Replies: 71 - Last Post: Nov 7, 2013 8:37 AM Last Post By: greslogo
Oct 28, 2013 5:14 PM
15#9 Ricky please don't offensively underestimate how much we spend in Cuba. You're making me out to be a cheapskate.
BTW I actually did use "Europe on $10(might even have been $5!) A Day" Travel Guide on my first trip to Europe!
I have never forgotten dining in the "cheapest restaurant in the world" in Madrid as cited in that book. 3 courses plus bread - all brought to the table at the same time - soup, main course and dessert in the waitress's hands and the bread stick under her arm - all for 50 cents.
Oct 28, 2013 5:56 PM
Oct 28, 2013 6:16 PM
17John, naturally I meant $25,000 and counting per person like really how can a couple of your status travel to Cuba first class staying in 5* hotels on route with stop over in Mexico and sunny California do it on $25,000 in total. What my partner can’t understand why you need 2 mobile phones with 2 separate numbers with Cubacel. I would guess that Xmas came early for her family.
I remember those carefree days traveling throughout Europe with a pocket full of different currencies for each country and learning how to say I love you in 7 different languages only it was more like $25.99 a day plus tip. I honestly can’t remember what it cost me yet I can remember every one of my trips to Cuba. Isn’t that strange.
Oct 28, 2013 6:22 PM
18Look, an experienced Cuba traveller who's figured out the lay of the land and the uses/abuses of using the CUP currency could MAYBE get by on $50 per day..... but who would want to.
Just as an FYI, I usually budget $100 per day. I don't always spend it all, but it's nice to know it's there if I need it or want a GOOD meal.
Can you get by on street food... sure, but the novelty of street pizza, peanuts, churros, etc will get stale very quickly. You could line-up for several hours in the hopes of getting some CUP bread. Also, without your own cooking facilities you'll wonder what to do with anything you can get at the agro markets unless you like raw vegetables.... if something is there that day.
One expense that you're not planning for is simply water. Even the Cubans I know in Havana boil a huge pot of water every night then bottle it and put it in the fridge for the next day. To keep from getting sick. If you think you're immune, think again.
Frankly, as another poster said... plan for 20 days at $75 per day and you'll have a much better time.
Oh, and as to arriving at the airport and making your own way into Havana. Well first off, no busses come to the airport itself. It's designed for taxi service. Or... you can walk 2.2 km to the closest city bus route (P16 or P12 on Boyeros) though the P12 will be better for you. Plan on an hour's walk, then up to an hour or more wait for the bus depending on luck. Oh, and you won't have any CUP because at the airport Cadeca (money exchange) you'll only get CUC and the bus drivers don't make change. Exact fare only.
Oct 28, 2013 8:15 PM
19#15... I used the Spain for $5/day back in 1976 or thereabouts. Went to Spain and Morocco. The whole trip, less airfare, cost me < $200 for 2 weeks. I ate well, stayed in a great "casa" in Madrid and took trains to all the outlying tourist sites.
For Cuba, I budget $100/day (not including cigars which can be up to $2,000) and have since 1997. I don't spend it all but I always have a really good time. If I removed the "really good time" which I do not want to elaborate on....jeje (besides I am married now), $75/day would be a good rule of thumb, imo. Nothing worse than to be short of cash on a vacation, imo.
Oct 28, 2013 8:56 PM
20Thanks everyone for your assitance,, Your information is very helpful and has clairfied alot of questions and thoughts. I understand Cuba is ''different'' from other countries in more ways than one.. The reason I ask for a budget is because I am travelling for two years across this region.. With the price of accommdation for example-15-25 CUC a night Is that per room? so its better to share with other travellers.. Thanks for the information on taxis... how much does the airport/havana city differ in reagrd to there excahnge rates? can i just exchange a small amount then do the rest in city? best places to excahnge? if i was to change 10 dollars at airport walk from airport to bus surely there must be a resturant small shop in which i can change etc.. Thanks everyone
Oct 28, 2013 9:15 PM
Oct 28, 2013 9:36 PM
22Yes there will be a cadeca at the airport to exchange some bills. In my experience the best and safest places to exchange money are the official banks. And by safest, I mean, always ask for a receipt and count your money before leaving the counter. I have never had a problem in a bank but I have been "almost" short-changed a multitude of times with cadecas.
Campismos are essentially campgrounds in the country that come with cabins. They are "no frills" in the way of luxuries such as TVs, hot water, good food and bars/entertainment. Myself, I had a rough experience and would only last a night or 2 tops at these types of places. They had a decent beach though at the one I stayed at in Santiago. LP member Bobmichaels had a way better experience than me though. I never was much of one for camping.
Here is a review that I did for the campismo... Campismo Caleton Blanco
Oct 28, 2013 10:44 PM
23#17 Rickie - thanks for clarifying/apologising. $50,000 is of course small change to those of our ilk.
As per "only it was more like $25.99 a day plus tip" of course WE didn't/don't tip.
#19 It was I think '74 for me.
#20 "if i was to change 10 dollars at airport walk from airport to bus surely there must be a resturant small shop in which i can change etc.. "
No - incorrect. I don't think you get it yet.
Oct 29, 2013 12:38 AM
Oct 29, 2013 3:09 AM
25Thanks Everyone... I dont understand why I cant catch a local bus into the city if I walk to the bus? 100 dollars a day no way i didnt even spent that in any country in europe or dubai Tokyo, singapore or even hong kong... I am coming to cuba for a local expereince and if drink where they drink and eat what they eat my costs shoudl be low.
Is it easy to find local bars and resturants in which I can pay with local currency?
Oct 29, 2013 5:01 AM
26Aidan, you're really struggling to get your head around Cuba... it's one of the most expensive 3rd world countries on the planet (that receives a lot of tourists) and no matter how many times you keep repeating "local currency" that doesn't magically make everything substantially cheaper for a tourist.
Have a read through this regarding Currency Exchange.
Take a look here regarding "local" transport from the Airport to downtown Havana.
Good luck with your research.
PS How's your Spanish?
Oct 29, 2013 5:07 AM
27Some considerations for a cheap travel
1.- To move take public transport (currently are allowed for travelers) in Havana, you can take a "taxi bus" for approx 5 cuban pesos (less than 0.25 CUC) or private transport for 10 cuban pesos (less than 0.50 cuc / old American cars most of them, 1950s)
2.- To move between destinations in Cuba viazul is the cheapest option
3.- To eat you will find many private cafeteria with very cheap offers eg pizza, spaghetti or sandwich between 10-20 pesos each (less than 0,50 - 1,00 cuc)
4.- Stay in a CASA PARTICULAR you can find a casa between 15 - 20 cuc/night in http://www.bedincuba.com you can find a cheap comfortable casa. On my last trip I stayed in CASA ONEIDA , for 20 days, the room rate was 20.00 cuc / night, breakfast 3.00 CUC, and dinner between 5 and 7 CUC. Approximately room / breakfast / dinner for just 30.00 cuc / day
Oct 29, 2013 6:23 AM
"if I eat what they eat and stay where they stay I should save money" - this logic does not apply in Cuba. You don't earn a Cuban salary (US$20/month or below), but you don't have Cuban "perks" (subsidised food shopping or an extended family network) either. So it is not realistic, fair or sensible to assume that there is a "Cuban price" and a "tourist price" and if you try and pay the "Cuban price" you're seeing "real Cuban life". It's just not like that.
Both Cubans and foreigners can legally get and spend CUP or CUC wherever they are accepted, and there are a range of price options for some things, but not all. On the street, CUP will only buy you very very basic food and snacks, and fares on "informal" transport like the shared car networks. It's no good for paying for accommodation for foreigners, drink (apart from very poor-quality beer and rum), smokable cigarettes or cigars or soap or shampoo or clothes (in most cases) or other "luxury items".
At every price level you get (more or less) what you pay for, or less .... sometimes CUC goods can be infuriatingly shoddy and bad, and it is much rarer to find anything in CUP which is "a good deal" for the real value of the money. Popcorn tubes maybe? There are vanishingly few "CUP bargains" and in my view most of those (cheap books, occasionally, and subsidised air tickets for Cuban passengers) are best left to the Cubans who really need and can locate them.
The dual currency system is a running sore and hugely resented by Cubans (that's why the state is going to remove it) - but just looking at the figures and saying "hey things should be cheaper, if wages are so low" is to miss the point. A lot of Cubans spend a lot of time hunting bargains, scraping by, begging/borrowing stuff, being bored and being hungry just to make it on their available money. As a visitor, you don't have to do any of those things - and Cubans won't understand why you even want to try, when there are plenty of more interesting and fun things to do (not all of them purely "tourist") if you're willing to pay more.
Bottom line: don't be such a cheapskate. You may feel that it's bringing you "closer to the people", but in Cuba, this is no longer the case - if it ever was. The only real segregation within Cuba nowadays is by levels wealth (and maybe race), rather than by the tourist/local disparity of old.
Edited by: viajeraUK
Oct 29, 2013 7:54 AM
29I think it’s in the best interest of the OP to invest in a travel book and read up on Cuba since he doesn’t have the most basic idea if a room price of $20 is per person or per room.
Every time I go to Cuba always someone on the flight that has never been to Cuba before thinks the minute he gets off the plane he can live like a Cuban on 50c a day. My God, even Cubans don’t want to live like a Cuban if given the opportunity.
I used to feel sorry for them because they are on a budget and in the past I would invite them to dinner or let them use our casa to take a shower and wash up because they were living out of their backpacks. Now my partner said to mind my own business. They have the money to fly to Cuba and they have the money to explore Cuba without my help and I shouldn’t do their homework and hold their hands in Cuba. Let them lose their money and credit cards to a chica and they will soon learn how a Cuban can live on 50c a day.