A trip to Cuba: keys to organize it

A trip to Cuba: keys to organize it

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The main recommendation for your trip to Cuba is that you relax and get ready to enjoy a fabulous destination. Although this island has very special characteristics, the truth is that they are nothing to write home about. The beauty of the place and the kindness of its people will make the trip unforgettable.

A trip to Cuba requires prior information since this fabulous country has some particulars that can be confusing for the unsuspecting traveler. Let us remember that it has lived under a socialist regime for more than 60 years and this has given it some very special characteristics.

During a trip to Cuba, you see that something that can be seen in the photographs is true: Cuba has stopped in time. There you can see car models that no longer exist in most places on the planet and a lifestyle that seems to be taken from a novel by Cabrera Infante.

Although hotels are like an oasis that has all the comforts of the Western world, when you leave them you will find fabulous places and wonderful people that, however, can be disconcerting. Cuba only looks like Cuba and here are some tips to understand it.

1. Take out medical insurance for your trip to Cuba

Surely you have heard that Cuba is one of the most advanced countries in medicine. It is totally true, and that is why a good part of tourism arrives in search of medical treatments. However, avoid confusion: free healthcare is a privilege for Cubans and a luxury for foreigners.

In Cuba yes or yes they will provide you with medical assistance if you need it, but they will charge you for that service, and it will not be a small sum of money. So it is best that you take out travel insurance that covers these eventualities and thus avoid unpleasant surprises.

2. The scenic transportation system

On your trip to Cuba, forget about other transportation experiences, because things can work differently there. The first thing you should know is that Cuba has an extensive train service, but these trains date back to the 1950s and they move very slowly, very slowly. If you’re in a hurry, forget them. If you want to live one of the most picturesque trips of your life, take one of them.

The island is well served by inter-municipal buses but is also served by a number of non-formal forms of transport. In Havana, for example, you are going to meet ‘the machines’. These are very old private cars that provide the service as if they were taxis.

The ‘machines’ have fixed routes and rates. They are an excellent option, in general, but it is important that you are clear about the rate before getting on one of them. At the inter-municipal level, there are also trucks and cars that provide transport services to individuals. This is not legal, but it is tolerated by the regime.

3. Cuban coins

Another difficulty that you may have during your trip to Cuba is to understand the entanglement of the currencies that circulate in the country. Basically, there are two: the Cuban peso as such, which is what Cubans have access to, and the CUC or convertible currency, which is what tourists should use.

One CUC is equal to one dollar, regardless of whether that corresponds to reality or not. The important thing here is that you always pay attention to the fact that if you pay with CUC, they must also give you back in CUC.

And you should know that not everything can be bought with one currency or the other. In the local markets, for example, they only handle traditional Cuban pesos. If you pay with CUC, you are losing money. On the other hand, imported products and those purchased in hotels must always be paid for with convertible currency.

4. Discover more than Havana and Varadero on your trip to Cuba

Most travelers assume that Cuba boils down to its capital, Havana, and Varadero, its main tourist hotspot. The truth is that it is not so. Although both places are wonderful, the island offers much more than those two attractions. In fact, if you delve a little into the country you will discover a more real and, at the same time, more fascinating Cuba.

Santiago de Cuba, for example, is a very beautiful city with great historical attractions. It is in the eastern part of the island, which also has fabulous places like Santa Clara, Manzanillo, Bayamo, and many more. During your trip to Cuba, be encouraged to explore little-known destinations. The island is very safe and you will not regret it.

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