Cuba is on many bucket lists, and for good reason!
Havana, the capital of Cuba, has over two million residents who live in a city where the time apparently has been standing still for over half a century. It is something completely different from a typical city in the year of 2018. In Havana, you will see plenty of old and colorful classic cars from the 50s, street musicians, cigars and local shops and cafes. Part of the charm of Cuba is that there are no chain stores and well-known junk food restaurants that are found everywhere else in the world.
The city’s unique history, Caribbean culture, economy and weather make it very exciting. You can visit beautiful beaches and have some great drinks in the heat, take salsa lessons when the heat is not too intense, take a stroll in Old Havana, do a visit to a cigar factory, watch a theatre performance, go to concerts or festivals or one of the city’s many museums. And before you do anything above you should do a sightseeing tour in one of the city’s many classic cars.
Mostly, they have a route of about an hour where they drive around and show the most famous places the city has to offer, but you can also choose longer trips and you get to see even more! They stop at Plaza de la Revolución, where you can take classic Cuban pictures in the car with a hat and a cigar. If you go for a walk in the old town, you can get around by feet while you are enjoying the Cuban atmosphere and come across different places and buildings, including the El Capitolio.
The climate in Cuba is tropical and ruled by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. There is, therefore, a risk of tropical cyclones in the area, but the severe ones occur rarely. There are two seasons, rainy season from May to October and a dry period from November to April. The average temperature is 23 °C in January and 27 °C in July.
Things you should know before traveling to Cuba
*Cash is king! In Cuba, there are two currencies, Cuban Peso (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). CUC is the so-called tourist currency and is worth far more than the Cuban’s own CUP. In other words, things are much more expensive for tourists than for Cuba residents. The CUC is only available in Cuba and you change to CUC when you get there. A tip to have in mind is to bring euros instead of US dollars, as these are cheaper to change to CUC. It is rarely possible to use a credit card.
*Make sure you have both visa and travel insurance. This is required to enter the country! Visa is available at the Cuban Embassy or if you are traveling by cruise, the cruise line will fix it for you. Have in mind that the passport must be valid 6 months after returning.
*Feel free to learn a little basic Spanish. The Cubans speak mostly Spanish only, with the exception of a few who have learned a little English.
*Simple things like toothpaste, tampons, contact lenses and other bathroom items can be hard to get, so check that you have everything you need before you leave.
*Always have toilet paper in the bag as this is often lacking in the restrooms.
*Download an offline map. Cell phone use in Cuba is horrible and expensive. It’s not even sure that you have the opportunity to roam at all.
*When it comes to electricity, Cuba uses 110-volt power outlets, as in the United States, but there may be different types. It is therefore advisable to include an adapter kit with multiple options.
This post is a rendition of Kamilla Haaland’s post in Paper Plane Magazine. The post was originally in Norwegian. This blog is a storehouse of information about people and places, something you are going to love.
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