Non-stop flight from JFK to HAV (back in May 2017): $272.56 USD
Visa: $50 USD
At JFK, there was a level below the general check-in floor just for Cuba check-ins. We paid for our visas there right before our flight.
– $1=1CUC, but if you use USD to exchange, there’s a 10% penalty. We bought euros from the bank beforehand to exchange.
– US debit/credit cards do not work
– Some places will take USD if you run out of CUCs
– You can exchange money at Cadecas, which we did
– We were planning to exchange money at the airport, but the counter was empty and this well dressed taxi driver approached us and said he would take us to cadecas in the city and then to our airbnb for 30 CUC (=$30). He was helpful and did not kidnap us.
– Be careful when you buy with CUC (the foreigners currency), they might be priced at CUP (the local currency). We also found that some places add 1 cuc to whatever you’re buying for no reason at all so check your change! We didn’t bother arguing for 1 cuc but it was inconsistent. There’s no tax so there’s no reason to pay extra.
Unless you stay in a fancy hotel, internet will only be available at government sanctioned hotspots, usually public parks (you will see everyone sitting/standing around on their phones together and then you know there’s wifi). To access the internet, you need to buy access cards (1 hour increments) from the kiosks (maximum 2 per person per purchase) You must have ID (passport or driver’s license) to purchase the card.
We saw buildings like this everywhere in Centro Habana, where we stayed at a casa particular (via Airbnb). The host was great and spoke English, and we were lucky to have working AC which some places did not. We did run out of water for a couple of days because it was being rationed.
In Havana, you can get around by taking taxi or just walking — taxis are everywhere and easy to catch; just ask for a price beforehand.
Local grocery store.
Entering La Guarida, a Paladar.
Food was just ok but the building itself was amazing, beautiful and some parts looked dilapidated, almost felt a bit forlorn.
Malecón at sunset.
For updated rules and tips on traveling to Cuba as a U.S. citizen, check this site.