I recently spent a couple of weeks in Cuba and learned a lot. Here is the 3rd part of my best travel tips for your trip to Cuba!
1. I cannot emphasize this enough – bring a bunch of tissue packs for the bathroom. There were so many bathrooms without toilet paper! I would also say hit the disposable wipes and hand sanitizer aisle while you are at it. Just be sure to carry them in your bag or in your pocket!
2. You may want to rent a car if you plan on moving around the country a lot. Taxis are expensive and public transportation doesn’t often run between routes. I was told the average rental is about $80 a day. JUST BE WARNED – THE ROADS ARE TERRRIBLE (filled with big potholes).
3. Learn some Spanish. I believe one of the reasons we had such a great time and really immersed ourselves was the ability to speak Spanish. I chose to speak Spanish every possible moment and it really improved over the trip.
4. Get to know the people – stay in a casa particulare and have meals with them – every family I stayed with was great!!!
5. Bring bug spray. They said no mosquitos – we got eaten alive in Vinales and it wasn’t dusk yet. Also bring sunblock – it’s very expensive.
6. Bring an umbrella – you will look like a local as they use them for sun. If by chance it rains (one day lots) you will have it for that as well. We did have one house that provided umbrellas in our room.
7. Bring a bunch of snacks from home – I found it very helpful in car and bus rides. My favorite is KIND bars – they are a perfect meal replacement in a pinch. There are no healthy snacks to be found in Cuba (except fruit and you have to be careful with that and your stomach).
I have an iPhone with AT&T. As I do before all my international trips I called AT&T and bought an international plan with phone and text. For the first week it didn’t work – email and text fine – but no phone. I called from a landline in Cuba and was told no service in Cuba. A couple of days later – got text saying welcome. Called husband and worked 😳. Worked for latter part of trip. I called AT&T to complain and they said they can’t be responsible for reliability of service – a Cuban carrier – Cubacel. Maybe will work for you. **Remember to the turn phone of/on again when traveling. Helps to reset the phone to international service. Always bring the NON-TOLL-FREE number of your carrier in case you need to call for support.
9. Speaking of non-toll-free, if you intend to call any such numbers in the US – they don’t work from Cuba.
So have fun and get to Cuba before it changes!