I learned so much from my trip to Cuba this last Spring. Here are some key things that you need to know before you go!!
First...the people are AMAZING, super friendly and are so happy! I look around the USA and so often I see people that have so much are are miserable. Then I travel to places where the people don't have so many "things" not as much "stuff" and they are the happiest! It just goes to show, it is not what you have that matters. Happiness comes from making the best of what you have.
My Cuba tour started off right with being picked up in a 1950's Bel Air. Oh my gosh was it a beautiful car. The funny thing about this is, I was taking pictures of cars in the parking lot and not realizing that it was the car picking us up!!
The next thing you need to know is...in Cuba, they do NOT accept American credit cards. Even if you book online a hotel with your card, once you get to the hotel to check in they are going to ask for cash as payment.
Currency in Cuba is different than most places. They have 2 different kinds of currency.
The CUP which is the Cuban Peso and the CUC which is which is the Cuban currency exchange to USD, this is one you want to get when you are arrive, if coming form the USA. There is a 3% charge to exchange when you get there and a 3% charge to convert back when you leave. There is no way to get Cuban currency ahead of time in the USA.
Now it is time to talk RUM, CIGARS and COFFEE!! When I told friends and family I was headed to Cuba everyone asked me to bring back one or more of these three items. I brought back A LOT of all three so everyone got a little something!
The rum factory tour was everything I hoped it would be. We got to see where and how the rum is made and of course we got to taste test the different aged rums! mmm...yummy!!
Cuban cigars are the thing of legend and according to my cigar smoking friends. The cigars I brought back from Cuba did not disappoint! Although I do not smoke cigars...I'm told they have a very distinct flavor and are among the best cigars in the world. I was even allowed to roll a few of my own (which I did but they were not very good, I'd need a LOT more practice). However, the cigar man was very kind and super talented.
Now I get to brag about the amazing Cuban COFFEE. Okay so first of all, I am one of those people that has to have creamer and stevia in her coffee. Regular coffee just isn't good without it really. Then I had Cuban Coffee...and OH MY GOSH is it AMAZING!! I didn't have to have anything in it. It is perfect...Just the way it is!
Cuban coffee is toasted not roasted and it's done in a cast iron skillet, which gives it a wonderful flavor. It is super strong and flavorful all by itself. The coffee is served in tiny espresso cups and you don't need much to get your fix. Make sure to get yourself a cup of joe when you visit Cuba!!
Cuba was an incredible place to visit. I'm so glad I got to go before the rules changed again for US travelers.
As a US citizen, you can still travel to Cuba. The rules are way stricter then they were before and they are really cracking down on the visas that are taken out for humanitarian reasons so make sure you do all the steps necessary to "play" within the rules.
If you are going on a cruise, it is much easier to visit Cuba. Coming in with the cruise ship is easy due to the processes that they already have in place. So, rest assured there are ways to get there legally :)
Let me know when you are ready to book your trip, if you have questions about travel!! See more pictures below...