100 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip to Havana Cuba

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Last week I got back from an 11 day whirlwind of a trip through Mexico City, Quito (Ecuador), Guayaquil (Ecuador), and Havana (Cuba). After my 12 hour layover in Mexico City, I spent one night in the capital city of Quito, Ecuador and then flew to Guayaquil and spent 12 hours in the city. Afterwards, I spent two nights in Lima, Peru before spending 5 nights and 6 days in Havana, Cuba. It was my first time in Havana, Cuba and I didn’t know what to expect. Here are 100 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip to Havana Cuba:

1. Yes, you can get a Cuban visa at Lima International Airport – Since I had booked a round-trip award ticket using British Airways Avios on LAN Airlines between Lima and Havana (LIM-HAV), there was much confusion on the internet about obtaining a Cuba tourist visa at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport because most of the reports said LAN doesn’t sell it and you have to obtain it beforehand at a local LAN Office, other airline ticket counters at LIM Airport, or the Cuban embassy. In reality, LAN Airlines does Cuban visas for $20 USD right at their ticket counters before handing you a boarding pass.

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2. It’s optional to have your passport stamped at arrivals for American tourists – There’s so much confusion on the internet about the passport stamp procedures for US tourists (American Citizens). I had read that going forward all US passports would be stamped. When I arrived at Havana’s José Martí International Airport (HAV), the customs officer stamped my visa but not my passport. I asked him kindly if he could stamp my passport and he said ‘Sure!’ As of April 8 2015, it’s still optional folks.

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3. Pre-booking accommodations is a must – As an American tourist, I faced large hurdles securing hotel rooms in Havana because US credit and debit cards don’t work in Cuba. I highly recommend at least securing the first night on the internet before searching for accommodations while you’re in Havana. I’ll have a further detailed post in the coming week about booking hotel accommodations as an American citizen.

4. Bring Euros, British Pounds, and Canadian Dollars instead of US Dollars – As an American, do not bring large amounts of US Dollars (only as a backup) because there is a 10% penalty in addition to the 3% surcharge when converting to the CUC (Cuban convertible peso). Your $100 USD will only be worth 87 CUC whereas if you exchange 94.55 EUR ($100 USD), you’d receive 97 CUC. By the way, the CADECA doesn’t accept monetary coins of any kind from all forms of currency.

5. Exchange your money in the departures level – There’s only one Casas de Cambio SA (CADECA) currency exchange booth in the arrivals hall and the lines get pretty long. Avoid the lines and head up to the TWO money exchange booths in the departures hall where there’s hardly any lines. By being in the departures level, you also avoid being hassled by the taxi cab mafia at HAV airport.

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6. Don’t pay more than 25 CUC for a taxi at Havana International Airport – Almost everyone on your plane arriving at Havana Intl Airport will be tourists and heading to the Havana area. In the arrivals hall, taxis range from 25-40 CUC to Old Havana, Centro Havana, Vedado, and Miramar. Make a friend and split the 25 CUC ride ~ $25 USD. You can find cheaper taxis in the upstairs ‘departures’ area for 15-20 CUC if your Spanish is really good, but don’t pay more than 25 CUCs.

7. There are a lot of Jineteros in Habana Vieja (Old Habana) – If you’re wandering around in the historic Old Havana area, prepared to be pestered like crazy with a “Hi, my friend!” for a ride into their classic car, Coco taxi, pedicab, and taxi. Some of them will also try to sell you fake cigars and bother males for prostitutes and hookers. A lot of people on the internet give Jineteros and Jineteras (female hustlers) a bad name, but I see it as a form of entrepreneurship because after all, the Cuban salary is equivalent to $20 USD a month. All you have to do is politely say “No, gracias”, walk away and they will prey on their next victim.

8. There’s a lot of prostitution going on in Havana – Throughout my 6 days in the Havana area, I saw a lot of prostitution going on during the day and night time. In Cuba, prostitution is actually illegal and there’s really no red light district. Most of it is referrals from Jineteros, hotel staff or girls just simply hanging around the streets in skimpy outfits with their pimps watching from afar.

9. Never get a restaurant recommendation from a Jinetero – Like I mentioned earlier in #7, Jineteros give a bad rap to Cuba and a lot of them want to make a quick sleazy buck. One of them came up to me and said, “Do you need a place to eat?” “I know a great restaurant around the corner” and personally walked us to a Paladar (a local Cuban restaurant inside someone’s home). Needless to say, it was empty and we were given a menu with outrageous prices with each main dish being priced at a 17 CUC minimum. It was the old ‘Bait and switch’ double menu tactic (higher priced menu for tourists) and the Jinetero received his commission afterwards from the restaurant for luring unsuspecting tourists. It was not even a top 100 Paladar in Havana! Yes, I know what you’re thinking – I could have walked up and got away but it’s quite different when someone welcomes you into their home and their lovely kids are around. Yes, I got scammed and learned my lesson.

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10. Always check your bill from the restaurant – In Havana, there aren’t any Point of Sale systems where they can print an itemized receipt of your restaurant bill. Everything is hand written and it’s usually just a total with nothing itemized. Always take a picture of the menu with your phone before they take the menu away so you can tally up the costs and estimate if your bill is correct. If in doubt, ask the server and he will verbally tell you how much each item costs. Be aware that some restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge (tip) to the bill, but most of them don’t.

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11. Not all tips are created equal – As I’ve previously mentioned in #10, please do tip 10% for table service at nice sit down restaurants and paladars (privately owned businesses). You don’t have to tip at hole in the wall state run restaurants and they’ll give you a weird look if you do. If you’re purchasing a mojito from the bar, the chances are that it will cost 1-3 CUC tops and you don’t need to tip initially. Leave 1 CUC if you’re purchasing 2-3 drinks, but it’s really not necessary for 1 drink and they’re not going to run after you for a tip.

12. Cristal beer is really good – If there’s one beer you should try in Cuba, it’s Cristal which is one of the national beers (cerveza nacional) of Cuba and it tastes like a Corona. The other Cuban beer is Bucanero Fuerte which has a high 5.4% alcohol content and tastes pretty strong.

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13. Beer is really inexpensive in Cuba – Bottled and canned beer costs 1-3 CUCs max at most bars, restaurants, and even hotels. If you’re paying more than 4 CUC for beer, then you’re doing it wrong. It’s basically happy hour prices all day every day in Cuba.

14. There are no open container laws in Cuba – You can drink your mojito or beer right on the streets just like in Brazil and Las Vegas. I wish more places in the world would have an open carry policy.

15. The bread in Cuba is super hard – I think I’ve had bread served in almost every meal and 9 times out of 10 it was rock hard. I’m not accustomed to eating hard bread and neither should you.

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16. The salad in Cuba is not up to standards – You won’t find kale, romaine, or iceberg lettuce anywhere in Cuba. Instead, the salad will be mostly cucumbers and tomatoes. The tomatoes are actually quite tasty in Cuba.

17. There are a ton of Casa Particulares located in Centro Habana – A casa particular is basically a private homestay in a local Cuban’s home. You get to meet their families and kids with full interaction. The casa owner usually pays about 70 CUC’s a month to the Cuban government in exchange for renting rooms to tourists for 15-30 CUCs per night. Look for the blue elongated anchor signage that says “House for Rent Alone”.

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18. There are many illegal Casa Particulares – There are actually many casa owners who are renting to foreigners and paying no monthly fee to the Cuban government. They operate like ghosts and are only available word of mouth. They typically run at about 10-15 CUC per night and the casa owner will tell you to hush hush and keep it on the down low because they can be thrown into jail for running an illegal business.

19. The streets of Centro Havana are dilapidated – I knew from pictures that Central Havana (Habana Centro) is worn out, but when you actually see it in person, it’s totally different and surreal at the same time. I heard that one building a day crumbles in Cuba because of the lack of structural integrity and infrastructure.

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20. The Malecon is definitely a sight to see – The malecon is an oceanfront sea wall in Havana where you can catch an ocean breeze and stroll down for miles and miles. Be careful when crossing the 5 lane street to reach the oceanfront boardwalk because there aren’t any stop signs or signal lights to aid you. I highly recommend a stroll on the malecon during the sunset because it’s absolutely gorgeous.

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21. Cars always have the right of way – It’s common in Latin America where cars have the right of way. Pedestrians are always at risk when crossing the street legally or illegally. When you cross the street illegally, the cars are not going to slow down – they will only speed up so you can react faster to get out of their way.

22. There is a dual currency system in Cuba – Cuba is probably the only country in the world that runs on a dual currency system, the Cuban peso (CUP) and the Cuban convertible peso (CUC). According to XE.com, the official exchange rate is 1 CUC = 26.5 CUP. The Cuban CADECA (exchange office) will offer you a 1 CUC to 24 CUP exchange ratio. For most tourists, they will only use the CUC. For the more adventurous, the Cubano peso is a great way to save A LOT of money. I will have a detailed post about the dual Cuban currency system in the coming week.

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23. Cubans really do make on average 20 CUC per month – Whatever you read on the internet is true and doctors make the top end 30 CUC per month. The sad reality is that doctors have to have second jobs and work independently in the tourist industry.

24. It’s quite easy to change money in the street – Once you get to know a few local Cubans, they’re willing to give you a more favorable exchange rate than the CADECA. I was able to get a 1:1 even exchange on the US Dollar to CUC because a local Cuban had no use for his US dollars. On the other hand, I was able to exchange 1 CUC to 24 Cuban pesos at a local peso vendor stall and avoid going to the CADECA.

25. You can change money at big hotels – Instead of standing in the long lines at the large official CADECA offices (such as on Obispo Street), you can visit the hotel and they will have the same rates as the CADECA.

26. You’ll either love peso stalls or hate them – A peso stall is basically a fast food restaurant run out of someone’s window. They put up a signage with a list of items and prices. When the items run out or are unavailable, they take the sign down. Keep in mind peso stall prices are always in Cuban Pesos (CUP) or moneda nacional (MN). Again, most tourists won’t be visiting these stalls as they are for the more adventurous and I will have a post later in the week about peso stalls and restaurants.

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27. It’s really hard to find bottled water in Havana – It’s important to stay hydrated in Cuba because of its intense temperatures and high humidity. With that said, water is almost incredibly hard to find because you can’t just stroll down to the nearest corner street and find them. You’ll need to seek them out like it’s a precious valuable asset and horde them whenever possible. Water is sold in hard currency (CUC) and is usually priced at 1 CUC. I was able to get bottled water ranging from the small size to the larger sizes for 1 CUC.

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28. Don’t forget to bring your toiletries from home – When in Cuba, you can’t just say “I need to run to CVS or Walgreens around the corner to pick up some tampons” This is practically impossible (just like water in #27) because you’ll spend half your day looking for the correct store to find them. Even if you do find them, it won’t be of the high quality standards that you’re used to back home.

29. Bring toilet paper and tissue paper – I stayed at 20 CUC to 149 CUC priced hotels in Havana and not one place had a box of tissues available. At least one roll of toilet paper should be brought because it really is still a scarce commodity in Cuba. Tissue paper also becomes handy when you’re trying out street food in Cuba.

30. The views of Centro Havana are absolutely stunning – Even though I mentioned in #19 that the streets of Centro Habana are dilapidated, there’s just something about the sheer beauty of these colorful deteriorating buildings.

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31. Breakfast is included at every hotel – They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and nothing beats a free breakfast to jump start your day for sightseeing. However, the quality of the breakfast can vary from hotel to hotel. Some hotels have a plate breakfast, but most offer a breakfast buffet.

32. Most casa particulares don’t include breakfast – I mentioned in #31 that breakfast is included at all ‘hotels’ and I can’t say the same for casa particular private homestays. The casa owner will usually offer you an option to purchase breakfast for 3-6 CUCs which is really not worth it. It will almost always be some sort of eggs at a minimum.

33. Definitely stay one night in a casa particular – Casa particulares in Havana is definitely quite an experience different from a hotel. You can actually interact with local Cubans and make a few friends along the way. Sometimes they can help you arrange tours, taxis, and be your private insider guide in Havana. They range from 15-30 CUC, but there are more exotic casas where I’ll explain in a later separate post.

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34. The coffee in Cuba is ridiculously good – I’ve had my fair share of coffee around the world and there’s just something about Cuban coffee that makes it unique. The Cuban coffee taste is sweet and almost dessert like. Starbucks hasn’t come into town yet and it’s very hard or impossible to find coffee ‘para llevar’ in a to-go container cup.

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35. Trying a Bocadito de Helado is a must – A Bocadito de Helado is a traditional Cuban ice cream sandwich which has a crunchy texture. They’re mostly sold in peso stalls and you haven’t been to Cuba until you’ve tried one of these bad boys for 10 Cuban moneda nacional (MN) pesos (CUP) ~ $0.37 USD.

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36. You can buy fresh fruit with Cuban pesos (CUP) – It’s not hard to find fresh fruits sold from a wheelbarrow or makeshift cart from a vendor in Centro Habana. It’s a bargain to purchase fruits for 10 CUP or less ~ $0.37 USD.

37. There’s no internet access on cell phones in Cuba – The age of smartphones haven’t caught on in Cuba yet and there’s only 1 cell phone carrier, Cubacel. Cubacel only has a calling plan and no access to the internet. Basically Cubacel has a monopoly with their cell phone services and it’s owned by ETECSA which is owned by the Cuban government who forbids Cubans wide access to internet.

38. Payphones are everywhere – There a large abundance of payphones since having any type of cell phone is considered a luxury item in Cuba. It’s rare to see someone in Cuba talk on a cell phone because Cubacel is quite expensive on a per minute basis.

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39. Landlines are king in Cuba – Yes, people in Cuba still use landline phones to call other people. Call it retro, but it’s pretty cool to see rotary phones being put to use again.

40. Pan con pasta is not what you think it is – No matter what you do, never order Pan c/ Pasta from a peso stall (it’s not what you think). I thought it was bread with pasta and boy was I wrong. When the pan con pasta came out, it was basically a bun with a pink slime spread which looked disgusting. I later Google’d it and found out it was bread with a garlic mayonnaise filling. It only set me back 3 Cuban pesos ~ $0.11 USD but it was not worth the trouble.

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41. Bring your own plastic utensils – If you’re brave enough to eat street food, you’d be surprised on how many places don’t have plastic utensils at their disposal. As with #28 and #29, bring your own utensils because it’s also useful if you have leftovers and want to eat it back at your hotel or casa.

42. Haggling is a must in Cuba – Whenever I visit Latin America countries, I try not to haggle anymore for goods and services because I’m mostly always quoted fair price. If I don’t like the price, I’d walk away and it will be cheaper somewhere else. If you look like a foreigner, you’re going to be quoted outrageous prices. For example, a taxi from Old Havana to Miramar should not cost more than 5 CUC and you’d be quoted upwards of 15-20 CUC. In Havana, you should pay no more than 5 CUC for a ride between Old Havana, Centro Habana, Vedado, and Miramar.

43. You should never pay in CUC for street food – Old Havana is where you will likely encounter this where there are street vendors everywhere but the prices aren’t displayed. For something that costs 5 moneda nacional ~ $0.18 USD (like churros or a slice of cake), a foreigner would be quoted 1-2 CUCs. Don’t get scammed and just walk away.

44. Cubans are some of the friendliest people in the world – As I mentioned earlier in #7, Jineteros and Jineteras are less than 1% of the population of Cuba and 99% of the rest are super friendly. If you ask a Cuban for directions, they will go out of their way to help out find what you need. Cubans will openly invite you into their homes and offer you coffee and strike up a conversation with you.

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45. Some Cubans still don’t like Americans – When traveling in Latin America, it’s best to try and blend in with the locals but in Cuba it’s quite hard. As an Asian American, I just tell people that I’m from China (soy Chino) so I don’t get into an American debate with politics. My friend who is a white American traveled with me pretended to be a Canadian.

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46. Cuban police aren’t friendly – Cuban police officers are stationed all over in Habana Vieja (Old Havana) and don’t even try to smile or say hello to them because you’re not going to get any response back. With their meager 20 CUC monthly salary, no wonder they are depressed with their jobs. However, they are friendly with jineteros somehow. If you have questions, it’s best to ask a Cuban on the street or the nearest hotel staff.

47. Travel agencies at hotels don’t have computers – When booking tours with travel agents stationed in hotels, they don’t have computers. It’s basically a large 3 ring binder full of tour information and if you are interested in a specific package, they will pick up their landline phone to book it for you. Be prepared to wait because sometimes they have to call multiple times to different offices just to contact someone.

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48. Bicitaxis are a great way to get around – Bicitaxis are basically rickshaws and pedicabs in Cuba. It’s a really inexpensive form of transportation to get around Centro Havana because a lot of the streets are narrow and one-ways. Although unsafe, they’re great for short distances but be aware of the bicycle taxi scammers who want to charge you 5 CUC for a 2 minute ride to unsuspecting tourists. Mostly local Cubans take these bike cabs and pay in moneda nacional for less than 50 cents a ride.

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49. CocoTaxis are quite dangerous – A Coco Taxi is basically a modified motorcycle taxi with 4 seats including the driver himself. They cost less than regular taxis but they’re really dangerous when they’re sharing the main roads because there aren’t any passenger safety features.

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50. Some Cubans have iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – The reality is that some Cubans are very well off because they have family and friends who provide them with the latest technologies. There’s a big misconception that all Cubans are poor, but you’d be surprise on how wealthy some of them are. I’ve had several more Cubans working at state run restaurants show me their iPhone 6’s because they saw mine.

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51. Foreigners can-not buy a prepaid GSM SIM card from Cubacel – The Etesca store on Calle Obispo in Old Havana will not sell a pre-paid SIM Card to a tourist. There are other ways around this – such as asking a local Cuban to open a new line for you using their I.D. or purchasing the card on the black market for a higher price. I’m not sure why you’d need one in Cuba because the calling rates are ridiculously high.

52. You won’t see cell phone usage at restaurants – It’s quite refreshing to relax and dine in a restaurant where all the patrons aren’t fiddling with their cell phones – everyone is actually enjoying themselves and having real conversations with the person next to them.

53. Cuba is really laid back – With no constant cell phone connectivity to the internet, it feels like you’re really on vacation. I thought with no constant internet access, time would pass by slowly but that was quite the opposite. I didn’t mind waiting in queues, relaxing in the pool for a longer period of time, and I enjoyed walking everywhere.

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54. Be prepared to queue a lot – As I mentioned in #53, Cuba is really laid back. A lot of this has to do with the Cuban culture of hospitality and kindness. Sometimes there’s only one cashier at a store and a queue of 5 people. You might think that the queue is going to go quickly, but think again – the cashier is having a heart to heart talk with the person in front of them talking about family and what they did on the weekend. You cannot interrupt them or else they will snap back at you. There is no ‘rapid’ service in Cuba and you’re going to have to learn to wait. Sometimes there will be a queue of 10 people waiting to check-in at a hotel and only 1 or 2 front desk employees. Again, they’re going to take their sweet time, but don’t take it the wrong way – that’s the Cuban way of life.

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55. Five minutes does not literally mean 5 minutes – As I previously mentioned in #53 and #54, Cuba is really laid back, so be prepared to queue a lot. When a Cuban tells you, “Please wait 5 minutes”, it’s a generic term which means they don’t know when. It’s not literally 5 minutes and it could be 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or never. Don’t take it the wrong way, but never ask “How long is this going to take?” to a Cuban.

56. Wireless Internet is only available to government officials and select hotels – High speed Internet Access in Cuba is available, but it’s only for government officials in their offices and their homes such as in upscale Miramar neighborhood. Select larger hotels also have Wi-Fi internet available (usually in the lobby only), but for a fee which ranges from 4.5 CUC to 10 CUC for an hour’s use. I’ll have a separate blog post later all about internet access in Cuba in the coming week.

57. There are actual peso taxis with shared passengers – Peso taxis are basically old beat up 1950’s cars that give rides primarily to local Cubans. It’s called a peso taxi because they’ll never pay more than 20 CUP (moneda nacional) ~ $0.75 USD for a ride in Havana. There is however a catch to this – the taxi can fit up to 5 riders and they pick up passengers along the way going in the same direction. If you ‘look like a local’ you’ll be able to ride cheaply in Havana. If you look like a gringo, you’ll be quoted 5-10 CUCs in these beat up cars.

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58. Use Peso taxis to your advantage – As I mentioned in #57, peso taxis are shared taxis. However, use them to your advantage because they can be a very inexpensive form of transportation. I’ve haggled rides in these peso taxis for 3-5 CUC to get around Havana and they won’t pick up any passengers along the way (it will act like a regular taxi, but in a more worn out clunker car).

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59. Museum entrance fees have 2 prices – With the dual currency system in place, you can enter the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) in Havana for 5 MN or 5 CUC. If you look like a Cuban local, you will pay 5 MN $0.18 USD but if you look like a gringo, you will pay 5 CUCs ~ $5 USD. That’s such a huge price disparity!

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60. A hamburger in Cuba isn’t what you’d expect – I ordered the Hamburguesa Especial con Pollo, Jamon, Chorizo, Perrito y Queso. It was basically a burger with 4 different types of meats with cheese.

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61. Never pay more than 4.50 CUC per hour for Wi-Fi internet – As I’ve previously mentioned, Wi-Fi is only available at select hotels in Havana but the price range varies. Hotels in Old Havana and Vedado charge 8-10 CUC per hour for internet access. You can buy these scratch off 1 hour nauta internet cards at the ETECSA store on Calle Obispo. A 30 minute nauta card only costs 2.25 CUCs.

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62. There aren’t any homeless people – Even though Cuba is a poor country, you won’t find beggars on the streets or homeless people sleeping on the streets. The Cuban government does its best to take care of all their people.

63. Musicians are aggressive with the tip hat – Whenever you’re at a bar or restaurant with live performances, one of the performers will go around with a ‘tip hat’. They won’t speak English, but they know how to say the words “tip for the music” and won’t go away if you don’t tip them. Expect a tip hat to go around every few songs.

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64. The image of Che Guevera is plastered everywhere – Che Guevara was one of the revolutionary leaders who helped shaped what Cuba is today. You can’t get away from seeing Che Guevara on murals, t-shirts, hats, and even in the front of people’s homes.

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65. Some stores are priced in CUP and CUC – I went to a few markets in Havana where there will be prices listed in Cuban Pesos (CUP) and Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) with a tipo de cambo of 1:25 (1 CUC = 25 CUP).

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66. Havana Club rum is pretty cheap – An entire bottle of Havana Club rum only costs 2.95 CUC taxes included which is a complete bargain. Where else in the world can you get a bottle of rum for less than $3? No wonder mojitos in Havana only cost 1 CUC!

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67. The Vedado neighborhood is quite charming – The Vedado neighborhood in Havana resembles somewhat of a middle class neighborhood with homes and garage doors. In Cuba and mostly Latin America, you’re either rich or your poor – the middle class doesn’t exist.

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68. The movie theaters in Cuba are inexpensive – Even though museums have a large disparity in price for nationals and tourists, movie theater admission is priced in Cuban pesos. Yes, tourists can pay in moneda nacional to watch a movie. There aren’t any English subtitled movies, so you better brush up on your Espanol.

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69. Luxury penthouses do exist in Cuba – I didn’t realize there were luxury ‘casas’ available, but my friend had one on reservation in the Vedado neighborhood. Most of the luxury rooftop penthouse accommodations are located in Vedado and Miramar and it feels like you’re not in Cuba.

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70. Portions are often large in Cuba – I had ordered a Risotto Criollo con Pollo (Chicken with rice) for 3 CUC at a restaurant in Vedado and I didn’t think it would be a big portion for such a small amount of money. When the dish came out, it looked like it could feed a family of 4. The menu did not state the portion size was large either.

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71. Cocktails are inexpensive in Cuba – As I mentioned earlier that beer is inexpensive, cocktails are equally cheap in Cuba whether it’s at a bar, restaurant, or at a resort hotel. The prices are 1-3 CUC, so it’s pretty much happy hour all day in Cuba.

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72. You don’t have to use the entire ‘1 hour’ Wi-Fi card all at once – As I’ve previously mentioned, Wi-Fi is purchased in blocks of 30minutes – 1 hour on scratch off cards. It doesn’t mean that you have to use up the entire time-frame all at once. You can actually ‘log-out’ at any time and resume your session later.

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73. The La Rampa district in Vedado is quite interesting – My favorite neighborhood in Havana is Vedado and it’s a little non-touristy. There’s a main strip in Vedado called ‘La Rampa’ where there’s a ton of restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

74. The line for Coppelia ice cream is ridiculous – Once you head to Coppelia Park in the Vedado neighborhood, you will a ton of Cubans standing around waiting in line for ice cream. The line wraps around several corners of the block.

75. There are actually 2 lines at Soderia Coppelia – As I mentioned there’s a long line for Coppelia ice cream, but that’s actually if you want to pay in moneda nacional (CUP). There’s a seperate line (actually almost always no lines) where you can get your ice cream fix, but the payment is in CUCs.

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76. Peso pizza is pretty good – Out of all the street foods I’ve tasted in Havana, I’d have to say that the pizza is the best. Best of all, a whole cheese pizza is only 10 CUP’s ~ $0.37 USD. If you want to add toppings like onions, they’re usually 5 more CUP ~ $0.18 USD.

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77. Peso pizza is eaten like a taco – Even though you get your own personal portion of pizza, it’s not sliced at all. The way to eat it like the Cubans is to fold it in half and devour it from the side, just like a taco.

78. Tourists can eat at peso restaurants – There’s a big misconceptions that tourists can only dine at CUC restaurants, but the reality is that you can eat at sit down CUP restaurants and pay in moneda nacional. I went to a restuarant in Vedado called Los Lirios where you can feast on Pollo con Arroz Moro, Ensalada, y Papas (Chicken with red beans and rice, salad, and potatoes) for 25 CUP ~ $0.94 USD.

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79. Be careful of the casa breakfasts – As I’ve previously mentioned that a lot of casa particulares owners who will try to upsell you breakfast for 3-6 CUC, but it’s usually just comprised of eggs and coffee with the hard Cuban bread.

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80. Cuban school buses look American – Cuba uses American-style yellow school buses which imported from Canada and then painted.

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81. Cuban department stores actually exist – Okay actually they don’t. It’s basically a storefront with a counter where customers can order furniture, mattresses, cologne, perfume, etc. I’d be pretty scared to order a mattress or furniture off a catalog in the store without actually seeing the product in person.

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82. Speaking Spanish helps tremendously – If you don’t speak or understand Spanish, you’re going to have a rough time enjoying Cuba because 95% of the Cuban population is not fluent in English. In addition, the more Spanish you know, the richer your experience and the less expensive taxi rides will be.

83. There are two main long distance bus companies in Cuba – There aren’t many long distance bus companies in Cuba, but again there is a high price disparity between the two. One company is called Astro where you pay in moneda nacional (CUP) and the other is Viazul where you pay in the more expensive CUC currency. You can catch the Astro bus at Terminal de Omnibus Nacionales and the Viazul bus at Casa Matriz in North Vedado, near the Zoologico. Tourists usually can’t catch the less expensive Astro bus because its reserved for Cuban citizens.

84. Peso markets are empty – It’s quite common to see empty shelves with the same repetitive item at peso markets which only accept the CUP currency, moneda nacional (MN).

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85. There’s actually a Chinatown in Havana – Out of all places in the world, I wouldn’t have thought Havana would have a Chinatown. The Chinese population in Havana is less than 1%, but I went to a Chinese restaurant where there was an actual Chinese chef.

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86. Cubataxi’s are pretty cheap – Cubataxi is the official taxi of Cuba where they’re painted yellow and black. They’re easy to spot and the prices are 10MN ~ $0.37 USD for distances 0-10 kilometers and 20MN ~ $0.75 for distances greater than 20 kilometers. Cuban nationals never pay more than 1 CUC to get around Havana, ever. Good luck paying these cheap prices as a gringo!

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87. You can’t buy intra Cuban flights as an American Citizen – My friend wanted to go to Cayo Largo del Sur and he had frustrating time finding a travel agent to book a flight from Havana (Playa Baracoa Airport) to Cayo Largo. The reason is that he holds an American passport and they need a non-American passport in order to sell a flight. He even got rejected at the AeroGaviota and Aero Caribbean physical airport ticket counters because they demanded to see a non-US passport.

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88. You can take the public bus for 1 CUP – There’s actually public transportation available in Havana where the cost is only 1 Cuban peso (moneda nacional) ~ $0.03 USD. My friend took bus 27 from Habana Vieja to the Viazul Bus Station in North Vedado for 3 cents! It literally costs nothing to take the bus in Cuba.

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89. The Miramar neighborhood is really upscale – Miramar wasn’t one of my favorite neighborhoods because there isn’t much to do as a tourist except to stay bubbled up at your resort hotel. It’s far from everything and it’s basically a bunch of upscale homes with embassies from different countries.

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90. There are some really nice hotels in Miramar – The Melia Havana hotel in Miramar feels like a typical resort hotel and people wouldn’t believe you’re actually in Cuba. It’s one of the nicest hotels in Havana with an outstanding pool.

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91. You can get a free ride to Old Havana from Miramar hotels – Several hotels such as the Melia Havana and Memories Miramar offer free shuttles to Habana Vieja (Old Havana). This could save you 15-20 CUCs alone, but be aware of the times as it only runs 4 times a day. Conversely, you can catch a free ride back to the Miramar neighborhood as well.

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92. It’s quite easy to get scammed with the 3 peso/1 CUC coin – Be careful when receiving change because the 1 CUC coin ~ $1 USD looks exactly like the 3 CUP coin which is worth $0.11 USD! They both have the same color characters and are even the same size. The only difference is that the 3 peso coin has an image of Che Guevara on it, so be careful and always look at your change.

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93. Avoid taking taxis that linger in front of hotels and tourist areas – If you want to pay the expensive gringo price, take the first taxi you see when you get out of your hotel or have the jinetero lead you to one. The price dramatically decreases when you pick up a taxi away from the hotel and on the main or side streets.

94. Never pay more than 15 CUC for a taxi to Havana Airport – It’s quite easy to find a taxi in the Havana area (Old Havana, Centro Habana, Vedado, Miramar) to take you to HAV international airport for 15 CUCs. For better results pick out a beat up street peso taxi who will take you there (without picking up other passengers).

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95. Always change your leftover CUCs and CUPs – There are two money exchange CADECA’s in the departures level of Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport (HAV). You can’t change Cuban Pesos and Cuban Convertible pesos anywhere else in the world besides Cuba. You’ll get hit with a small 3% commission when converting, but it’s better than it being worthless. I kept a few CUP’s myself as souvenirs.

96. There’s a 25 CUC departure tax at HAV Airport – Don’t forget to set aside 25 CUCs for the exit tax at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport. You’ll need to pay this after you retrieve your boarding pass from the airline ticket counter. [Edit: As of May 1, 2015, the departure tax will be included in airline tickets, so no need to pay 25 CUC at the airport before leaving]

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97. Everything at Havana International Airport is a rip-off – The Cuban government is banking on tourists on forgetting to convert their money back and spend it all past security at HAV International Airport. I don’t know anywhere in the world where a stack of Pringles would cost a whopping 5.90 CUCs ~ $5.90 USD!

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98. Wireless Internet Access at HAV Airport is a hit or miss – I was excited when I landed at Havana Intl Airport and the wireless network “NAUTA AEROPUERTO” came up, but there was nowhere to buy internet cards. When I got to Havana Airport, I was armed with a ‘scratch off’ 1 hour internet card and to my dismay, the wireless internet hotspot couldn’t connect. However, you can use desktop computers with internet access for 5 CUC/15 minutes which is a complete rip-off.

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99. U.S Customs doesn’t care if Americans visit Cuba – Go ahead and get your Cuban passport stamped because you won’t be hassled when you come back to the United States. There hasn’t been a single case in history where an American Citizen has travelled illegal to Cuba and fined.

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100. Making a list like this wasn’t easy – Since President Obama is on the verge of ending the embargo, you definitely need to book a trip to Cuba before the Starbucks and McDonalds invasion. I wanted to get as much information out there for Americans and tourists alike who want to visit Cuba before everything changes.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

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About the Author

Points Summary
My name is and I write the Points Summary travel blog.

63 Comments on "100 Things I Learned From My Recent Trip to Havana Cuba"

  1. Wow I hadn’t seen El Cinecito for 30 years. I must have watched a million cartoon movies in that theater. Not sure now but when I was a kid they only played kids movies, as the translated name implies (“Little Movie Theater”).
    Did you not see any Hatuey beer? I don’t know if they still make it but while Cristal is really good and refreshing for that kind of weather I actually liked Hatuey better (more of an amber beer).

  2. Hi Jamison
    Thank you for answering a lot of questions I had in mind. We will be visiting cuba in November, on a 15 day tour, and now I feel better after reading your tips
    Thanks again…dolly

    • Elvia Del Cid | April 20, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Reply

      Hi Dolly –
      I am going in July. Can you tell me who are you using to make your traveling and hotel accommodations for you?

      • Hi elvia
        We have booked with cubagrouptours.com
        You can check it on line
        We will be going from November 20 to dec 4

  3. Such a useful list…
    ¡Muchas gracias!

  4. Nice list though I’d like to correct some mistakes…

    # 12 Cristal beer isn’t bad but most Cubans (and beer loving foreigners) I have met on the island say Bucanero is much, much better. Harder to find though.

    # 15 hard bread: aha, this is the ‘tourist grade’ bread and I agree it’s no good (like plastic extruded foam.) Ask for ‘pan de la libreta’ (the lower-grade, ration-book bread rolls) which are softer and yeastier.

    #43: street food in CUC: sure, no vendor should ASK for CUC for street food, but you are perfectly free to pay for it with small CUC coins or bills if you like, at a rate of 25 CUP to the CUC. (i.e. a 5 cent coin for each Cuban peso, roughly). You’ll get change in CUP and obviously you won’t be able to split a big CUC bill.

    #63 no homeless, no beggars: this is simply and completely untrue. Cuba has plenty of both – you just didn’t see them. (still far fewer of either than in Mexico, Brazil, the USA or UK though.)

    #79 – casa breakfasts “just egg and coffee”? you were being ripped off. Most casas I know serve MASSIVE breakfasts for 3CUC including loads of bread, coffee, fruit, cheese and juice as well as the eggs. Maybe more if you wanted meat products as well. imho a good, big, cheap casa breakfast is one of the best things a new traveller to Cuba can rely on.

    anyway. nice pictures, really useful info in places, and I am truly glad you had a good time.

  5. This list was amazing…thanks so much for putting it together!

  6. Lynn Jerrett | April 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Reply

    Great information…we are traveling to Cuba next month. I enjoyed your post and found the info very relevant.

    • Elvia Del Cid | April 20, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Reply

      can you share how you are making your traveling arrangements and where will you be staying? i am going to be going to Cuba in July but wanted to get some feedback as to how to make reservations?

  7. “U.S. Customs doesn’t care if Americans visit Cuba’. That’s irresponsible loose wording. Even under the new guidelines there are still narrow and very strict criteria for which American citizens are permitted to visit communist Cuba. Rather Americans should look up the regulations listed on the U.S. State Department website about visits to Cuba. Do U.S. passport holders want to risk being made an example of when they return to the U.S.? While they may avoid being federally criminally prosecuted, which they could be, a adverse file could be created and that traveler flagged for scrutiny each time they return to the U.S. from overseas. Travel to certain countries raises red flags for ICE and CBP.

    • Jamison is close to the truth, CBP will not ask travelers returning from Ecuador, Mexico or Panama if they visited Cuba. Specially not now since there is no physical OFAC licensing anymore. I am not saying they don’t care, but their focus is on bigger issues threatening this Country. There are thousands of travelers at any given time in the Passport Control halls… the last thing the officers do is flip through your passport looking for a Cuban stamp. Also don’t forget that practically, most US Citizens qualify for at least ONE of the TWELVE categories… all you have to do is believe in ONE of the many Gods and you’re good to go 🙂

  8. Jamison, you rock boy!!

  9. I just wanted to thank you for this article. So much great information, so helpful overall. Makes me even more excited for my upcoming trip!

  10. Jamison – You will go down in the Handy Helpful Travel Hints Hall of Fame for this list. My family is starting a service learning program in Cuba (that means they will work with Cubans to make their lives better at the very base level) this year and your list will be invaluable to them and their participants. If you are interested in the work they do in Cambodia and Tanzania, go to http://www.globalservicecorps.org . I am not posting this to give them some SEO – I thought you might be interested. Seriously, your list is awesome. I expect to be going to Cuba this year or early next year also so your 1 – 100 list will be taken with me. I always wonder with blogger posts with photos if there is an easy way to remove the photos so I can print a condensed list for travel. Have any ideas? The photos are wonderful in the post but not so much for a take-along. Thanks much!

  11. Unable to add your site in my RSS feed. Clicking on the RSS icon nets me coding. Trying to add http://first2board.com/pointssummary/ to my feed gives me this message: The link may not point to a valid RSS source. Ideas?

  12. thank you for the great tips 🙂 would you please recommend a hotels and booking sites or agencies?

    i am planning to travel to havana end of may , i am coming from Paris, and want to travel from havana to Miami, do you have any advices or tips ?

    thank you very much.

  13. I’m glad you enjoyed Havana. It is definitely a special place and one of our favorites of our trip. We just got back from a month cycling in Cuba and wow, you sure saw a different country than we did. Many of your comments are spot on with our experiences, but so many are, if not opposite, quite different. It’s a good reminder of how very different experiences can be from person to person. I will be posting a very large review of our experiences there on our blog and if you don’t mind, I will link to this article for a different perspective.

    I really doubt that there will be a flood of McDonalds and Starbucks in the near future. All bets are off once Raul kicks it, but for now the government still has strict control over the kinds of businesses that can operate in the country and it’s not in their interest to let these chains into the fold. Think about it, did you see any Canadian or European chains there? Even the Melias, brought to you by a Spanish company, are 51% owned by the Cuban government.

    I think you guys missed out by not telling people you were from the USA. Almost all Cubans have friends and family there and many have this strange cultish love affair with the country. Many people were super excited and much more friendly when they found out where we were from and rarely discussed politics or anything like that.

    • Thanks for taking your time to read and comment Lewis! This post is really about the things I learned while in ‘Havana’ which doesn’t represent Cuba entirely. I’m sure the other cities in Cuba and the quaint countrysides are way different from the hustle and bustle of Havana. I agree with you that Starbucks and McDonalds is definitely not going to be coming anytime soon. Yes, you may link back to this post! I would love to read your Cuba post as well on your blog. Have a great day.

  14. Hello!
    Thanks for your post. We are traveling individually (US citizens) and would like to go to Cayo Largo and do not want to fly there. Is it easy to rent a car there? If not, what is the best option to get over there from Havana without flying? Thanks!

  15. Karen Paige | June 4, 2015 at 9:10 am | Reply

    This was so helpful and much appreciated. I am planning a trip in early August with my daughter and two grown grandsons. Will we need a car in Havana or better to take taxis? What is best way to go to Trinidad for 2 days?

  16. I just got back from Cuba not 24 hours and this was invaluable, spot on. As soon as I get a moment I will comment on individual items.
    Thank you so much, everyone in my party wanted to make sure I thanked you. Out of the hundreds of things I read preparing for this trip, this was the best one and probably the only one I needed.
    G

  17. Clarence J. Elliott, Jr. | June 12, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Reply

    Thank you for such detail and clarity. I’ve done a lot of research, and this is one of most insighful pieces that I’ve seen. Really appreciate you sharing your experience. I look to visit Cuba within the year. Best wishes and happy travels!

  18. Hey Jamison, thanks heaps for your list, practical and down to earth – kind of ‘Cuba’ I’d like to see. I’m a senior traveller from Australia and will be with a tour group. But nonetheless, your advice is priceless…

  19. As another (Australian) who had hoped to reach Cuba before it ‘changes’ and concerned that I had missed the boat, I really appreciated your article.

    It has really whetted my appetite.

    I may have left it too late to learn Spanish…but looking forward to giving it a go. Thanks again

    • You’re welcome Derek! It’s not too late to learn Spanish but I do agree it’s difficult to learn when you’re older. I wish I had learned Spanish when I was a kid!

  20. Jamison, I am quite impressed that you learned so much in just 5 days. I read your article intending to find some disagreement (I am a lawyer and by instinct look for anything to disagree with.) Instead I agree with most everything you found. I would say that I agree with the Trabuquero contributor on some minor points.

    Great article. Anyone traveling to Cuba should read this article, print it and bring it with you.

    • Thanks Armando for the positive feedback! Yes, I’ve heard that some people have printed this and brought it along with them to Cuba! It brings me great joy to help others. Have a great day!

  21. Jamison, I too am US Citizen and will be flying from Los Angeles, CA through Mexico I think. Question? Do I or can I simply purchase my flight at one time from LA to Cancun then onto Havana? Or rather do I get a flight to lets say Cancun or Mexico City then once I arrive at the airport I then purchase my flight to Havana?

    Enjoyed your experiences!

  22. great post! will you be posting the detailed blog about currency? i am going to Havana in January and the money situation still confuses me! thanks!

  23. Great post! I am from the USA and had been traveling to Cuba, more than 15 times now, since the early 90’s and wish you all had visited it then to see the difference. So how come none of you did it before 🙂
    Jamison, you left one of the most important parts of Cuba… how safe it is. Cuba is perhaps the safest nation in the world. Also Cubans are very friendly and love North Americans. I really don’t know who you met who wasn’t friendly. Even the cops were friendly and willing to help and for sure they don’t go around beating or killing innocent citizens as in our USA.
    Also you can take local Cuban pesos only taxi, but must know where the car is going and how much it cost. A typical ride from El Capitolio to the entrance of the airport terminal 2 is only 20 Cuban pesos or less than $1.00 and with your luggage you will pay around 30 pesos.
    Also you can get better exchange and be able to get for US $1.00 .94 so $100 will be 94 CUC which is better than the 87 cuc you will get from your hotel or a bank. But must know where to go or have a known Cuban friend there.
    And yes their pizza is great and so is other things they sale out of those homes/street windows. Their burgers are so-so since most Cubans don’t have access to meat as in cows. Only top hotels and restaurants will have access to it. But hey when traveling to other nations is best to leave fast food behind and enjoying the local flavor.

  24. Hi. I’m traveling to Cuba from Argentina. Did you by any chance notice a casa de cambio that exchanged Argentine Pesos? Thanks!

  25. Thinking of traveling to Cuba but need to be connected to work during the trip. Is the Wi-Fi reliable at Varadero hotels, if not I can’t go.

  26. Hi Jamison – excellent and insightful article! This will be an valuable reference as I prepare for my upcoming trip. One question I have on point 4 regarding currency exchange – is it easy to exchange Mexican pesos? Thanks!

  27. Verizon is now offering service to Cuba, but at 2.99 per minute. I’ll be in Cuba next week for about 8 days and will offer more info on my experiences. Oh, yeah…, I’m Hispanic and I can read, speak and write in Spanish, but not going to pose as a native. I figure they can probably tell that I’m not from there, they same way a Texan can tell if someone is from the Bronx. May have more to add when I return.

  28. So i was looking online for somebody describing Cuba with false information and came across your site. Im a cuban guy 27yrs old. I came to usa when i was 15. I have family over there and i go there a few times every year.
    I want to thank you for such a great post. It is really good.
    But…..
    You should add that tourists should never go to cuban parties on the streets unless is a place for tourists which is full of prostitutes and hustlers.
    The cuban people love tourists and they always wish the tourists would donate them any amount of money. No, they dont say it but they want it as is hard for people to even get a dollar.
    Prostitutes in cuba are of any age. From 13 to whatever old age you can imagine.
    Theres a lot of places where you should never go as they are full of thieves and thugs that love to fight anybody just because they like it.
    If you go to cuba try to ask one of your cubans friends to let you stay at whatever family they have there, all you have to do ks buy them some food and they will be super happy.
    Drugs in cuba are very private… marijuana is crap in cuba and cocaine is of top quality and very cheap
    Theres more things but cant think about them right now (5am)

  29. hi, enjoyed your article a lot– I just made reservations via cancun to Havana. I’m a US citizen. We booked our stays through Airbnb.com which just opened there a few months ago. We love Airbnb!
    I was a bit upset to learn about the difficulty in obtaining bottled water, is it really like all over?
    Thanks for all the info!

  30. thank you very much for this info!

    Regards
    Ted from Sweden

  31. Mikhail Sebastian | January 7, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Reply

    I do not think it makes sense to change USD to EUR or CAD loosing money in conversion rate and than changing to CUC and loosing % there too. In this case it still would be cheaper to convert USD to CUC by loosing 13%. If you convert USD to EUR and to CUC you will be loosing much more in conversion rate.

  32. Hi Jason,

    Thank you so much for the information and pictures you have provided on regards of your stay in Cuba.

    I live in California. I am planning to visit Cuba in May. I was wondering if you can give me some advice on how to obtain a VISA (prepaid) card without this being from an American bank. I don’t like to carry cash, specially for two weeks.

    Are Casas Paritculares safe?

    Thank you very much in advance!

    MM

  33. *Jamison

    Sorry!

    MM

  34. #37 is incorrect. We were just there this past week (1/20-27/16) and we were able to buy internet access in both of our hotels-Melia Cohiba in Havana and even Hotel Jugua in Cienfuegos.In fact, I could post Cuban pictures to my Facebook account.

  35. Further comments after #37 clarified your post. #37 should probably be modified.

  36. Is it possible to spend a day in one of the Miramar Hotels (like a Day Pass) without being a registered guest?

  37. Jamison,
    Fantastic article. I visited Cuba in the 80’s and it sounds like it’s still the same. My question to you is how to obtain the tourist visa and license to travel from the US to Cuba? It’s been difficult to find information. I already booked my flight for March and would like to be prepared ahead of time.

    Thanks,
    Gabriela

  38. J . I think you were unlucky to get a poor breakfast in your casa particular , I spent 3 months in Cuba last year , never in hotels and was served most delicious ‘jugo de fruta’ (super fresh fruit juice smoothies), loads of them : guayaba , papaya , pina guanabana naranja etc etc very generous serving – like a whole jug full .
    bread was soft , fresh . it’s true you won’t be served bacon or sausages but what you do get (plus great coffee) is good . PS insist on sterilized milk from pkt sometimes give you the powder milk (which I think Cubans get on the ration book ) and it tastes Uck 🙁 ! Never pay more than $ 3.00 CUC for breakfast
    PS you didn’t mention that in general Cuban ‘casa’ owners are later risers (not sure why) so if like me you like to have breakfast early eg 7.30 am you will be disappointed !

  39. How and where did you buy your visa as a US citizen for a tourist visa to Cuba? Also, what obstacles did you face to exchange money as a US citizen other than the fact you will be penalized if you try to exchange US dollars for Cuban pesos?

  40. Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that this
    amazing site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back
    again to see more, thanks for the information!

  41. great post. for currency, if i have three options, which is best?..

    1. get EUR here in us and exchange for CUCs in Cuba
    2. Get MEX at mexico city airport and change for CUCs in Cuba
    3. get CUCs for USD at mexico city airport
    4. get EUR in MEX and exchange for CUCs in cuba?

    thanks.

  42. Thanks Jamison! Heading to Cuba next week, and your blog is VERY PRACTICAL reading! Bueno trabajo!

  43. Hello sir, you mention to spend one night in a Casa Particular, did you have any suggestion to book one of those houses online?
    I found this site http://havanabookingroom.com any recommendation?

  44. Hi Jamison,
    Thanks for posting this comprehensive list! I’m visiting Cuba in two weeks and it’s both entertaining and helpful reading through your list. I thought about potentially needing to bring my own toilet paper and the whole obtaining water situation….your comments confirmed both and more. I’m also of Asian dissent with broken Spanish, guess I’ll have to be prepared to pay the tourist price…

  45. Airport rippoffs… the best deal in cuba is the coffee.

    The imported food was at movie theater prices, the cubita or cafe serano was $11 a kilo 2.2 lbs and is really good.
    Also cuban water is potable, be cautious and leave exposed to midday sun in plastic bottle for uv sterilization. I did this my two weeks in cuba.

  46. Thank you for this exhaustive article. My family is heading to Cuba in a few days so I’ve been reading lots of blogposts readying us for the Cuban reality. This is, by far, the best blogpost I’ve seen on the post.

  47. Very helpful indeed! But an important note/critique: .03 cents for transport is nearly 1/100 of what we pay per ride in many major US cities. If the cost differences are similar in other areas (food, rent, etc. – plus $0 for medical/dental/vision care, or student loans) this makes the $20/mo salary effectively $2,000/mo or $24,000/yr – which is higher than a large portion of NYC’s population (where 1/5 live below the official US poverty level) & would be by far the highest standard of living for any comparably poor country (which is truly what Cuba is – i.e. no oil like Mexico or timber or high-value minerals like much of the Global South; yet DISTRIBUTION of the meager resources is far better, so though poor as a country, there’s virtually no misery & remarkably strong, educated, healthy & vibrant working class.). … Also worth noting is: *the openness & comfort of gay culture (I hit upon a huge gay festival & gay folks said they felt totally safe, certainly compared to the rest of the Caribbean, or even the US!); *the amazing amount of live culture, with music/dance/singing/folklore/Yoruba & Santeria so integral to the culture, aided by extensive gov’t support for the arts; and *the presence of people of all colors & women in virtually all positions (at least those visible), i.e. managers, cops, bus drivers, etc. Again, thanks for your observations.

  48. Information Cuba changes quickly, but this list from 2015 is pretty good but many things have changed. I was in Cuba for a month in Feb. 2016 and have many updates on these tips. Look on my website for more info and I will try to submit some tip updates on here. DJ Starr – Pen2Paint.com

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