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I spent a couple of weeks Hobie Cat sailing in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. The sailing was awesome. The wind was awesome for all but two days. The boats were Hobie 15s which are slower boats designed for the rental market but were good up to about 10 knots of boat speed and were very forgiving, even in higher winds and surf.


Here is a clip.

Video removed by OP- comments of economics/political nature
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

How timely.
We are considering going to Cuba. Did they require a visa, and if so where did you get it? Was there a problem returning to the US with a stamp in your PP or did the Cubans, like the Israelis, just not stamp your passport.
Or, perhaps the first question I should have asked is are you a Yank or a Canadian?
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

I am Canadian, so I dont know how much applies to you, but at the same time, it would be worth the hassle for you, Cuba is an awesome country. This was my third time there. Very safe, we went with our 4 year old and 7 month old and had no safety concerns what so ever, kind of like Canada in that respect. There is very little crime. It is super clean, very little litter. The people are healthy and well educated with universal health care and university education. Roads are good. The live music is fantastic. The colonial architecture is awesome, we were in one city that was founded in 1515, and another that was founded later on in the 1500s (Santa Clara). The culture is cool, there are still folks riding around on horses and driving American made cars from the 1950s.

The Visa was $100 and was very easy, it was issued upon entry. No fuss.
They do stamp your passport. I have had no issue entering the US with Cuba stamps in my passport, I dont know if its different for US citizens, but I doubt its a problem. USCBP has never even mentioned my Cuba stamps to me in the past.

I know Cuba has opened up a lot to Americans in recent years, but I have never met a single American there. Lots and lots of Canadians, Russians and Germans.

I would say visit now before it changes too much, because I have already noticed a big change since Castro died.
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

I am Canadian, so I dont know how much applies to you, but at the same time, it would be worth the hassle for you, Cuba is an awesome country. This was my third time there. Very safe, we went with our 4 year old and 7 month old and had no safety concerns what so ever, kind of like Canada in that respect. There is very little crime. It is super clean, very little litter. The people are healthy and well educated with universal health care and university education. Roads are good. The live music is fantastic. The colonial architecture is awesome, we were in one city that was founded in 1515, and another that was founded later on in the 1500s (Santa Clara). The culture is cool, there are still folks riding around on horses and driving American made cars from the 1950s.

The Visa was $100 and was very easy, it was issued upon entry. No fuss.
They do stamp your passport. I have had no issue entering the US with Cuba stamps in my passport, I dont know if its different for US citizens, but I doubt its a problem. USCBP has never even mentioned my Cuba stamps to me in the past.

I know Cuba has opened up a lot to Americans in recent years, but I have never met a single American there. Lots and lots of Canadians, Russians and Germans.

I would say visit now before it changes too much, because I have already noticed a big change since Castro died.
Sadly, the present American administration has taken us back to the '80s policies in our relations with Cuba and our ability to travel there freely. My only real worry is that the PP office may see a Cuban stamp and not renew my PP when the time comes. This is a pretty vindictive administration. Perhaps it is time to get a Conch Republic passport if it will work in Cuba.
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

Sadly, the present American administration has taken us back to the '80s policies in our relations with Cuba and our ability to travel there freely. My only real worry is that the PP office may see a Cuban stamp and not renew my PP when the time comes. This is a pretty vindictive administration. Perhaps it is time to get a Conch Republic passport if it will work in Cuba.
Dont make it political...no benefit

They stamp a piece of paper you put in your pp, not your pp...unless you request that.

What are the best charts now available for cuba?
Im very interested in the southern coast
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

We didnt use any charts while I was there, I just sailed off the beach, which was about 2 miles long. My wife and I took turns sailing with my son so that one of us could be ashore with the baby, so we never really strayed too far.
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

Did you do any local shopping...food stuffs etc
Im told mobile Net access is expensive
Did you find any 'street food'...is that a norm or not in cuba
Did you have to buy/spend in cuc...how did that work for you
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

I am Canadian, so I dont know how much applies to you, but at the same time, it would be worth the hassle for you, Cuba is an awesome country. This was my third time there. Very safe, we went with our 4 year old and 7 month old and had no safety concerns what so ever, kind of like Canada in that respect. There is very little crime. It is super clean, very little litter. The people are healthy and well educated with universal health care and university education. Roads are good. The live music is fantastic. The colonial architecture is awesome, we were in one city that was founded in 1515, and another that was founded later on in the 1500s (Santa Clara). The culture is cool, there are still folks riding around on horses and driving American made cars from the 1950s.

The Visa was $100 and was very easy, it was issued upon entry. No fuss.
They do stamp your passport. I have had no issue entering the US with Cuba stamps in my passport, I dont know if its different for US citizens, but I doubt its a problem. USCBP has never even mentioned my Cuba stamps to me in the past.

I know Cuba has opened up a lot to Americans in recent years, but I have never met a single American there. Lots and lots of Canadians, Russians and Germans.

I would say visit now before it changes too much, because I have already noticed a big change since Castro died.
So you never got out of the resort areas and saw the devasting poverty where kids beg for t-shirts or shorts. Where people line up for a mile when the local grocery store finally gets some product like 2 tons of peanut butter and nothing else. Where guards search the employees of the resorts when they leave the property, where it is illegal to slaughter any animal for food unless it dies of old age. The Cayo Coco's of Cuba have nothing to do with what goes on in that country, Tourists are disinfected from reality. I have spent weeks in the mountains there and seen the suffering.

PS. Been there about 20 times for weeks at a time and have never seen a passport stamped.
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

We didn't really do any local shopping. I am not sure what the grocery store situation is, we ate in restaurants. However, I did see local shopping. Private citizens are allowed to open up little shops in the fronts of their homes and sell what ever. Pots, pans, pizza, cane juice whatever. I attached a pic a couple of homes where people are selling stuff off their front porch. The currency is the Cuban Peso, they are phasing out that goofy dual currency thing they had and it seems most transactions are handled with the Peso.


The Peso exchanges as roughly one US dollar. Things are cheap. A 1 peso tip will get you pretty far. A 26 oz bottle of nice quality Havana Club dark rum was 4.50. A 20 pack of Monte Cristo Cuban minis was 10.00 Pesos.

My understanding is you can not buy Cuban Pesos out side of the country, you have to exchange there, which was straight forward. From what I saw they could give cash advances on non American Credit cards (for example, my Canadian Visa worked), they would also exchange Canadian Currency for Cuban Pesos. I suspect Euros would be accepted too.

The only street food we bought was ice cream and beer. I paid 2 Pesos for a can of Buccanero on the street, you can probably get it for less. There are outside patio restaurants too, pizza etc. The restaurant food in Cuba is interesting. The ingredients are limited. We were at a pizza place that couldn't make pizza because they had run out of flour and didn't seem to have any way to immediately rectify the problem.


The Cuban Peso is easy, you hand over a bill, they give you change. Just like in Canada or the US.

Local transportation is a mix of horse drawn taxis, old American car taxis and newer, Russian or Chinese vehicle taxis and old buses. You can rent motorcycles and jeeps in touristy areas. I have done both, I find Cuban roads to be reasonably decent roads to drive or ride on.

Here is a pic of a street vendor and a bank.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

So you never got out of the resort areas and saw the devasting poverty where kids beg for t-shirts or shorts. Where people line up for a mile when the local grocery store finally gets some product like 2 tons of peanut butter and nothing else. Where guards search the employees of the resorts when they leave the property, where it is illegal to slaughter any animal for food unless it dies of old age. The Cayo Coco's of Cuba have nothing to do with what goes on in that country, Tourists are disinfected from reality. I have spent weeks in the mountains there and seen the suffering.

PS. Been there about 20 times for weeks at a time and have never seen a passport stamped.
Well if I cared to share an image of my passport on the internet I could show you where the passport was stamped in red ink both clearing in and out of the country, so... When were you last there, I got back yesterday.
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

We didn't really do any local shopping. I am not sure what the grocery store situation is, we ate in restaurants. However, I did see local shopping. Private citizens are allowed to open up little shops in the fronts of their homes and sell what ever. Pots, pans, pizza, cane juice whatever. I attached a pic a couple of homes where people are selling stuff off their front porch. The currency is the Cuban Peso, they are phasing out that goofy dual currency thing they had and it seems most transactions are handled with the Peso.


The Peso exchanges as roughly one US dollar. Things are cheap. A 1 peso tip will get you pretty far. A 26 oz bottle of nice quality Havana Club dark rum was 4.50. A 20 pack of Monte Cristo Cuban minis was 10.00 Pesos.

My understanding is you can not buy Cuban Pesos out side of the country, you have to exchange there, which was straight forward. From what I saw they could give cash advances on non American Credit cards (for example, my Canadian Visa worked), they would also exchange Canadian Currency for Cuban Pesos. I suspect Euros would be accepted too.

The only street food we bought was ice cream and beer. I paid 2 Pesos for a can of Buccanero on the street, you can probably get it for less. There are outside patio restaurants too, pizza etc. The restaurant food in Cuba is interesting. The ingredients are limited. We were at a pizza place that couldn't make pizza because they had run out of flour and didn't seem to have any way to immediately rectify the problem.


The Cuban Peso is easy, you hand over a bill, they give you change. Just like in Canada or the US.

Local transportation is a mix of horse drawn taxis, old American car taxis and newer, Russian or Chinese vehicle taxis and old buses. You can rent motorcycles and jeeps in touristy areas. I have done both, I find Cuban roads to be reasonably decent roads to drive or ride on.

Here is a pic of a street vendor and a bank.
You missed the boat, there are two different peso's. The "convertible peso" and the "cuban peso". The convertible is what they foist on the tourist claiming it is equal to a US dollar. The real peso that the Cubans are forced to use is worth about 1/20th of the tourist peso. You can buy the Cuban peso on the street if you're discreet.

Suggest you research Cuban Peso
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

Well if I cared to share an image of my passport on the internet I could show you where the passport was stamped in red ink both clearing in and out of the country, so... When were you last there, I got back yesterday.
We were there one month ago and going back on Monday night. We have interests there.
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

We were there one month ago and going back on Monday night. We have interests there.
Are your interests in sailing? Because this thread was about Hobie Cat sailing, not Cuban Economics. You do sail, right?
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

Yes and yes I do.
You will have to excuse me if I remain skeptical, because I have never seen you make a post about sailing. You claim you have never seen a passport stamped in Cuba and yet I am sitting here with 4 passports in front of me; wife, son, daughter and my own each with red ink stamps for both clearing in and clearing out of the country, so who am I going to beleive, me or you. You guessed it- me.

Now I havent made any claims that I am an expert on Cuba, a couple of posters asked me about my experiences and I shared my observations. My stated purpose for visiting the country was a couple weeks of Hobie Cat sailing, and yes we did other things as well, including kayaking, snorkeling and some touring around. No where did I statethat I had some kind of unique expertise on the subject. I just shared my observations.
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

You will have to excuse me if I remain skeptical, because I have never seen you make a post about sailing. You claim you have never seen a passport stamped in Cuba and yet I am sitting here with 4 passports in front of me; wife, son, daughter and my own each with red ink stamps for both clearing in and clearing out of the country, so who am I going to beleive, me or you. You guessed it- me.

Now I havent made any claims that I am an expert on Cuba, a couple of posters asked me about my experiences and I shared my observations. My stated purpose for visiting the country was a couple weeks of Hobie Cat sailing, and yes we did other things as well, including kayaking, snorkeling and some touring around. No where did I statethat I had some kind of unique expertise on the subject. I just shared my observations.
You also commented on social, monetary and historical aspects did you not ?
I am not about to detail my personal business to you but you can check me out with Commodore Jose Eschrich next time you are in Havana, you know who he is right ?
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

I am not about to detail my personal business to you but you can check me out with Commodore Jose Eschrich next time you are in Havana, you know who he is right ?
I couldnt care less. If I was interested in power boaters name dropping I would join a yacht club.
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

You Googled him already ! ..... :)
No I didnt, like I said I dont care. I am seriously wondering about your geography now too. I post a video about Hobie Cat sailing in Cayo Santa Maria and you start going on about some commodore in Havanna. Seriously. Look at a map.
 

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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria

No I didnt, like I said I dont care. I am seriously wondering about your geography now too. I post a video about Hobie Cat sailing in Cayo Santa Maria and you start going on about some commodore in Havanna. Seriously. Look at a map.
If you knew anything about sailing in Cuba, which you apparently don't. You would know who he is.
 
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