My Travel Diaries of
Currency: CUP (the national CUC was abolished in 2021)
Drink like a local: Mojito
- Either you discover Cuba on your own (you need Spanish and strong nerves for that) or you book a hotel and stay in a protected complex
- People are extremely hospitable and welcome any opportunity to converse (in Spanish) with a foreigner
- Donkey carts and emaciated horses on the street are not uncommon
- In spring you can expect thousands of crabs on the streets
- Backpacking across the country is prohibited
- The prices are very cheap
- There is no internet. Some locals have smartphones, but don’t know much about them
- If you like papayas and want to avoid embarrassing misunderstandings with female genitals, you should know that these are called “fruta bomba“.
- You need a tarjeta del turista for around 25 USD to enter the country as a tourist. You have to get them at the airport of departure. Important!
- It is best to stay in a casa particular. These are the AirBnB of Cuba. Only without internet. A sign with a small blue anchor marks such a family accommodation.
Without Spanish you are stuck on the island or at the mercy of your tour guide. The most important vocabulary:
- Good afternoon – Buenas dias
- Hello – Hola
- Drunk – Borracho
- How are you? – Que tal?
- Papaya – Fruta bomba
- Vagina – Papaya
- Cheers – Salud
The currency system is/was a bit complicated in Cuba. There was the CUP (peso cubano) for tourists and the CUC (peso cubano convertible) for locals. You needed the latter in the country to be able to buy something, but as a tourist you only received the normal pesos, which also had a different conversion ratio. However, since 2021 there will no longer be a CUC.
Credit cards can be forgotten outside of hotels and difficulties can also be encountered at banks. Only VISA worked for us, but not MasterCard.
For me, Cuba is the country with the greatest talent for improvisation in the world
The first impression when arriving in Havana at night is deep: which war zone have we been taken to? The taxi driver babbles happily at me without a break, only allowing his flow to be steered in directions by comments from me. Life in Cuba is beautiful, but very difficult. Everything falls apart and you are constantly monitored. The former is obviously confirmed.
Cubans are relaxed, we know that. Everyday life also starts later here. Only from 10 a.m. is there anything going on on the streets. But even in the evenings there is already a shift in the shaft from 12. We throw ourselves into the hustle and bustle of the old town. Everything looks much friendlier in the light, especially the colorful houses and old vintage cars. Nevertheless, even in the rows of restored colonial houses, there are many collapsed buildings in the rows.