Cuba on a Budget Part 2 

This is the second post about traveling in Cuba on a Budget. As I mentioned in the first post, before you travel to Cuba on a tight budget you should be aware that tourism is the main income of the country and it’s still not really prepared for backpackers and travelers. But don’t worry! That doesn’t mean there are no ways to travel cheap or at least to safe money on the way, for example on food or accommodation by not traveling alone!

But there is more: 

Transportation

Unfortunately there is a big difference in prices for tourists and for locals, that means Cubans or foreigners with a residence. If you stay for longer you should consider a language course to get an ID card and safe on transportation and entrances. 

If you stay for shorter periods you can also try to take the local buses like ASTRO or to travel with a Camion. Those are trucks that are transformed to transport passengers or just ordinary trucks that have some space left and take passengers standing from one place to another.

It’s not the most comfortable way to travel, but it is an interesting way.

You just have to know that the driver could possibly have to pay a retribution if he get caught taking a tourist with him. So maybe they don’t like to take tourists with them. You could think about offering to pay the amount for him.  

Hitchhiking is also a possible and common way to travel around Cuba, you just have to stand under a bridge or somewhere in the shade. Believe me that is an useful advice! 

You could also think about a trip by bike! That safes you the prices for transportation around Cuba. 

More about traveling Cuba on a budget coming soon… 

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Romerillo 

There is a lot of art and interesting projects in Havana. Some of them combine the artist’s work with social projects that benefit their neighborhoods and the people living there. One of those projects is the “Museo Orgánico Romerillo” opened by the artist Alexis Leiva Machado (K’cho), from the Isle of Youth. K’cho studied art in the close by ISA and was one of the youngest Latin American artists to exhibit his work in museums like the MoMA in New York. In 2014 he opened the Romerillo in 2014 as part of the 12th Bienal in Havana. It’s an interesting place combining art, learning and social projects. 

K’cho started a exhibition with google this year is offering free Wifi to anybody. In the Studio there are several art students working and their are also given time and space to create their own work with the equipment of the studio.

They know a lot about the place and K’chos work and are happy to give you a tour around the Romerillo to see his work and the work of artists that participate in the project. 

The Romerillo is close to the ISA (art school) and the Paradero de Playa in the neighborhood Playa in Havana. 

check: http://www.kchoestudio.com for more information and to keep updated about current projects. 

If you have time in Havana make a visit to the studio, you won’t regret it!

Cuba by Bike

Biking around Cuba is a great way to get to know the Island and it’s people and culture. Why not getting to know the place this way? You are slower and less isolated than in a rented car or in a Víazul bus. In that way you have more contact to the people and might even need their help from time to time. By bike you have the opportunity to see small villages and secret beaches.
As the roads are not that busy in Cuba you could even bike on the “carretera nacional”, national highway.
There are several routes that are interesting to do by bike or by bike combined with other transports. There are also some things you should plan and bring if you plan to travel around by bike.
Great and interesting tours can be done all over the island. One really nice one is biking around the west of Cuba, along to tobacco plantations and beaches with white sand. Generally it’s possible to do all the routes also by bike, or combined by bike and bus.
Some ideas you could get from the routes section in the blog.

There are some things you should think about before you start your bike trip around Cuba.
First of all: Should you bring your own bike or rent one when you get here?
That depends on you. There are services like Cuba Ruta Bikes, that organize bike vacations in Cuba and also rent bikes and offer guides tours. That’s a great opportunity by the way, because you don’t have to plan your trip yourself and always have someday who knows the best ways and can explain you a lot.

If that’s no option for you and you love your bike, bring it! It’s not complicated to bring bikes to Cuba. Check with your Airline first, most of them, like Air Berlin or Air Canada offer to transport bikes for an additional cost, (usually about 100-150 $). Some Airlines, like Virgin Airlines already include the bike transport in the ticket price.

You also should bring the necessary tools, in case you’ll need them. You could also get help in a local “poncheria”, shops for repairing cars and tires, but it’s helpful to have special tools and tires, because they might not have it here. You also should bring a helmet, a light and a great lock.
Cuba is not a criminal place, but there are just a few good bikes, so they are a popular thing to be stolen. Make sure to lock them up!

Most of the Casas Particulares, have space to store the bikes inside over night.

If you decide to make your trip by bike, you start early in the morning because of the sun and the heat. Make also sure you bring something against mosquitos and that you drink enough water!
For more tipps and infos about biking in Cuba:
http://www.cubarutabikes.com

 

El Ojo del Ciclon

The Ojo del Ciclon (Eye of The Hurricane) is a unique space in Habana Vieja, that is worth a visit or more. The Gallery, Studio and Place to hang out and meet people, is located in Habana Vieja, just one street from the main shopping and touristic street Obispo. But inside you feel like being in a completely different world. Surrounded by art and music or voice recording, that create a special environment. In the Ojo del Ciclon Leo D’Lazaro, the artist, works and created a cultural and welcoming spot in Havana. His paintings, collages and sculptures are unique and full of Ideas. His work is inspired by what surrounds him, his friends, his family and everyday life. In paintings and collages he works with colors lice ocher or sepia and puts painting and fotos together. dsc00282

His sculptures are often made out of recycled materials and have some kind and purpose.

One of them is a table football, he created, that actually is used by the friends and visitors of the gallery. They also do parties and activities there. Every Wednesday, for example you could be part of their private Tango lessons and Milonga. They also exhibit Art of other Cuban artists and are happy to tell you everything about it!

So include a visit, you won’t regret it!
The Adress: O’Reilly No. 501 Esq. Villegas, Habana Vieja

For more Information visit: http://leodlazaro.blogspot.com or http://www.cuban-artist.com