It is complicated to have an approximate a travel budget for Cuba. The prices are not written anywhere, and the cost of your trip, however cheap or expensive it becomes, largely depends on your negotiation skills and time of year that you will be traveling.
Today we uncover how much we spent in Cuba in 15 days. We recorded audio clips of prices of things, otherwise it would have been impossible to keep a record. We only used the credit card once when we were running out of cash toward the end of the trip. The bulk of our budget was based on cash we brought from Spain.
As we mentioned in the summary of the trip, we had very little preparation. Simply the round trip tickets, visa, travel insurance and the first two nights of accommodation in Havana.
The flight between Madrid – Havana cost 625€ each, which included a checked bag. Flights to Cuba fluctuate a lot during the year. Without any doubt, October is one of the cheapest months to travel. During the summer months, the price may be more than twice of what we paid. Anyway, you can find here how to get the cheapest flights.
Total flight costs = 1250€ (2 people)
As we mentioned in the Complete Guide to planning your trip to Cuba, the tourist visa price was 22€. Keep an eye on transfers through the United States before going to the island. If you enter Cuba from this country, you will pay a different price depending on which US airport you travel from (around 100$).
Total expenditure visas = 44€ (2 people)
It is mandatory to enter the country. If you do not have any insurance, upon entering you are obliged to purchase the national insurance of the country, Asistur, which cost 2.5 CUC per day.
After checking the price, we bought the insurance at the same time we processed the visa before our trip. We did it with the Onlinetour agency, paying 32€ for the two of us.
I wouldn’t use that insurance again and I don’t recommend it. If you want to travel safe, Heymondo is one of the most reliable travel insurance companies and the one I recommend for your trip to Cuba.
Total expenses in travel insurance = 65 € x 2 people = 130€
FIRST NIGHT ACCOMMODATION
We only booked the first two nights in a casa particular through Airbnb. The price was 63€.
Total expenses for two first nights in Havana = 63€ (2 people)
EXPENSES DURING THE TRIP
Before heading to Havana, Dani and I withdrew 1,000€ in Madrid. Of those, we exchanged 600€ to CUC in the exchange house (CADECA) at the Havana airport. This was a bad decision because this place has the worst rate in all of Cuba. We should have exchanged only about 100€ and the rest in the CADECA of the city, a at much better rate.
By the end of the trip, we withdrew about 200€ since we were running out of cash. As always, we traveled with our EVO smart account card, and were not charged any commission. That was the total of expenses during the trip. Here, I provide a breakdown of those expenses to give you an idea of the different prices. Remember that it depends a lot on your negotiation abilities and the time of the year that you visit.
As explained in the Guide to planning your trip to Cuba, we always stayed in Casas Particulares. They let you see the room before you decide. You can see several until you find the one you like.
- Havana: 30 CUC (26€ aprox.) / Night
- Cienfuegos: 15 CUC (13€ aprox.) / Night
- Trinidad: 15 CUC / night
- Viñales: 10 CUC (9€ aprox.) / Night
- Cayo Jutías: Bottle of Rum to bribe the guards (8 CUC) Do not miss this incredible anecdote in this post.
- Havana Airport – Havana Center – 25 CUC (22€ aprox.) One way – 20 CUC (18€ approx.) Return (Private Car).
- Havana – Cienfuegos – 22 CUC (about 20€)/ Person (Agency Bus)
- Cienfuegos – Trinidad – 6 CUC (about 5€)/ Person (Shared Taxi)
- Trinidad – Viñales – 35 CUC (31€ aprox.)/ Person (Shared Taxi)
- Viñales – Havana – 12 CUC (about 11€)/ Person (Viazul Bus)
We rented bikes at various sites.
- Havana: 15 CUC (approx. 13€)/ Person
- Trinidad: 5 CUC (approx 4€)/ Person
- Viñales: 6 CUC (5€ aprox.)/ Person
EXCURSIONS AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
- Show in Guajirito – 30 CUC (La Havana)
- Transportation to Tope de Collantes (Trinidad) – 25 CUC round trip per two people (Shared Taxi)
- Entrance to the Salto del Caburní – 6.75 CUC (With previous entrance purchased in Agencia Turismo Paradiso in Trinidad) or 10 CUC (Purchased when entering)
- Transport to the Ingenios + Ancón Beach (Trinidad) – 35 CUC round trip per two people (Private Car)
- Ascent to the Tower of Malacca – 1 CUC (Trinidad)
- Entry to the Ingenio de San Isidro – 1 CUC (Trinidad)
- Cueva del Indio – 5 CUC (Viñales)
- Palenque de los Cimarrones – 5 CUC (Viñales)
- Afternoon at the pool of Los Jazmines – 3 CUC (Viñales)
- Transportation to Cayo Jutías (Viñales) – 15 CUC / Person Roundtrip (Shared Taxi)
- Houses of music of Trinidad and Viñales – 1 CUC (if you go during the weekend)
In this section, we provide some prices that we paid to eat and drink. We hope it will be useful for the preparation of your budget.
Eating at a good paladar (restaurant) like Doña Eutimia (Havana), Doña Nora (Cienfuegos) or Sol Ananda (Trinidad), costs around 20-25 CUC for two people.
The restaurants of the state, where you can pay in national currency, are infinitely cheaper, although the quality sometimes leaves much to be desired. You can eat for less than half the price there. We only went to one in Havana. After the experience, we decided to go to other more expensive places that are way more decent. We continued to buy snacks with the national currency, such as coffee, buns, ice creams, etc.
Dani tried a lobster at Cayo Jutías that we bought from a Cuban who had just caught it. They grilled it on the same beach, and the price was 9 CUC. In a restaurant, the lobster would have cost more than 15 CUC, and, as we were told many Cubans, they were not fresh and came from the freezer.
We always had breakfast in the casas particulares. The price ranged from 3 to 6 CUC per person. With no doubt, this is the best option for breakfast, as they are usually generous and varied.
In addition, many casas particulares will offer you lunch or dinner. This is also a good choice if you are not going to move away from the house, as they usually prepared very good food. We only tried this option in Viñales and we paid 5 CUC for the vegetarian option and 8 CUC for the chicken option.
There were also a lot of differences in the price of drinks. In Havana, a mojito can cost up to 6 CUC (la Bodeguita del Medio), while in Viñales it can cost you 3 CUC (Agroecological Farm El Paraíso). A beer can cost between 1 and 2 CUC. A large bottle of water 1-2 CUC. A fruit smoothie in Viñales 1 CUC (Finca de Raul Reyes).