10 May Is Cuba Ready for American Tourists?
Spanish colonial architecture, classic 1950’s Cadillacs, taking in the breathtaking beaches and waterfall views with an authentic Cuban cigar and a mojito in hand – this is the idealistic image that had travelers flocking to Cuba when the travel ban between US and Cuba was lifted in March 2016.
While you can expect to be charmed by friendly locals and the culture’s nostalgic charm, American tourists are being warned that it is not the entirely glorified destination often pictured.
When this long-standing ban was lifted, allowing Americans to travel freely to Cuba, it caused a frenzy for travelers to cross this destination off of their travel bucket list. Airlines and cruise ships raced to provide and increase direct access to the hot spot and according to MarketWatch.com, tourism increased over 30% in just 14 months. This tourist boom caught the country unprepared and led to issues for both visitors and locals.
The best way to prepare yourself for a visit to Cuba is to do your research and get advice from an expert. Travel agents can inform you on what to expect, both the good and the bad. Enchanted Honeymoons Travel offers 24-hour live support, which can ease any anxiety you may have while in destination and assist with anything you need while abroad.
Travel Agent Tips to Prepare for Your Trip to Cuba
- Convert your cash in the United States. Cuban Convert Pesos are the only form of payment accepted from tourists in Cuba and it is not the same as the country’s Cuban Peso used by locals. American credit and debit cards are not accepted.
- The locals are friendly and seemingly care-free, but the government can create an oppressive atmosphere. The government controls internet usage and requires permits. The tip here is – make sure you talk to your travel agent about exactly which permits you need.
- It is very difficult to find Wifi in Cuba and a special permit is required. It comes at a hefty price. Our advice – relax and enjoy yourself screen-free 🙂
- Perhaps the most concerning issue in Cuba right now is the food shortage. Restaurants, in order to accommodate their guests, buy items in bulk at grocery stores, leaving them picked over for locals. Fruits and vegetables are the most difficult to find. Beer is another commodity that is difficult to find and very expensive in Cuba. Our tip – bring portable snacks to avoid getting hangry.
- Cuba is not Cancun, and this means you need a reason to visit. The limited options include religious activities or community outreach. Our advice is to discuss the ‘People to People’ tour with your travel agent. This tour includes visits to elementary schools, live music, and salsa lessons.
- Don’t drink the water – bottled water only.
- You will need $25 in cash for your departure tax upon leaving Cuba.
Despite the mediocre tourism infrastructure, the Cuban Tourism Board is working to improve and to accommodate its growing tourist population. According to Expertvagabond.com, they are expecting to have 85,000 hotel rooms by 2020, 80 new Wi-Fi hotspots, and restaurants and grocery stores are importing more good to stay stocked. With these improvements, Cuba will continue to be a bucket list destination for travelers to enjoy.
Call us today at 402-281-3022 in order to book your next getaway.