Cuba tourism is booming now that their relationship has warmed with the United States, and a lot more people are starting to plan travel to the island.
Though many people are surprised that Cuba is not a cheap country to travel through. And it’s not, if you stay in fancy hotels and eat at the typical tourist taunts. Group tour packages run between $3,000 – $5,000 right now and many times this price doesn’t even include your flight! Cuba budget.
Though as US travel restrictions are loosened and tourism floodgates have opened (leading to an increase in prices), there are many ways for you to travel affordably. For example you can stay in a casa particular, booking through a reliable website like www.cubacasa.co.uk.
Cuba can be among the cheapest countries you’ve ever been to. Those wondering how to travel to Cuba for cheap should implement the following tips and tricks.Cheap travel to Cuba.
How to Travel Cuba on a Budget
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Search traffic on flights to Cuba is up 500% from last year, and airlines throughout the States are starting to add more and more daily flights. Due to the competition, flights to Cuba are becoming ridiculously cheap.
Compare flights on third party comparison websites, or use a shortcut like Flystein to guarantee you book the cheapest fare. Fly to Cuba cheap.
Homestays are Cheaper than Hotels
Hotels throughout Cuba are all government run, though the government does allow locals to rent out their spare rooms. Staying with a local family is much cheaper than opting for a hotel, and it allows you to interact with local Cubans, and experience the country the way a local would. You also have the benefit of home-cooked meals. How much do things cost in Cuba 2016?
The price of most ‘casas’ is for the room, and not the number of travelers staying there. There are usually a couple of beds which can sleep four or five people. As such accommodation costs can be higher if you’re traveling solo. Rooms average 20 – 30 CUC. Cost of living in Cuba per month.
Traveling independently is the best way to make big savings on travel to Cuba. Group tour packages run between $3,000 – $5,000 and many times this price doesn’t even include your flight! You can easily travel through Cuba on $1,000 including your flight (depending on where you’re flying from).
But it takes 25+ hours to plan your international trip before all is said and done. If you’re someone who isn’t keen on the planning, or gets easily overwhelmed, ViaHero can help you travel independently in Cuba but without the hassle of planning. What is the cheapest time to travel to Cuba?
ViaHero is a platform where local experts from Cuba will put together an interactive travel guide for you including information on recommended places, booking and transport help, and important information about the area like cultural norms, dos and don’ts, background & history. Plus any logistics info like which plugs to bring, visa and customs info and more!
Haggle Over Prices
Cuba is a country where the price is never fixed and haggling is an average part of the day. Regardless of whether you’re booking accommodation, transport, or a sightseeing tour, be ready to haggle, barter and debate over the price.
Research what the average prices throughout the country should be before you leave. And always ask more than one person about transport or tours. This will avoid being ripped off or taken advantage of because you’re a tourist. It’s likely that you’ll find cities are a bit cheaper than small towns.
Bring Your Own Hygiene Products
Anything you need for hygiene should be brought from home. Shampoo, sanitary items, sun tan lotion. Make sure you pack them before you go.
Imported goods in Cuba are usually unavailable or ridicuslously expensive.
Travel is cheaper when you speak the language of the country you’re visiting. Being able to converse with locals means you won’t be limited to staying in expensive foreigner hotels, eating at restaurants where the staff speaks English, or traveling with a tour group. One of the best ways to learn Spanish and improve your level is by reading Spanish news articles for students and watching or listening to the news in Spanish.
Instead, you can find your own way and experience the country the way a local would. You might enjoy cheaper access to museums because you don’t have to pay for a foreign-language guide. You’ll be able to coordinate cheap transport, and haggle/barter for rooms. Budget travel tips for Cuba.
Go to the Bathroom Before You Leave Your Hotel
Visiting the bathroom in museums and galleries isn’t always covered by your entrance fee, so you should make an effort to go before you leave your hotel.
“There are usually women waiting inside to stare you down until you place a few coins in their tip tray.” Is Cuba expensive?
Travel With a Water Purifier
Your biggest expense in Cuba will likely end up being bottled water, so traveling with a water purifier could save you quite a lot, especially if you’re heading off the beaten path or backpacking Cuba. Most tap water is unsafe to drink, even for the locals, who boil all their drinking water first.
A fantastic purification device for travel is the SteriPEN Freedom, as reviewed on the Legendary Adventures of Anna – these kind of steripens use ultraviolet light to sterilize the water so that the bacteria are unable to multiply thus making the tap water safe to drink. LifeStraw is another fantastic option for making contaminated water safe to drink. It purifiers the water and also remove viruses. Is it safe to drink the water in Cuba?
Don’t brush your teeth with water from the tap. Check that natural bodies of water are safe before you swim, keep your mouth closed in the shower and always use soap, and don’t accept ice in your drinks. Cuba for cheap.
Related: A Travelers Guide to Tap Water
Have International Health Insurance Before You Arrive
Cuba is one of those countries that won’t let you in without international health insurance. Cuba makes having health insurance a mandatory requirement for all visitors entering the country, and this rule applies to all travelers from overseas as well as to Cubans living abroad. How expensive is Cuba?
Those who cannot provide immigration with proof of coverage will be forced to buy insurance from the local Cuban insurance provider who have an office set up in the immigration area of the airport. Cheapest way to travel in Cuba.
The cover purchased in Cuba is likely to be less comprehensive than most local policies from your home country, and are generally likely to have more expensive premiums. So have international health insurance sorted out before you arrive. What is the cost of traveling through Cuba? Budget travel Cuba.
Avoid Airport Exchange Rates
Don’t exchange all of your money at the airport when you arrive. You’ll get a better exchange rate once in Havana. Where to exchange cash in Cuba.
This is a country where it’s best to travel with cash – ATM’s in general are unreliable, and outside of big tourist resorts, credit cards aren’t always accepted. There are some ATM’s in big cities, though the majority of American cards won’t work.
Avoid Paying Tourist Prices for Food
When it comes to food, restaurants that cater to tourists are going to be the most expensive. Those staying in a casa usually have the option of home cooked meals, which are a cheaper alternative to eating out. Street pizza shops and cafes are also a very cheap option for food.
If you’ve booked into an all inclusive resort, all meals included for you, and the type of menus on offer will be dependent on your resort. In these situations we recommend breakfast and dinner at the hotel (to make the most of your $$), though eating lunch locally when you’re out.
A pro tip from the Poor Explorer: “If you find yourself looking for a cheap restaurant, ask for the menu at the door. Once you’ve received it have a quick look and tell them that the food there is too expensive for you and do they have any cheaper food? A lot of the time they will tottle off, find another menu and come back with the “Cuban Prices” menu.”
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Photo credits: Featured photo by Gerry Balding. Pinterest images by Gerry Balding. Cuba street by Balint Földesi. Cathedral in Havana by Artur Staszewski. Playing Domino by Angelo Domini. Water purifier by the Legendary Adventures of Anna. Children play on a backstreet in La Habana Vieja by Allan Hopkins.