Cuba

5 tips for a great experience during your Cuba travel

I don´t know if you have heard this before, but Cuba is one of the safest countries in the world. Of course, something might happen, but not that frequently and not with that violence.

We Cubans use to be very friendly and joyful people. For us, you can become part of our family by the second time we meet you. We will invite you to our home, to meet our family (we live several generations in the same house, so… big families!). We will tell you about our personal life and, definitely, we will ask you about yours.

When we meet people, even for the first time, we kiss them and give this person a hugh, a very warm hugh, besides the shake of hands. (Nowadays, people who works in the tourism industry have learnt to only shake hands, but on the street that´s different).

So, as I told you, not too much violence on the streets… but scams are every day more often. I know that happens in every country. Cuba is not the exception. For more than 50 years Cuban people have suffered shortages, in different periods and different levels of hardness or depth. That’s why we have learn to find solutions, very creative ones, to every problem and to get money (without physical violence) in the most different ways.

And we have become more and more creative and persuasive on the process. So as you walk by the streets during your Cuba travel (mostly in Havana), a lot of people will approach to you and will tell you the most different stories.

What you need to know for a great experience during your Cuba travel

Currency and currency exchange

Bring cash to your Cuba travel. Credit or debit cards are almost useless.

In the island there is a black market for currency that works everywhere. But don’t change money on the street, you will probably lose it (scammers will disappear between people with your money or will give you fake one in return). You can count on the staff of restaurants, hotels (privates or not) and oficial taxi drivers.

Cuban cigars

Cuban cigars are very popular abroad, Cohibas mostly. On the streets you will hear stories like it is the last day of the Cuban cigar festival and they have the best promotional offers (or something like that). And it’s real: prices will be the best! But the cigars, the worst you will find. As a matter of fact, will be banana tree leafes and not cigars.

If you are coming to Cuba and want to buy good Cuban cigars, you can find them in Viñales (more rustic, but reals), in the oficial stores (much more expensive but reals) or you can ask the CubaCasa team in Havana and they will help you to buy very good Cuban cigars.

Mobile data

Don’t buy chips for internet on the streets, they will work for 2-3 days… and no more. Go to ETECSA, the Cuban phone company (you will need your passport and a debit/credit card to pay) or relay on CubaCasa team in Havana or in your host, if you are staying in a casa particular.

Mojitos, daiquiris, cocktails

To have the best drinks (mojitos, daiquiris or even coffees) during your Cuba travel, go to El Floridita or to La Bodeguita del Medio. In hotels and some restaurants you will also have good drinks. Just don’t go to small, dark, hide and almost empty places: no physical harm, but you will have to pay lot of money, for nothing.

The bicitaxi

If you take a bicitaxi in Havana, negotiate very well and in advance price and currency. Don’t let the taxi driver to fix a price per kilometers, that doesn’t work in Cuba. What to do? Tell them: I’m going to this place. How much is it in Cuban pesos? (it’s better to pay them with that currency, but you have to define it first).

Well, that’s it… for now. Do you know about other scams? Share them with us. There can be other options than those mentioned in this article. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact the Cuba Casa team for more information and advice. We want to help you discover what is best for you and have a truly enriching experience.

If you’re interested in visiting Cuba, check out our accommodation, experiences transfers and packages in various locations below:

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