With the recent improvements in the relationship between Cuba and America, the opportunity for travel is increasing. Cuba is the Caribbean’s largest island nation and is diverse with natural beauty as well as culture. If you’re planning on traveling there soon, here are some things to consider.
Being a Caribbean country Cuba is generally warm and humid, so casual beach wear is generally appropriate. This also means that it rains pretty frequently, even when it’s warm out. The driest time of year to visit Cuba is from November to April, which has also become the high season so you can expect the trip to cost a bit more then than other times of the year. The rainiest season is May to October but the temperature is generally pretty nice and the ocean stays warm enough for swimming. Plus, the thunder storms can be quite beautiful. Being an island hurricanes do occur, but there’s not much you can do about that besides stay safe and prepared.
Cuba is pretty modern and expects a lot of English speaking travelers, but it can enhance your experience to carry a phrase book around with you to connect to the locals if you don’t already the know the basics of Spanish. Half of all the visitors to Cuba are Canadian, so English is quite prevalent which means it isn’t mandatory, but can be nice.
There are two different currencies used in Cuba, and only one of them is legal to be used by tourists. The Cuban convertible peso (CUC) is the one to be used by visitors to the country, and the Cuban peso (CUP) is used by Cuban locals to purchase staples and non luxury items. U.S. dollars are pretty hard to use in Cuba so you’ll need to exchange a fair share of money. The conversion rate is currently pretty even except that there’s a 10 percent service charge so you can currently expect to get around $0.87 CUCs for every U.S. dollar.
Things to Do
Besides swimming, dining, and relaxing, there are plenty of activities to get into in Cuba. Rock climbing, checking out caves, salsa dancing, and scuba diving are all popular tourist activities. Cuevos Del Indio in the National Park Vinales have an easy cave walk as well as an underground natural swimming pool that is clean enough to swim in. For real caving head to Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás where you will given a headlamp and taken on a guided tour. There’s even a restaurant in Cuba that operates from the mouth of a cave!
Scuba diving in Cuba is another great activity for vacations, since the water is clear and the diving sites are relatively not busy compared to a lot of other places. There is a lot of underwater life, coral reefs, and shipwrecks that are worth checking out. The snorkeling is great as well.
The food in Cuba is a fusion of Spanish, Native American Taino food, African, and Caribbean foods, so there’s sure to be something new on the menu to try. Expect spice and lots of flavor.