How much does it cost to travel to Cuba? Below you will find my Cuba travel costs per day / destination.
When I first thought about traveling to Cuba, the first question I had to ask myself was How much do things cost in Cuba? I had no idea how much money I would need for a three-week trip.
I started planning my trip and travel budget by reading blogs about where to go and the costs of traveling to Cuba, and discovered that prices were very reasonable.
So, I was expecting to spend around US$ 700 – 800 during the 19 days that I would spend in Cuba.
P.S. 1 – Please use this post as a reference. Things in Cuba have changed. I have friends on the island, in Havana and Trinidad, and they’re keeping me posted with the current prices in Cuba.I’ll keep this article up to date with the latest information.
P.S. 2 – With the end of the CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos), plus the lack of tourists and shortage of food supplies, Cubans are seeing an increase in prices on the island. So, expect to spend a bit more than what I did.
Cuba is a fascinating and very unique country! It has an interesting history, stunning architecture, gorgeous beaches, captivating countryside, beautiful colonial cities and friendly people.
But when planning your Cuba travel budget it’s important to know a few things:
– The country no longer has a dual currency system. Since January 2021, the official Cuban currency for tourists and locals alike is the Cuban Peso (CUP).
– The government has set the exchange rate of 24 pesos per American dollar.
– You don’t need to worry about which currency you should bring to Cuba anymore. You can bring dollars (American, Canadian and Australian), Euros, Pound sterling (GBP) or Swiss franc and exchange them in an official Cuba money exchange, locally known as Cadeca (Casa de Cambio).
– Before 2021, American dollars were taxed 10% commission when you exchanged them. But on January first, the government lifted this charge.
– Debit cards and cards from American Banks aren’t accepted so you can’t pay bills with American Express and Diners. Visa and Mastercard are accepted in hotels and travel agencies.
– However, casas particulares, restaurants and cabs only accept cash.
– There are ATM’s in most of the tourist destinations, so if your ATM card will work (check with your bank), do not worry about how much cash you need to take to Cuba. But bring some euros, pounds or Canadian and American dollars as a backup.
– During the time that I was in Cuba, the British pound was the strongest currency. Remember that currencies rates can fluctuate daily, however, the changes in Cuba are very slight.
– You can check the current exchange rates on the Central Bank of Cuba website here.
P.S.: Despite the fixed rate for the American dollar, 24 CUP, in the Cadecas you will find it for 23.50 CUP, and in the black market between 35 and 40 CUP.
How much does it cost to travel to Cuba?
After I posted some pictures of my trip to Cuba and published the 20 Stunning Pictures to Inspire you to travel to Cuba post, everyone asked me: “Is Cuba expensive?” and “How much money do you need to travel to Cuba?”.
Cuba isn’t an expensive country! But of course, your Cuba travel costs will vary according to your travel style.
If you only stay in hotels/resorts and take private transfers it will cost much more than staying in casas particulares and taking shared taxis or buses.
Before showing my Cuba travel costs breakdown, let me give you a hint of your main expenses.
A big part of your budget to travel to Cuba will be the cost of your round trip flight.
In my case, almost 40% of my Cuba travel costs were spent flying from Sao Paulo (Brazil) to Havana with Copa Airlines.
I bought the tickets not that far in advance and paid approximately US$ 700.
However, you can find flights to Cuba for as low as US$ 300 from New York and US$ 450 from London. But be aware that most of the cheap flights to the Caribbean are during the hurricane season, from June to November. Statically, the riskiest period is from mid-August to early October, so you should avoid travel to Cuba during this time of the year.
It’s required that all visitors have travel insurance in order to get a visa to travel to Cuba.
World Nomads is one of the most popular travel insurance companies among independent travelers, and usually my personal choice.
However, in this case, I got my travel insurance to travel to Cuba with a Brazilian Company, Seguros Promo, which had the cheapest option at US$ 44.
Check if World Nomads provides coverage for Cuba from your home country here. From the US it does not.
Cuba has a complicated visa policy with most countries’ citizens requiring a tourist card before entry.
There are a few countries who are exempt but also a few where you have to get a full visa, so it will be best to check before it here you go.
Prices vary from country to country so don’t forget to put some money aside in your Cuba travel budget to pay for your visa/tourist card.
In Brazil, it costs only US$ 20.
If you want an authentic experience and reduce your Cuba travel costs, you should stay in casas particulares, a type of accommodation common across the country and popular among budget travelers.
A casa particular is usually the home of a Cuban family who rents out rooms or even whole floors to tourists.
Most casas particulares charge around US$ 20 – 30 per night for a room with double bed (except in Havana and Varadero, where it’s more expensive). But if you’re a solo traveller, you can always try to get a discount.
Staying in a casa particular will not only keep your Cuba budget down, but you will also have the opportunity to develop friendly relations with the owners of the house, get deeply involved in the local culture and contribute directly to improve the living standards of Cubans.
I spent a total of 277.50 CUC on accommodation, which was about 31% of my Cuba travel budget.
Of course, your Cuba travel costs will depend on how many cities you visit and how you will travel from one destination to another. The more you move, the more you will spend.
Even though there is only one bus company, Viazul, in the whole country available to tourists, travelling within Cuba isn’t expensive.
But many people, especially those backpacking in Cuba, opt for a taxi colectivo (shared ride) instead of taking the old and dusty Viazul buses.
You can get a taxi colectivo everywhere in Cuba. You can ask the owner of the house you’re staying to book one for you, or if you prefer you can go to the bus terminals as the drivers usually hang around there.
Taxi colectivos are generally the same price or sometimes even cheaper than the buses, but you will have to wait for the car to be fully occupied (4 passengers) before you can depart.
I only traveled by land in Cuba and took one Viazul bus.
If you want to contain your Cuba travel costs I suggest you to take taxi colectivos and negotiate the rides with the drivers.
More than once, my friend and I were paying less than the other tourists in the car.
I spent 191.50 CUC on transportation, about 21% of my total expenses in Cuba.
Food and Drinks
The food in Cuba is basically the same everywhere: rice with some beans, salad and meat (seafood, beef, chicken or pork). And the prices are very similar whether you eat at the restaurants in Old Havana or at the casas particulares: 10 CUC for dinner/lunch.
Generally, things are more expensive in Havana, so if you use my Havana prices as a guide, you’ll know you should be even better off in the other cities.
The breakfast served at Havana casas particulares is around 6 or 7 CUC and everywhere else around 5 CUC.
If you eat where locals eat, believe it or not you can spend less than 1 CUC on a meal. But be aware that those places are hard to find and you may not like the appearance of the restaurant or the food (as the friend whom I traveled with, did).
I’d suggest having breakfast at casas particulares because it’s more convenient, lunch in restaurants, and dinner in either casas particulares or restaurants.
Some days I had burgers and pizzas for dinner, which is even cheaper, so I did not spend much money at all on food in Cuba.
Similarly I’m not a drinker so didn’t spend much on alcohol.
But if you like to drink, you will be in heaven in Cuba. I found drinks for 1 CUC in Trinidad, soft drinks for 0,50 CUC in Varadero and the most expensive alcoholic drink I found was a daiquiri at El Floridita for 6 CUC.
P.S.: Drinks prices in Cuba have increased in 2021. In one of the menus above of a restaurant in Havana, a beer costs US$ 3.50 and a wine glass US$ 5.
Tours and Attractions
Of course, once you’re in Cuba you’ll want to take tours, visit some tourist attractions and have wonderful experiences.
Sightseeing in a vintage car, dancing the salsa, horseback riding to a tobacco plantation and swimming in the crystal-clear turquoise waters of Playa Pilar, the most beautiful beach in Cuba, should all definitely be on your Cuba bucket list.
To have a better idea of how much money those things cost in Cuba, here are some examples:
– Entry to Revolution Museum, Havana: 8 CUC
– Vintage car city tour, Havana: 25 CUC / a car for a couple
– Fábrica de Arte Cubano, the best place to go out in Havana: entrance fee: 2 CUC, mojito: 3 CUC
– Taxi Colectivo from Havana to Viñales: 15 CUC
– Horseback riding to a tobacco plantation, Viñales: 17.5 CUC
– Hop on hop off bus in Varadero: 5 CUC
Now that you have a general idea of how much it costs to travel to Cuba, I’m going to break down my Cuba travel costs.
Breakdown of my Cuba travel Costs per Destination
I travelled to Cuba with a friend, but I’m listing only my own expenses below.
P.S.: I kept the prices in CUC and to make things easier you can consider 1 CUC = 1 USD.
Accommodation: 90 CUC / 4 nights
Food: Breakfast 28 CUC + Lunch 22 CUC + Dinner 31 CUC + Snacks 7.75 CUC = 88.75
Transportation: Taxi from the airport 15 CUC + Taxi within the city 21.5 = Taxi colectivo to Viñales 15 CUC = 51.5 CUC
Attractions: Revolution Museum with guide 10 CUC + Museo Napoleonico 2 CUC + Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña 6 CUC + others 5 CUC = 23 CUC
Extras: Vintage car city tour 12.5 CUC + Donation 4 CUC + Miscellaneous 28.3 CUC = 44.80 CUC
How much does it cost to spend 4 days in Havana? 298 CUC / 4 days = 74.50 CUC / day
Accommodation: 37.5 CUC / 3 nights
Food: Breakfast 11.8 CUC + Lunch 15 CUC + Dinner 21 CUC = 47.8 CUC
Transportation: Taxi colectivo to Cienfuegos = 25 CUC (regular price 30 – Viazul bus 32)
Tours & Attractions: Horseback riding 17.5 CUC + Day tour 16 CUC + Day trip do Cayo Jutias 12.5 (regular price 15) = 46 CUC
Extras: 4 CUC
Total of my Cuba travel costs in Viñales: 160.3 CUC / 3 days = 53.50 CUC
Accommodation: 25 CUC / 2 nights
Food: Breakfast 2 CUC + Lunch 11 CUC + Dinner 4 CUC + Snacks: 2.1 CUC = 19.1 CUC
Transportation: Viazul bus to Trinidad 6 CUC
Tours & Attractions: 6 CUC
Extras: 6 CUC
How much money did I spend in Cienfuegos? 62.1 CUC / 2 days = 31 CUC /day
Accommodation: 37.5 CUC / 3 nights
Food: Breakfast 9.5 CUC + Lunch 20.6 + Dinner 12.50 = 42.6 CUC
Transportation: Taxi colectivo to Cayo Coco 25 CUC + Taxi to Playa Ancon: 4 CUC = 29 CUC
Tours and Attractions: 15 CUC
Extras: 14.6 CUC
How much does it cost to travel to Trinidad for 3 days? 138.7 CUC / 3 days = 46.20 CUC / day
Accommodation: 25 CUC with breakfast included / 2 nights
Food: Lunch 11 CUC + Dinner 7.8 CUC = 18.8 CUC
Transportation: Taxi from Cayo Coco to Moron 10 CUC (regular price 50) + Taxi colectivo from Moron to
Cayo Santa Maria & Santa Clara 30 CUC (120 / car) = 40 CUC
Tours: Full day tour to Cayo Coco & Cayo Guillermo = 15 CUC (60 a car with driver)
Morón Travel costs: 98.80 CUC / 2 days = 49.40 CUC / day
Cayo Santa Maria
Playa las Terrazas entrance fee: 5 CUC (1 drink included)
Lunch: 9.5 CUC
Extras: Internet 1.5 CUC
A day at Cayo Santa Maria: 16 CUC / day
Accommodation: US$ 10 / 1 night
Food: Breakfast 1 CUC + Lunch 6 CUC + Dinner 9 CUC = 16 CUC
Transportation: Taxi colectivo to Varadero 15 CUC (Viazul bus 11 CUC) = 15 CUC
Extra: 1 CUC
Total: 42 CUC / day
Accommodation: 52.5 CUC with breakfast included/ 3 nights
Food: Lunch 11 CUC + Dinner 12.6 CUC + Snacks: 7.3 CUC = 27.5 CUC
Transportation: Transfer Varadero – Havana Airport with Cubatour 25 CUC = 25 CUC
Tours & Attractions: Hop on hop off bus 5 CUC = 5 CUC
Extras: 10.7 CUC
How much does it cost to travel to Varadero? 120.7 CUC / 3 days = 40.20 CUC day
Havana is by far the most expensive city in Cuba and Cienfuegos the cheapest one that I visited.
I spent under 40 CUC in Cienfuegos probably because I didn’t take any tours apart from a boat to visit a fortress because we bought food at the supermarket to eat at home and also because the bus ticket to Trinidad was very cheap.
How much does it cost to travel to Cuba per day?
I was in Cuba for 19 days and spent a total of 887.2 CUC (US$ 905 or 813 euros), 46.7 CUC (US$ 47.60 or 43 euros) per day.
PS.: Prices based on the currency exchange rates of November 2017.
I’d say that now, in 2021, you can expect to spend around US$ 50 – 60 per day if you’re a budget traveler. For a mid-range budget, expect a daily amount between US$ 70 – 120, and for a luxury holiday, anything from US$ 150 upwards.
The total cost of my trip to Cuba with flights, visa and insurance was US$ 1677. I believe this is a very reasonable price for a 20-day holiday. Don’t you?
Of course I could’ve spent less money if I had found a better price for my airline ticket, taken the buses the Cubans take and eaten where locals eat, or travelled to fewer cities.
But I liked my itinerary a lot and was travelling comfortably without worrying too much about my travel budget and enjoying my time in one of the most precious Caribbean destinations. So should you!
Safe travels and enjoy Cuba.
Watch Video: The Best Of Cuba
Have you ever traveled to Cuba? What do you think about my Cuba travel costs? Leave a comment bellow 😉
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