Cuba For Beginners – What You Need To Know
Cuba is more than just some faraway island located somewhere in the Caribbean Sea. Instead, it is a destination that warrants more than just a passing through simply for the benefit of saying “I’ve been”. Cuba is a land of colour and of contrast – but most importantly a place demanding of the visitor a certain embracing of a friendly sort of uncertainty, appreciation of off-beat charm, and a tolerance of a people paying little to no regard to things like schedule and time and “doing it on the clock”.
In short, Cuba is absolutely worth every day and every penny spent – every rotation of the clock neither closely watched nor minded. Cuba just IS. And we’ve got a handful of practical hints that will in no time at all have you feeling like you’ve never belonged or held in regard anywhere else in the world.
Cubans Vs The World
Cubans don’t generally harbour any hard feelings regarding folks visiting their country from other parts of the world. The government as well as regular people on the street will as a rule treat most foreigners with only the utmost of regard and respect. In fact, most Cubans are quite curious about what like might be like in other countries.
Those willing to take the time to get to actually know ordinary everyday Cubans going about their daily business will be pleasantly surprised at the friendships simply waiting to be forged through sharing and mutual trust and respect.
The Local Economy
You’ll get by just fine with U.S. dollars in Cuba. But if you’re going to be converting British pounds to start with in anyway, you may as well try and convert your pounds directly to Cuba’s local currency – the peso.
Once you’re already in Cuba, converting is easiest when done from US dollars to pesos. This can be done at local establishments called “cadecas”. Going about your purchases is most economically done in pesos. This is especially relevant when making smaller purchases such as food, drinks, and even transportation.
What About Safety?
Cuba is regarded as exceptionally safe for tourists. Police are typically found on every street and corner, and tourists enjoy a great deal of protection from local law enforcement officials.
Cuba is however prone to beggars and hustlers. This will typically take on the form of people asking you to give them money for food or lodging or taking care of their families back home. The best approach is not to give money to anyone roaming the streets. Instead, should you want to give something back to this beautiful country towards the end of your visit, rather make contact with a local charity. Or save your money and register to play online instead.
Since you’ll probably be visiting vivacious Havana, you’ll want to get yourself a map of the area. Fairly decent maps of Havana are readily available at the airport. And if you’ve missed that particular bus, there’s always the cape global internet or a couple of local bookstores whose owners will only be too happy to help a friendly face find their way around.