Traveling to Havana Cuba? How to Prepare:
- Do your homework- Cuba is not the easiest place to travel because they are still building the infrastructure. Book hotels, tours, and restaurants in advance and do your research on Trip Adviser or Lonely Planet. Internet is hard to come upon, so it’s not like you can easily look something up. Some of the best articles we found were:
- Print your itinerary including lodging confirmation, dinner reservations, and addresses ahead of time.
- Get Euros before the trip. If you exchange USD, there is an extra 10% fee for the exchange. Take lots of cash with you because you will not be able to pull money from ATMs or use your credit card. We also recommend you exchange your money at the airport as the banks in the city have long lines.
- Purchase a map of Havana and any other places you want to visit in advance. Mark the addresses of the places you are staying and restaurants you want to try on the map (it helps when you are navigating the city and to show taxi drivers where you want to go).
- Cubans are very friendly. Some will just want to chat while others will want to talk you into purchasing tours. Say no to purchasing tours that are not provided by the hotels or travel agencies as they are most likely a scam (we took a BS tour around old Havana when we could have easily walked it).
- Bring someone who speaks Spanish or learn to speak it yourself. Havana is not the easiest city to navigate without knowing the language.
- Don’t drink the water! Purchase bottled water.
- If you prefer not to plan your trip, definitely go with travel agency. This is not a country where you can wing it.
Most importantly, have a great time! This city is awesome!