Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas to all of you and thanks, you guys for reading and following!

Or better to say FELICIDADES!

Cuba, as every country has their own Christmas traditions and especially for New Year’s Eve, people gather around with their families and share the last week of the year with them.

On the 24. in Cuba people celebrate Nochebuena and on New Years Eve people meet again to celebrate the end of the year with their families.

Important for both days is the food! People start preparing early to have all the stuff together for the big celebration and everybody ships in to buy “carne puerco” (pork), Yuca (Maniok) and all the other food for the big dinner!

Christmas is less about religion and presents since the revolution but some people still celebrate and have a small Christmas tree made of plastic, usually with a colorful decoration. The decoration got more popular over the years and if you happen to be in Cuba around Christmas you will see a lot of lights and inflatable Santas.

These Days are dedicated to the loved ones.

So hopefully you have a nice Christmas, maybe even in Cuba!

Merry Christmas and Felicidades to all of you!




Essential Advice for Traveling to Cuba

There are some things you should know about before you travel to Cuba, or at least have a rough idea about them to avoid unpleasant surprises.

I am not talking about planning every detail about your trip… just some basics

so here we go:

THE INTERNET: Cuba has an extremely poor internet environment, and most of the foreign companies have really high roaming fees for Cuba. And, yes I mean extremely poor internet environment, there is no private internet connection, just public WIFI in parks or hotels (1CUC -3CUC per hour). More about the Internet here. And more about Telefons and Cells here. Rumor has it that there will be Internet on Mobiles, soon. Oh and forget about free WIFI in Cuba.

MONEY: There are two currencies in Cuba (maybe that’s going to change soon) the CUP and the CUC (similar value than USD). One CUP is 24/ 25 CUP, and you can pay with both of them in almost every place, you just have to know how much they are worth. You can change money in banks and CADECAS (currency exchange) or withdraw from the ATM with Visa or Mastercard. Just be careful with American cards, there are still some problems. Try to get money to the bank with your credit card, before you try the ATM. (The last advice is just for travelers with American Credit Cards). More about Money here.

Accommodation: Stay in BnB (Casas Particulares), more here.

TRANSPORT: There are buses and shared taxis all around the island. Also, you could hitchhike if you are on a budget or seek for authentic adventure. More about transport here.

Here are some general tips for behavior in Cuba.

Politeness: Be polite to the people. Please don’t just walk into homes, schools or official buildings without a permit. (Would you want people to do that at your home?) If you want to talk politics be polite and not hardly direct and accept it if people do not want to talk about that kind of topic. Also be respectful. If you want to bring a gift, please consider this post first.

Tipping: As in many countries, in Cuba, you also tip 10%. Sometimes the 10% is included in the check. You usually would tip in restaurants and bars, also tour guides or taxi drivers. In a restaurant you leave the money with the check, wait until the waiter returns with your change and then leave the amount you would like to tip.

Toilets: There is a thing about Cuban toilets that you shouldn’t forget: Do not through your paper in the toilet! Never! In most places like hotels or public restrooms, you should pay about 10cents or 1 CUP for the paper, or carry your own. Also be aware that most public restrooms are not in the best condition.

Safety: Cuba is a very safe place. Nevertheless, you should be aware that there are pickpockets and scams in touristic areas.

Water: Do not drink tap water. You should buy bottled water or drink boiled, and filtered water like most people in Cuba do. Don’t wonder if you cannot get water anywhere that happens. Make sure to drink enough because of the heat and the sun.

Read here what’s useful to prepare before traveling to Cuba.

Read here what’s useful to prepare before traveling to Cuba.

Tips for the Peak Season in Cuba

Now after the days of mourn and the funeral Havana and Cuba are heading back to normal again and so is tourism.

So don’t worry you will be able to buy rum and have drinks again.

And speaking of tourism, it’s also the beginning of peak season in Cuba! So there will be a lot of travelers and tourist, but also Cubans and families from all over the world visiting their loved ones on the island. SO prepare for things to get crowded.

Usually traveling around Cuba is not a problem at all, Bnb owners send you from one “casa” to another and might also reserve the transport for you. Usually, there is not much planning needed.

For the December and January, I suggest you reserve some places early. Especially in Viñales, which got so booked out last season that people had to sleep in parks. If you don’t mind that, you’re fine though!

If you plan to rent a car, you should also plan ahead, because family members from abroad tend to rent most of them in that season, so they disappear fast. If you want to take the Viazul buses, you should maybe plan that as well, but usually, there are more taxis that just charge a little more and take you to your bnb or hotel directly.

If you plan to have a big party on New Year’s Eve, be aware that in Cuba usually people celebrate this holiday with their families, so there is not so much going on on the streets. If you do look for a party you should probably be in Havana that day, because there are more and more clubs and bars offering specials and parties.

Overall the time around Christmas and New Years is a great time to be in Cuba and experience a different kind of holiday season!



Film Festival 2016!

imageThe yearly film festival in Havana started yesterday! There are many promising new Cuban and international movies to watch! Make sure you get your “passaporte”and do not miss it!

more infos: https://www.facebook.com/festivaldelnuevocinelatinoamericano