What can i say that hasn’t been said before… Cuba was amazing beautiful, so rich of history and culture. I loved every second, minute, hour, day spent there… it was a true blessing to have had the oportunity to travel there not knowing if it will be my last time in Cuba. I honestly hope not, because i would love to go back like very soon!
Cubans are so proud of their country, I didn’t turn a corner that did not have a symbol of their island… flags, Che, Fidel and famous quotes said once by Mr. Castro were displayed amongst walls on the roads.
But before I got to Cuba, I did some heavy reasearch and learned some lessons while planning… here are some pointers and advise from my experience.
1st: Make sure your passport is upto date, do note that there is a 50$ travel visa fee, also there isn’t a return to the US fee as previously read blog mentioned. Your health insurance is given to you by your airline, will be stamped on your airline ticket (at least for Delta it was) make sure you carry this with you throughout your entire trip along with your visa and passport.
2nd: hotels can be expesive in Cuba, so my friends and I booked an amazing AirBnB which made the stay so much more comforting. You can also communicate with your host about making resturants reservations (the top places don’t accept walk ins) they can also may be able to assist with your car service airport pick up. Here’s the link, please be advise picture are true, ill be adding more notes about this AiBnB: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5882018
Now you booked your flight and AirBnB… my friends and i did some deep digging for places to see, things to do, where to eat and what more Cuba had to offer. We had a 6 day trip so we had to plan accordingly.
3rd: when reading blogs of the Dos and Donts make sure they aren’t over a year old. Yes some details may still be active, but do further research, recent blogs will have the details.
I gained fear of the food, many complained that the lack of seasoning made it extreamly hard for them to eat (from a 2016 blog). Thank god my brother went two weeks prior to my trip and came back with an amazing line up of places to eat, (i will share soon) he and his wife enjoyed every restaurant and so did I. My friends and i to be safe did take from airport restaurants the small packs of salt and pepper to be safe.
My brother gave me an amazing idea to buy bottles of water from the airport (2 for 10$ Smart Water), being that Cuba had miniral water that left me even more thirsty, some restaurants do have spring water which we bought extra to take back to our house. My brother also advise getting an empty bottle filling half way and freeze over night so in the morning you can fill the remainder with water, to travel with and keep cool. Cuba is extreamly hot between June and August, trust you will need water everyday all day.
Do pack bug spray, sunblock, check the weather for the your trip, you might have to bring an umbrella.
Do convert your USD to CAC (Canadians) I suggest going to a bank and not the airport if you want to save money. When you get to Cuba do not convert at the airport go to a bank or hotel for better interest rate. Make sure you exchange them to CUC not CUP. CUC have monuments CUP has faces, if that helps.
4th: you may have come across some Cuban tourist website where they offer packages to excursions, night life and events. I will be honest they over charge for a lot of the plans. Again my brother advise that most can be negotiated there, but if you aren’t comfortable with that option you can play it safe and use those sites, i will be sharing more details on prices of activities and you can take it from there.
5th: when you land do remember the terminal you landed in, that will be the same you will be leaving from. If you check in your bag please be patient they only have 1 luggage claim, it may take up to an hour.
Now you are in CUBA!!
Again i cant thank God for my brother going before me to Cuba, he made great connections and observations that made my trip smooth as it can possibly get.
The gentleman in the circa 50 chevy, is Roland, he is one of two drivers we connected with and who took care of us when ever we wanted to move around. And lucky for you ill be sharing their contact, be sure to buy a calling card, also they only speak Spanish and understand some tiny bit of English.
(Blue 1950 chevy) Roland; cell phone 011-53-54980118
(Red 1950 chevy) Raul: 011-53372237 or 011-72618268
Raul was featured in a Spaniard travel guide show, he also was around Obama when he visited Cuba.
To be continued…