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Rent a house or a flat by the inhabitant in Cuba: in 30 cities, 300 addresses, 500 rooms. 

Aeroport Jose Marti, Guanabo Playa del Este, La Havane Centro, Vedado, Miramar,  Matanzas, Varadero, Soroa, Viñales, Puerto Esperanza, La Palma Cayo Levisa, Santa Lucia, Pinar del Rio, Isla de la Juventud, Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus, Cienfuegos, Playa Giron, Playa Larga, Playa La Boca, Ciego de Avila, Santa Clara, Moron, CamagueyLas Tunas, Puerto Padre, Playa Herradura, Playa Las Bocas, Holguin, Gibara, Bayamo, Manzanillo, Santiago de Cuba, Playa Siboney, Baracoa.

 

Cuba si Qm 1 Cuba Info Cuba Youth Island Exterior houses Thaïland
Bus in Cuba Qm 2 Cuba  Home Madagascar Interior houses Info Thaïland

 

Questions Market.  Q M 1

NB : you will find hereunder answers to various general questions
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For acceess to QM 2  regarding other subjects

 

MONEY. PESO CUBANO AND/OR PESO CONVERTIBLE ( Cuc)   

In Cuba there are two currencies in circulation : the Cuban peso (MN : national money) and the peso convertible (Cuc) of identical  value as the dollar. It is considered as a dollar. It cannot be exported. Before November 2004, the peso convertible (Cuc) was already in circulation with the dollar, since the Cuban government abolished the use of the dollar. But, everyone continues to speak in dollar

The Cuc or peso convertible is recognizable by its bright colors (red, blue, yellow) and the Cubans name  it ‘chavito’ or 'chavezito'

 

It is preferable to arrive with euros in the pocket  and  change into Cuc on your arrival at the airport. The National Bank of Cuba (BNC) and Banco Financiero International (BFI) have agencies in the majority of  big cities and do not take any commissions. The rate of exchange is very advantageous compared to an exchange office (cadeca).  Ifi you have dollars, you will undergo a rebate of 10 %.  A your departure, the Cuc will be converted into dollars ! (1 per 1) or in euros, depending  the mood  ! 

Regarding money :  take dollars and a few pesos, especially in the countryside. You will get change easily as and when required in the banks or hotels of each important city. Take care : commissions more or less important according to the banks. 

1 Euro = ± 1 cuc ( peso convertible cubain ). 1 Cuc = 24 Pesos cubain MN. 1 Dollar =  + / -  1 Cuc.

Take preferably  Cuc  in small notes of 20, 10, 5, 3. If not you will have to present your passport each time you pay with a bigger note.

Like everywhere in the world : attention with swindles in the street during  exchange of important amounts  at the black market . 20 € represents already a tidy sum of money, everything is relative... 

Since the dollar cannot be used any more, some dishonest people in La Havana, take advantage of the confusion and  change in the street the euros against Cuban pesos   MN ! This means a reduction of the value by 30. To carry out their trick, they use bank notes of 50 Cuban pesos MN, on which it is printed in Spanish and in very small letters, the word  "convertible"

Is true that the dollar is the king in Cuba. If you stay in La Havana, you will not find many things  to pay in pesos.
On the other hand in the countryside or in the small cities, you will have more occasion to spend pesos. 

Where to get pesos : at the bank for the Cubans ; 1 € = 24 pesos MN or in the street, often in front of the banks, and there everyone changes at 24 pesos MN.

Cuba is the only country in the world where the black market (in the street) currency exchange is unfavorable 

It is not any more one problem to draw money with a traveller cheque or credit card. The credit cards American Express are not accepted. Are acceptés toutes the different ones... Aimed, Mastercard or travellers' cheque in €, $, £ or in various hard currencies. All the travellers' cheques are accepted that they are of origin of the USA or other countries, that they are in Euros or Dollars, to withdraw money. The rate of the commission varies according to the bank or the large hotels. In much of tourist places and certain stores you can pay with your credit card.
 

NEW: Euro is freedom of movement in Varadero to start again hotel of tourism......


ARRIVAL BY THE SEA

For your trip by sea, I am really sorry, but I do not have a very useful answer regarding this subject, I just know the experience of one guy who had done it. He told me that he started the boat trip in Amsterdam, after having awaited a cargo liner approximately 3 weeks and the trip took 1  and a half month. He paid a very cheap price in return he had to work hard on board.
If you wish to go to Montreal via La Havana by sea, as much as I know it does not exist any regular sea links from Cancun / Cuba - Cuba / Montreal as well as from Miami / La Havana. All occurs by the air and in spite of the short distance, the prices vary between 160 and 200 $ the single flight ticket for La Havana or Varadero.

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TO SEE

I don't want to do your route, although I propose  in my document some routes according to the duration of the stay.
To see absolutely : La Havana; Vinales; Trinidad; Holguin  its center the life of a big city far from La Havana; Baracoa and its surroundings and quickly Santiago; Santa Clara; Cienfuegos; the Youth Island  for its Cuban reality. Varadero, the beaches are beautiful, but prohibited for the Cubans, unless those who work on the place. It is a place with great international hotel complexes, like Cancun (Mexico).

Buy a good map of Cuba before leaving  because it is difficult to get one in Cuba.


FLIGHT (TICKET) AND FLIGHT COMPANIES 

Not many flight companies have connections with Cuba for a low price. Generally the cheapest is Cubana de Aviacion, when she makes promotions, or  Iberia when departure from Paris or Frankfurt. Also have a look to the promotions of Air France.
Also consult  the internet site of Havanatour : some times they have promotions. As well as other companies, Condor (Frankfurt) and departure from Mulhouse, Geneva, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Brussels or from Italy and Spain.

The arrival destination in Cuba depends on your trip starting place as well as on the flight company. It is possible to land in La Havana, Varadero, Ciego, Holguin, Santiago and leave from La Havana.
It is necessary to book many time in advance to get a flight in July and August.

Luggage's : in general the flight companies accept up to 20 kg per person, some companies accept up to 23 kg or 30 kg.
For the bicycles : ask information near the flight companies regarding packing.

 

If you wish to go to Montreal via La Havana by sea, as much as I know it does not exist any regular sea links from Cancun / Cuba - Cuba / Montreal as well as from Miami / La Havana.  All occurs by the air and in spite of the short distance, the prices vary between 160 and 200 $ the single flight ticket for La Havana or Varadero.


BACK PAKERS

Backpacking  in Cuba is possible, and I practice it regularly. On the other hand,  working in Cuba without a pre-established regular contract with the Cuban state or a foreign company. is not possible for foreigners.   
Don't forget that despite its charm Cuba is a communist country. The average wage  in Cuba :
8/10 Cuc / month and there is much unemployment.
As a tourist you will get a visa for 1 month, renewable 1 time. Lodging :  no dormitories or Guest-houses, the private 
individuals rent their house or a room; it is the most economic
solution. You will  travel  completely free and in a relative safety

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BICYCLE

It is possible to take your bicycle to Cuba , but it is preferable to make inquiries by your flight company  regarding dimensions, weight and packing.
If you want to take  a bus in Cuba with your bicycle , note that Viazul and Astro bus companies accept this luggage without additional charge up to 20 kg.


BIOSPHERE

I know that there are 3 or 4 reserves of biosphere recognized by UNESCO.  The reserve of the Sierra de Rosario, the reserve of the peninsula of Guanahacabibes - province of Pinar del Rio -, the park of Bocanao (province of Santiago), reserve Cuchillas de Toa (province of Guantanamo). To observe the birds, it  seems that (according to the reports that I heard) Guanahacabibes, Cienaga de Zapata next to "the Baie des Cochons" , as well as the mountain in the neighborhoods of Baracoa, and  the Youth Island (Isla de la Juventud) are privileged places.


BUS

If you want to save money I advise you to travel with VIAZUL or ASTRO buses from city to city, departure and arrival schedules are respected !!! (You  will find the price lists and the schedules in the file. Most often I use myself this way of transport). Once on the place, you can rent a car to visit the neighborhoods if wished.  If you want to move, there is the solution to take the local  Astro buses with the Cubans (thanks to the $, there are always  places reserved for those
who pay in foreign currencies) or you can take the Viazul buses with air conditioning, fares only in
Cuc.


To know the routes, schedules and price of the Viazul buses, click here


CAMPING

Camping  is not very developed in Cuba. I know two very simple camp-sites : one is situated in San Diego, seaside resort on the edge of the mountains (130 km from La Havana, in direction of Pinar del Rio) and the other one is situated 40 km before Trinidad on the seaside.
The Cubans don't practice camping very much, certainly because of safety. In any case,  wild camping is prohibited.

In certain cities there is a Cuban organization engaged with this. The registered office  is in  La Havana " CAMPISMO" 

Normally,  their authorization is necessary to remain in the various places. Campismo offers bungalows with a minimum comfort in supervised parks and it is sometimes possible to camp (with an authorization).
But generally it is reserved for the Cubans. To note : in Guanabo (Playa del Este, 15 km from La Havana) and in Las Tunas where some bungalows are reserved for the tourists who pay with dollars. You can always try  your chance... Never forget your security without falling into paranoia !!!!


CASA and LODGING BY THE INHABITANT

A foreigner can sleep only in house official hirings or in a hotel.

To place and rent at the inhabitant in put (houses) official, it is not a problem and it is possible also to receive friends Cubanos. 

That is accepted in all the areas and under certain conditions which should be known. 

A hirer out cannot prohibit to you to make come your friends in his house. But can oblige you to register them on the register of the visits.

Each area applies its own decrees, and amends of this fact a little bit the central law. But in any Cuba, it is not any more interdict with the Cubans people to penetrate in a hotel room or of put official with a foreigner in conditions which they are registered and present an identity paper.

A Cuban can rent a room in an international hotel, or at the inhabitant if it is in possession of an indentity card.

 

ALL THE PROPOSED CASAS PARTICULARES (PARTICULAR HOUSES)  HAVE THE FOLLOWING COMMON POINTS CHECKED BY MYSELF 

SAFETY, HYGIENE, COMFORT, WELCOME, AND THE TOURIST INTEREST

 I also took into account the budget, and the fact that you can travel with you family and even with very young children, as well as in couple, in group, or alone. If you want to move by plane, car, or bus, with your suitcases or backpack. In every case, and whatever is your age, you will always have addresses which will fit perfectly to your desires all the addresses are official and authorized by the Cuban State

All the houses are officially declared for renting and no commission for intermediaries in Cuba.


WATCH OUT !  JULY - AUGUST AND DECEMBER ARE CONSIDERED BY the CUBANS as TOURIST HIGH SEASON AND UNFORTUNATELY IN THIS PERIOD YOU MUST OFTEN  ADD a supplement, but that can be bargained on the spot.

Book  your first nights from your country,  and then owing to the fact that I provided you many addresses in each city, 

give a local call for the booking of the next stage in Cuba one or two days before you move  

 

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  HOW TO RESERVE? GENERAL RATE OF THE HOUSES 

Three possibilities: 

1 - By Email, you reserve from your house thanks to the file which you will receive with the Email addresses. 

2 - You reserve from your house by telephone, attention at the cost of communication with Cuba which is very expensive.

3 - you prefer to reserve once on the spot. And in this case, I advise you to reserve at least the 2 or the first 3 nights, because there are strong chances that you will arrive late and tired.

 

For a fast reservation by Email, a form to be supplemented will be transmitted to you by return.

And that does not increase the price of your reservation, because it is not a question of a travel agency.

There are no expenses of file. You will regulate all on the spot.

Tariffs: Complete breakfast from 3 to 4 Cuc (1,8 to 2,4 Euros). Complete meal from 8 to 10 Cuc (4,8 to 6 Euros).

Room of 20 Cuc (12 Euros) with 30 Cuc (18 Euros) according to the season, for 1 or 2 people and by day.

The tourist season is in general of the 01 07 to the 30 09 and the 01 11 to the 28 02.

But sometimes the dates vary according to the areas.

Cloths and towels of toilet are available. Air-conditioned rooms. Television, radio, music and refrigerator are available.

 


 

CLIMATE

The climate is subtropical and pleasant. July and August are the hottest months. The average temperature is approximately 27°.  September and October  = rainy season. In August the rain is of short duration and refresh the atmosphere, the nights are pleasant with a temperature of approximately 19/20°. Many houses have air conditioning and/or ventilator. Of course, these datas are in general, the climatic conditions are not fixed and can varied


DURATION OF STAY 

For a first approach, 15 days it's OK, but the ideal would be 3 weeks if you want to see Cuba in all directions. The island  is not very large, but long : 1 200 km. The roads are correct  with a low car traffic.
It is possible to cross the whole island using the central road which is mainly in the form of motorway with low traffic

The periods of July / August and the end of the year are more charged.


FAMILY 

Indeed, I have addresses which correspond completely to your needs, especially if you wish to sleep and eat in family at the inhabitant

No problem for lodging of 6 people in Guanabo I have sufficient good addresses, and you are right not to stay in La Havana. There are buses which go from La Havana to Guanabo.

For a family (2 childrens) I have addresses in various cities which comprise 2 rooms with double beds. I will indicate you the places the more adapted for a family.


GIRLS ON A JOURNEY

There are no problems individual for a woman traveling alone , on the condition to respect certain basic rules concerning safety, which are  the same ones also for a men. You will be even admired for that. You will not have any problem of physical aggression in Cuba. Safety is excellent generally and for the tourists even more (the government takes care; because : tourist =  currency). 

That has nothing to do with South America Now, it is up to you  to pay attention to your stuff, your relations and to understand the reality of those.  Euphoria is often mother of insecurity.

Do not forget that the wages are very low, a doctor, for example, gains 20 Cuc a month and a workman 8 / 10 Cuc.

A girl alone in Cuba, (will be admired for traveling alone) the biggest problem, it is the permanent dredger (the whole day a lot of guys will try to seduce you) which becomes with long, boaring......

The Cubans will not be astonished to know that you are single;  the majority of  girls in Cuba have mother responsibilities very young, and know what it means to help themselves .

Where there is the most danger ; is in La Havana and Santiago. Especially in the evening.  Avoid to go  in the no tourist places and those not supervised by the police force. The center of Santiago, is not safe in the night, no much policemen and the bag-snatchings is current.

If you do not take prohibited ways :   alcohol abuses, drugs or go out TOO late, which often become TOO complicated all will be ok...

A council, if you lodge at the inhabitant (official renting) give your values and papers to the owners.  Go out with the minimum money, a visit card of the casa in your pocket and a copy of your passport, although nobody will ask you for your papers...


GUANABO AND TOWNS ON SEASIDE

 La Havana is on the seaside, but there is no beach. The closest beach is located in Guanabo at 18 km of La Havana. Guanabo forms part of the municipality of La Havana. There are buses which connects the center regularly.

Other cities on the seaside : Trinidad; Cienfuegos; Gibara; Santiago; Syboney; Baracoa; Nueva Gerona. In all these places, I have addresses to propose to you.

Yes I also have many good addresses in Baracoa, a marvelous place with a beautiful beach. Go there at least once, especially by  road which starts from Santiago, skirts the sea then the mountain through the jungle before plunging on Baracoa.

 

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Cuba si Qm 1 Cuba Info Cuba Youth Island Exterior houses Thaïland
Bus in Cuba Qm 2 Cuba  Home Madagascar Interior houses Info Thaïland

Updating: 04-05-2016

 Realization and photographs: Jacques DEPOLLIER  - ©  2005 - 2015  JDSDF