Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
It would be hard to write a perfect guide to Cuba but this does a very good job.
on 31 May 2009
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!