This Caribbean Island is a paradise that is getting a second wave of fresh air. Now is a trend to visit this country. That´s why in Bed and Breakfast in Cuba www.bandbcuba.com we will like to enlist to you ten things you should know before traveling to Cuba. Keep this in mind while you are planning your trip to this amazing paradise.
When you travel to Cuba you will have an amazing experience, that´s for sure. Its streets are full of music, sounds, and they have so much to see, like the vintage cars, or the giant mansions that are a standing proof of better times.
Even if you don’t like to smoke, the smells of the word-class cigars will seduce you. The cigars are icon of this island.
Traveling to Cuba will open your mind, you will see a country with a different political and social system. That once was very close to foreigns, but now is wide open to tourism. You can go as an independent travel, that´s a whole different travel from the ones in cruise ships or resorts holidays.
Being on your own in Cuba can be a challenge, but you, as a traveller, need to be curious and open to explore this impressive culture. You will be captivate by places you didn’t imagine. Always keep in mind that Cubans are very friendly people, they are warm, and will receive you with a smile.
Keep reading and take note of this advices we love to give to you.
The usual thing when you travel is to visit the capital of the country. But always keep in mind that Cuba is more than Havana, there is so much you can see, experience and live away from the capital and the main cities.
The usual travel itinerary in Cuba is landing in Havana, staying there, and then going to Viñales and Varadero. But we recommend you to go to other cities and towns like Matanzas, Santa Clara, Remedios, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, Cienfuegos and, of course, Trinidad.
This among others towns are great choices. And you will get in touch with a different Cuba, far from the capital. There are so many different landscapes. Cuba is more than beaches; there are mountains, caves, places for extreme sports lovers where you can plan a climbing trip, and so much more.
It´s basic to know that in Cuba there are two currencies: Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) and Cuban Non-Convertible Peso (CUP) also known as National Peso. The exchange rate is approximately 1 to 1 with the US Dollar. And you will need 24 CUPs to get one CUC.
When you travel to Cuba you will need to bring cash (euros or dollars), because you cannot buy CUCs outside Cuba. If you have to choose one currency it´s advisable to bring Euros. Because the exchange rate is better.
Another thing you should know is that you as a tourist should not use the National Peso, it is not illegal but it´s not advisable.
If you decided to go backpacking to Cuba you should know that it´s not as cheap as going to Asia, but you can do it on a budget if you keep an eye on your expenses.
As an average we can tell you that you probably will spend about 50 or 60 CUC per day in Cuba, including the accommodation, food and fees for parks or museums.
If you stay in Casas Particules in Viñales or in any other city you will spend between 20 or 30 CUC per night (20-30 $). An extra charge of 5 CUC can be added if you want breakfast every day, another meal can cost you 10 CUC more.
On food, on the streets you can spend from 1 CUC to 15 CUC depending on what you want to eat, it can go from just a sandwich to a whole meal in a local restaurant. If you like to try local drinks you should know that a spirit or a cocktail can cost as much as 5 CUC, beers are cheaper.
Another cost you should keep in mind is the transportation, buses can cost between 11 and 25 CUC. A taxi day trip can be around 40 to 60 CUC. Colectivos can cost from 10 to 20 CUC, and local buses are much cheaper, around 2 CUC.
Travel insurance is a must for you trip to Cuba. The mandatory of this matter came in 2010, it was announced by Cuban government for all foreign travellers. So if you go to Cuba you need an insurance for the whole duration of your trip.
We recommend you to stay in Casas Particulares in Cuba. This is a kind of home staying. It´s not only the best option because it´s cheap, but because it can give you a better experience on how Cubans live their everyday life.
Staying in Casas Particulares is the best options when you go to small towns. In this places you stay in a bedroom in a house, but normally it´s not a regular house, it´s a house transformed into a guesthouse. It´s usual to have your own bathroom, but it´s also an option that you share the bathroom with the family.
The owner of the house can help you to decide where are the best places to visit and give you some advices for your trip. It´s not a luxury accommodation but it can be very good and comfortable.
If you wonder which are the best beaches in Cuba to make an itinerary and visit them. We will like to tell you that this can be a major debate. There are so many beaches in this island, some of them are very different to others, and there are the ones perfect for families or the ones for extreme sports.
According to Lonely Planet the best beaches are:
These are just the top of the list, there are so many beaches in Cuba you don’t want to miss. In Havana you should go to Malecon, this is a must in your trip.
In Cuba the internet connection is limited and it´s expensive. Generally you will be able to go online in some public squares or in big hotels. There you can buy a card that gives you from 1 to 5 hours of internet, from 2 CUC to 10 CUC.
This cards have a code that you put in your phone. Once you enter the code you will have this limited amount of time for internet connection, so you don’t want to miss any minute.
You can figure it out that is very expensive, but it´s not impossible to pay. But keep in mind that you are on vacation, so you do not need to go online every day. Maybe you want to tell your relatives or friends every now and then that you are ok, but not every single day, so you don’t need to spend so much money on internet.
We are not telling you that you need to be a Spanish speaker, but it´s advisable to learn a few word or phrases in Spanish to make your trip easier.
You can always bring a phrase book or download in your smartphone Google Translate in its offline version or any other app that can work while you are not connected to internet.
You may think you can communicate in English, but this language is not as widely speak in Cuba as you may thing. Maybe in tourist areas you will find bilinguals but not everywhere, and not particularly in small towns.
You can see Cuba as a safe place for travellers, even backpack travellers can feel safe in this island. As usual in capitals there is small crime and pickpockets, but if you are careful it will not affect you. You also will see some people begging on the streets.
As a woman you can go on a solo female travel to Cuba, it is not dangerous, but you will get some attention.
As we said before Cuba is different from every other country or even every other Caribbean Island. Their political and social systems are different from everything you know. But you shouldn´t be scare because of this, instead you must keep an open mind.
Cuba is a beautiful destination, has beautiful landscapes, and its people is amazing, friendly and happy.
These are the things you should know before traveling to Cuba. There are many for aspects you should acknowledge before starting your trip, that´s why if you need more information you should contact us.
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