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I borrowed a dozen different Cuba guidebooks from my city's library to help me decide which book to actually buy and take to Cuba with me and I eventually decided on this book, along with the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. I travelled to Cuba for 17 days in January 2013 and found these books to be very useful (especially this one). The vast majority of other travellers we saw had the Lonely Planet guidebook, in fact we did not see anyone else with this guidebook. This is probably how we managed to have several experiences in Cuba where we weren't surrounded by a busload of other tourists.
First off, let me say that no guidebook can really help you to experience Cuba like a local. You would need to live there for an extended period of time and experience the hardships that many Cubans deal with on a daily basis. However, this book will help you to plan a trip to Cuba and to experience it like a well-informed traveller.
Pros: - this is one of the most recently published Cuba guidebooks I could find (April 2012) so includes some of the newer accommodation and eating options available - the first quarter of the book is dedicated to information on Cuba Today (people, religion, government, economy, food & drink), History, Architecture, Art, Music & Dance, Literature, Cinema, Nature & Environment and Tobacco. This provided plenty of context about what makes Cuba so interesting to visit - the second quarter of the book is dedicated to planning a trip to Cuba, such as when/where to go, what to see and do, calendar of events, getting there, getting around, where to stay and eat etc. - the second half of the book covers the various regions, cities, towns etc.Read more ›
My friend had this book for our two-week journey through Cuba. She bought it based on its positive Amazon reviews and the fact that other guidebooks seem outdated. SInce Internet access is difficult to find in Cuba, this was our main source of information until we found Lonely Planet and Eyewitness books in a casa particular in our second-to-last day. These were vastly superior in terms of coverage and ease of use. "Like a Local" is extremely difficult to navigate. Common words like "Hemingway" and "cigars" are absent from the index. There are too many unrelated "tips" and anecdotes throughout the book made us say nearly every day, "I know I read something about this, but I can't find it anywhere." Many of the bus routes don't list the number of hours. Some major attractions in Havana are missing; we wouldn't have gone to the touristy, but must-see La Bodeguita del Medio unless a taxi driver had told us about it. The only positive thing about the book is that it gave us something to ridicule throughout the trip -- specifically its ironic name "Like a Local," which is ridiculous. While it is probably impossible to experience Cuba like a local, this book makes no real effort to point out local restaurants and clubs. I can't even give it two stars.
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