Travel

Trip to Cuba

It has been almost a month since I returned home from my trip to Cuba and I am finally getting caught up with things enough to be able to sit down and share with you about my trip. I travelled to Cuba on Carnival’s inaugural cruise to this port and they really did make every effort to impress for this sailing.

Pre-trip to Cuba

The visa. The Cuban visa process is a piece of cake. All I had to do was flash my blue passport prior to boarding the ship and purchase a $75 visa. You will also need to fill out a form stating the reason for your visit. Travel to Cuba must fit into specific categories of authorized travel such as visiting family, humanitarian projects, journalism, or educational activity/people to people interaction. If travelling to Cuba by plane then I have heard the visa process is the same and you will simply purchase it through the airline.


The money. The most important thing to remember is that your American bank and debit card will not work anywhere in Cuba! Do not even think about travelling to Cuba with only your American debit or credit cards in your wallet because you will be stuck. You will need to make plans to bring all of the cash you will need for this trip with you. We decided to budget $100 a day per person.

Cuba has two currencies, the CUC (tourists use) and the CUP (locals use). You will need to make plans to exchange your American money either prior to the trip or upon arrival. There is also an additional 10% fee on top of the standard 3% exchange rate fee. Some people exchange their American dollars for EURO prior to the trip and then the EURO to CUC upon arrival as a way to save on the additional fee. You will need to check with your bank if you choose to exchange prior to the trip because some banks will need to order the money. I would not worry too much with this process because I found that exchange houses (Cadecas) were easily accessible and in small amounts, some vendors were open to taking an American dollar or two as payment for small items.

The packing. If you have travelled to any other Caribbean island, the weather in Cuba is similiar. The weather is warm to hot, so plan to wear light cool clothing with a sweater or lightweight jacket for the evenings. Try not to forget a hat to help shade you from the sun during the day and some good walking shoes.

Arrival

Connection. The only thing your cell phone will be good for is taking pictures. Even if you have an international plan it will probably not work in Cuba, nor will you have Wi-Fi unless you purchase an ETECSA prepaid Internet Card and use it at a hotspot location. You can usually spot the location because a crowd of people will be there with their faces in their phone. It was cool to see a few of these places in parks and garden locations, but I did not bother. You will also easily spot payphones around the city, but I found it nice to disconnect for a couple days.

Cuba. The island is beautiful, similar to other Caribbean islands, the roads are paved with working traffic lights, and classic cars line the streets as taxis. The Cuban people are extremely friendly, curious, and I was able to find someone that spoke broken English everywhere I went. I was asked repeatedly, “Where are you from?”…I would reply “Florida”…without fail they would then ask “Miami?”

A recent trip to Cuba was filled with excitement as I explored the city and took in the sites and beautiful beaches. Sharing some tips before you travel! simplylakita.com #Cuba #Travel

I felt completely safe walking around Cuba and was surprised at the number of police and security guards that were walking the streets even during various times of the night.

Sites. During my trip, I was able to visit the Museo Hemingway, a hilltop villa where novelist Ernest Hemingway lived for 20 years.

A recent trip to Cuba was filled with excitement as I explored the city and took in the sites and beautiful beaches. Sharing some tips before you travel! simplylakita.com #Cuba #Travel

The Plaza de Armas, Havana’s oldest square that has numerous shops, restaurants, and beautiful architecture.

A recent trip to Cuba was filled with excitement as I explored the city and took in the sites and beautiful beaches. Sharing some tips before you travel! simplylakita.com #Cuba #Travel

The Tropicana Nightclub at night for a Vegas-style show underneath the stars. If you are ever in Havana, Cuba be sure to check this show out, as it will not disappoint.

This island offers you cityscapes, beautiful beaches, lush green parks to relax, and open places to sit by the water watching the fisherman pull in the catch of the day all underneath the Cristo de La Habana (Christ of Havana) statue blessing the city. If you ever get the chance to take a trip to Cuba…do it!

A recent trip to Cuba was filled with excitement as I explored the city and took in the sites and beautiful beaches. Sharing some tips before you travel! simplylakita.com #Cuba #Travel

Got any comments, questions, or ideas about my trip to Cuba? Share them in the comments below!


12 Comments

  • Reply
    Tamara
    July 23, 2017 at 5:15 PM

    Ahh, it’s a dream. My cousin is from Cuba and planning a trip there later this summer. I’m so curious as to what he has planned. I will certainly send him this post!
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    • Reply
      LaKita
      July 30, 2017 at 8:23 PM

      Thank you for sharing! I bet he has some great things planned and probably knows all of the nice local spots since he is from there. I loved it there and would definitely go back.

  • Reply
    Akaleistar
    July 23, 2017 at 8:06 PM

    I would love to visit Cuba! Your trip sounds awesome 🙂
    Akaleistar recently posted…The book you’ll want to read poolside: Rich People ProblemsMy Profile

    • Reply
      LaKita
      July 30, 2017 at 8:23 PM

      Thank you…it was an amazing trip!

  • Reply
    Mary
    July 26, 2017 at 12:56 PM

    Yay!! Cuba 🙂 My sister when to Cuba and had a horrible time, but they stayed in an unsafe place and had things stole out of their luggage. Looks like you did Cuba the right way LaKita. Loving all of your pictures. Wait, is that your son! Ahh, he looks just like you, I can’t wait to see what he does in college 🙂 the cars look so vibrant, how exciting.

    • Reply
      LaKita
      July 30, 2017 at 8:29 PM

      Aww…that stinks! Going the cruise route gave me a bit of a safety net that was nice. I enjoyed my trip very much. That is my son!! Everyone says that until they see his dad, but he does have some of my features 🙂

  • Reply
    Sonya
    July 29, 2017 at 11:20 AM

    I would love to go to Cuba and go to the Tropicana!!! This is such a good post for those wanting to travel to Cuba. You provided a lot of great information. I’ll be sharing this post. 🙂
    Sonya recently posted…Currently JulyMy Profile

    • Reply
      LaKita
      July 30, 2017 at 8:33 PM

      Thank you so much for sharing Sonya! I tried to provide some good info to remind me for the next trip and help others that may be taking a trip there. The Tropicana was amazing…the video really did not do it justice. There were dancers all around us and the dances told a story. Plus the costumes were amazing especially the headdress!

  • Reply
    Ushmana
    August 6, 2017 at 7:15 PM

    I always loved the way Cubans managed to keep their old cards looking as brand new! It basically fascinates me and I would love to travel there just to take one for a drive.

    As a side note, the man you’re with in the first image looks a lot like rapper 21 Savage 🙂 🙂 🙂
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    • Reply
      LaKita
      August 7, 2017 at 12:30 AM

      It was nice to see the classic cars in Cuba and although I didn’t get to drive one, it was nice to take a ride in one 🙂
      I rebuke that…my son does not look like 21 Savage…Issa No Way!!

  • Reply
    Andreza
    August 11, 2017 at 5:07 PM

    It would be so fun visit Cuba! Looks like you had a great time!

    • Reply
      LaKita
      August 14, 2017 at 2:55 PM

      I really had a great time…Thank you!

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