One of the most asked questions about travelling is always “How much did it cost?” and “What was your budget?”. It is of course not always cheap to travel, and especially not when you’re travelling quite the distance.
I always try to mention prices whenever I remember them in my other posts, but since this trip was quite a bit more expensive then my usual citytrips and a lot of people, who are looking into going to Cuba, have already asked me how much money they should reserve, I decided to give you an overview of my costs.
First of all I can say that I have stayed within my travel budget I had put aside for this trip. (Hurray!) Since I’m also going to the USA in a couple of weeks, I didn’t want to spend more than 2000 euros everything included. So I was happy when I managed to achieve that.
This is usually one of the biggest costs of travelling, but also one you can save a lot on if you keep an eye on prices for a while. We booked our flight over eight months in advance and the prices didn’t drop much anymore after that. So booking well in advance is always a good option for long-distance flights.
I must say that we booked right before the embargo was lifted and I’ve heard that prices have gone up considerably ever since. So the price I paid might not be relevant anymore.
(Price also included insurances)
Roadtrip via SmartCuba
+ €43,12 (short-term insurance)
We booked our roadtrip via SmartCuba, which I have already explained completely in my general overview (insert link). For this price we got our casas, transportation, Cuban visa and three excursions. This wasn’t a very budget-friendly price, but the service we got was definitely worth the extra money. I didn’t want to book things on my own in a country like this. Now the second time around I would dare to plan this on my own but back then I found it too risky.
- Rhum museum: 7 CUC
- Hop on-Hop Off Bus Havana: 10 CUC
- Museo de la Revolución: 8 CUC
- Extra ziplines: 15 CUC
- Cuevas del Indio: 5 CUC
- Phototour: 30 CUC
- Tobacco factory Pinar del Rio: 5 CUC
- YELLOW BELL TOWER Trinidad: 1 CUC
- Manzana Ignace Tower: 1 CUC
- Museo Romantico: 2 CUC
- Hop on-Hop off Bus Varadero: 5 CUC
= 89 CUC
This is one thing I won’t save money on. If I want to see or do something I’ll gladly pay for it and it won’t even bother me. In Havana entrance prices are quite expensive, but in the other places on Cuba it’s almost cheap as you can see.
One of the easiest ways to get places in Cuba was by taxi. Many Cubans work as taxi drivers to earn a little extra money so the competition is quite heavy. You simply can’t walk through the streets in Cuba without being asked if you need a taxi. It’s always important to agree on a price before leaving but they never argue about the price afterward and are real honest. When we took a taxi to Pinar del Rio the guy even let us go for an hour to discover the city without having gotten anything from us. They just trust you to come back. We did tip the taxi drivers often because they’re all really friendly and helpful.
We were lucky to be three so we could always split the costs between the three of us. When you’re two or even on your own this of course gets more expensive.
+/- 190 CUC
Yes, this is all I’ve spend on food for 11 days in Cuba. Food there is quite cheap in certain places so it’s easy to save a lot of money when going to the right places. I must admit that I’m also a person who can’t spend a lot of money on food so my budget in that area are usually below average.
Also, in three of our excursions we had lunch included so that’s also easy on the money. And the amount of food we got there usually was enough that for dinner we didn’t need a lot. So either we’d just have a quick snack or something small.
Note that of that food budget about 60 CUC went to cocktails alone. So if you’re not that big on cocktails, you’ll probably spend a bit less in this department. The cocktails are cheap on Cuba, but we drank quite a lot of them which also rises the amount of money of course.
I’d say if have about 10-15 euros for each large meal you’re definitely going to manage. There were places that had pizza for three euros and burgers for four. In La Bodeguita del Medio we paid 15 euros for a menu with cocktail included (booked through the local partner that visited us on the first day or our trip) and that was our most expensive restaurant.
It is also common to tip the waiter/ waitress, which we also did, so that was also included in the budget above.
- Little paintings (2): 5 CUC
- Little wooden oldtimer: 2,5 CUC
- Rhum: 5,9 CUC
- Coffee: 4 CUC
- Postcards (6) + stamps (2) : 5,35 CUC
- Wooden statue of Cuban man: 15 CUC
= 37,75 CUC
This is of course something that is different for everyone. I usually don’t buy many souvenirs, but this time I did buy a bit more of them as it was a more special trip and I also bought a few souvenirs for my family.
There are quite a few places that can be visited for free, but of course the guides always expect a little tip. This is my total amount of tips I gave during my trip.
This of course doesn’t includes the tips in restaurants or for taxi drivers as that has been counted into the respective areas. This was solely for guides or people that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten anything directly from us, like our guide in Las Terrazas, the Cuban man we had lunch with in Viñales, the guide at the rum factory in Pinar del Rio and the guide at the archeological site in Valle de los Ingenios.
So as you can see you don’t need a lot of money on location. Cuba is quite cheap and you can get around with little money. The biggest cost is the flight and the roadtrip itself and you can save on those posts by booking well in advance or planning the roadtrip yourself.
Until next time,
With love, Ellen