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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For travelers who get out of the tourist resorts
I've been to Cuba seven times. I met my wife on the second trip. 99% of tourists never leave the resorts, except for an excursion to Habana Viejo (Havana's old city). Most of the guidebooks are for those people, presenting only the places that tourists go. Of those guidebooks the Lonely Planet guidebook (Sainsbury, 4th ed.) is the best.

Only one guidebook...
Published on January 26, 2007 by Thomas D. Kehoe

versus
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Latest edition is Lonely Planet-sized, and no better than Lonely Planet
WARNING! MOST OF THE OTHER REVIEWS YOU SEE HERE ARE FOR AN OLDER 2006 EDITION OF THE BOOK!!! My review is for the 2010 edition.

SMALLER THAN BEFORE: Previous reviewers gushed about its detail (especially in comparison with LP). I was a bit puzzled initially, until an owner of a casa particular showed me the 2006 edition, which was massive in comparison. It is...
Published on January 10, 2011 by FredJohnston1981


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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For travelers who get out of the tourist resorts, January 26, 2007
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I've been to Cuba seven times. I met my wife on the second trip. 99% of tourists never leave the resorts, except for an excursion to Habana Viejo (Havana's old city). Most of the guidebooks are for those people, presenting only the places that tourists go. Of those guidebooks the Lonely Planet guidebook (Sainsbury, 4th ed.) is the best.

Only one guidebook covers every pueblito on the island. My 4th edition of the Christopher Baker's Moon Handbook is falling apart from too much use. I'm ordering the 5th edition for my trip in a few weeks. The Moon guide is not only complete, it is a pleasure to read. Baker is a fine writer. The photos and maps are excellent too. The history of Cuba in the back is better than some of the history books I've read. If you want to go to Cuba's less popular national parks (i.e., not Vinales or Topos de Collantes) you'll have to get Baker's guidebook, as this is the only book that covers the undeveloped national parks.

I liked Baker's guidebook so much that I read "Mi Moto Fidel," his book about writing the first edition of the Moon guidebook. My only complaint about the Moon guidebook is that it makes me want to take six months and see all the amazing places he describes. Also, my wife and Cuban in-laws are continually shocked at the out of the way places I want to see. They just want to go to a resort and lie by the pool (they weren't allowed to enter resorts until a couple years ago, so this is a dream to them). I want to go see something the Baker found -- an American fighter-bomber that was shot down in the Bay of Pigs invasion, miles down a rugged trail; or hire an ornithologist to go into a swamp to see a bee hummingbird (the world's smallest bird); or hire a guide to explore the Gran Caverna de San Tomas, Cuba's biggest cave.

**update** The 5th edition (2010) is much smaller. My favorite resort, Hanabanilla near Manicaragua, was left out because few tourists go there (which is one reason I like it). I wish that Christopher Baker had updated the 4th edition and then the publisher had released it on the Kindle. The 4th edition was heavy to carry around. What would be perfect would be to carry the Lonely Planet guide (in print) and have the 4th edition Moon guide on your Kindle.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Latest edition is Lonely Planet-sized, and no better than Lonely Planet, January 10, 2011
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This review is from: Moon Cuba (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
WARNING! MOST OF THE OTHER REVIEWS YOU SEE HERE ARE FOR AN OLDER 2006 EDITION OF THE BOOK!!! My review is for the 2010 edition.

SMALLER THAN BEFORE: Previous reviewers gushed about its detail (especially in comparison with LP). I was a bit puzzled initially, until an owner of a casa particular showed me the 2006 edition, which was massive in comparison. It is now much humbler-sized and thus skimpier in the details.

SURPRISINGLY OUTDATED: Though it's listed as being published in Nov 2010, information was not always up to date. (I was in Cuba Dec 2010-Jan 2011.) No surprise, since it's written by one man, and it takes probably a year (or more) to thoroughly research the sizeable island of Cuba. (Other guidebooks suffer from the same.) Nonetheless it is still (at least in Jan 2011) the most up-to-date book.

DOESN'T HELP TO SAVE MONEY: Christopher Baker is also a man of somewhat expensive tastes. True, anyone on a shoestring budget shouldn't be going to Cuba which is very expensive. Nonetheless, it is astounding to read his claim that "There is very little that you will need pesos for."
e.g. food: The book never mentions where you can find panaderias, decent street pizzas/batidos/sandwiches, fruit and vegetable markets, etc. In Havana especially one can save a lot of money by going to these places. True, these are all very limited in variety and of dubious quality (more so outside of Havana), but sometimes it's OK, especially considering how much you can save. e.g. A large loaf of bread is 3 pesos, and a "small" avocado (at least as big as the biggest ones you can find in the US and much sweeter) is 7 pesos - that's a meal for 40 cents CUC. Compare this with any paladar where a meal costs usually 5-10 CUC at least.
e.g. taxis: If you speaks fluent Spanish and can masquerade as a local, you can take the cheap "Cuban" taxis for 10 pesos to go pretty much anywhere in Central Havana, rather than always getting ripped off by the official taxis. No mention of this in the book.

MAPS: Not as easy to use as LP's. A simple key (a la LP) would have helped. The Havana maps were especially annoying because you kept having to flip back and forth to find the correct map. A simple solution would've been to collect maps in consecutive pages, instead of scattering them throughout the Havana section.

The background section (history/government/society/etc) is superior to LP's.

Other than that it's pretty similar to LP. Nonetheless a decent alternative/complement to LP, especially since he gives rather different opinions/recommendations.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing detail!, May 12, 2007
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I heard this author interviewed recently by Rick Steves and his unbridled enthusiasm for Cuba (as it is today) really tempted me to go. His book gives advice about places to see if you only have a limited time (and, as tourists, we only have limited time) and the considerations for Americans about how to go legally are very practical. The book has web sites to use to reserve the required first 3 nights in Cuba and tips on where to stay, what the currency is, and all the things you'd want to know about any first-world country ... and he adds honest comments about the poor infrastructure and the poverty in the country.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Job, March 8, 2007
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I've literally been around the world backpacking with Lonely Planet guides and like them a lot for budget travel. This is my first experience with Moon and I like this one better. I also ordered the Lonely Planet Cuba guide at the same time and they were released in October and November, '06 so they're comparable in that sense. The Moon is a little heavier which is a consideration if you're traveling light, but that's not insurmountable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Travelers to Cuba, January 19, 2012
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This review is from: Moon Cuba (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
This is an even-handed, up-to-date guide book that provides an excellent, concise summary of Cuba's history. Baker describes the many good things about the country and covers the futility of the US embargo. However, he does not hesitate to mention Cuba's shortcomings. Having just returned from two weeks in Cuba, we were glad Baker's book prepared us well for what to expect.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best travel book available for ALL you need in Cuba, May 26, 2007
By 
Mr. J. Baillie "J.G.B" (Little Rock,ARKANSAS USA) - See all my reviews
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This up to date and concise travel guide covers absolutely everything you would need to know about Cuba- the poeple,economy,goverenment,where to go ,what to see and how to do everything and what not to do.Unbelievably complete in every way.Forget Fodors or Frommers-this is all you will need.

J Baillie, USA.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully content is not as outdated as writing style, November 18, 2010
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This review is from: Moon Cuba (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
This book is interesting and informative. Bible-thin pages allow for a lot of information to be squeezed into a relatively small package. One aspect of Moon's guidebook that excited me was a listing of timetables for cross-country trains, which last time I went to Cuba I had heard weren't running with reliability. Unfortunately, the writing style of this guidebook was at times inappropriate. For example, the use of the word "schizophrenic" to describe two ironically opposing ideas is tactless, if not simply trite. The major concern I have, however, is the fact that this edition of the guidebook, recently released at the end of October 2010, makes no mention of Cuba's new policy requiring all international travelers to have a specific health insurance coverage, which was to cost an approximate 3 CUC/day, purchasable at the airport upon arrival in Cuba. This was announced by the Cuban government nearly one year ago, and was to be initiated last spring. Hopefully, it was the Cuban government that dropped the ball on that, and not Moon. Otherwise, there will be many unhappy travelers, myself included. Overall, I would say that this is a great guidebook, and also the most recently released guidebook on Cuba as of this review.

My trip to Cuba is coming up soon, and I return home at the end of December. I will update my review as necessary, but for now I give moon a tentative 5 stars, despite Christopher Baker's occasional poor judgement in wording.

**edit** Cuba is indeed randomly checking for insurance now. Insurance can be bought at the airport if you are stopped, but you may be locked in a room without your passport for a couple hours until they process you. Negligent of Moon to make no mention of this policy change!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heads up... Get a Guide (or two) for Cuba, March 4, 2011
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This review is from: Moon Cuba (Moon Handbooks) (Paperback)
If ever you needed a guide CUBA is where you need it. Internet connections are hard to find, very slow and you often need to wait in line for a terminal. A few private houses (casas particulares)have connections and may, may, let you use their computer but it is with a dial-up connection. Thus, for those who are fans of great sites like Tripadvisor or Yahoo travel you are SOL. Thus, get a guide or even two if you are going to Cuba.

That said I took two Cuba guides with me for my three weeks traveling the island: Rough Guides (see review) and Moon Handbook: Cuba. Both are great guides and I do recommend both if you can afford it, but if I had to choose just one guide, I would take Moon.

Moon's maps are great and easy to navigate. The handbook's restaurant and accommodation recommendations are very reliable and accurate (I found them to be better than Rough Guides). Unlike the codes used by Rough Guide all accommodations are priced out. The guide has a great history, government & economy sections... and a pensive section on Cuban Society. Christopher Baker's writing is clear and often candid, ie. "Varadero, the artificial Cuba frequented by budget-minded Canadian and European charter groups... lacks vitality. At night the onshore breeze brings rotten-egg fumes from the petrochemical works... more importantly, it bears no relation to Cuban reality."

It comes up short regarding the scuba diving section (Rough Guide is excellent) and does not have as many recommendations for restaurants or accommodations as Rough Guide. That said this is a great guide and you will not go wrong using taking it with you. Highly recommended. Footnote, I also recommend that you take with you 'Cuba: What Everybody Needs to Know' by Julia Sweig... this is an excellent overview of Cuba in all regards.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extensive and a Great Primer for Trip, November 5, 2006
By 
A great beginning read for planning a trip over the next few months. The guide is engaging and appears to be the least biased of Cuba travel guides. The writers' voice appears to be geared more toward the American then European Westerner., ie., the author's description of Veradero Beach area as a Cancun for Europeans is on point, especially after seeing pictures of the area on various travel websites.

It's a thick book and I'm hoping to not have to bring it with me to Cuba as I plan to travel light. Plan on Xeroxing pages and marking places of interest.

The Explore Cuba Itineraries at the beginning of book were helpful.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy to use book, June 6, 2007
By 
N. Sahbti (International) - See all my reviews
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It was the first time I used a Moon Handbook for my traveling.

The information in this book is good but is not arranged in a convenient way for a traveler.

Maps are not easy to use and not detailed, on top of that they are scattered around the book making it uncomfortable to flip from one to another.

The history and background of Cuba is good and detailed but adds weight to the book which will significantly affect your small backpack (I would have paid extra to have the book in two sections).
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Moon Cuba (Moon Handbooks)
Moon Cuba (Moon Handbooks) by Christopher P. Baker (Paperback - October 26, 2010)
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