Two currencies, street cigars, WiFi cards and taxi bartering are just a few things you need to bear in mind when travelling to Cuba. Having just spent two weeks in this beautiful country, I have a bunch of tips to share with you. If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide of certain regions in Cuba, check out my 48 Hours in Havana blog and 24 Hours in Santa Clara, the home of the legendary Che Guevara.
Check out my top 10 tips below and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!
- Spanish is the main language spoken and the language barrier can be difficult to overcome. Bring a phrase book to make your life easier or alternatively, brush up on your charade skills!
- Only use Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) not the Cuban peso (CUP). Check your change when you buy something and make sure you’re getting the right currency back.
- Buy WIFI cards from an ETECSA telecommunication centre and head to a public park for the best connection – just look for a group of people on their phones and that’s where the best signal is.
- Don’t be afraid to barter with taxi drivers. If you don’t, you will get ripped off, big time!
- If you are staying in a casa, ask your hosts to help arrange excursions and other casas you would like to stay in. The casas are all very well connected and seem to know each other all around Cuba and the hosts are more than happy to help/make phone calls for you.
- Museums are closed on Sundays and Mondays to plan your itineraries around those days.
- Service charges are included in restaurant bills but it is nice to tip your waiter a CUC or two.
- Mosquitoes are like owls in Cuba, they make an appearance at night time. Don’t wake up with 100 bites in the morning, cover yourself in fly spray before you go to sleep!
- Don’t buy cigars off the streets, only in the tobacco shops.
- Inform your bank of your travel plans prior to arriving in Cuba or your card could potentially get blocked.