Cuba definetly is not a low budget destination and one of the more expensive countries in comparison to its neighbours in the caribbean. But how is it possible to enjoy low budget Cuba, get healthy food, save on your travel costs and do lots of activities? Get 5 hints how to do a low budget Cuba trip, save on your purse and more useful details you find in this and the nextcoming post about my four weeks backpacking in Cuba on a low budget!
La Havana: low budget Cuba
Because Cuba is well prepared for tourists and a big part of the cuban economy relies on travelers it can be quite expensive to move around, get accomodation and good food.
Its just enough to be a tourist and you are going to pay a completely different price for any kind of product.
This fact is supported by a divided money system CUC and CUP. The worth of a CUC is more or less equal with a dollar or euro and is the currency you get when exchanging your money at official places like airports or banks.
The cubans themselves mainly operate with CUP.
In exchange you get 24 CUP for 1 CUC (equal to 1 € & $) or 1 CUP is worth about 4 cents. But anybody traveling from outside can also get CUP, its just not common for foreigners to pay in CUP that is used by cubans mainly.
Getting CUP and paying with it whenever its possible is the first step that is going to save a lot on your travel budget.
Thanks to the explanation of Eddy & Miriam, my guest family in la Havana I exchanged part of my money to CUP and went shopping at a local mercado for ingredients for a huge salad!
For about 250 CUP (€ 10) I bought greens, beans, fruits and herbs that lastet for a complete week!
And I also invited my guest family to share the food with me, because it was just too much for me.
If you go to a regular restaurant for tourists in La Habana you are going to spend at least € 10 for a meal and drink.
Like this I was able to spend a week in La Habana and enjoy the most important parts of this great city on a low budget.
Cienfuegos & Trinidad: acting like cubans
In comparison to other areas in Cuba prices are even higher here. Both mentioned cities are popular tourist destinations and I was negotiating hard to be able to spend some days here without spending too much money. But it went out very fine, because it was not high season the owners of casas particulares (cubas guest family rent system) dropped their prices sometimes to half the announced price.
Here is a nice example of a complete appartement rented for € 15/day.
Unnegotiated price is € 30/day.
In some cases and depending of the area in Cuba you can even get breakfast and other meals included.
In all Cuba its easy to find local people renting out rooms or complete appartements for a low budget.
A great alternative to more expensive hotels and you get easily in contact with cubans.
Just watch out for the blue sign and dont forget to negotiate like a cuban!
Camaguey: cuban rules cuban prices
Camaguey is one of the bigger cities in Cuba and the city has frequent tourists coming to explore the narrow streets, old buildings and beautiful downtown of Camaguey.
Not always I had the access to a kitchen, so eating outside was obligatory sometimes.
Because I was traveling with a group of friends and we shared the accommodation I learned about the pricing system in local restaurants and their rules.
On the first night in Camaguey we were hungry and looking for a snack. After asking in different restaurants we were very unmotivated, because it seemed like a meal is going to cost about € 15 in any restaurant close by. Even if the price tables inside the restaurants or shops showed a cheaper price, they wanted to charge more. Again our guest family gave us a hint.
All you need to do is insist on the advertised prices, just anywhere!
Cuban law forces any restaurant or shop owner to charge only the announced price, also for non-cubans. For sure many cuba visitors get inside this trap, but only making clear that you want to pay the announced price any cuban is going to understand you.
Like this its possible to eat a huge low budget cuban dinner for less than € 3 per person.
Or you can enjoy a cuban speciality the Guarapo for just 1 CUP (equal 4 cents) instead of paying 1 CUC. Its fresh pressed and pure sugar cane juice. Super healthy, extremly tasty and gives a lot of energy for hot days. Thats low budget Cuba for backpackers that want to stay healthy!
Baracoa: Cuba at its origin tip & save
The more you tip the more you save!
This basic rule works perfect in Cuba, like in all america! Even if it sounds wrong, because you are spending more money in that moment, in the end it will save you a lot of money!
Baracoa is a very original place in east Cuba. Here you are transformed many years back in time. And sure like in all Cuba you can find a lot of poor people here. So tips are well appreciated and rewarded if not expected!
This is how low budget Cuba works! You help me and I help you!
And it really works fantastic, thats what I really like about the cuban culture! Thinking in solutions and pushing the limitations to make life easier and happier. In one very small restaurant I insisted to give a tip, because the waiter denied the tip first.
Look what happened to me 2 days later when I returned to the same place for lunch!
A huge meal with salad, vegetables and fresh shrimp and fish for free! Yes and anybody can tell from my face that this healthy food made me very happy!
Watch more about Cuba:
Here you can watch some video clips I made during my Cuba visit. The first footage shows a hike to El Yunque. A quite difficult hike when its rainy and wet. And a challenging river crossing included! But definetly a great day inside the jungles of Baracoa!
The next clip is a summary of the three best viewing points in the eastern part of Cuba. Spectacular views from Guantanamo Bay, Baracoa and a viewing point from where you can see the caribbean and atlantic ocean at the same time!
If you like my videos make sure to subscribe to my channel and like the clip on YouTube!
Hope your enjoying my blog! In my nextcoming post I am reporting about the second part of my cuban experience. With more low budget Cuba tips, diving in two awesome places involved and for sure more healthy food choices!
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