- The costs are based upon a couple travelling together.
- We did not travel as part of an organised tour group but as independent travelers.
- Not considered is the entry or exit transport into/out of the country.
- We are digital nomads so base ourselves in accommodation that has good Wi-Fi.
- Included in the overall daily costs (for the period of time we are in the country) are:
- Our mail scanning and forwarding service
- Mobile phone plan
- Travel insurance.
Where We Travelled
Our Communications costs were higher than in other destinations. Everyone needs to buy ETECSA access cards (which cost CUC1.50 per hour) to be able to use the Internet in Cuba. You need to log out at the end of your session, which initially posed a problem on our phones, so we sadly wasted a few cards until we worked it out. Also, the internet is significantly slower in Cuba, so one access card is used up fairly quickly.
Dining and Groceries
You will notice that we spent a lot more (percentage-wise) on Dining out and a lot less on Groceries than in other countries. Casas particulares mostly rent out rooms (with no or limited access to kitchen facilities). A basic breakfast (which means coffee/tea, and some bread, butter and jam) is often included in the price of the casa but we always opted for a substantial breakfast (including eggs, fruit and fresh juice on top of the basic version) for CUC4-5 pp. For lunch and dinner, we would often eat out, though we did have some dinners at our casas as the casa hosts are generally good cooks too.
Our Finance costs were also a bit higher in Cuba than elsewhere. Any ATM withdrawal in Cuba incurs a 3% surcharge as the transaction on your credit card is made in USD. On top of that, our bank charges AUD4 per withdrawal. Unless you want to bring a stash of cash into the country there is just no way around it. If you do prefer cash bring EUR or CAD notes as USD notes attract a 10% surcharge.
For those that don’t know it, Cuba has two official currencies. The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) is pegged to the USD 1:1. CUC1 is also worth approximately CUP25 (USD0.04). CUP is the non-convertible version of the Cuban Peso, also called Moneda Nacional (MN). Having two different sets of notes (and coins) may be confusing at first. The way we differentiated the two was that CUC notes have monuments on them, while CUP notes show people.
Miscellaneous contains costs we didn’t manage to capture the category for. With two currencies in circulation, we would sometimes pay in one and get the change in the other, so it was harder than in other places to keep track of our spending (to the last cent). Finally, the Government costs were for the Tourist Visa / Tourist Card.
Travel Costs Summary Table
|Categories||USD per person per day|
|Total USD per person per day||$47.30|
Other Cost Summaries and Budgets
Budget Your Trip calculated the costs as shown in the below table. We are unsure whether their data includes entry/exit cost. However, it is good to compare our actual versus their data.
Check out these other sites that have provided their budgets and costs for Cuba as well.
In 2013, Simon and Erin from Never Ending Voyage spent two weeks visiting this country, spending $47 per day. In 2015, Gemma and Craig from Two Scots Abroad spent $47 per day each over a three-month trip.
Feature photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash