Let’s Prepare! We expect more members than ever will be visiting Cuba this year.
With the recent news of the Obama administration easing restrictions on US travel to Cuba and with major U.S. hotel brands entering the Cuba market, interest in this island nation has reached a fever pitch. The new rules permit Americans to take “people-to-people” educational trips, allowing individual travel as opposed to the obligatory group tours, affording a more authentic connection with local culture.
The experts at House of Travel, a travel management company and full-service agency, encourage solo visits with confidence, providing the information needed to navigate these new policies and insider intel making this elusive destination more accessible. Their experienced travel agents have personally visited and vetted island activities, accommodations and services, helping travelers make the most of their visits on their own terms.
Below is a list of in-the-know recommendations for travelers looking for an Authentic Cuba experience.
- You will need travel insurance to visit Cuba.
- Hire a local guide for one day to gain a local’s perspective and get a lay of the land.
- US credit cards are not permitted so exchange money at the airport or hotels. Make note you will be unable to exchange Cuban currency back to US dollars.
- Access to the internet/WIFI is minimal, even in hotels. Travelers can purchase internet access cards but connection is still limited.
- Interact with locals, they are very friendly and genuinely want to share their culture and life’s experiences.
- Tip the right people. It will do miracles.
- Hotel star ratings are not equivalent to US ratings. For example a 4-star hotel in Cuba might be anywhere between a 2-3 star in the US.
- Stay in a “Casa Particular’, the Cuban version of a bed & breakfast, it’s the best way to experience local culture.
Food & Drink
- Food and alcoholic beverages are inexpensive and safe. Sample the local beer like Bucanero or check out Hemingway’s old haunt, the Floridita Restaurant, birthplace of the daiquiri.
- A locally available booklet called Tourist and Gastronomic Passport lists popular restaurants in private homes called PALADARES. They are authorized by the government and immerse travelers in local culture and tastes.
- Experience local music in the bars and clubs, especially Son Cubano, a traditional cuban style of music and dance.
- Beyond Havana: Trinidad is like a trip back in time to the 19th century; check out the cool nightlife in Santa Clara or explore the labyrinth streets of Camaguey.
- There is scuba diving, biking, hiking, caving and bird watching tours available all over the island.
- Visit the Saturday Paseo Martin Art Fair. Local art is inexpensive and abundant and makes the perfect souvenir.
Visit www.houseoftravel.net for more information.