Hello Tuesday! Here comes my long overdue Havana post! Havana, Cuba is such a fascinating place. With good food, cheap Mojitos, amazing people, we had an amazing time!
While sometimes it is nice to be disconnected with the world when I travel. I needed internet to inform my family that I’m safe in Cuba! Unfortunately, the internet is still restricted by the government! However, if you needed access, access card are available at some hotels. public parks and from their service provider, Etecsa. It costs around 2 CUC for 1 hour. We purchased ours from Etecsa, after a 15 mins queue, we were able to purchase 3cards per person. (a long queue is expected everywhere in Cuba). To connect, you must visit one of the public parks, connect to their wifi, type in your username and password. I must admit, getting online was not easy at all. One time, we walked around for 45 mins searching for a hotspot and we had so much troubles connecting to the wifi.. At that moment, I was telling myself, how lucky we were back in the States, where internet can be accessed so easily.
We spent four days in Cuba, two days in Havana and two days in Trinidad. Since we were a group of 4, to minimize all the traveling time with buses, we decided to rent a car. Just note, you will have to book your car at least month in advance. Unlike America or any other countries, license is required for a GPS, even if you brought it along, it will be confiscated upon arrival. So if you are planning on driving around Cuba, download Map.me on your smart phone devices. It will save your life!
US credit cards are useless in Cuba. Unless you have a Debit card that has absolutely no affiliation with a US bank, you may withdraw cash from a bank or ATM. So be sure to bring lots of cash.
There are two currencies in Cuba, CUP is for the locals, and CUC is generally for tourist. the US dollar exchange rates is roughly 1:1. However, you do get a better exchange rate with Euros, so if you have Euros, bring them along!
To be honest, I didn’t expect Cuba to be a very safe places, having disconnected with the world, I have always thought I would be very insecure. But I was wrong, Cuba was an extremely safe place, people were very helpful and friendly. We were out in the dark for an hour searching for Wifi and never once felt we were in danger.