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Jingo 07

Geocaching in Cuba

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We are taking a vacation to Cuba at the end of the month and were planning on doing some geocaches. I have already downloaded the sites into my GPS. Now I have heard from

someone that GPS's are not legal in Cuba and they will confiscate them at the border. Has anyone been to Cuba and gone geocaching with their GPS? Would really like

to know before we leave home as I would have to have my GPS taken away.

 

Look forward to any responses.

 

Thanks

Jingo 07

Canada

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We are taking a vacation to Cuba at the end of the month and were planning on doing some geocaches. I have already downloaded the sites into my GPS. Now I have heard from

someone that GPS's are not legal in Cuba and they will confiscate them at the border. Has anyone been to Cuba and gone geocaching with their GPS? Would really like

to know before we leave home as I would have to have my GPS taken away.

This is one of the most recent I've found on the web :

 

http://www.libertytoast.com/journal/2010/6/24/no-gps-in-cuba-not-even-in-phones.html

 

I don't believe there has been any changes since, but you may want to check with one of the Cuban embassy/consulates in Canada.

 

If you're caching in Havana, I see two geocaches that can be found without using a GPS. You can probably find the 6 earthcaches without using your GPSr.

Edited by Chrysalides

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We are taking a vacation to Cuba at the end of the month and were planning on doing some geocaches. I have already downloaded the sites into my GPS. Now I have heard from

someone that GPS's are not legal in Cuba and they will confiscate them at the border. Has anyone been to Cuba and gone geocaching with their GPS? Would really like

to know before we leave home as I would have to have my GPS taken away.

This is one of the most recent I've found on the web :

 

http://www.libertytoast.com/journal/2010/6/24/no-gps-in-cuba-not-even-in-phones.html

 

I don't believe there has been any changes since, but you may want to check with one of the Cuban embassy/consulates in Canada.

 

If you're caching in Havana, I see two geocaches that can be found without using a GPS. You can probably find the 6 earthcaches without using your GPSr.

 

Agree.. didn't see any that couldn't be done GPS-less. The photo registration in Havana isn't perfect, maybe 3 meters off, but after you find one the fudge factor should remain about the same.

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We are taking a vacation to Cuba at the end of the month and were planning on doing some geocaches. I have already downloaded the sites into my GPS. Now I have heard from

someone that GPS's are not legal in Cuba and they will confiscate them at the border. Has anyone been to Cuba and gone geocaching with their GPS? Would really like

to know before we leave home as I would have to have my GPS taken away.

 

Look forward to any responses.

 

Thanks

Jingo 07

Canada

 

You need to ask in the Canada forum. We're almost all American's here, and we're not allowed to go there. :ph34r:

 

Seriously though, many Canadian cachers have cached in Cuba, and if I remember correctly it is indeed illegal to bring the GPS in with you (if you get caught). Also just going by memory, if it gets confiscated, they will give it back, but you'll have to pay for that honor.

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Agree.. didn't see any that couldn't be done GPS-less. The photo registration in Havana isn't perfect, maybe 3 meters off, but after you find one the fudge factor should remain about the same.

 

All of the ones I've looked at have non-gps instructions. These two in Havana have pretty good instructions to find without a GPS.

Meet John

Cuba Libra

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Agree.. didn't see any that couldn't be done GPS-less. The photo registration in Havana isn't perfect, maybe 3 meters off, but after you find one the fudge factor should remain about the same.

 

All of the ones I've looked at have non-gps instructions. These two in Havana have pretty good instructions to find without a GPS.

Meet John

Cuba Libra

 

Well, somebody has to ask..... how did they get hidden, and comply with the guidelines for hiding a cache, if the hider couldn't use a GPS to do so? :rolleyes::unsure:

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Seriously though, many Canadian cachers have cached in Cuba, and if I remember correctly it is indeed illegal to bring the GPS in with you (if you get caught). Also just going by memory, if it gets confiscated, they will give it back, but you'll have to pay for that honor.

 

From what I read, you also have to allow plenty of return time at the airport. Otherwise, it may take longer to get it returned than you have time to wait . . .

 

But all in all, they seem friendlier about confiscating gpsrs than North Korea or perhaps even Syria (where there are also several geocaches listed despite the ban on bringing gps units into the country).

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Not really OT, but those guys sure are doing their best to encourage tourism, eh?

Actually, they are. And tourists flock there by the planeload. It is a very popular and inexpensive vacation destination for those whose countries don't prohibit them from visiting. I suspect that geocachers make up a very small percentage of the tourists that go there. Most tourists just want to enjoy the sunny beaches and all-inclusive resorts. I wouldn't avoid going there just because GPS's aren't allowed. Having said that, I much prefer the Dominican to Cuba...

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Agree.. didn't see any that couldn't be done GPS-less. The photo registration in Havana isn't perfect, maybe 3 meters off, but after you find one the fudge factor should remain about the same.

 

All of the ones I've looked at have non-gps instructions. These two in Havana have pretty good instructions to find without a GPS.

Meet John

Cuba Libra

 

Well, somebody has to ask..... how did they get hidden, and comply with the guidelines for hiding a cache, if the hider couldn't use a GPS to do so? :rolleyes::unsure:

 

I really don't know, but the ones I looked at are urban near landmarks. You cold probably get away with Google maps. Since no one is using a GPS to find them, who can say if the coordinates are accurate or not?

Or maybe the COs just took the chance and smuggled in their GPS.

Or a special operations group from the LilyPad placed them and then swam back out. Who would notice a frog hopping around the beach? :ph34r:

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I really don't know, but the ones I looked at are urban near landmarks. You cold probably get away with Google maps. Since no one is using a GPS to find them, who can say if the coordinates are accurate or not?

Or maybe the COs just took the chance and smuggled in their GPS.

Or a special operations group from the LilyPad placed them and then swam back out. Who would notice a frog hopping around the beach? :ph34r:

 

I wondered about similar things when I saw that Syria had a few geocaches (and for a brief moment, North Korea). Since Groundspeak does not list caches in areas where geocaching is prohibited, it seemed strange to list them in a country where gpsr use is forbidden. But I do like the special ops theory. They undoubtedly come in through the Groundspeak submarine and helicopter fleet.

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I really don't know, but the ones I looked at are urban near landmarks. You cold probably get away with Google maps. Since no one is using a GPS to find them, who can say if the coordinates are accurate or not?

Or maybe the COs just took the chance and smuggled in their GPS.

Or a special operations group from the LilyPad placed them and then swam back out. Who would notice a frog hopping around the beach? :ph34r:

 

I wondered about similar things when I saw that Syria had a few geocaches (and for a brief moment, North Korea). Since Groundspeak does not list caches in areas where geocaching is prohibited, it seemed strange to list them in a country where gpsr use is forbidden. But I do like the special ops theory. They undoubtedly come in through the Groundspeak submarine and helicopter fleet.

 

Frogmen or NijaFrogs

129118692521203305.jpg

 

(Edited to add silly photo for no good reason)

Edited by John in Valley Forge

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Agree.. didn't see any that couldn't be done GPS-less. The photo registration in Havana isn't perfect, maybe 3 meters off, but after you find one the fudge factor should remain about the same.

 

All of the ones I've looked at have non-gps instructions. These two in Havana have pretty good instructions to find without a GPS.

Meet John

Cuba Libra

 

Well, somebody has to ask..... how did they get hidden, and comply with the guidelines for hiding a cache, if the hider couldn't use a GPS to do so? :rolleyes::unsure:

 

Holy Cow! Did you know Cuba is having it's first Geocaching event on February 11th?? It's by a Canadian from the St. Catharines Ontario area, and there is actually another vacationer who is down there who has posted a note who says they will attend.

 

I dunno. I see 35 caches, about 7 on GTMO, obviously hidden by, and only available to U.S. Military Personnel. Then I see a couple other's by Europeans. I'd suspect all the rest are from whacky Canadian vacationeers. How they pulled them all off is anyone's guess.

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We have just come back from a holiday in Cuba.I did not take my GPS but used my Samsung Tablet which I was able to use.

We had a very good taxi driver. He was not cheap but he was a good driver and he now knows all about geocaching. His name is Amilocar Socorro and his numbers are 53165484 car 76418176 home,

Edited by Loony Londo

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We have just come back from a holiday in Cuba.I did not take my GPS but used my Samsung Tablet which I was able to use.

We had a very good taxi driver. He was not cheap but he was a good driver and he now knows all about geocaching. His name is Amilocar Socorro and his numbers are 53165484 car 76418176 home,

I suspect that nothing is going to be cheap there, now that US citizens can visit. I'm waiting for cruise ships to start visiting before venturing there. It is high on my "to do" list. And will use my phone for finding caches.

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We have just come back from a holiday in Cuba.I did not take my GPS but used my Samsung Tablet which I was able to use.

We had a very good taxi driver. He was not cheap but he was a good driver and he now knows all about geocaching. His name is Amilocar Socorro and his numbers are 53165484 car 76418176 home,

I suspect that nothing is going to be cheap there, now that US citizens can visit. I'm waiting for cruise ships to start visiting before venturing there. It is high on my "to do" list. And will use my phone for finding caches.

 

I did a bit of research regarding travel to Cuba because I've been doing some informal consulting with someone there on a software product I work on. I don't when we'll see cruise ships going to Cuba but traveling their by plane from the U.S. still isn't that straight forward. At least when I last checked, there aren't any commercial flights that one can book directly that go from the U.S. to Havana. There are numerous travel companies that book "tours" that include direct charter flights that the touring company books but from it was my understanding that, in order to comply with the visa, you have to stay with the tour for the duration of the trip. The other option is that one can self-book a flight to places like Cancun, Mexico City, San Juan, the Bahamas, or Panama then book direct flights from there to Havana. Having a good taxi driver in places like this is very useful. I found a good one in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and called him after I landed the last time I was there but only used him once during the trip.

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I will be traveling to Cuba next summer. I am very interested to hear if you are successful caching on your trip. Please post about your adventures upon your return.

 

Jenefener

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If you have a smart phone, save the caches in Cuba that you are able to get to in the offline use. You can then access them while in Cuba without using data or a stand alone GPS. The map is only the preview version but your compass will work just fine. You will be able to see the last few logs as well as the cache description and any hints. Enjoy your trip, it's a beautiful place! We have been twice and wish we had known about offline use when we went last. :sad:

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If you have a smart phone, save the caches in Cuba that you are able to get to in the offline use. You can then access them while in Cuba without using data or a stand alone GPS. The map is only the preview version but your compass will work just fine.

 

Or do that using an app that works with offline maps.

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we cached in cuba a couple of years ago.Yes we snuck in a GPS but for the most part its not needed.most cache pages are very descriptive with hints that pinpoint the cache plus lotsa pics in the logs to go by

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Use the app on your cell phone. I think theres only one or two though.

 

According to the search page there are 98 caches in Cuba.

 

 

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My wife and I did some geocaching in Cuba a few weeks ago (August 15th - 22nd, 2017) .  We met so many very friendly people where a cache would be in their casa or in a gallery.
I'd just go up to a casa, stick my head in the door and yell out "excuse me!"  they would say "si?" I'd say "geocache?" they would come walking to the door with the biggest smile and say say "si!  geocache!"   LOL!!!  Havana, Vinales, Trinidad...all the same!
The one family we stayed with, I got their 22 year old son hooked on geocaching when I took him with us.   He thought that was the coolest thing!
He said he was going to try and get an account and hoped start placing some geocaches.
 

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On 9/26/2017 at 0:55 AM, Lightpostpete said:

My wife and I did some geocaching in Cuba a few weeks ago (August 15th - 22nd, 2017) .  We met so many very friendly people where a cache would be in their casa or in a gallery.
I'd just go up to a casa, stick my head in the door and yell out "excuse me!"  they would say "si?" I'd say "geocache?" they would come walking to the door with the biggest smile and say say "si!  geocache!"   LOL!!!  Havana, Vinales, Trinidad...all the same!
The one family we stayed with, I got their 22 year old son hooked on geocaching when I took him with us.   He thought that was the coolest thing!
He said he was going to try and get an account and hoped start placing some geocaches.
 

I went to Cuba about a year and a half ago and managed to find just one.  Keep in mind that it's illegal to bring a handheld GPS into Cuba (even though most smart phones have a gps in them) and they're pretty serious about it.  

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I´ve been to Cuba and had a great time geocaching.

Since they will confiscate GPS devices when found, I just choose to leave it at home and cache with my Smart Phone only. C:GEO App, offline map, all caches downloaded an I was perfectly good to go. This way you can cache even without mobil data, just put the Phone in flightmode and switch on GPS. Done!

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Back in the day, I did not see much utility to having geocaches in Cuba.  With the GPSr ban, all were clearly published using "best guess" coordinates from Google maps or what have you, and relied heavily on letterbox-type instructions, spoiler photos, and/or "local caretakers."

Now that a smart phone can let one edge around the GPSr ban, it's a little less farcical, though it appears most if not all are still vacation caches with "local guardians," which usually translates to "I talked to some guy once and he said he'd look after it, but that was five owners ago, so just go ahead and leave a throwdown."

Edited by Keystone
removed reference to deleted post

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On 10/5/2017 at 1:51 PM, hzoi said:

Back in the day, I did not see much utility to having geocaches in Cuba.  With the GPSr ban, all were clearly published using "best guess" coordinates from Google maps or what have you, and relied heavily on letterbox-type instructions, spoiler photos, and/or "local caretakers."

Now that a smart phone can let one edge around the GPSr ban, it's a little less farcical, though it appears most if not all are still vacation caches with "local guardians," which usually translates to "I talked to some guy once and he said he'd look after it, but that was five owners ago, so just go ahead and leave a throwdown."

Although a smart phone has a GPS I'd still be careful about using one for geocaching in Cuba.  I have personal experience with how government officials view the use of  GPS by visitors in Cuba and they're pretty serious about it.    I'm not sure I would want to try to explain geocaching to a LEO in Cuba and tell them "it's okay because it's a smart phone" after they'd seen me using a navigational device to find things in  their country.  It's unfortunate that they don't allow a GPS, and that may change someday but until that happens I'd be careful. If the use of a GPS *was* allowed there'd probably be a lot more local geocachers (and geocaches) in Cuba and there are a lot of wonderful places where they could be hidden.

Edited by Keystone
removed reference to deleted post

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Therefore, since GPS usage is prohibited in Cuba, and that Geocaching "is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices", caches in Cuba should not be allowed (and existing ones should be archived) , except those on American bases, where the use GPS devices are not prohibited. It's serious enough for Groundspeak to take matters into his own hands.

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I know a couple who took a vacation to Cuba. While they could not bring their GPSr, they found many geocaches using their smart phone in offline mode without any issues.

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21 hours ago, anpefi said:

Therefore, since GPS usage is prohibited in Cuba, and that Geocaching "is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices", caches in Cuba should not be allowed (and existing ones should be archived) , except those on American bases, where the use GPS devices are not prohibited. It's serious enough for Groundspeak to take matters into his own hands.

Should all geocaches which can be found without the use of a GPS enabled device  be archived?  I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of geocaches  in the world could be found without the use of a GPS enabled device.  With a printout of a satellite view of an area and the caches marked on the map a lot of caches could be found.  Those that have placed geocaches in Cuba know that we can't bring a GPS in the country and have been placed such that they can be found without one.  There might be spoiler photos or hints or just hidden such that the could easily be found.  

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On 10/7/2017 at 1:11 PM, NYPaddleCacher said:

Should all geocaches which can be found without the use of a GPS enabled device  be archived?  

No, just the opposite, are the caches that can not be found with the help of GPS (if only a starting point) those that must be archived. Again, recall the geocaching definition: "Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location." So, if you can not use a GPS to, at least partially, locate the treasure, then you're not practicing geocaching, it's something else.

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2 hours ago, anpefi said:
On 10/7/2017 at 7:11 AM, NYPaddleCacher said:

Should all geocaches which can be found without the use of a GPS enabled device  be archived?  

No, just the opposite, are the caches that can not be found with the help of GPS (if only a starting point) those that must be archived. Again, recall the geocaching definition: "Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location." So, if you can not use a GPS to, at least partially, locate the treasure, then you're not practicing geocaching, it's something else.

Perhaps it is, but the reality is geocaches are frequently created using satellite views on Google maps or with a smart phone, and similarly many geocaches can be found simply by looking at satellite image (even from home) and noting where the geocache icon appears on the map.  Quite often I'll look at the map view for a cache listing to determine if it's in an area where I might want to find a cache (or not, if the cache appears to be in the middle of a parking lot) and often just remembering what I saw on the map and a little geosense is enough to find it.  The guideline may say "using a GPS-enabled device" but in practice, it's often not necessary to find the cache.  I did, however, DNF a cache in Cuba that I probably would have found if I had a GPS device.  It was on a long metal fence (I assume) and having a GPS would have helped narrow down the location.  I didn't post a NM or NA on it because others seemed to have been able to find it.  Personally, I'm glad that GC reviewers are a little lenient about the guidelines in cases like this.  It gives geocachers the opportunity to find a cache in a new country.  I have also found caches in countries with very few caches that involved a caretaker and know of a cache that was obviously a vacation cache but has been in play for well over 10 years and has been found more than 1000 times.  In all these cases, a strict adherence to the guidelines wouldn't allow them to be published but the fact that they were has provided some enjoyment for geocachers and has cause no harm to the game whatsoever.  

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On 10/9/2017 at 0:32 AM, anpefi said:

No, just the opposite, are the caches that can not be found with the help of GPS (if only a starting point) those that must be archived. Again, recall the geocaching definition: "Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location." So, if you can not use a GPS to, at least partially, locate the treasure, then you're not practicing geocaching, it's something else.

A smartphone is a "GPS-enabled device" and smartphones are allowed in Cuba.

Geocaching definition does not specify that handheld GPSr's, which are prohibited in Cuba, must be used.

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1 hour ago, noncentric said:

A smartphone is a "GPS-enabled device" and smartphones are allowed in Cuba.

Geocaching definition does not specify that handheld GPSr's, which are prohibited in Cuba, must be used.

You're right.

I've just read a lot of information across the Cuban Customs website and GPS-enabled smartphones are not banned. It was my fault to interpret they were from an older post in this thread. My apologizes.

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18 minutes ago, anpefi said:
1 hour ago, noncentric said:

A smartphone is a "GPS-enabled device" and smartphones are allowed in Cuba.

Geocaching definition does not specify that handheld GPSr's, which are prohibited in Cuba, must be used.

You're right.

I've just read a lot of information across the Cuban Customs website and GPS-enabled smartphones are not banned. It was my fault to interpret they were from an older post in this thread. My apologizes.

I saw a lot of local people using smart phones in Cuba.  While walking down a street in Old Havana I saw a bunch of people leaning up against a building using their smart phones.  It was just outside a hotel which must of had an open wifi connection.  Keep in mind that access to the internet is still very limited in Cuba.  Many of the modern hotels will have wifi as well as at ETECSA (the government run telecommunications company).  One can get a Cuba sim card for an unlocked phone but the amount of data you'll get is very limited and can get quite expensive ($25 for 100MB).  If you want to use a GPS enabled smart phone in Cuba make sure to pre-download cache data.  Since there are only about 100 caches on the entire island (and that was before the two recent hurricanes) downloading all of them isn't a problem.  Using an app which allows one to download maps for offline use is helpful as well.  Having access to the complete cache listings helps even more but be aware that most, of not all apps won't download photos attached to the listing and those can be really helpful for some of the more difficult hides.

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Our edexter (+wife and friends) visited before the recent entry changes and stayed in Old Havana (friends spoke the language) so might contact him for more info. He also placed the 1st Terracaches.

Be safe

Edited by Cascade Reviewer
Edited out link.

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