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Travelling Cuba

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Travelling Cuba

1. Posted by Steve24 (Budding Member 2 posts) 10y

Hi im Steve
I am thinking of travelling to Cuba in May 06, and would like some advive on accomadation and diving trips from fellow travellers.
Any recommendations and travel tips would be most helpful!
Cheers Steve

2. Posted by numero1 (Respected Member 295 posts) 10y

Hi Steve

How long are you intending to stay in Cuba?

Start in Havana, and then maybe go from there to Matanzas, Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and if time permits also see Santiago de Cuba.

If you are looking for a truly Cuban experience, my advice is that when you get into Cuba ask the cabbie at the airport if he knows of a casa particular he can take you to, where you live with a Cuban family and get to experience Cuba from a Cuban's perspective. Costs average cost for a room in a Cuban house is around 30CUCs for Havana, cheaper in other cities. Also, if you pay them a little extra, in some families they will even cook you lunch or dinner.

How do you intend to travel your way around Cuba? The best way to do this is by bus. The busline who does this is ViaZul.

It is a very expensive country, so make sure you have your bank balance topped up to the max. Also, don't expect all ATMs to be open when you need them, as most seem to close at very irregular hours. Take out as much CUCs as you ccan when you get to use one.

Internet access is rare, but when you find internet you won't be restricted with using it. International phone calls from Cuba are also very expensive.

3. Posted by runec (Budding Member 5 posts) 10y

I recommend casa particulares, staying in people's private homes. It's very cheap, and the hosts are friendly. Look for the green triangle at the doors, which means the place has a license from the government. Most of them will be very happy to have that extra income. If there are several places available, take a look around to find the best place. Dont feel obliged to pick a flat you don't really want.
Most often they can cook meals for you as well, just make sure you agree on the price in advance.
I don't have very much experience with diving in Cuba, but I heard the Bay of pigs is a great place.
Have a nice trip.

4. Posted by arancia (Inactive 426 posts) 10y


I'm off to Cuba for a week on the the 13th April - 21st. I'm currently in Mexico so i thought i'd fit in Cuba too! and i can't wait!!
The idea of living with a host family sounds like a really good idea, however, my Spanish isn't isn't very good.

Can anybody recommend any places to visit in a week. Also i really want to go to Santa Clara - what would be the best way to get there?

Also about the currency, i've heard that i have to change my money form Mexican pesos like three times or something like that? or is that a slight over exageration?

Also is anybody going to be there that easter week? maybe we could meet up or something?

Arancia x

5. Posted by arancia (Inactive 426 posts) 10y

Also, travelling on a budget is one my aims!

6. Posted by numero1 (Respected Member 295 posts) 10y

Quoting arancia

Also, travelling on a budget is one my aims!

Then you'd better give Cuba a miss;)

If you are only going for week, spend maybe 3-4 nights in Havana if you go there, and then get a ViaAzul bus to Santa Clara. From there maybe you can go to Cienfuegos or Trinidad as it is only about 3-4 on from Santa Clara. This can also be traveled by bus.

any currency exchange in Cuba is going to be expensive, whther you have pesos or dollars or euros or whatever. The idea is to make Cuba expensive for the tourist (Castro is a genius). This is the whole reason why the CUC was brought in as a separate currency for tourists to use as opposed to the Cuban peso which is for the Cuban people.

I would definitely recommend staying with locals even if your Spanish is poor, especially seeing that you are on a budget and hotels in Cuba are WAAAY overpriced! When you get off the bus at the terminal de autobus (bus terminal) wherever you are, you will find a few locals around trying to arrange a price for a room for you to stay in their house. Most of these locals are reliable, friendly and open people (the Cuban way). Look around for the best deal before you commit to someone's house I would suggest you decide to stay with locals for the cheapest and best Cuban experience there is.

7. Posted by fia (Budding Member 54 posts) 10y

I was in Cuba in may -05 and I must agree with the others, you should try to find a casa particular, wich shouldn't be too hard. We booked two nights in advance via Lonely Planet and once you've found a place you like, they can help you to book accommodation at other places if you want to visit other cities. The people in our casa particular in Havana even kept our luggage while we went on a two day tour to another city. People in general doesn't speek very good english or none at all, so you better be prepared for that, but my spanish is also poor and we managed to get around pretty well ;)
At ViAzul (bus company) they spoke english at the places we visited and the buses are modern and comfortable. I was only there for ten days and we only travelled around a little bit, but if you have any other questions I might be able to help you. Have a great trip!

8. Posted by arancia (Inactive 426 posts) 10y


Thank you all for your advice.
How much would you say it costs in a casa per night? or does that depend on the family? I haven't actually booked any accommodation, i'm hoping that there will be locals at the airport waiting for me with their arms wide open inviting me to stay at their houses for free! (just kiddin!) No, seriously though, do you find the locals arranging prices to stay at their homes at the airport too?

I'll be arriving in Havana on the 13th and staying there for a week, will anybody be in Cuba during that time?

Arancia xx

9. Posted by numero1 (Respected Member 295 posts) 10y

How much would you say it costs in a casa per night? or does that depend on the family?

Around 30CUCs (Convertible Cuban pesos) per night in a casa particular in Havana, cheaper in other cities. However the prices are set by the families so not all casas will be the same price.

No, seriously though, do you find the locals arranging prices to stay at their homes at the airport too?

Not at the airports, though usually a cabbie at the airport will know of a casa which you can stay at. Just let him know you are looking for accomodation and see what he suggests. Family members will wait at the ViAzul bus stations in most major cities throughout Cuba looking for foreigners who get off the bus and want a place to stay. Ask them the cost for a room per night if they don't give you the price straight away, and if you can also try and bargain them down.