Why Some Tourists Won’t Repeat Their Trip to Cuba

By Fernando Ravsberg

The Comodoro Hotel
The Comodoro Hotel

HAVANA TIMES — This past weekend I was at the Comodoro Hotel in Havana’s Playa municipality, which was full of tourists.  However, the elevator didn’t work, the remote controls for the room TVs were “lost” and there wasn’t a drop of water to bathe or flush the toilet.

But when we sat down in the lobby bar a miracle occurred right out of a Garcia Marquez novel; there was a leak dripping right above us. We moved to another table since no one could define what the liquid was, considering that it couldn’t be water.

At the front desk they barely catered to the tourists arriving one after another to complain. “I cannot be everywhere at once,” said the manager who explained with a sadness that was pitiful: “I don’t have an operator, I either attend calls or attend to you.”

Finally he was able to attend to the tourists and started with a South American about 40 years old on the brink of despair because: “I arrived with a baby, I had to climb 4 floors flights of stairs carrying my bags and when I entered the room it was unmade and without water.”

These sad realities do not appear on the Cuban TV news in national newspapers and in the speeches from the Ministry of Tourism but they are what will determine that, after the boom for visiting Cuba, tourists return to the island or say “never again”.


42 thoughts on “Why Some Tourists Won’t Repeat Their Trip to Cuba

  • It’s not only a question about Cuba…. I have been to many countries where this can happen…. Run down hotels are run down hotels…. Maintenance in hotels can be big problems. If you compare a 3 star hotel with a 5 star, you will see the difference in the services but also in the price ! So if you want something better, pay for it even in Cuba !!!

  • Neither does Siboney where Fidel lives. But have you taken a walk around Alamar or Marianoa? Have you looked at places like Candelaria where there are no tourists? Have you visited a beach for Cubans such as Salados and seen the garbage stretching for kilometres? I live in Cuba – hence my very sporadic contributions to these pages, but I can assure you that a complete city can experience a 6-7 hour power cut. Water runs down the streets from the leaking municipal system. When hiring a car from CubaCar at Jose Marti Airport, we had to wait for over an hour because there was no water to wash it! Welcome to reality. The fifty eight hotels at Varadero do not represent Cuba or its conditions.

  • The Iberostar in Trinidad, rated by Trip Advisor as No. 1 in Cuba, charges $350 per night but includes breakfast. Supper is an additional $35 (buffet), giving a total of $385. A Cuban schoolteacher with 20 years experience and the addition of a Master’s Degree, receives $350 a year plus $41.20 for the Master’s Degree total $391.20. That follows fifty seven years of ‘socialismo’.

  • As one who got to know Cuba by travelling by Viazul staying in casa-particulars, learning Spanish and marrying a Cuban and subsequently making my home there, I have never used a guide. I have a very positive view about the people of Cuba and a deep admiration for their tenacity, I think the country is beautiful. However, having travelled the country literally from one end to the other – Roncali Lighthouse to Baracoa, living as a member of a Cuban family becoming a member of the community, watching the insidious methods of the Castro family communist regime, as my knowledge has increased, so has my opposition to dictatorship, to ‘socialismo’, to repression, to oppression such as parents being sentenced to up to three years in jail for teaching their own children in their own home that there are alternative political systems, to the CDR spying and reporting system I cannot remain silent when the innocent or ignorant spout off about the wonders of the Castros communist system. A tour guide will always try to keep his group happy and that’s good as long as the group doesn’t imagine that it is seeing real Cuba. Tour buses will travel along the Malecon, along 5th Avenue, visit El Morro and La Cabana without mentioning that that is where Dr. Ernesto Guevara Lynch executed some 357 people before going off on his first world tour in July 1959 They won’t take groups on a tour of La Lisa and Marianoa. President Obama was shown a hospital that is only for paying foreign visitors, not one of those used by the people. I could go on, but will let that suffice for the moment. Glad you enjoyed your visit! Come back again!

  • Have you read the Cuban Democracy Act? Mr. Graves is obviously writing in ignorance and it shows!

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