So before I left for Cuba, I tried to read up about it a bit because I knew that I would have limited internet access there. But upon arrival I discovered just how wrong so many of those blogs actually were. So I’m here to write those wrongs (it’s a pun- I know how to spell.) Here are some tips about Cuba!
- Befriend the locals: it’s so easy! Generally, Cubans are really friendly. My mom doesn’t enjoy taking to strangers but even she was engaging with plenty of Cubans!
Of course this is beneficial in any country but even more so in Cuba. Why?
A. Havana has so many cool hidden spots that aren’t necessarily on TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet. And Cubans are excited to show them to you. One Cuban lady brought my mom and I to this little art village right in the center of Havana.
Two men brought us to the first ballerina dancer’s house. It was filled with an absurd amount of trinkets (think your grandma was living with ten other grandmas.) And the house had a rooftop bar. In Morocco, many people wanted to show me things and then demand $ for it but this wasn’t the case in Cuba. Nobody would even accept the offer of money. These strangers just wanted to show us around!
B. There’s a huge gap between the local and tourist price. My mom and I paid $25 for a cab that cost me $2 when I went with a local. A water that cost me $1.50 cost a few cents for a local. If you hang out with locals, you pay local prices. But make sure that they pay or you won’t get the deal. You can pay them back.
C. If you’re American, don’t exchange your US $ for Euros or Canadian. I did this because some sites told me it’s a better deal. Obviously people don’t know not to exchange $ in the airport(or at least minimal $.) On the street, the rate of USD to CUC is 9:10. The rate of Euros is 1:1. So you might think… but the rate of Euros to Dollars is 92:100 when I google it. Yeah but that’s not the selling rate. Just relax and go to Cuba
D. If you’re American, bring cash. Relax but not too much. You’re cards aren’t going to work in Cuba so bring enough cash. Here are some prices of things to help you know how much to bring
Hotels- try to pay online if you’re going to stay at a nice hotel
Casa particular: $25
AirBnB- No cash needed but book ahead and write down the info because the app doesn’t work in Cuba and the site barely works either
Hostel- $10/night for a dorm bed
Breakfast- It’s included in hotels. At a place next to my hostel it was $1. At my hostel it was $3. At my Casa Particulares, it was $5 but really good.
Lunch/dinner- $3-15 or you can find pasta for $1. Also, there are some cheap ham and cheese sandwiches.
Water- $1.5 for a big water $1 for a small one
- $25 from the airport to Havana unless you know a local
- $20 for a collectivo to vinales
- $1 for a collectivo in Havana
- $0.25 for 2 people for a bus (1 peso) or .10 for yourself was fine D. Go to the wifi parks for wifi cards. Don’t pay too much for a wifi card. I saw some people selling 1 hr wifi cards for $10! I actually didn’t buy any because 1 of our hotels gave us some and some tourists gave me some too. But I saw some going for $2. I don’t know if this is a good rate but it’s better than $10. It’s probably going to be cheaper to buy a wifi card at a park with wifi than at a hotel. It definitely will be if you ask a local how much you should pay. Also, if you use wifi in the park, it will give you the real Cuban wifi experience. Everyone actually coming together to use wifi rather than hiding in their bed swiping on tinder or something. Even wifi, something seemingly antisocial, isn’t in Cuba.