The Travel 2
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Here are 10 tips to get you through your holiday in Cuba, while all the time trying to save you some pesos. We visited Cuba in April, 2017 and all of these tips are our first-hand experiences in the country.
I turned on my 3G just to send a message to our host in Viñales. It must have taken me 1 minute to send the message. I then left my 3G on for maybe another 2 minutes to wait for the reply. This costed me around €25. I kid you not. However, you can have access to internet in Cuba. You can go the an ETECSA office and use a desktop computer to connect to the internet. Or else, go to the same office to buy Wi-Fi cards.
2. Barter Your Way Around
As soon as you land in Havana there are plenty of ways to roam the city or the island. Barter your way through prices, and never accept the first offer.
3. Take Loose Change When You Go to the Supermarket
The “mercado” (supermarket) is a good option (or maybe the only one?) where one can buy daily food supplies – also, bottled water! Expect queues, and if you’d take the exact amount of money with you, you’d only be making life easier.
4. Information Offices
Even though there are 2 currencies in Cuba, we noticed that the CUC (convertible pesos) is the most used currency – even between Cubans themselves. You lose money with every currency exchange, so you should not exchange more money than you think you will need.
6. Money Exchange
Change money at Havana’s airport. It is the best service we got from all the times we changed money. We spent nearly two hours at the bank in Viñales to get our money exchanged. The queues, laid back workers and beurocracy makes the process long and tiresome. Do not forget to take your passport and address to your casa particular with you every single time you do exchange money.
P.S. Our US friends changed money from $ to €, and then changed them to CUC. This might easily be the best way for money exchange if you’re American. Also – American cards do not work in Cuban ATM’s.
7. Dancing in Cuba
Salsa lessons are a good idea… if you’re hopeless at dancing. You can just go to a ‘casa de la musica’ (or even on the pavement or street for that matter) and tag along. Follow the locals in their steps and dance the night away. Rest assured no one will laugh at you.
P. S. A ‘casa de la musica’ is the Cuban version of a disco. There will be salsa music all night long, and locals dancing their hearts away.
8. Streets in Trinidad
Streets in Trinidad have multiple names (normally an old name and a new name). This may confuse you if you are using ‘Lonely planet’ Cuba’s travel guide book (because the book shows only one name).
9. Streets in Santa Clara and Havana
Streets in Santa Clara and Havana also have 2 names, but the ‘Lonely Planet‘ guide book pinpoints them out clearly.
10. GPS-ing in Cuba
We downloaded “Sygic” before our holiday in Cuba started. This is a good app for finding your way around Cuba offline. Download Cuba’s map at home, and you’ll have a GPS at the tip of your smart phone.