There seems to be several cruising guides
for Cuba now available and noonsite even did a comparison of the 2 latest editions. Nigel Calder's cruising guide is also still available.
Lot's of rules and regulations
imposed by the Cubans. to sail in Cuban waters requires a sailing permit
which must list every place that you want to go. somewhat like Indonesia
. The only places that you can berth are at approved International marinas
which I believe there are only 4 and only 2 on the North coast including Varadero and Hemmingway in Havana. We base our boat in Cuba for 2 years in 2008 and 2009 working out of Varadero.
are terrible and not current
At that time you could not take a dinghy
ashore anywhere although you could anchor if the anchorage was on the cruising permit
. Even so you were likely to get a visit from the authourities within a short time after anchoring
There are 2 currencies in Cuba. One for the locals and one for the tourists.
The tourist Peso is pegged to the US dollar. this is a big money
maker for the government
. Better to work in Mone National and eat at the local restaurants if you can find a good one with edible food
The biggest wage earners there are the people working the tourist industry due to the tips. It wasn't uncommon to find doctors driving cabs as they made more money
that way than in their profession. the cleaning
ladies were some of the best paid people in the country thanks to all the Canadian tourists. Although there were quite a few Europeans there the culture I guess is not conducive to tipping. They can't wait for the Americans to come back as this should really help. The Canadians of course hope this never happens as we will likely get run out and of course prices will go through the roof from demand. 50% of the boats in Cuba are Canadian with lot's of full time expats. Quite a few American boats there as well at the time.
You cannot get anything for your boat over there and most boats made a run for Marathon or Key West
every 3-6 months to stock up even the American ones. Nobody checked in to the US when coming from Cuba especially the US boats. Never heard of anyone having any problems.
Obviously a big draw for the older ex-pats were the young Cuban girls who would get quite a boost to their economic situation. Knew one American guy that actually married a 13 year old. He was 50. We called him Pervert Mike. He is probably still there but his wife would be 20 now.
Havana was pretty much in ruins except for the waterfront. Once you walked more than a few blocks into the city many buildings were crumbling and the only floors that people lived on were at or near the top as otherwise you could get killed by falling concrete. The Melancon itself was very nice thanks to money provided by the Spanish Government to help rebuild
many of the buildings on the waterfront.
Lot's of rules and regulations
devices, sat phones, etc. which you could not take ashore. They treated the marinas's as outside the country with Customs
officials at the marinas who would inspect your bags leaving the marina and of course returning. Once they got to know you this was mostly a formality but there was one lady who use to bring back all sorts of donations from the Cubans in the US every time she went back and they would give her a hard time or charge her duty to be able to distribute these items to the locals.
You have to pay duty on the boat after being there 1 year. 5 or 10% of the boats value but this could usually be negotiated in advance as they would rather you pay something than just leave. We agreed on $500.00 US in duty on our boat at the time.
No floating docks there but the tides are not large so it is not too bad.
No issues with safety
at the time but we left there just when Fidel stepped down for his brother and there were lots of changes taking place. Business reforms that would allow private business ownership
as well as massive layoffs. I thought I heard that they had let 500,000 go just before we left.
Would be interesting to see how much things have really changed over there in the last 6 years.