Now that it’s easier than ever to get to Cuba from the United States, articles are popping up everywhere with what you should know and do before going to Cuba. Here is what we found helpful:

  1. Exchange US Dollars into Euros before you go. If you don’t, you’ll be charged a 10% tax when you exchange your money in Cuba.
  2. Bring more money than you think you’ll need. Yes, the mojitos are $2 and there are plenty of other things that are inexpensive in Cuba, but it can still add up! We spent about $100 per person, per day.
  3. Even when you’re on a US website (like Airbnb) your credit card company will know you’re in Cuba and not let you book and pay for one. We ran into this when we tried to book our last night in Cuba while in Cuba.
  4. Everyone knows someone who… has a place for you to stay, can drive you to another city, can take you on a day trip, the list goes on. We relied a decent amount on our hosts helping us out with things and I think it made the experience just that much better.
  5. We enjoyed being off the grid, but if you’re really hankering for the internet, it won’t be too hard to find. Just look for the street corners where everyone is sitting around on cell phones and laptops.
  6. Going with someone who is decently fluent in Spanish helps, a lot. While many people speak at least some English, many don’t, and being able to have conversations with those who spoke more Spanish made a big difference in our time there.
  7. Offline apps (and maps!) were super helpful – we had Tripadvisor Havana City Guide, Triposo, etc.
  8. Always bargain – it was helpful to ask our host how much something would cost so we knew what we should be bargaining down to.
  9. Bring gifts! We heard pens and spark plugs were hot commodities and we were also asked for baseball magazines.
  10. Black market cigars are definitely up for sale. If you want to buy cigars and get them for a decent price, I’d get a good understanding of how you can tell if the cigars are legit or not before you end up with a box of fakes!

Read about our adventures in Trinidad here and Havana here!

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Jocelyn
I've had a love for writing pretty much since I learned to write. My love for travel grew once I visited Europe in High School, lived in Italy in college, and really took off after a trip to Bali in 2009. Since then I've made it a goal to visit at least one country per year - sometimes a challenging feat when you have limited vacation time, income, and you want to see your family on the other side of the country. But, I've made it happen (in 2015 I visited 5 new countries!) so hopefully I can inspire you to get out there and travel too!