Cuba Tips, Bargaining, Passports, Cost of Living

Cuba Tips, Bargaining, Passports, Cost of Living in Cuba

You don’t need a visa, but you do need a tourist card, and a valid passport. Make sure you reserve a hotel before you arrive; if you don’t customs officials may make a reservation for you at a very high daily rate. The Cuban Peso is only good in Cuba, and it has the same value as the US Dollar. Credit cards are accepted in all the big cities, and banks will give you cash advances on credit cards as long as there are not issued by US banks. There is an ATM machine at the airport in Havana.

The monthly income of a typical Cuban is around three hundred pesos and there’s a black market peso exchange business that is part of Cuban life. There are two types of Pesos; the Cuban and the old peso, so it can be confusing unless you do a little research on the value of each peso. Most visitors use Dollars or Euros to purchase goods and services. Visitors find that Cuban made products are reasonable, but anything that has to be imported is expensive. There are some great hotel deals and the food is reasonable.

Train and bus service is available between all the cities, so it’s very easy to get around once you’re on the island. If you travel by taxi use the official taxi service. Official taxis are marked with blue numbered plates.

Cuba is not the best place to shop, but if you’re willing to explore you can find unique souvenirs in the markets all over the country. You can bargain in the markets and you may be able to pay in pesos, which can be cheaper than using Euros or Dollars. Tips are expected in restaurants, and for room and maid service. Taxi drivers and other services expect a small tip, which is usually the equivalent of a couple of pesos.