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information about Cuba
Other Cuba sites
There is only one
English guide book about Cuba we know. It's the Lonely Planet. It has
more information than all the German books we read.
Cuba is a poor country.
Nevertheless Cubans enjoy their life whenever it's possible. The average
salary of a Cuban is between 10 to 20 U$ per month. Cubans have to pay
dollars for everything except for basic foods. The prices the have to
pay for clothes, soap, beer ... are about the same as in Europe. So many
Cubans depend on their oversea relatives.
If you want to take
small presents to Cuba, we recommend clothes, books and pens. Give this
things only to people you have a personal relation with and ask them before,
if they are interested in.
Don't expect too many
Cubans to speak English. Most of them only speak Spanish. So it's a good
idea to learn a few words in Spanish.
Cubans are very friendly.
The best way to take part in real Cuban life, is to stay in a private
room and to have your meals there. We had a great time in our casa particular
(Spanish for private room) in Baracoa and we recommend everybody to do
Cuba has a well working
railway system. There are railway stations in most of the biger cities.
The trains are well maintained and reliable. Services are fairly frequent
with at least one train a day on all major routes and often more. Foreigners
have to buy their tickets at special offices in the train stations and
the have to pay in dollars. But even for dollars, going by train is fairly
cheap. If you want to travel long distances we recommend the railway.
You will meet many friendly people during your trip.
There are private
trucks and buses who serve the local transport. They are always crowded.
This is the only way for the locals to travel. Foreigners have to pay
the buses in dollar. In return you can be sure to catch a seat. The trucks
are paid in pesos. Going by truck or by bus is a good way to meet many
people. In tourist places you will also find special tourist buses, which
are also cheap. But you won't meet any Cuban there.
Also on Cuba going
by plane is the fastest way to travel. Although you wont't trust the old
russian planes, when you see them first, they are very well maintained
In some areas you
will find bycicle taxis or donkey powered vehicles, who serve the local
Taxis charge about
60 - 80 cents per mile and you can rent them even for long distances.
So this is a good way of transport, if you are short in time. Like everywhere
on the world you have to negotiate the fare.
- Get a list of private homes via Email
You will find many
hotels of differnt categories at the well-known tourist places but only
a few in the countryside. There are peso hotels in every town, which are
normally intended for Cubans. Some of them are allowed to take foreigners
for dollars. A medium class hotel should be about 30 to 50 U$ for a double
room. Often it's cheaper to book a hotel at a local travel agency than
to pay the room at the hotel desk.
If you want to see
Cuba and the Cubans the way they are, you have to spend your holidays
in private rooms (casas particulares). You will find them all over the
country. Unfortunately you won't find any office in Cuba which manages
private rooms. So you have to ask for a casa particular. It's a good idea
to ask the owner of a paladar (private restaurant) for a private room.
In some places hustlers wait at the bus and train stations to catch a
tourist and to guide her or him to a private room. But this will raise
the price for the room, because it now includes the hustlers commission.
So it's better to ask somebody else.
If the private rooms
are legal operated, their owners have to pay a comparatively high tax
for each room. For this rooms you have to pay between 10 to 20 U$ per
double room. It's also very usefull to let the family, who runs the homestay,
prepare breakfast and dinner, because you will not find restaurants in
some places. Another reason to have your meals in the private home is,
to take part a little bit in the families everyday life, which is very
interesting for both sides. It's a good idea to look for a room, which
is operated by a well-off family, because the rooms will be in a better
condition and they sometimes speak English. We have found a list of private
rooms in the internet, which we can send you via Email.
Budget Travel Guide to Cuba
Many useful informations from other travellers.
Particular Lodging Service
Here you can book private rooms. We don't know who operates this, but
Travelguide - Cuba
A well done German site.
of Cuba WWW Homepage
Many other links.
from Hendrik and Stefan
List of private rooms.
to Cuba site