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Gifts

Travel & news discussion about Cuba

Moderator: Bigjohn

Gifts

Postby Mia2 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:44 pm

Can anyone suggest what kind of gifts I should take for the people at the hotel? I'm kind of stuck on what to take.
Mia2
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:33 pm

gifts

Postby Elizabeth » Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:50 pm

Toiletries, candy, gum for the grounds keepers is always appreciated, crayons,coloring books, pens, pencils, used or new clothing, the people of Cuba make so little money that they are thankful for anything they receive. I have never been to a resort where someone or someone's spouse isn't pregant so anything baby is appreciated. Tips are welcome but please don't give canadian loonies or twoonies, you'll probably be aproached by someone at the airport trying to trade these for pesos or US $.
Enjoy
Elizabeth
 
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Postby mojitomiss_cuba » Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:02 pm

Mia, Elizabeth is dead on right. There is always some pregnant ladies working at the resorts. Anything for babies and children (clothes, shoes, children's/infants over the counter meds) will endear you forever.
Try to think of stuff for guys too, even if it's ball caps and t-shirts. It's so easy to think of things for women (makeup, toiletries etc) but the men appreciate gifts too. I gave my gardener in Holguin my multi-tool and his face just lit up!
I went to value village before this last trip and picked up so many pairs of kids shoes and clothes (in excellent condition) for such a cheap price it was ridiculous.
Check your own (and friends and families) closets. We all have stuff we are not going to wear again. And if you are going at this time of year, don't just think of "summer clothes", nights can be quite cool on the north coast of cuba. Think about fleece vests, long sleeve tops, lighter (for us anyway) jackets etc
mojitomiss_cuba
 
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Postby YVR » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:23 pm

Mia,

Absolutely the best gift you can give resort staff is cash!!

It weighs almost nothing, so it doesn't give you the usual packing of suitcase anxiety to stay within the strict weight limits most charter airlines impose- usually 20 kilo. Don't use Canadian or Euro coin!!

Resort staff are amongst the more privileged in Cuba. They have access to foreigners and foreign currency. Realistically, how many bottles of shampoo, lotions,make-up etc. can one maid possibly use for herself and her network of friends and family. Many vacationers get upset when they find out that the "gifts" left for staff have made their way into the black market and this does indeed happen. I've also seen some of the dollar store merchandise some tourists like to take, available in Cuba and at lower prices, so why bother to burden yourself and bring this kind of stuff?

If you do plan to get off the resort to distribute gifts, then over the counter medications like Tylenol, children's vitamins, band-aids, etc. are very much needed. Gently used clothing and shoes, especially for babies and children are good items. I also take along T-shirts but not those with a logo simply because I can buy two T-shirts without a logo for the price of one with the logo. A poor person appreciates a new shirt, and if they snub one without a logo, then they can't be all that needy! The best place to donate your gifts off resort is to a church so you can be sure the items are indeed going to those who really need it.

We returned from Cuba on Dec. 12 and absolutely no one, neither at the resort or Varadero airport asked us to exchange Loonies or Twoonies into Cuban currency. Either vacationers are getting smart and not taking coinage, or some of the posts regarding this practice were perhaps a bit exaggerated. Just my opinion!

Have a great vacation!
YVR
 
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Location: Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Postby mojitomiss_cuba » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:22 pm

YVRck, you were lucky then. I was approached on arrival and departure to change loonies and toonies for bills.
Didn't mind doing it as both times, I wasn't asked to change a large amount.

Mia, yes cash is still a great thing to give. Personally I give cash and gifts. Just my personal preference - everyone has their own.
OTC meds are always appreciated as they are difficult to get.
mojitomiss_cuba
 
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Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:40 pm

Re: Gifts

Postby LindaV » Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:07 pm

I recently returned from 3 weeks in Cuba & I strongly agree with the 1 member's comment. A monetary tip is best (no coins) and any band aids, antibiotic lotion, iodine, tylenol is greatly appreciated. Even though medical service is free for Cubans there is little stock at times in the phamacies.
As our local touring guide said: Don't give candy to children! This holds true for many poorer countries. It is bad for their teeth when they have very limited dental care as well as encouraging begging. I also left behind any gently worn clothes I took. Also if you are taking paper & pencils make sure they go directly to a school teacher to distribute..again giving pencils to children who ask on the streets is being discouraged.
The cuban people are wonderful....you will have a lovely time!
LindaV
 
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