Tips to Survive in Cuba
In Cuba, we use two currencies the CUC and the CUP, both can be used by Cubans and foreigners, taking into account basic parameters and common sense, for example an average dinner would never cost 180 CUC, these in the presence of prices in CUP.
1 CUC equals 24 CUP.
It is the strong currency of Cuba, with this most of the purchases, sales and services are made.
What to pay with the CUC?
Restaurants, taxis, lodging, medium or large purchases.
The peso is the official currency of Cuba, and the only one of the two that has international value.
What to pay with the CUP?
Street food, public transportation, collective taxis, shopping in supermarkets.
Here I leave you a photo so that you can differentiate them:
CUP (Left) CUP (Right) Photo taken from the internet.
You can change to CUP, in all the exchange houses of the country.
Do not travel with dollars, these receive a large penalty, exchange them for euros or pounds sterling.
Some businesses will try to confuse you and return you CUP instead of CUC.
There are many myths regarding internet access in Cuba, one of them is its scarcity and although it is still complicated, it has improved notably in the last year.
There are two ways of access:
Recommended if you visit the island for short periods and do not want constant internet on your mobile. It is found in several parks around the most important areas, easy to recognize.
To access these, if you are not Cuban, you must purchase a wifi card available at various points identified with the logo ETECSA, the least crowded are usually located at 23 and P (near the National Hotel) and 23 and J (near the Coopelia). I recommend that you buy cards of (5 CUC) avoiding the long lines and the constant trips to these places (annoying but necessary).
If you want to visit Cuba for longer periods and need constant access to ETECSA's 3G network, data is your best option.
To access it, you will have to go to commercial offices (Focsa 19 & M/ Obispo & Aguiar) to acquire a SIM CARD, this has a price of 40 CUC.
(30 CUC Mobile Line & 10 CUC). The most effective package will be 4GB (30 CUC), you can recharge your balance in the same office, you only need 20 CUC for the purchase of the data package and you can do it by dialing 133 and following the instructions.
If you want to move from one side to the other in the city without having to take the direct taxis you can do it by several methods but the most effective are usually:
They have a price (PER PERSON) of 10 CUP, but lately their price has risen to 1CUC.
In the direction of Vedado or Centro Habana. Its initial stop is usually in Prado and Neptuno, where you will intercept them immediately since this collective is a shared dream.
To know where the taxis are going, just ask the driver ¨San Lázaro¨, ¨23¨ or ¨Línea¨ they will let you know.
It is crucial that you know which artery is closest to your destination. These initially travel ¨San Lázaro¨, an avenue that covers the part of the city center to Coppelia, a center of exchange where some end their journey or are divided in direction 23 or Line.
If the buses only reach the Coppelia, don't worry, the exchange lines for Línea or 23 are located in the same area.
In direction Habana Vieja, the thing is simpler, to arrive at this part of the city, you will only need to locate yourself in one of the three avenues previously mentioned and stop one of the iconic classic cars asking HABANA.
With these means of transport the most important thing is to make it clear that it is a collective, thus avoiding future inconveniences.
The price of buses in Cuba is 0.40 CUP (0.05 CUC) and the best known routes in the city are:
From Bar Cabaña to:
Hospital Hermanos Ameijreiras: P5, A95, A47, A58
University: P11, A95, A58,
Revolution Square: A58, P12
Línea and 18 (For Cuban Art Factory): P5, P1, 27, 20
In front of the Museum of the Revolution for:
Morro Cabaña: P11, P8, A83, A60, A21, A40
Eastern beaches: A40
¨NO CONFUSE BOTH, THEY ARE CLOSE BUT THEY GO IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS.
ASK IN CASE OF DOUBT WHAT IS EACH CUAL¨
For Old Havana from:
Avenue Línea: P5 (to Prado)
Avenida 23: P4 (to Prado) 222 (to Capitolio)55(to HospitalAmeijreiras)
Hospital Ameijreiras: A95, A58, A47, P4, P5 (To Prado)
These are the busiest public transport lines, if you have any other questions let me know in the comments, I will help you.
Many people take advantage of the tourism boom and the lack of knowledge of visitors to get away with it. If you want to have a pleasant stay take into account the following tips:
*We are not so helpful, no one spends the whole day in the street helping people, do not trust the dissimilar proposals or the various offers you will hear in your walk, for the most part will not end well.
*Good restaurants don't need people to take you to them, most of the time you will reach places with exorbitant prices and a low quality, here I recommend you a few.
*Don't believe all the stories, sometimes people take advantage of the kindness and humanism of others, and although you shouldn't give up your most sensitive side, walk cautiously.
*Cigars or cigars, are in official stores (Behind the Capitol, Hotel Nacional, Hotel Conde de Villanueva), only in these places you will have the guarantee of originality, do not buy them with seconds or in dubious locations, generally are scams.
I recommend buying them in the last few days, as they absorb moisture easily and can be extropear.
Bring basic medicines in case of emergency.
Install the application offline maps.me (Android & IOS), very useful and updated.
Stay in private homes, supporting Cuban families.
For transportation to other provinces the most recommended is Viazul (in front of the zoo of 26) outside the terminal you can also value options for buses, with the same price and faster.
Havana is an incredible city but the peculiarity of our country can hinder your visit, do not let them be the reason not to enjoy a city full of adventures in every corner.
These recommendations are built from my personal experience and although they may vary relatively they are quite accurate. If you followed my advice, let me know what your experience was like.