train the authors write: "the train station is on calle Linea" and leave it at that! No further information.

So, for those who use the car the Rough Guide to Cuba will do just fine if you buy a good road map. Those who like to explore Cuba by public transport (as I do), pick another guide. This travel guide has ignored the essential: offering guidance in travelling around.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very out of date info, 28 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Cuba (Paperback)
I really wonder what constitutes a Lonley Planet or Rough Guide being 'New and updated' as it doesn't seem to involve any checking of information.

Much of the information was out of date. These books were obviously well reserached when they were created many years ago, but now they are just a licence to print money. There is defintely a gap in the market for guide books that constantly evolve, with the internet this should be an achievable task.

Rough Guide offer readers whose updates get published a free copy of the next edition, most people only go to a country once so this isn't a very good motivator for people to contribute.
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The Rough Guide to Cuba
The Rough Guide to Cuba by Matthew Norman (Paperback - 1 Sept. 2010)
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