Cuba had been on my travel wish list for a long time. Every time I visited the Yucatán, I thought about hopping on a flight to Havana from Cancun, but somehow it never happened. The restrictions for Americans to travel to Cuba played a big role in this during my first two visits to Mexico in 2010 and 2012, but in 2017, the timing was finally right.
I found a $100 flight deal from Cancun to Havana, and thanks to the ease of travel restrictions for Americans along with new flight routes from the U.S., my friend was able to fly directly from New York to Cuba. (Side note: The joy was short-lived. After Trump’s new restrictions, I am glad that we went to Cuba this year. If you are a US citizen, read this NYT article to find out how you can visit Cuba under the revised Cuba policies).
Even though getting to Cuba from North America has become easier, the country itself is not particularly easy to travel in. I did a lot of research before my trip to make sure I knew what I’d be getting myself into, and that I would be able to prepare accordingly, from dealing with two currencies to arranging transportation around the country in a place where I couldn’t just hop into a rental car like I’d done in Mexico a couple of weeks prior.
Of course, despite detailed research, it was impossible to find out everything I needed to know, and some things I learned as I traveled the country (the fact that there are more tourists than available seats in public buses, for example!).
To help make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible, I wanted to share with you the ten things I think you need to know before traveling to Cuba.