After a gruelling few years I have decided to quit my job and enjoy a spot of travelling! I have a return flight booked to Havana from end Jan 07 to March (return date flexible depending on how much money I have left!). Planning to spend 2-3 weeks in Havana learning Spanish but then want to take in South America as well. Pretty open as to where I go but definitely want to make the carnival in Rio. All the flights I have seen from Havana to Rio/Buenos Aires are extremely expensive. Has anyone got similar plans or have you taken a trip in the past and can offer advice on how to get from Cuba to SA without spending a fortune?
Looking for advice on the following:
-Spanish course in Havana 2-3 weeks. Any advice on a good school?
-Where do I stay in Havana?
-Budget travel from Havana to Brazil and Argentina (happy to stop off along the way and take a combination of buses/rail/flights)
- Where do I go in Brazil and Argentina?
-Anyone with similar plans interested in meeting up in Havana or along the way?
So you've 2 months, of which you spend 3 weeks in Havana. That leaves you with roundabout 5 weeks or a bit more, which is not a lot...
I'd recommend you restrict your focus to the middle of the Americas, and forget about SA. If you want your travels to be a relaxing experience, the last thing you should do is run around like crazy. Plus, having ambitious plans on such a limited timeframe entails a lot of intracontinental flying, which is a VERY irresponsible mode of transport; if you limit your area, you could take busses, which is MUCH better.
I don't know much about Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, but I read reports here which give me the impression that they're very worthwhile. Stick to that; SA will still be there if you return one day.
Firstly check your messages - I sent you some possible travel routes Havana - South America (namely Rio and BA) by air to follow up your first post.
With regards to learning Spanish in Havana I never needed to as my Spanish beforehand was muy bien.
Living arrangements in Havana are easy. I presume you'll be flying in so make sure you have some type of lodging booked there for the first night as from memory the airport authorities are very particular about this. After that first night, ask around with some locals if they know of any casa particulares you can stay in. These are houses of Cuban residents which are opened to travelers for lodging on short or long term basis. You can find them in Havana for anywhere around the 25-35CUC range and most will be comforatble enough and are well-kept by the owners. I stayed closed to Avenida 23 in Vedado for 2 weeks and I had the whole upstairs of the flat to myself with my own private bathroom, kitchen, living room and balcony. I ended up throwing house parties of my own . BTW the best people to ask are the taxi drivers, as they are often kept well in the know about which houses are vacant and where they are. They take many tourists to these houses.
Travel from Havana to Brazil or Argentina - I sent you information in your previous post and what I sent to your mailbox. Take heed about what I said about the Darian Gap also.
Argentina - Start in Buenos Aires - a truly amazing and breathtaking city. The cultural capital of South America. Plenty to see and do - check threads in this forum. Tip - Pick up a buenos Aires day and night guide when you're there - an invaluable source of information about places to see, things to do etc.
If time permits go to Mendoza, Cordoba and Salta, or down south to Patagonia.
I haven't got similar plans, but if your trip takes you through Colombia at any stage I'll be there around the same time early next year either in Bogota, Cali or Cartagena at around that time. So feel free to drop me a line.
Buena Suerte y recorridos seguros.