Havana Nights

My time spent to Cuba was one of the most eye-opening trips I've ever been on. Not only did we have an amazing time visiting the cities, experiencing the culture and and see the countryside, but I realized that there is something truly special about the human connection. It was definitely a challenge to navigate without WiFi, but the warmth that the locals showed us and their willingness to help was truly remarkable. I realized we are no better for having constant access to laptops, phones, TVs, internet, etc. It was truly an amazing and enriching experience - and one of the reasons why I love traveling so much. 

With that said, here are some basic FYIs if you're thinking of heading to the beautiful country of Cuba:

  • Flight / Visa - You can easily purchase flights on the major US carriers (United, American, Delta & Spirit). The visa to enter to Cuba you can purchase at the gate as you're leaving the US for $30. However be sure to confirm that with the Airline you choose - each airline may be different. You will be asked for your reason for traveling to Cuba and we used "Support of the Cuban People" during our trip. 

  • Where to stay - AirBnb or Casas Particulares is 100% the way to go. Fun fact - Cuba invented AirBnb (aka Casa Particulares) long before AirBnb existed. Staying at a local's home is hands down the best way to experience Cuba. Everyone is soo welcoming to all the tourists and extremly helpful. We stayed at  Casa Habanera Bed & Breakfast (link) and our host Zaira was amazing! She was super helpful in getting us cabs, directions and even had a currency exchange person come to our location to exchange money.  Housing is relatively cheap to find in Havana and other cities as well.

  • Transportation - the best way to get around is via Taxi (when you're in the city) or by hiring a driver (if you want to travel to other cities in Cuba). Surprisingly this was the most expensive part of the trip and we didn't budget enough money into our costs to cover transportation. On average you will spend $30/per person and if you want to head out to Vinales or Trinidad expect to pay about $70 for a round trip. 

  • Money - Cuba uses both CUC (Cuban dollars) as well as USD. Before heading out, I did some research and exchanging Euros gets you the best exchange rate. However, USD is the easiest/most convenient way to exchange money. If you plan on exchanging Euros, you will need to exchange at either a currency exchange, the airport or a bank (which is harder to find/hours are limited).