How Much Does It Cost To Travel To Havana?

Jul 7, 2017 | Cuba, World Heritage Sites | 1 comment

Cost to travel to Havana, Cuba

Now that Cuba has become a popular tourist destination now that it is open to air travel from the United States. The higher volume of travelers streaming into Cuba – and especially Havana – have caused prices to increase. However, Havana remains an affordable destination. Here’s how much it cost us to travel to Havana.

Cuba has two local currencies, which is initially confusing but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC, and pronounced “kook”) is the “tourist” currency and is linked 1:1 with the US Dollar. When you exchange money, you will receive CUCs. The Cuban Peso (CUP or just peso) is the locals’ currency. 25 CUP is equal to 1 CUC. The CUP is rarely used by tourists. In fact, you can spend your entire visit in Cuba without spending a single CUP. The only time we found it beneficial to have a small amount of CUP on hand was when we were buying street food (which can also be purchased with CUC).

Havana Travel Costs

Here is what we spent to travel to Havana for four days. These costs are for two people.

  • Accommodation: $144.00 14%
  • Transportation: $513.32 52%
  • Admissions: $35 4%
  • Food: $126.60 13%
  • Souvenirs and Gifts: $164.35 16%
  • Miscellaneous: $10.00 1%

Total Spent

$993.27

Per Day

$198.65

Keep in mind that this is how much we spent. How much you spend depends on your style of travel. We could have reduced costs in certain areas, specifically by not eating at paladars and by not purchasing gifts for family and friends. This total also includes airfare and visas. By eliminating those airfare costs, our in country costs were $594.95 ($118.99 per day).

Accommodation

Casa particulares are private homes where Cubans rent out rooms in their homes. They are cheaper than the government-run hotels. Casa particulares are easier than ever to book now than many of them are available on Airbnb. Use this link to sign up with Airbnb and get $40 off your first stay.

We stayed in a casa particulares in Habana Vieja (Old Havana). The house in which we stayed was just steps from Havana Harbor, the Museum of the Revolution, the Malecon, several restaurants, and art galleries. We paid $32 per night plus a $16 service fee for a grand total of $144. The room was small but clean. We had a private bathroom, hot water, A/C, and a small refrigerator.

The entrance to our casa particulares.

Transportation

We flew to Havana from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Southwest. Round trip airfare cost us $298.32 for two people. We purchased our visas at the airport from Cuba Travel Services and paid $50 per visa.

Taxis to and from the airport into Havana cost 30 CUC each way. The ferry to cross Havana Harbor costs 2 CUC each way. Cost for transport throughout Havana varies on the distance of the destination and the type of transportation. With the uptick in tourism, taxi drivers are attempting to charge more than in the past. Be willing to negotiate before you get in the vehicle.

Tours in a vintage car or a horse-drawn carriage throughout Old Havana generally cost around 30 CUC per hour.

Admissions

Museum of the Revolution, Havana, Cuba

Most of the museums and forts charge admission for entry. We visited the Museum of the Revolution, Castillo de la Fuerza, Forteleza de San Carlos (to watch the canon firing ceremony), and the Jose Marti Memorial. In total, we spent 36 CUC in admissions (18 CUC each).

Food

Breakfast was provided in our casa particulares each morning for 5 CUC per person. It consisted of cereal, bread, cheeses, jams, fruit, milk, and juice.

Lunch varied day to day. We found the restaurants around Old Havana to be hit-or-miss when it came to quality and selection. Just because they have a diverse menu doesn’t mean that everything is available. And just because it costs more doesn’t mean that it tastes better. Our favorite lunch was peso pizza which can be found in “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants throughout Havana and costs about 10 CUP. If you don’t have CUP, they’ll accept 1 CUC. Peso pizza is about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter and is generally served folded in half in a sheet of paper.

Breakfast in Havana
Creperie Habana Paris

Creperie Havana Paris

We tried several private restaurants, known as paladars, for dinner. Making a selection was trial and error, since only part of the menu items were available. We tried chicken and lobster, and neither were that good. Meals at an average paladar costs around 20 CUC per person.

Our favorite restaurant was the Creperie Habana Paris, a charming French-themed restaurant near Parque Cervantes. We ordered several delicious crepes for each of us and only paid 10 CUC total.

We tried several private restaurants, known as paladars, for dinner. Making a selection was trial and error, since only part of the menu items were available. We tried chicken and lobster, and neither were that good. Meals at an average paladar costs around 20 CUC per person.

Our favorite restaurant was the Creperie Habana Paris, a charming French-themed restaurant near Parque Cervantes. We ordered several delicious crepes for each of us and only paid 10 CUC total.

Creperie Habana Paris

Creperie Havana Paris

There are stalls selling all manner of snacks and treats throughout Old Havana. A large helping of churros costs 1 CUC. Coconut ice cream costs 2 CUC. Fresh guava juice can be had for .50 CUC.

Bottled water can become very expensive. A liter of water costs around 2 CUC. We bought several bottles throughout our trip, but mostly we purified our own tap water in our water bottles before heading out each day. Thanks to our Steripen, we drank plenty of Cuban tap water and didn’t get sick.

Alcoholic drinks like mojitos or daiquiris cost between 3-4 CUC each.

Churro maker, Havana, Cuba

Souvenirs and Gifts

All types of souvenirs and gifts are available in shops and stalls throughout Old Havana. How much you care to spend varies from person to person. Here are a few items to give you and idea of costs:

  • Replica propaganda poster: 8 CUC in Plaza de Armas (but available a bit cheaper from nondescript bookstores in the maze of streets throughout Old Havana).
  • Cuban cigars: 4-8 CUC each on average, but can be more expensive based on quality. Can be purchased individually or by the box.
  • Handicrafts: varies, but between 5-8 CUC.
  • Artwork: varies based on size. We purchased a small picture of the Cathedral of Havana which was made using coffee grounds for 5 CUC.

Miscellaneous

We paid small tips here and there, mainly to use bathrooms or to take pictures of street performers.

Things to Know About Money in Cuba

In Cuba, cash is king. Don’t expect to be able to use your ATM card or a credit card, especially if it is issued by an American bank. ATMs throughout Havana are few, and the ones that exist may not be reliable. Outside of big resorts, most establishments have no way to accept card payments.

Exchanging US dollars incurs a 10% penalty rate, so it is best to bring Canadian dollars, British pounds, Euros, or Mexican pesos. It is best to convert your money into CUC, as CUP can’t be used for many items.

Money can be exchanged at the airport, but the rates are pretty poor. Hotels have a better exchange rate than the airport, but still not great. There are cadecas (change booths) throughout Havana that offer decent rates. We managed to find a shopkeeper at Almancenes San Jose Market who gave us a 1:1 exchange rate for US dollars, but it was all under the table.

 

Planning a Trip to Cuba?

 Ready to fly to Cuba? Check out cheap flights here.

 U.S. Citizens are required to purchase a visa before entering Cuba. Prices range from $50 to $100 and vary by airline. Some airlines partner with an agency to fulfill visa requests. We used Cuba Travel Services (1-800-617-1902) and paid $50 per visa.

 The Cuban government requires U.S. Citizens to have local health insurance. Some airlines include it in the fare. For everyone else,  we recommend World Nomads.

 Looking for a place to stay? AirBnB is available in Cuba. Use this link to receive $40 off your first visit.

 Water in Cuba is not safe to drink. We recommend (and use) a SteriPen to sterilize our drinking water. You might also consider a LifeStraw Go Water Bottle.

Like this post?

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This