Cuba Travel Advice
- If you can, don’t travel alone (cheaper and more relaxed)
- Make sure that you can speak some Spanish
- Be careful! Jinteros!
- Food: Either eat in your casas or in Peso-Restaurants
- Don’t support begging. If you want to help, donate clothes, food, money to churches, hospitals, etc.
- No matter what you want to do. Always ask ‘’Cuanto cuesta?’’ (how much is it?) first. Decline the first price that taxi drivers ask you and negotiate.
- Take bug/insect spray and sun protection with you
- NEVER stay longer than after 4pm at the Playa Ancon
- Never buy cigars on the street, only with the original stamp. No matter what people tell you: They are not that expensive! Ask at your casas or friends. For about $50 CUC you can already buy a box of 25 Cohiba cigars. (Note: You cannot take more than 50 cigars with you to Europe)
- If you are lost or you have a problem: Ask a police officer for help. They are everywhere and very nice to tourists
- Take both currencies with you in two different wallets so that you are able to distinguish them easily. About $10 CUC in pesos is enough
- MN or CUC?
‘’Cafeterias’’, Restaurants where Cubans are eating (peso-restaurants), street food, fruit, little nuts/fruit bars that are sold in bus stations = MN
Tourist stuff, things in supermarkets= CUC
If you are not sure whether the prices are indicated in CUC or MN in a restaurant, check the price for beer (Bucanero, Cristal). One beer, around $1 à One beer, around $30 à MN
- Do not drink tab water
- When you are doing an excursion or some tourist activity: Do not buy souvenirs there
- Phone calls: At Etecsa telepunto. Buy a phone card ($5CUC, around 3 minutes). You have to first dial 166 #
Then your personal code and #
Then 119 and #
And then the number and #
Most phones on the streets do not work for international calls. Use phones inside of Etecsa Telepunto.
- More than $3CUC for a cocktail is expensive
- Cuban wine does not taste good.
- The peso-pizzas and spaghettis that are sold on the streets are DISGUSTING. They don’t deserve the name Pizza/pasta
- Have patience. Everything in Cuba is very slow. Buying tickets, the arrival at the airport and immigration process (It can take up to 3 hours), buying Viazul bus tickets,…
- Try to have some basic knowledge about Cuban history and politics before your travels. Then, you will understand the paintings on the walls, the propaganda posters, etc.
- You should have basic knowledge about the following personalities:
Ernesto (Che) Guevara
- Take medicine with you just in case
- Pack your things wisely prior to your travels. Things that might seem normal for us (e.g. sun protection, razors, tissues, cosmetics) are not available (or difficult to find) in Cuban shops (only in tourist malls for example)
- Do not let open food packages lay around in your room (insects, especially ants!)
- Take toilet paper with you everywhere you go. Don’t expect much from toilet, anyways
- Even though they tell you that there is hot water in the casas: Haha. Nope. You might have to use some weird button that is connected to some cables and hanging in your shower: Be careful!! You can get an electroshock and the hot water might not work anyways
- If you are planning to go to Baracoa: Be prepared for rain
- Change money at Cadeca rather than in banks (quicker)
- For Viazul bus tickets, money exchange, sometimes excursions you will need your passport. They don’t always accept copies.
- Every car/ everything that moves is a taxi basically
- You need to be an extra fee at the airport before you leave the country again (about $20CUC). Be prepared for it at the airport
Good casas that I recommend:
Calle Francisco Gomez Toro (Callejon de Pena) No.8
(+53) 41 992615
$25CUC including breakfast, $7CUC dinner
Casa Laudelina y Niurka
Calle Cornelio Robert No. 115
SANTIAGO DE CUBA
$25 CUC including breakfast, $6CUC dinner
Calixto Garcia No. 162
$25 CUC including breakfast, $7CUC dinner
Casa Mercedes y Bartolome
Calle 490 No. 5C08
$30CUC including breakfast, dinner sometimes possible