We spent 2 weeks in beautiful and complicated Cuba.
North AmericaCuba14 days / February 2022
Highs & Lows
Havana and staying with locals
Do not forget to bring cash!
We travelled from Merida (Mexico) to Havana and visited this beautiful capital, Vinales, Trinidad and its beaches. I stayed with very sweet Cuban hosts in a so-called 'casa particulare' during my trip in Cuba. It is a common thing to do and I really recommend it! People are really sweet, you get the best tips and tricks and more importantly, you are able to listen to the stories lying beneath the surface of this beautiful and troubled country. Thiis way you really get to know politics, history and culture.
We stayed in Havana Vieja which is the old part of town. What can I say.... all the pictures you have seen from Havana are true. As a world heritage site the beautiful but crumbling old part is a real gem where you can see everyday Cuban capital life. And when you think those classic cars are only used as a tourist attraction you are wrong. They are as much part of everyday life as coffee and salsa!
Trinidad is a beautiful old colonial sugar town towards the west of the island. We visited just after re-opening after Covid-19 so the town was still very quiet. When visiting don't forget to bring your dancing shoes for a night out at Casa de la musica.
You can cycle to the beach of Trinidad which is beautiful but apart from that there is nothing much to do.
We visited Vinales on a day-trip from Havana with a private driver and his classic car. I can really recommend this trip. Vinales is the tobacco-region of Cuba and its surroundings are amazing. We visited a tobacco farm and had a horseback ride through the countryside. We also visited caves which are nice but depending on how many caves you have seen in your life can be a bit dull. Overall a very nice daytrip.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
We didn't bring cash to Cuba which is NOT advisable. Cuba has a complicated financial system due to the blockade of the USA. When you bring cash you can ask your host or hotel to change it on the black market to Cuban pesos which makes life 4 (!) times cheaper than when you get your money from an ATM. The first night we had 2 pizzas and 2 beers which cost us almost 70 euros! Don't change your cash on the streets because you can get scammed. My advice is to bring enough cash (US dollars) to last your whole trip.
There is a shortage of almost everything in Cuba and there are long ques in front of stores. Make sure you bring enough of what you really need (medicine, sunscreen, repellent, etc).
If you are travelling without a travel organisation let your host or hotel advise you on this. Cuba doesn't quite work as you are used to.
We travelled without a booking agent.