Top Ten Cuba Tip List!
1) Always negotiate prices. As a foreigner in a relatively poor city, most of the local
merchants will see you as a cash machine. If you are taking a taxi, buying a bike,
browsing souvenirs or renting a casa particular; whenever you request a price for a
product or service, vendors will immediately throw out a high number. Do not feel
shy about making a low counter offer. You can sometimes save 50% or more. Most
importantly, don't worry about walking away from a vendor if the asking price for
something is too high. This tactic will almost certainly sway the seller to become
more reasonable, as most vendors hate losing sales.
2) In conjunction with tip #1: If you act like a tourist, you will be treated like a tour-
ist. If you walk down a busy tourist street wearing a novelty panama hat and Che
Guevara t-shirt, speaking English loudly and carrying a large SLR camera, every
jinetero in Havana will approach you to strike-up a conversation. It's not necessar-
ily a bad thing, but you will be hounded by money-seekers constantly. Regardless
of your color, nationality or language, you are far more likely to blend in as a local if
you simply dress modestly, similarly to how you would dress on a daily basis in
your home country.
3) Be safe. The best way to do this is to exercise caution and common sense. A
general rule is that if you would not do something in your own country, then you
should not risk doing it in Cuba either. For foreigners, the risk of running into
trouble increases dramatically when heavy drinking is involved. Moderation and
good judgment will help you avoid most hassles and ensure a problem free trip.
4) Use Moneda Nacional. Most Cubans receive their salary in Moneda Nacional
and this is the most common currency used. There is no reason that you cannot
use it as well. For some goods and services you will have no choice but to use
CUC. This is especially the case in a large city like Havana. But this should be the
exception and not the rule. If you make an effort to only buy things which are
priced in MN you will save a lot of money. Furthermore, you will immerse yourself
in the Cuban lifestyle, since you will be visiting the same stores and shops as loc-
5) Treat yourself to a good, sit down meal every day. While you can survive well in
Havana by simply eating street food, it is a good idea to have something slightly
more fulfilling at least once per day. A full meal at a restaurant only costs about 4
CUC, and the generous serving of healthy food will give you the energy that you
need to explore every inch of Havana. Despite being delicious, most street food in
Cuba is simply filled with empty carbohydrates and provides little nutrition.
6) Appreciate the culture. Cuba is really different from a lot of other places in the
world. You will especially notice this if you are from a modern, western country. In