Feb 12

Cuba Travel Tips

Cuba Travel Tips:

  1. Get familiar with the two currencies.  Read more about it here.
  2. Get small change that you can use to pay for toilets, tip musicians, etc.
  3. Be prepared for touristy sites.  There were times that I felt totally surrounded by tourists, especially in Trinidad it was impossible to escape.  The tourist train was exactly that – all tourists, no Cubans.  I got a kick out of the drawing of what the train employees think a tourist looks like:  (it’s only missing a camera around the neck!)
  4. Get an education – there are lots of things you can learn – salsa dancing, Spanish, percussion, Santeria, arts, etc.
  5. Stay in Casa Particulares rather than hotels.  Most of the hotels are way overpriced and government owned.  Casa Particulares earn money for the casa owners and some even have additional employees.
  6. Eat at the casa.  We ate nearly every breakfast at the casa ($4-5) and had some dinners ($10-12).  Dinner at the casa usually was much more food and variety than you would get at a restaurant and it’s home cooked, literally!
  7. Learn some Spanish before you go.  You can’t rely on all drivers, waiters, casa owners, etc to speak English.
  8. As of late 2016, it seems that tipping has become the norm in tourist restaurants, which was not the info I had previously seen on the internet.
  9. Beware of the the Taxi drivers you catch on the street.  Find out the correct price from your casa owner  and negotiate.  Or better yet, have the owner call a car and fix the price.
  10. Try a Cubata.  You’ve probably heard of the Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke), the Cubata is a Rum & Coke but the rum is the caramel colored 7 year aged rum.  It has a totally different taste.
  11. Eat the lobster.  The average lobster dinner costs about $10.  I didn’t try it until one of the last nights and then wished I had chosen the lobster over some of the previous chicken and pork I had ordered.
  12. Don’t sweat it if you have some currency left on the last night.  The Havana airport is stocked with cigars, rum, etc all at the same price as throughout the country.  Any there is a handy currency exchange that will change back to many currencies (we were on our way to have a long layover in Mexico city and we were even able to get some Mexican Pesos, saving time in MC).
  13. Take a chance to talk to the locals any chance you get.
  14. All parts of Cuba, including Havana seemed very safe but our two guesthouse owners in Havana did warn us to not take bags and cameras out at night and cross our bags across our bodies.  We didn’t have any problem and didn’t run into any other tourists that had either.  The only attention we got was cat calls – I don’t know how many times I was called “Linda” but it kind of feels good at my age!
  15. Enjoy the local music!

Cuba Travel Tips

2 comments

    • Lisa on February 26, 2017 at 1:20 am
    • Reply

    Your tips are so informative. I can’t wait to go!

    1. Thanks! You should get there soon. It’s changing so fast!

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