If you’re planning a trip to Cuba, you may be wondering: How much does it cost to travel to Cuba? How much money you spend in Cuba will depend on your travel style, length of stay and the cities you visit.
To give you some background on my trip to Cuba, I’m not a budget traveler and I’m willing to spend more for comfort. I also traveled from city to city via private driver which, as you can see below, can be quite pricey. How much you spend in Cuba may also depend when you travel. I visited during peak season in February of 2017. Rates will likely be lower if you are traveling outside of peak season; however, costs may continue to increase as the country becomes more popular with American tourists. How much money you spend will also depend on your negotiation skills, since the cost of many things in Cuba is negotiable.
Note: At the time of publishing, the conversion rate was 1 CUC = $1 USD or 1.06 CUC to 1 Euro.
Transportation: How much does it cost to travel to Cuba?
Taxi ride from the airport to Havana – $25 CUC one way. Expect drivers to tell you that your hotel is very far and that $25 CUC is not enough, but hold firm. I had one driver turn down my offer, but the next in line accepted the fare. At the time I traveled, $25 was a fair price for hotels located in Old Havana or Central Havana.
Havana City Tour in a Classic Car – $35 CUC per hour per car. The price is negotiable and depends on which car you pick and how busy they are, with the best deals to be found during less popular times of day after the cruise ships have left for the day. If you’re wanting your experience to be a “tour” and not just a “ride” make sure your driver speaks English. If you’re choosing your car from a line of several, the person you negotiate with may not be the one who actually drives your car, so if this matters to you make sure you sort it out before paying. Also, I would recommend that you clarify from the get-go that you are negotiating the price of the car per hour, not the price per person per hour.
Taxi ride from Havana to Trinidad in a Classic Car – $200 CUC one-way. Many drivers started their negotiations above $300, but we ended up with a super nice classic car with modern engine (above) for $200. The drive to Trinidad isn’t a short one, so you want to be comfortable. At best, expect the drive to be 4 hours without stopping, but it could take 6 hours or longer depending on the car, traffic and the time you leave (trust me – you’ll want your driver to take the country roads slower after dark to avoid potholes, livestock and other vehicles). If you take a classic car, make sure it has a modern engine or be prepared to spend more time in transit since many of the classic cars can’t drive the same highway speeds as a modern car.
Lodging: How much does it cost to travel to Cuba?
Casa in Havana – $30-$60+ USD per night. (Note: the price of this casa is in USD since it was booked and paid for in advance through Airbnb). Hotels can get pretty pricey in Cuba, especially during peak season, so many travelers decide to stay at a Casa Particular, which is basically a B&B or homestay. The price of your casa will vary somewhat depending where it is, how nice it is, and whether you book in advance online or find a room in-person when you arrive. You’ll get a better deal if you wait and find a room in-person when you arrive; however, the trade-off is that your top choices may be full and unable to accommodate you. With limited time, I decided to book my room in advance on Airbnb.
I stayed at Amira’s Boutique Hotel and paid $60 USD per night for a private double room with a bathroom. This casa was on the higher end of the pricing spectrum and many casas are less expensive. My room was small, but charming and had the modern amenities, such as an AC unit and flat screen TV. The bathroom was large with plenty of hot water, soap and toilet paper (all things which I learned should not be taken for granted in Cuba). Breakfast was an extra $7 per person, which was pricey, but convenient. Portions were generous and consisted of fresh bread, deli meats and cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee and fresh fruit juice. If you’re not an Airbnb member yet, you can sign up here and receive a $40 credit off your stay. If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel or a resort in Cuba, you can find great deals and book online here.
Casa in Trinidad – $40 CUC per night. I booked my Trinidad casa in advance via email based on recommendations from other travelers I met in Jamaica. The couple backpacked through the Caribbean and had problems finding a decent room while in Trinidad, despite there being a ton of casas in the city. After several tries they ended up at Casa Particular El Aljibe and recommended the casa to me.
I paid $40 for a double room with private bathroom, including breakfast. The basic room was spacious with AC and the bathroom was modern with plenty of hot water, soap and toilet paper. I would highly recommend this casa because the family running it couldn’t be any nicer! I got extremely sick while in Trinidad – the owner of the casa called her son, who is a doctor, and had him speak with me. She provided me with electrolytes (which is the recommended “medicine” to treat food poisoning in Cuba) and even made me delicious home-made chicken noodle soup (from scratch!).
Booking this casa directly in advance is a breeze compared to many others – a quick response via email from a casa is not common, plus Richard speaks and writes in English! You can email him directly to reserve your room at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 53280951. If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel or a resort in Cuba, you can find great deals and book online here.
Food & Drink: How much does it cost to travel to Cuba?
Dinner Main course – $5 CUC to $12 CUC at most restaurants near Old Havana and in Trinidad City Center. The cost of restaurants vary greatly depending where they are, how trendy they are, what is included and what you order. For example, my first night in Havana I ate at a small restaurant with live music hardly off Old Havana’s main pedestrian street, Calle Obispo. The restaurant had a “tourist menu” and I paid $12 CUC for lobster served with rice and beans with one mojito included. Interestingly, the cost of a chicken, beef or fish entree was the same price as the lobster (you don’t see that in the States)! If you’re on a budget you can grab a casual sandwich or snack for under $1 CUC, but you’ll need to head outside the tourist district to a snack counter that caters to locals. Be aware that these menu prices are likely in CUP, the local currency, and not CUC, the tourist currency. (The difference matters since the exchange rate may be as drastic as 25 CUP to 1 CUC).
Alcoholic drinks – $2-$5+ CUC. The price depends what you’re drinking and where you’re enjoying the beverage, but the average prices I saw in Havana and Trinidad were in the $2 range for a local beer, $3 range for a mojito and $5 range for a glass of wine. You’ll pay more for non-rum drinks and wine, with the most expensive prices being for craft cocktails.
Have you been to Cuba? What were the prices of these items on your trip?
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