heading off to cuba on the 21st March and I'm after some simple info / reccommendations. It would be cool if any one could help me out.
I've got a month in cuba and want to keep it cheap, is the cheapest way to do this homestays? does any one know of a well located one in Havana for the first couple of nights? I'm after a really basic place, more important to me it's a good part of town with some life to get a nice start to my travels.
Is there any point in taking travellers cheques? are ATM's common?
are there any phrases that come in useful, whether it be a good social phrase or even a good one to get the prices down when haggling for something? i'm looking forward to learning some of the language.
any help would be much appreciated,
can't wait to check the place out!!!
If you're a USA citizen, leave your travelers cheques and credit card at home; they're no good in Cuba. Otherwise, US dollars are the preferred currency. The hotels are government managed and I haven't seen any budget accomodations.
Don't bother with travellers cheques. ATMs are around, not 100% reliable, but alright. You can go into a bank and withdraw convertible pesos as well.
Don't take an American Express card, or any cards that are tied to US banks - I'm assuming you are a UK citizen, so you should be okay with a credit card and your bank card. Visa is the most widely accepted.
Take some cash with you and exchange it. I don't think US Dollars are accepted anymore - they now need the convertible peso, but you can exchange when you arrive in Cuba.
Frommers seems to have a decent explanation, and came up near the top on google, so I present it here: Money in Cuba.
For haggling - don't worry about that - anyone you want to haggle with will know enough English to haggle with you in that.
As for basic Spanish - it's pretty standard Spanish. Pick up a guide book or a couple of CDs and you should learn enough to get by. Though, really, I find that unless I am there speaking the language 24/7 I really don't learn anything.
Enjoy your trip.
(aside: I've been thinking of doing a week away somewhere at the end of March... Hmmmm, Cuba.... It'd be nice to go back again).