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General travel information about Cuba

Country information
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.


Country information

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 so.



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 and save.

In some areas you will find bycicle taxis or donkey powered vehicles, who serve the local trafic.

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.


Accommodations - 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.


Other Cuba sites

Allison's Budget Travel Guide to Cuba
Many useful informations from other travellers.

Casa Particular Lodging Service
Here you can book private rooms. We don't know who operates this, but it works.

Geo Travelguide - Cuba
A well done German site.

Republic of Cuba WWW Homepage
Many other links.

Cubareisen from Hendrik and Stefan
List of private rooms.


Back to Cuba site


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