I recently wrote about my recent trip to Cuba, which I highly recommend you look into if you’re interested. I wanted to share a few tips that I learned from researching the trip and from experiencing it myself!
- Brush up on your Spanish – at least some basic phrases. I took classes in college, but use the Duolingo app to get a refresh
- Visa – if you’re traveling from the United States, you’ll need a Visa. I bought mine in advance from Cuba Travel Services ($85)
- Documents – speaking of Visas, a general international travel tip is to make photocopies of all relevant documents (passport, ID, accommodations, visas, reservations, etc.)
- Taxis – be sure to negotiate price before getting in the car. Almost every driver came down from the original price they offered
- Airbnb – go for it! This is the best way to find affordable, trustworthy lodging and stay like a local and with locals!
- Internet/cell service – get of the grid and go without it! However, if you need Wi-Fi you’ll have to purchase an internet card. We found a hotel cafe that sold a one hour card for $2 CUC and also included a coffee
- Forget the credit card – you’ll need cash for everything. See below…
- Currency – There is a 10% fee for exchanging USD. I got Euros from my bank before I left the US. Then in Cuba, I could exchange the Euros for Cuban currency without the fee. There are two currencies in Cuba, the CUC and the CUP. We did run into both types but didn’t have an issue with the locals giving us correct change. Read this article to educate yourself
- Safety – while using common sense, I never felt unsafe in Cuba. Since we were two young females, we did get a lot of “cat calls” but ignored them and kept walking. We also ran into people trying to get us to eat in their restaurants, buy their cigars or give us recommendations – we also politely said no to all of these offers and kept walking
- Buy bottled water – I do this when traveling to any foreign country. We would buy 2 liter bottles from a sandwich stand near our Airbnb for 2 CUC. All restaurants serve bottled water as well
- Wear comfortable shoes – Havana is very walkable – save some money and take advantage of that
- Have fun – meet locals, try new food, take tons of photos, see everything you can while staying safe!