The time has come, I’m finally boarding my flight towards Cuba. While waiting at G6 I realised this trip gave me the same suspense / feeling as I had going to Asia for 6 months. But now it’s only a 2 week trip; maybe beause it’s been a few years since I traveled alone, maybe because I can’t connect to home for there is a minimum of available wifi or maybe because my Spanish is so-so and unsure if it’ll work out.
Transportation to Havana
After a comfortable 9.5 hour flight I arrived at Varadero Airport, customs was fast and smooth, picked up my luggage and had to go to Havana. Many tour operating agents were standing outside and for 30 CUC I could ride along in their bus, heck they even dropped me close to my casa particulares. If this wouldn’t work out I already had a plan B + C prepared. Plan B would be the Viazul bus that arrived 1.5 hour later and unsure if it would be full. This option is cheaper with only 10 CUC, but I would also need a taxi in Havana of another 10 CUC. Option C (last option) would be to take the taxi of 80-100 CUC.
At Varadero Airport I was more than happy to catch a ride, but therefor didn’t have the time to exchange money. After checking in at my casa particulares in Havana I walked to the closest CADECA which already closed, but enough men in the neighbourhood offering me to exchange, I kindly refused their offer. I had to walk few minutes to another CADECA that luckily was open.
In my blog I often mention the various scams around money exchange. I prefer to use an ATM but in Cuba I had to bring Euros in cash. So here’s what you should do! Don’t give out your money right away. First ask how much CUC you will receive for the amount of Euros and compare that with the XE currency app to see if the rate is reasonable. For example, I wanted to exchange 600 Euros, the CADECA gave me 662 CUC. XE is 680 CUC. With 18 CUC difference with this amount it’s not a great, but also not a bad exchange either.
Now count out your Euros out load to the clerk, so they can’t say you only gave them a less amount. The clerk did the same with the CUC, else count it yourself before leaving. And double check if it’s CUC and not CUP. Now start spending your cash 🙂
No Spanish? No problem!
I expected everyone to speak only Spanish and almost no English. But in countries where they can earn some money with tourism, they’ll definitely speak some English. Same here in Cuba.