Growing up in Miami I’ve always experienced the culture of the Cuban people. I’m accustomed to having a cup of cafe con leche for breakfast, frijoles negros con arroz blanco for lunch, and lechon asado for dinner. You can only imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to visit Habana, Cuba.
1.The people in Cuba are talented.
Cuba is a beautiful country. When I tell you that everyone is talented there I mean it. There was this one woman singing in the street square that I won’t forget. You could hear the echo of her voice a block away. As I walked towards her the melody she sang took over my mind and I began to sing the tune with her. She was singing about the peanuts she had for sell. I promise you I didn’t understand a word she was saying but the tune was catchy. She wasn’t the only one, though. Another man soon strolled by singing a different tune with a rope of garlic around his neck.The people here use their musical talents to the best of their abilities. If you don’t believe me then just visit the Casa De La Musica.
2. $1 CUC does NOT equal $1 Dollar
Please do your homework before traveling abroad. A lot of blogs are stating that $1 CUC is equivalent to $1 US dollar. The lies you tell! I hate to break the news to you but when you convert the American dollar to CUC you will lose money. I strongly recommend changing your money to Euros first and then changing it to Cuban currency upon arrival. Keep in mind that Cuba has two types of currency. They have the CUC and the CUP. The CUP is the currency in which many of the locals use and has a lesser value. Be mindful of this when getting change. Remember to get small bills when you convert your coins so that you can bargain in the streets.
3. Food shouldn’t cost more than $15 CUC
Unless you are eating at El Guajiarito in the heart of Habana your meal should not cost more that $15 CUC. A lot of restaurants will try to get you by offering you the tourist menu versus the local menu. If the price of a mojito is more than $3 CUC and the average food item is $12 CUC…RUN! I ate a full course meal for $10 CUC and yes that included desert.
4. A taxi can be expensive.
Although the taxi cabs are a little pricey I do recommend riding in at least one or two. I mean Cuba is known for its older cars so why wouldn’t you ride in one? The average taxi can range from $10 to $20 CUC one way. This also depends on the type of car you get into. An alternative way to get around is by taking a tour bus. You can pay $10 CUC and get on and off at different destinations.
5. The people want to tell you their story.
Everyone in Cuba has a story to share. I met people who were born and raised in Cuba to those who had left and returned. I got an opportunity to practice my Spanglish and learn the proper way to say certain things. I had small talk with locals about their customs, watched wood carvers create masterpieces, and witnessed couples swing to and fro on the. I just got a kick out of hearing about the lives of others and making connections.
This trip to Cuba was sweet…or in the words of the famous Celia Cruz, “Azucar!”
Have you been to Cuba? Do you plan on going? Leave a comment down below.