1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars
Dissapointing, 17 Mar. 2013
I'm disappointed in this guide in so many ways. If you are young and adventurous person (especially travelling on budget) I recommend you not to buy it. The guide mainly focuses on churches and monuments with little or no accent on nightlife, street markets, sports or places where locals go. In country like Cuba, where the best sights are not monuments and churches, but incredible people and everyday life on the street, I find it ridiculous. Also, sights are often described as "impressive", "worth seeing", "fascinating", etc. when you only get a regular church or unimportant monument (where the police usually won't let you enter) that you'll forget in a day.
Havana is explained in detail with a nice map of every part of the city. Too little space is given to Centro Havana, the most interesting part of the city for anyone who's interested in real Cuban life. You can forget about finding out anything about Vedado and Miramar in here. Nightlife is a special story. In the city of 3 million people, the only recommendations are Casa de la Musica (10-20 USD entrance), Dos Gardenias (and Havana Libre hotel(10 USD entrance, 4 USD beer) where 90% of people are prostitutes and drinks cost more than in your countries. Or course, there are also Tropicana and Parissien for 75 and 50 USD. Very nice if you went to Cuba to find chicas. There is so much more Havana can offer. Just take a walk on Malecon on weekends and you'll have more fun than all of those clubs combined. But that's not in the guide. Also there are so many clubs in Vedado and Miramar which are great but not mentioned.
Detail of description of Santiago is just ridiculous, a person would think there is nothing more than main square there.
Varadero is the best example of how professional Eyewitness Guide is. One 2* hotel is described as "one of the best budget options" with 48 USD per night (double room). I stayed in casa particular and payed 20 USD two minutes away from that hotel. Reading the guide you'll think that there are no casa particular in Varadero and maybe book the hotel in advance (necessary in high season) and lose a lot of money.
The only good thing is "Where to stay" section with lists of casas and hotels. If you don't have a fixed schedule it could be very useful. Descriptions sometimes sound better than they really are, though ("owners speak english", "rooms are clean" - cockroaches etc.).
I imagine the author of this text as a 65 year old pensioner staying in 5* hotel, having nice tours with bici-taxi in Havana Vieja in the mornings and then relaxing in the hotel pool before paying 50+ USD for a meal in the best restaurants and spending a quiet evening in Plaza Vieja buying souvenirs and drinking Mojitos, thinking how Havana is so well preserved and Cubans are happy people who just smile and dance where only two blocks away people don't have soap and toilet paper and 18 yo girls have to sell their body so their family can have something to eat.
Unfortunately I didn't buy the guide but borrowed it, otherwise it would be lying somewhere in muddy waters of Playa Ancon highly recommended by the good old Eyewitness Guide.
Cuba is a must see, but better spend money for this guide to buy soap and milk for Cubans.