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Costs in Cuba

How much does it cost to travel across Cuba?

Although Cuba is a generally poor communist country and very few products are available to their citizens due to heavy state controls, it is not a very cheap country for travellers like Thailand, for example. However, it is still very affordable, in comparison with a number of Western European countries. The capital city and other tourist places are usually a bit more expensive than other towns and villages in Cuba.

Daily costs

Travelling on a shoestring

Younger travellers, who typically have a tighter budget, can afford a Caribbean adventure too, if they are resourceful, street-smart and speak some Spanish. By sharing accommodation with a group of friends in casas particulares, acquiring and using the local currency (CUP) whenever possible (for street food and public transportation) one can cut down his daily expenses to 30 CUC (or 30 USD). In this price range, however, you should expect only a couple of excursions and cocktails!

Average budget

For those who do not want to squander their life savings on a single holiday but yet wish to indulge in a bit of genuine Cuban flavour (including horse-riding in the country, occasional bar-hopping (one needs to taste a few mojitos, right?), a salsa lesson or two, etc.), a daily allowance could be limited to 40-50 CUC (or USD). Nevertheless, this means avoiding hotel accommodation and eating in posh restaurants. By eating at paladares (small, family-run restaurants) and staying in private houses, you can save a considerable sum.

Upscale travel experience

You are on holiday and you do not want to deny yourself any pleasure. After all, you have not travelled that far not to try any local signature dishes or world’s best rum and cigars. You want to explore the whole island and discover all of its beauties: go scuba diving near coral reefs, horse-back riding in tobacco fields or ride across the country in an American classic car. By combining different travel choices, like private accomodation in casas particulares with hotel resorts, taxis with public transportation, you can not only gain the most varied experience of Cuba, but also save money. Without depriving yourself of any day trips, souvenirs, lobsters, etc. your daily expenses could amount to just 150 CUC.

Just remember, mid-range hotels are nearly always twice as expensive as luxury private accommodation, where the food is incomparably better.

How much will I spend on food and drinks?

TYPE OF MEAL PRICE RANGE
Breakfast 3 – 5 CUC (at casa particular / paladar)
Lunch /dinner 8 – 15 CUC (1-course meal with a salad without a drink)
Snack / Street food 1-2 CUC
Drinks 1-2 CUC coffee or tea1.5 CUC a can of beer

2.5 – 6 CUC cocktails (in bars)

What are the public transportation prices?

VIAZUL BUS PRICE / PASSENGER / ONE-WAY TICKET*
Havana – Cienfuegos 20 CUC
Havana – Trinidad 25 CUC
Havana – Viñales 12 CUC
Santiago de Cuba – Havana 51 CUC
Havana – Varadero 10 CUC

*Prices from January 2017

What is the cost of car hire? 

This is the most expensive and the least recommended travel option. Why? It costs from 50 CUC / day for the smallest car to 160 CUC /day for a bigger / more comfortable one. The average weekly expense of a car rental is 350 CUC. Apart from the significant cost, you will hardly be able to enjoy in the countryside while navigating bumpy and heavily damaged roads, avoiding collisions with tractors and lorries and keeping your eye on pedestrians, cyclists and domestic animals that are likely to move along the road as well. Bear in mind that all country roads (even the central motorway and the city streets) are poorly lit in the evening and night hours, so it is not advisable for a tourist to embark on a journey after sunset (6 PM in ‘winter’ months, 8 PM in ‘summer’ months).

Some other costs…

TYPE OF COST PRICE
Bici-taxi ride (Havana)Bici-taxi ride (Cienfuegos /Trinidad) Shorter – 5 CUC, longer – 10 CUCShorter – 3 CUC, longer 10 CUC
El Morro (Havana) 15-20 CUC
Necrópolis del Colón (Havana) 10 CUC / person
Museums 1-5 CUC (50% discount for children <12)
Internet / hour 6–10 CUC
Horse-back riding (Trinidad) – 2 persons 45 – 50 CUC
Delfinario (Cienfuegos) 10 CUC (entry ticket)50 CUC (swimming with dolphins)
Natural park El Nicho (Cienfuegos) 5 CUC (entry ticket)
Laguna Guanaroca (Cienfuegos) 10 CUC (boat ride)
Fortaleza de Jagua (Cienfuegos) 1 CUC (entry ticket), 2 CUC (boat ride)
Botanic garden (Cienfuegos) 5 CUC (entry ticket)
Prehistoric mural (Viñales) 10 CUC
La Cueva de los Indios (Viñales) 5 CUC
El Palenque de los Cimarrones (Viñales) 3 CUC