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Of all the islands in the Caribbean, Cuba is the largest and least expensive to visit. In addition to the low cost of living, Cuba is home to over 300 white sand beaches which are surrounded by turquoise seas.
The highlights of this island include the vibrant landscapes of Vinales, Spanish colonial towns like Trinidad and the jewel in the crown is the capital city itself, Havana. Havana is a historical masterpiece which belongs to another era. It’s full of American vintage cars, ancient architecture and has a very low crime rate.
Behind these scruffy facades, gold lingers, it is these rich contrasts that make travelling to Cuba a thrilling and exciting experience. Furthermore, Cuba might seem like its stuck in a time warp and might be struggling with economic embargos that have dogged it for half a century but this is a country where you must wave goodbye to commonplace assumptions and expect to be mesmerised.
If Cuba was a book it would be frequently misunderstood, hard to comprehend but above all a definite classic.
When preparing for your trip to Cuba it’s vital to think about how much it will cost you and prepare a budget. Internet and Wi-Fi in Cuba are not widely available and it’s a hassle to find good internet spots and speeds.
As a result, you should have your budget and finances sorted before departing for Cuba.
The average daily cost per person is £13. If your intended stay is one week it will cost you £93, two weeks will cost you £186 while a month will cost you £399.
If you want to travel to Cuba as a romantic getaway with your partner it will cost you £186 for one week, £372 for two weeks and £797 for a month.
|Holiday Class||Estimated Amount Needed Per Day (Per Person)|
|Budget||£13 Per Day|
|Mid-range||£100 Per Day|
|High-end||£300 Per Day|
|Need some more cash for your trip? Get a free loan quote|
Return Flight prices from Britain to Dubai range from £439-£681. This depends on how much in advance you book your tickets and the travel period.
Cuba is unique in how it uses its money. Cuba uses a dual economy which is a common source of confusion among travellers visiting Cuba. The government circulates two currencies, the Cuban pesos (CUP) and the convertible pesos (CUC).
Moreover, locals refer to both as pesos since they are already accustomed to their dual economy, this invites even more confusion among tourists. It’s therefore important to remember that as a tourist most of your expenditure will be in CUCs.
This will include tips, nightclub charges, accommodation, restaurant charges and taxi prices. You can use the CUP while buying vegetables and fruits in the agricultural market, street food such as peanuts and pizza and while paying for trips on local buses.
For an authentic feel of Cuban travel, the Casa Particulares will be the way to go. Casas are comfortable, affordable and the cultural influence is immense. This is because Casas are owned and run by Cuban locals who are typically very friendly and informative about the day to day life in Cuba and Cuban culture.
Also, the food served at Casas is very good and we recommend you to take at least two meals a day at your casa. It may cost you a little but it’s totally worth it.
The portions are generous and meals like breakfast will consist of cheese, deli meats, fresh bread and fruits, coffee, vegetables and fresh fruit juice. Lastly, the popular booking sites Booking.com and Airbnb provide accommodation services in Cuba making it, even more, easier to access and pay for room space.
The average price for a double room in a casa is £15-£22, solo travellers usually get a discount. On the other hand, hotels can get quite pricey and they often start at £26-£136 per night.
The prices for meals in Cuba varies significantly, food in some cities such as Camaguey is cheaper while in others it’s expensive. The cost of drinks and alcohol also varies depending on where you decide to drink. Cocktails at your casa will be cheaper than at the bar. You will likely spend £2 for cocktails and £0.8 for a beer. At bars or restaurants, cocktails and beers will range from £2-£3 each. Don’t leave Cuba without trying a mojito, trust us you will love it.
Below is a list of average Cuban restaurant charges:
• Beef stew with salad and rice: £6
• Spaghetti: £4.16
• Fish/lobsters with sides at a restaurant: £6- £8
• Pizza: £1.89
• Tapas: £1.14 – £2.27 each
• Fish in sauce with salad and rice: £6.81
• chicken, pork or fish meal at casa: £5 – £8
Cuba is one of the cheapest places in the world to take a plunge in the water. So we recommend you to visit The Bay of pigs where you can dive. You could also partner with tour companies such as Havana Tour Company and review their full day tour which includes walking trips, lunch and rides around Cuba in vintage cars. These companies also provide tour guides who are exceptional and will answer all your question on general life in Cuba without holding anything back.
On the other hand, if you are a free spirit and prefer touring your destinations alone you could visit the Fort of Saint Charles at a cost of £5.30, the Museo de Bellas Artes at a cost of £4 and the Museo De La Revolucion at a cost of £6.
All these museums are in Havana and must be paid for in CUC. A ride around Havana in Cuban vintage cars for 30 minutes will cost you £11-£18. How much you pay will entirely depend on your bargaining skills. While in Trindad or Vinales you could take horseback riding tours for 3-4 hours at a cost of £11-£19.
There are numerous transport options in Cuba and most of these are reliable, convenient and reliable. The cost of transport, however, depends on the mode of transport you use. Below is a rundown of the available options for transport and their associated costs.
Taxis prices in Cuba are quite steep compared to other kinds of transport. An intercity trip in Havana for 60 minutes will cost you around £2-£5. Word of advice, always arrange a price before getting in a taxi to avoid later arguments over price.
Collectivos or Shared Taxis
These are old classic taxis that run through various streets on a fixed route. They go picking passengers up and you must flag them down to stop and pick you up. They cost £0.38 for a ride within the city and are paid using CUP.
They are the cheapest form of transportation but they are often packed to the brim with commuters. They are a good option if you are well acquainted with the route and do not mind squeezing. They cost £0.03 only.
Astro and Viazal Busses
These are the two alternatives for intercity travel in Cuba. However, Astro buses are cheaper than Viazal busses. This is because Astro buses have fewer seats reserved for tourists and the buses are older and not so well maintained. Locals pay in CUP while tourists pay in CUC and the price is£3 -£4. Viazal busses are generally reserved for tourists and are air-conditioned and well maintained. They also run on a consistent schedule.
Below are some sample costs:
• Trindad to Camaguey: £11
• Cienfuegos to Trindad: £5
• Vinales to Cienfuegos: £26
• Havana to Vinales: £9
Due to the long cold war between Cuba and America, transactions in Us dollars are subject to a 10% special tax. The best currencies to use on your trip to Cuba are Euros, Sterling pound, and Canadian dollars. These are the most common foreign currencies in circulation and as a result, the exchange rates are practical.
Exchanging Your Currency
The most convenient places to exchange your money will be a Cadeca (foreign exchange bureau) or a Cuban bank. It’s also important to know that all rates in Cadecas and Banks are identical hence there is no need for looking around for better exchange rates. Cadecas Are usually easy to locate and as a result, you shouldn’t be forced to exchange your money at hotel desks which offer exorbitant exchange rates.
Credit cards are not widely used in Cuba, ensure you always have your money in liquid cash. Only big hotels and some institutions accept credit cards.
Cuba is numerous things, a Caribbean nirvana full of soul, passion, warmth, good coffee, fine rum, great cigars, and music. However, it’s not a shopper’s paradise, most of the basic stuff you will need will be overpriced and of poor quality. Bring everything you will need with you unless it’s a Cuban forte.
Cuba is a tropical country so when packing pack for summer, this means shorts, sandals, bikinis, shirts and short-sleeved cotton dresses.