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cost of being a tourist in Havana.

by Alix
(Devon U.K.)

what does it cost to eat out and buy beer/coffee? Also is it easy/safe to use train/bus transport? another also! do I need a visa and any idea of the cost? Thanks!

ANSWER by Vic Webmaster

First this remark, Havana is not what you call a cheap destination. Cubans live (survive) on a monthly salary of 20 CUC (approx.15£) but the Cubans can pay in CUP (Peso Cubano) this money is 24 times less worth than the CUC (Peso Convertible) This peso convertible (CUC) is the "Tourist money" you get when you exchange your Pound Sterling in a Cuban bank. Today one CUC equals one US dollar.

The price of a premium Cuban beer "Bucanero" or "Cristal" is between 1.3 and 2 CUC and a coffee is about the same price (depending on which hotel, bar etc.) A bottle of water will cost you approx. 1CUC. Cheap restaurants charge 4 to 8 CUC for a meal, better restaurants like El Aljibe charge 12-15 CUC for a complete quality chicken meal. The best restaurants are the Paladares (Private owned restaurants) they charge 25 up to 35 CUC for a complete meal. A breakfast in an hotel or casa particular cost between 4-6 CUC.
You can also eat cheap street food (sandwiches, pizza etc.) like many Cubans do (1-3 CUC) I do not recommend this, the quality and hygiene are often poor.

I do NOT recommend the Cuban trains, there are extreme long delays, old trains, no comfort, etc. Instead take the VIAZUL or ASTRO busses for long distances. In general there's no safety problem, but I recommend to watch your wallet and belongings on crowed busses, pickpocketing happens frequently.
Most transport in Havana is done by taxi (cost approx. 1 CUC per km) Always ask the price of the ride before unless there is a taximeter.
Much fun are the Cocotax yellow motorized tricycles (cost 0.5-0.8 CUC per km) 3-4 CUC is the normal price for a ride of 5km through Havana.

As a European tourist you can travel to Cuba with a tourist visa, this visa called tarjeta tourista cost 25 CUC and can be bought at the Cuban embassy, and at the immigration services on the Cuban airports. Note that on some British airlines the visa is checked before boarding. Some travel agents deliver a complete package, plane ticket + visa, ask your local agency.
Note that in many Havana nightclubs, dancings halls etc. a cover charge of 10 up to 25 CUC is asked. (In some nightclubs one or two drinks are included)

Have a nice trip and enjoy Havana!

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