Cuba Guide, First Timer's Guide

Cuba Cheat Sheet: Your Cuba Travel Guide

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Cuba: a beautiful country with an intriguing past and promising future? It’s no wonder that so many travellers and tourists alike are keen to travel to Cuba to touch the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, taste the cheap and very available Cuban rum, and try their hand at some sexy salsa! This Cuba travel Guide will tell you the difference between your CUC and CUP and your casas and your capitalista! No stress, Cuba style! Click the articles below for our advice and tips gathered during our trip to Cuba – an easy to use Cuba cheat sheet!

Cuba Guide

Plaza de la Revolucion Havana I Cuba Travel GuideAccommodation in Cuba

Naturally there are hotels in the main Cuba holiday towns and cities, there is even a handful of hostels in Havana. However one of the appealing aspects of deciding to travel in Cuba is that you get to live with locals in casas particulares. Each casa differs, and this article explains what casas in Cuba are, how they work, typical costs, and recommendations so you won’t have to research where to stay in Cuba any further!

Money in Cuba

Naturally many holiday makers visit Cuba as part of a Cuba vacation package but for those who are leaving the grounds of the Cuba resort on day trips or backpackers who are travelling independently, these two aspects of this Cuba tourism guide will be useful. The first post explains the two tier Cuban currency system and and the second sets out what we spent in Cuba over three weeks, including one week in cheap Cuba resort holiday (within a holiday!)

Internet and WiFi in Cuba

Does Cuba have the internet? Yes it does! Contrary to popular belief there is internet access in Cuba but not as you know it. This article will explain how WiFi in Cuba works, where to purchase ETECSA cards, who Cubacel are, the cost of WiFi access in Cuba, and which hotels have WiFi in Havana and Viñales.

Keeping Safe in Cuba

Crime rates are very low in Cuba but one of our most popular posts is this article on how to avoid Cuban scams! Like many developing countries, there are lots of people trying to make ends meet and if that means making ‘full use’ of Cuba tourism, they will try. Don’t be a mug, check out the scams we came across, plus the comments for the additional scams in Cuba our readers have shared! Come across any? Don’t be afraid to add them in the comments!

Playa Acon Trinidad I Cuba Travel Guide

Cuba Itinerary

Cuba is a relatively small island but it is difficult to travel around. My best advice is to pick up a copy of Lonely Planet Cuba before you leave, make a plan, research the bus times online and print them out once you know which places to visit in Cuba. The following articles will give you taster of where to go in Cuba including history in Havana, mogotes and cigars in Viñales, and salsa and cycling in Trinidad. Our Havana travel guide also considers if Cuba tours are worth it.




Vinales I Cuba Travel Guide

Diving in Cuba

What other information on Cuba could one want? Like the sea? Cuba is one of the cheapest countries in the world to dive! Not a fan of the depth, why not try snorkelling in Cuba? We purchased a diving package in Cuba in the Playa Larga area, a magical experience – find out more by reading this post.

Food in Cuba

Food in Cuba varies in quality and availability, many Cubans live of rations after all. Some of our favourites were ropa vieja, tostones, and mojitos of course! Don’t get stuck with typical slow Cuban service with this restaurant guide.

Americans Travelling to Cuba

I’m British, sorry, we had no hassle getting into Cuba (once we worked out that our airline provided us with a Cuba Tourist Card at Bogota airport in Colombia) but I have roped in my trusty companion, Hannah from Getting Stamped to share her experience as an american traveling to Cuba.

Cuba Travel Guide Map

Planning on going to Cuba in the near future? Whether it’s for a Cuban beach resort vacation with day trips or a backpacking tour of Cuba, you won’t experience anywhere in the world quite like Cuba.

Did you find this article useful?

Why not pin it to your Cuba Pinterest board?

Do you know your CUC from you CUP? Your casas from your capitalista? Look no further, this is the only Cuba travel guide that you need to read! Cuba Guide

Over to you, any questions?

Fire away, I’ll get back to you soon!

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 25

  1. This is a great vacation guide for Cuba! The pictures you posted here are great, and you give some good advice to follow for first-timers. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Hi everyone!
    I’m thinking of going to Cuba in feb and would love to go with someone! I’ve discovered that the casa rooms are booked for the room not per person so if we get a crew, it’ll be cheaper! AnYone keen? Send me an email [email protected] (I assume it’s ok to leave this?) and then we can give these wonderful people some info when we’re done!

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      Hi Lewis! I hope you find someone. My advice is to do a few nights in a hostel in Havana as opposed to a casas to meet some peeps and then you’ll be grand. We met fellow travellers at each stop, we became a wee family.

  3. Thanks! Yeah that was the plan but then thought I’d be super organised and try on here first. Any tips on a two week trip so I spend less? Can you get boats to Cancun?
    Wish the pound hadn’t nose dived! Think it’ll go up or fall when article 51 is triggered?

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      Who knows. Well we spent one week in an all-inclusive so the two weeks we spent travelling is where I’d still recommend. Have fun!

  4. Hallo 🙂
    Thanks for sharing all your good advices about Cuba. My boyfriend and I are going to Cuba for 18 days in march as ending on our 7,5 month travel. We are thinking about ending our Cuba travel at Varadero – relaxing and beachtime – before going home ‘to the real life’ 🙂 Where did you stay with all-inklusive and would you recommend it?

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      How fun. We stayed at Brisas del Caribe. It was alright but as the week went on and the rooms filled up more the (friendly) staff couldn’t handle the numbers. You had to queue for food (the clientele are pretty gross, be prepared to watch mountains of food to go to waste). They also ran out of large towels so we were drying ourselves with hand towels. Not really an issue for us but may be for others. I hope real life doesn’t hurt too much! You’ll be planning your next trip before you know it.

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      Hola! We stayed at the Brisas del Caribe. It was alright. They ran out of large towels by the end of the week (which didn’t bother us but may bother others) and also struggled to manage the hotel at full capacity (queuing at meal times). Staff were friendly and the hotel was clean though. Drinks were decent too! Hope reality doesn’t hurt to much, you’ll be planning your next trip before you know it!

  5. Hola ! Thanks for all the useful tips, I’m going to Cuba this July for 2 weeks and lots of your tips are really helpful.
    But my question is : can people in Cuba speak English? My Spanish skills are limited so I was wondering if you guys could speak fluently while in Cuba and if not, do people speak English? I really want to talk and share with the owners of the casas particulares I’ll be staying in, but that might be difficult if we don’t have a common language…
    Muchas gracias 🙂

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      Hola Cassie!
      We can speak very limited survival but we were travelling with a Brit who lives in Mexico and is fluent so she pretty much did all of the talking. Download the app Spanishdict! and try to learn a bit of pleasantries. Some speak English, more so in Havana and Trinidad where there are lots of tourists. You’re more open to being ripped off that’s the main issue I would say. Are you travelling solo? What’s your itinerary? We met the ex pat Brit in Viñales and travelled with her all the way through to Trinidad so it’s possibly you’ll meet fellow backpackers too!

  6. Wish I had found your post before I went to Cuba, but better late than never. My girlfriend and I visited Cuba for a month of shoestring outdoor travel activities earlier in the year (and visited many of the same places you mention).

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      Cuba was a love/hate trip! Sorry you didn’t find the content before your trip. How did you find it this time around? Thanks.

  7. Hey Geema, Great share, wonderful job.Really appreciate your efforts for sharing such a nice cheat sheet article on Cuba and such lovely photos really hyped my to visit Cuba.This will be helpful for us and will let us travel Cuba without any stress.Thanks for such a nice article.

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  8. Great guide and hopefully ensures more people get to enjoy this glorious island and warm people. My tip…..please tip. A CUC(peso) goes a long way in Cuba and will ensure you keep getting great service. (Although tbh, the service is genuinely great before any tip). Also, any toiletries and toys would be welcomed as gifts. Beware, Cuba can get under your skin, then you’ll never want to leave!

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      I find the toys and toiletries a weird one, we were never under the impression that any of our casa owners expected that.

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  9. i am suppose to do a travel guide for school i used the info from your site . there’s this question how to get to cuba but i have no idea of what to answer can you help me please thank you

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