Hey Everyone! i want to start focusing more on travel and eats and of course continue to share recipes and things happening in the D.
February 2017 – presidents weekend – my favorite travel partner and I went off to cuba !! yes we went just the two of us on our own with no issues upon entering or exiting. Here’s how we did it …
Pre – Travel Tips :
- FLIGHT: Jet Blue offers flights to Havana as well as Delta , if you feel like you want to fly through Canada or Mexico you can but you really don’t have to.
- What did we do ? on a Friday morning we hopped on a JetBlue flight from Detroit to FLL to Havana. We made it to Havana mid afternoon. FLL to Havana is only 45 minutes !
- VISA: technically you cannot travel from USA to Cuba for Tourism, however there are 12 offerings of a visa that are permissible. When you get to the check in counter you pay $50 per person via credit card for a Visa – this is what is used when entering and exiting Cuba – your passport does not get stamped 😦
- What did we do? With paying the $50 fee we were given a piece of paper to fill out selecting the “Educational ” visa , there were two options one that was saying you were with a university and one that you were going there to learn about Cuba & its culture ! we saved museum tickets just in case, but no one asked us again about why we were going after checking that box.
- MONEY : exchange your money to Euros/ Canadian prior to entering Cuba. Cuba is a CASH COUNTRY, it’s not like we know and breath here in america with cc only places. you cannot use your american credit card or american debit card in the country. if you exchange from USD in CUBA then you will be charged with an additional tax of 10% + …. so not worth it !
- What did we do? since we live in Detroit (Canada is close!!) and Jason was going to be traveling to Montreal the following weekend we went with candian dollars & the exchange rate was better
- Exchanging @ the Airport in Havana – there are two stations to cambio dollores – there are also places in town to do so but we were told the rate was best at the airport. the line is going to be long but moves kinda quick – we waited probably 25-30 minutes.
- AIRBNB vs HOTEL: friends of ours had showed up to Cuba with no place to stay and just simply asked their cab driver to take them to one of the casa particulares they knew of with availability … a casa particular is a private home kinda like a bread and breakfast it is likely a room within someones home. Hotels are owned by the government! if you are going there “to support the cuban people” then dont’ stay at a hotel. The hotels in Havana aren’t that that nice apparently anyways, or at least compared to american standards.
- What did we do ? searched and searched for the most modern place to stay, we found a 2 bedroom apartment that is in the Edificio Fosca ! it is a centrally located pre-revolution bldg that has a door man and elevator. It is one of the tallest bldgs in Havana, easily identified by people/cabs/etc ,and very close to the Malecon!
- Baggage: we were under the impression that the Havana airport was unorganized and a hot mess, so false.
- What did we do? We both did carry out bags, but when getting to FLL they made us gate check the bags. We waited a bit longer than we are used to on Delta Sky Priority but it was really NBD. We both brought causal small backpacks to carry during the days for camera, selfie stick, snacks etc.
What to wear ? It is a very causal place and it was hot as balls !! we went in february and it was high 80s and humid, everyday is sun shiney !! We each brought like 2/3 pairs of shoes – sneakers for hiking and adventures, sandals for beach and walking tour, and then going out shoes. If you are going to a club, you cannot wear flip flops – given.
Crime ? much to my surprise there is no petty crime there, pick pocketing is not a thing, i’m not saying don’t be cautious and aware of your surroundings, but it is a whole different situation than being in Barcelona !
Tour Guides/ Drivers – highly recommend setting this up in advance.
Follow the next post on what to do while you are there !
Our 4 day trip was memorable and we can’t wait to go back !