Yes, it’s official! You can now book an apartment in Cuba on AirBnB anywhere in the world !
This is a great news for Cubans “cuentapropistas” looking to expand their hospitality business.
In fact, initially it was possible just to book apartments from the United States. So if you want to book your travel to Cuba on AirBnB, you can now do that anywhere in the world without any boundaries 🙂
Book an apartment in Cuba on AirBnB anywhere in the world
The news as been announced during the latest (and historic) visit of President Obama to Cuba. This new step of openness is just one of the recent changes involving the island.
During an entrepreneurial conference in Havana, Obama has outlined the interest of the USA in investing to grow the next generation of web entrepreneurs.
The US government plans to help the island in the technology development creating infrastructure and helping people connection to the internet and communicate with the rest of the world.
This is just one of the many revolutions happening now in the island. Since the tourism, especially from the USA, is booming many new casas particulares have opened their doors all over the island.
Many cubans have now the chance to generate a good income thanks to tourism and AirBnB is a valid help. So far the internet connection in Cuba is not that good.
The internet connection
During the last year many wi-fi hotspots have been activated all over Havana and you can now connect for $2 per hour. It’s pretty expensive for a Cuban but it’s a big improvement. In fact, just a few months ago, the only way possibile to connect was going to a hotel lobby and pay a crazy price of $10 cuc per hour.
Your first impact with Havana and its airport will probably be a little bit shocking 🙂 In this post I am going to show you how you can do it easily (yes an old classic one!) and the options available.
As you know, because of the limitations with other countries is not that easy to plan and book a taxi ride from the airport to the city center of Havana
Book a taxi at Havana airport: the options available
Most of the times, as soon as you get outside the airport you’ll see many chauffeurs running over you and asking if you need a ride. Some are the government yellow cabs. These cabs usually cover a standard fare around 30 cuc. These taxi are usually cars of the 80′, old but generally in good condition and with AC.
On the other hand there are the famous classic cars or almendron. Most of those cars are private drivers or cuentapropista (small business owner) and, if they have a valid license, they can drive from the airport to Havana or Old Havana.
The experience with an old classic cab is of course way memorable and fun. At the end of this page you can book a taxi from Havana airport so you don’t need to wait or find a transportation.
It’s usually not that difficult to find these cabs once you get out of the airport but you need to pay them in local currency (CUC). Anyway there’s a cadeca (bank) just outside the airport and you can change your money right away.
Based on the season and day of the week the airport might be less or more chaotic. Jose Martì International is the largest airport in Cuba but the amount of airplanes landing here it’s just incredible.
Flights from all over the world are landing here and the structure and service of the airport is not really ready to host them. I know there’s a project to widen the structure, but so far it’s the only one option.
“From Jan. 1 to May 9, 51,458 Americans visited Cuba, compared to 37,459 over that period last year…There were 38,476 visitors who flew directly from the U.S. to Cuba, compared to 29,213 in the same period last year.”
“Another 12,982 Americans came in via third countries, a whopping 57 percent increase over the 8,246 Americans who flew to Cuba from elsewhere in the same period last year.” (Business Insider)
“Cuba also has seen a 14 percent rise in overall tourism. Arrivals from 206 counties from Jan. 1 to May 9 rose from 1,349,903 last year to 1,547,104 this year. Visitors from Germany were up 22 percent; France, 25 percent; the United Kingdom, 26 percent and Spain 16 percent.
And those numbers are growing fast in 2016. You can then imagine how fast hotels and casas particularesare sold out because of this growth. I have noticed myself. Especially in the latest months it’s getting really difficult to find free houses.
The same thing is happening with the transportation. In fact, sometimes isn’t that easy to find a free cab or to book one for an excursion or a tour of the city. The same thing might happen at the airport. Since there aren’t new cars in Cuba (cars are not imported for large consumer) and tourism is growing, there’s an increased demand and a limited offer.
Sometimes the requests are that much that isn’t easy to find a taxi available.
Book a taxi at Havana airport: how you can do it
So, how can you book a taxi at Havana airport in advance? There are a limited number of websites and online services related to transportation in Cuba. The embargo is still restricting most of the websites. If you want to book in advance your ride with a classic cab from the airport to your hotel or final destination I can help you.
During the last months thanks to this blog I have helped friends and people to find solutions to their travel to Cuba and transportation. Below you can make a reservation of your taxi or almendron (classic cab) and a driver will pick you up at the airport.
Even if you have a delay the driver will wait for you with your name (a reasonable delay! :-))
If you want to get rid of the taxi-stress book using the button below.
Hope this post about how to book a taxi at Havana airport helped you to show you the options available and what you can expect if you are visiting Cuba and Havana. I invite you to visit also my previous posts so you can discover more about the amazing Cuba and read some interesting tips!
Well, if you are all set it’s time for you to start exploring what you can do once you’ll get in Havana. In this post I am going to tell you how to book a city tour in Havana by car.
If it’s you first time ever in Cuba you might find everything absolutely new and incredibly fascinating. Although, once you’ll get to the airport in Havana you’ll find a little of mess around you. That’s why it might be better to book a cab before you arrive in Havana.
You won’t bother yourself to find a taxi or to negotiate the price. I can help you to book a cab and to have a person waiting for you once you arrive. If you want to know more about it, read THIS POST.
HOW TO BOOK A CITY TOUR IN HAVANA: CAR OR BUS?
Now, of course one of the most charming thing about Cuba are the old classic cars. As you have probably seen in videos or pictures of Cuba, there are tons of Old Almendrones all over the island! And the cool things is that they are actually working perfectly.
The first time you won’t believe what you’ll see. Some of them still have the original engine! And the most of those cars are before the Revolution. I have personally talked with several professional drivers about their amazing cars. They are all proud of their classic rides and they told me the history and how they got them.
Of course it’s almost impossible for them to find spare parts in case of damage and aging, but Cubans are really incredible in the art of improvisation and “bricolage”. I have seen real miracles inside some cars engine! 🙂
That said, there are several cars offering a city tour service in Havana and you have a wide choice of classic cars, convertibles or not.
In Old Havana you can find a lot of these cars in front of the National theater (Teatro Nacional) , or in front of the Parque Central Hotel.
So, you just need to approach a driver and ask him for a tour of the city. There are different routes and itineraries you can choose. Usually you can pick an hour or a two hours tour.
IF YOU WANT TO BOOK A TOUR BEFORE GOING TO CUBA FILL OUT THE FORM AT THE END OF THIS POST
A car is the best option if you want to have a typical tour of the city and enjoy it with your friends and family. Most of the cars allow you to ride in four people plus the driver.
The price depends on the itinerary and the duration but it’s not expensive considering the unique experience.
On the other hand you can decide to have a tour of Havana with a bus. There are several rooftop red buses you can take but of course my recommendation is to go for a car. First, you can ask the driver to stop for a second if you want to take a picture; second you can change the route and make little deviations on the itinerary; third you will have a more intimate ride with your family and friends.
Now let’s see the places you can visit with a quick overview of the city.
HOW TO BOOK A CITY TOUR IN HAVANA: THE ITINERARY
If it’s your first time in Cuba and Havana there are several places you must visit. It also depends on your travel and how many days you have planned to stay in Havana. Of course the most beautiful and charming part of the city is Old Havana, so be sure to have at least 3/4 days to stay in the capital.
Usually a city tour of Old Havana includes the typical and most characteristic places such as Capitolio, Malecon, The Royal Force Castle and the Tobacco factory. Of course there are several more spots to visit, but it’s better to visit them by walk since most of the places are not accessible by car. Also you will really enjoy walking along the streets and focus on every single detail of the old city.
If you want to visit Vedado and Miramar you’ll pass by the Malecon and drive north. In Miramar I recommend you to drive along the Fifth Avenue (5ta Avenida). That is a beautiful street full of colonial villas. Most of them are now embassies.
If you are doing a guided tour by car, you can drive across the streets of Vedado and watch the amazing colonial houses. I did a guided tour not long time ago with my family 🙂
I have visited just Old Havana and Centro Habana with a 2 hours tour and I went all over the main areas of the old side of the city and Plaza de la Revoluticion in Centro Habana.
Centro Havana is, as I say, the “real” Cuba since you can see the daily life of the city and not only the most touristic places.
If you are looking how to book a city tour in Havana, you can fill out the form below and book a classic car before being in Havana. In this way you can also decide the best pickup location (even from the airport) and organize better your tour, especially if you are staying in Havana just for a few days.
I can help you to set up your guided tour by car! Just click the link below to see more about the tour in Havana:
Cuba is living a revolutionary period thanks to the diplomatic relationship recently established with the US. This will probably change many things and also the way to pay in Cuba and the currency available for business and travel purposes.
Today in Cuba there are two different currencies: The Cuban peso (CUP) and the Cuban peso convertible (CUC)
The conversion between CUP and CUC is around 1:24. This means than $1 CUC is 24 CUP. The most part of the Cubans are paid in CUP, or a small part of the wage is in CUC.
Supermarkets and shops selling basics, usually accept Cuban pesos and prices are way different from other types of stores where you can find other supply and products but you can only pay in CUC. For example for many Cubans is a problem to buy a broom just because the price is too high. It’s like buying something x24 more expensive.
Tourists generally have to pay in CUC almost anything. In fact, this is the primary reason why the Cuban peso convertible was introduced.
Why two currencies
In 1993, during the period of economic collapse known as the Special Period, the US dollar was made legal in order to encourage hard currency to enter the economy. This period concedes with the fall of the Soviet Union, the main source of supplies for Cuba at that time.
The US dollar became the currency used to purchase some non-essential goods and services, such as cosmetics, and even non-staple kinds of food and drink. US dollar was also used for tourism and Castro saw the opportunity to direct all this cash flow in the state coffers.
In 1994, the convertible peso was introduced at a par with the dollar but on November 8, 2004, the Cuban government withdrew the US dollar from circulation. CUC was officially introduced as a currency.
How to pay in Cuba
The best way for you to pay in Cuba is to change your money. You can do it as soon as you arrive to the airport. Since you need to take a cab to go in the city center, it’s better for you to have already some CUC. Some drivers accept euros or Canadian dollars but it depends.
In the cities you can then easily change your money at the Cadeca for a better exchange rate. So don’t change too much money at the airport.
Also, in case you are not pay in the national currency, calculate in advance how much is the conversion to avoid leaving more money. If you want to book a taxi in advance, you can do it HERE.
Some places already accept US dollars but the CUC is still the most used currency and the best way to pay in Cuba.
How to pay in Cuba: credit cards
Also credit cards rules are changing. If you are housing in a hotel you can pay with your credit card, Mastercard or Visa. This is a recent news since before wasn’t possible to pay with any credit card issued in the US.
“Debit cards with the VISA logo are usually accepted by your tour rep to pay for trips as well as purchasing goods at outlets that accept debit cards. They can be used in ATM’s (if you can find one and it is working) or to draw money from a Cadeca or Bank. MASTERCARD will not be accepted in ATM’s but, as with VISA cards, so long as they are issued by a non US-based bank, can be used to draw cash at the counter of a Cadeca or Bank.” Source: TripAdvisor
Transactions rate is about the 3%, which is basically the exchange fee. If you make a withdrawal the 2.99% foreign exchange administration fee is calculated for every transaction abroad.
The best thing for you to do is to call your bank and ask information about fees on transactions and withdrawals.
Are you looking for the cheapest flights to Cuba? You are in the right place!
Well, it’s finally time for you to visit Cuba! I hope you are finding all the information you need around the web if you are planning to visit it 🙂
And if you are not, it’s a pity! Cuba is amazing island and place to visit and now that the relationships between Washington and Havana are getting stronger, you are almost free to buy your ticked and explore one of the most fascinating place in the world!
I have a good news for you: YOU are in the right place! Here in Cuba2Day we have all the information you need to know if you are booking or planning a travel to Cuba.
But now, thanks to the new laws it’s finally possible for you to take a flight to Cuba. That’s why I want to share with you some information about the cheapest flights to Cuba
Very soon several flight companies will start promoting direct and cheap flights but now only a few companies allow you to book it.
Cheapest flights to Cuba: a short list of websites
As of today I have found the following websites particularly useful and cheap when it comes to book a flight to Cuba. I have listed them in order of relevance, then is up to you to have different researches and find the best solution for you based on the place you are traveling from.
This was one of the first website available where it was possible to book a flight to Cuba from the USA. Here, you will find several destinations you can flight from the US to Cuba. Is it very user-friendly and you can start research in minutes. I’ve already talked about this website in a previous post.
This is the national Cuban fight company.Here you can find flights from several destinations around the world but not from the US. Also, I suggest you to use this website if you are looking for national flights. For example if you need to move in Cuba from a city to another.
Of course you already know this website. What you probably don’t know is that you can also book a flight as an American. In order to do that you need to use the Canadian version of the website (.ca). To switch from the US version to the CA version, you just need to change the country in the website settings.
Just click on the flag you see on the top of the page and change it from US to Canada. Now, you’ll be able to display the flight to Cuba even if you are from the US.
Of course there are many other websites where you can look for the cheapest flights to Cuba, especially if you are traveling not from the US. For example you can check the traditional search engines such as SkyScanner, Opodo or Expedia
The websites I have listed above are more specific for a travel to Cuba and the first one is perfect if you are from the United States.
This is a very hot moment for the tourism in Cuba and there’s a huge increase of requests. It has been calculated that by 2016 the tourism boost will be +40% and most of the people will come from USA.
One of the major issues today is the accommodation. In order to host that huge request, many hospitality companies are building new hotels. Today, especially in the high season, isn’t easy to find a place to stay.
Here on Cuba2Day, I have listed some apartments you can rent in Havana. You can find it HERE.
Cuba is not famous to be the best place in the world for an internet connection. Many Cubans waited years before having finally a decent internet connection and communicate with the rest of the world.
But now things are changing fast and you can finally connect to internet in Havana and use your smartphone and laptop.
Here is how and where to connect to the internet in Havana.
ETECSA, the national telco company, has finally installed in July 2015 several hotspots all over Havana. Cubans can finally connect to internet and chat with their relatives in the US and surf online.
That’s a big news since an internet connection is more than an internet access: It allows Cubans to finally discover what happens all over the world and discover the latest news.
How and where to connect to the internet in Havana: the places
Walking along the streets of Havana you can now find several hotspots. To get internet access you just need to buy a card which costs just $2 per hour and you can connect to wifi.
The most popular areas are in Old Havana. Most of the hotels now have the ETECSA connection and you can get in and ask for an internet card. They usually sell them in the reception or you can find the card at the ETECSA shops around the city.
Here are some spots where I have tested the wifi connection and where you can connect.
Along Calle Obispo (Old Havana) there’s a hotspot next to the hotel “Ambos Mundos”. You can usually understand where the hotspot is based on the people you see along the street with the phone in their hands.
Another place is in Calle Mercaderes, approximately at number 201. Also there, you’ll find people in the streets connected to the internet.
The third place is all along the Avenida 23, from the Malecon to the famous ice-cream shop Coppelia
In case you can’t find a place to buy the cards you can buy them in the streets from some street-vendors. You’ll usually pay it a dollar more but sometimes it’s better instead of passing hours in line to buy one.
As I said before, internet is relatively new in Cuba and almost nobody has an internet connection home. The situation might change by the next months since new agreements by USA and Cuba are in place in order to improve telecommunications.
As of today, just few American companies are operation in Cuba. One of those companies is AirBnB which allows you to book apartment and rooms from the United States. In case you are interested to know more about this topic or to rent an apartment you can visit the post below
The first time I went to Cuba I was really impressed by the beauty of this land and its uniqueness. Havana, in particular, is a mix cultures, sounds and timeless charm.
As you know, during my travel to Cuba, I always stay in my wife place in the south of Havana. But if you are visiting the city for the first time it’s better for you to know the best areas where you can get the best of the city during your short or long-term stay.
In this post you’ll find several useful information about how to book and apartment in Havana and all the things you should know about the best areas.
BUT FIRST A HUGE FAVOUR 🙂 What do you think about sharing this post with your friends? You just need to click to tweet the tab below
HOW TO BOOK AN APARTMENT IN HAVANA: THE BEST AREAS.
If it’s your first time in Cuba and Havana, I always suggest my friends to stay in Old Havana. The reasons are simple:
You are close to all the main places to visit
You can easily move walking along the city
You can enjoy the most beautiful and charming part of the city.
That said, there are also several places in Old Havana, and I want to tell you the top places where you might want to stay. Below is a short list of the best places to where you can stay and book an apartment in Old Havana.
Plaza Vieja: It’s probably the most famous area of the city and it’s also a great place to hang out in order to enjoy the Cuban movida. You’ll find several places where you can eat and drink.
Calle Obispo: This is the main street of Old Havana. It starts from the famous Floridita, the favorite Hemingway’s place for a Diquiri, and it goes down till the amazing Plaza De Armas. A must place to visit!
Calle Mercaderes: This is an incredible street and amazing area of the city. It was the ancient street of shops and stores. You can find shops with spices and beautiful pieces of local art.
The three places above are to me the best places where you should stay during your visit to Havana. Of course, my tip is also to stay in a casa particular, where you can save money and enjoy the city as a local.
HOW TO BOOK AN APARTMENT IN HAVANA: WHERE YOU CAN FIND SOME BEAUTIFUL PLACES.
Now that you know where the most beautiful areas are, it’s time for you to discover where and how to book an apartment in Havana.
As you might no, AirBnB is now available in Cuba. This is a great news especially if you are American since, as of today, just americans can rent apartments via AirBnB. There are over 1,000 apartments available on AirBnB and you have a wide choices of houses and apartments.
Along the city there are several small and big hotels, most of them are really nice and charming. Consider that the average price for a nice hotel in one of the areas I have listed above is between $150 to $200 per night.With a casa particular you can cut the cost over the 50%.
It also depends on how many people you are. Most of the apartment you can find on this list are from 2 to 5 people. That’s why if you are traveling with more than two people you can save even more money renting an apartment instead of booking two separated hotel room.
All the apartment are usually with a fully equipped kitchen, but you will be out for lunch and dinner several times to enjoy the local kitchen 😉
Also, in Old Havana, there are no supermarkets yet, so it’s not easy to buy food in a grocery store, except for fruits and vegetable that you can find along the streets.
One of the first thing you’ll need when you arrive to Havana airport will be a transportation. When you’ll put your step out of the airport for the first time you’ll be hit by your first cuban experience: find a cab 🙂
You’ll have several people asking to drive you to your hotel or to the city. You can pick one of them (ask the price before), or you can BOOK A CAB before to leave. We can help you doing that. We usually ask our partners to wait at the airport with a signboard with the name of the person they have to wait.
I hope this post about how to book an apartment in Havana was helpful. If you need to have more information about Cuba I invite you to check out the home page of the blog and you’ll get several tips for your first travel to Cuba!
The goal is to extend internet usage to the entire island by 2020.
Right now the cost to the internet access is pretty high but the fee will be halved from 4.50 CUC to 2 CUC per hour. The only places available today to connect are the hotels where most of the time you have to pay around 10 CUC per hour.
The new wifi hotspots will be able to hold about 50/100 connections at the same time.
“Ted Henken, a professor at Baruch College in New York who has studied social media and the Internet in Cuba, said the decision could mark a “turning point.”
“Their model was, ‘Nobody gets Internet,’ ” he said in a telephone interview. “Now their model is, ‘We’re going to bring prices down and expand access, but we are going to do it as a sovereign decision and at our own speed.’ ”
Government said that internet connection and communication development will be a main goal for Cuba.
Finally the island will no longer be so isolated 🙂
Before April 2015 the only way to fly from USA to Cuba was buying a ticket through a non-American flight company. Fortunately the situation is changed thanks to the resumption of the relationships between USA and Cuba.
Fly from USA to Cuba today
On April 15th 2015 CheapAir became the first travel agency selling direct flights to Cuba
Departing daily from Miami International Airport and on a more abbreviated schedule from Tampa and New York’s JFK, this new option is the most convenient and most direct way to travel to Cuba. Havana is accessible via all three U.S. originating airports and Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, Holguin, Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba are all destinations serviced via Miami.
The only way to get there at the moment, other than a charter flight, is to buy a ticket from another country like Mexico, Canada, Bahamas or Cayman. Then you need to buy a separate ticket from one of the places mentioned above and fly to Cuba. This is a pain since you need to look for two separated flights and look for the best options and coincidences.
So, fly from USA to Cuba wasn’t so simple and immediate until now. But with CheapAir you can directly book the entire route from one website.
Who can and cannot travel to Cuba
Traveling to Cuba for Americans it’s still different from flying anywhere else in the world. Despite the embargo is about to be ended and the diplomatic relationship restored, yet just certain categories are authorized to fly from USA to Cuba.
Here are the categories and the reasons that allow you to travel to Cuba today:
Visit your family (you are a cuban-american)
Educational purpose and activities
You are a journalist
You are involved in an official U.S. government or foreign business
You are working with exportation and importation of information and telecom materials
You are doing a research, development and education with private foundations
Support for the Cuban people
You have a special permission for a specific exportation category
Professional researches and professional meetings
Public events, speaking and workshops
So, before making any flight reservation be sure to be allowed to fly to Cuba. If you can, then search for your flight to Cubahere
Right now you can just book flights to Havana, but soon will be possibile to select other destinations.
Internet connection should not be your primary need in a relaxing vacation in Cuba but I understand that you might need it to keep your communication alive with home!
So you may be wondering: How can I connect to internet in Cuba?
Well, in this post I’ll give you some options.
Wifi and internet connection
First of all I have a bad news: it’s not so easy connecting to internet. In the country, just 5% of population have access to the open internet and also for tourist is not so easy as you can imagine.
If you are staying in a good hotel in Havana there’s wifi but usually you have to pay it separately. Depending on the hotel you will pay around 10 CUC (dollars) per hour. Sometimes you can find it cheaper, like $8, but usually these are the average prices.
If you are thinking to solve the problem with a roaming data plan you are wrong. Right now, if you are american, it’s not possible for you to use your 3G.
Last time I went there I used an European SIM card with a roaming data plan but 3G connectivity was available just in the main areas of Havana but in most of other places wasn’t working properly (gprs, edge)
Also, you cannot buy a local SIM card. Just Cubans can buy it.
Solution for an internet connection
If you are going to stay in a hotel it won’t be a problem. You can use the wifi connection and, if they don’t have it, you can ask for the closest place where you can find it.
Also, consider that things are changing quickly in the last months and USA companies are already discussing potential partnership with the Cuban national telco company ETECSA.
Another recent news is that a famous Cuban artist, Kcho, is offering free wifi. So if you’re passing by his boutique you can connect for free.