How to Make the Most of Your Trip to Cuba

As we all know, Cuba is gradually opening its doors to the rest of the world. Relations with the United States are thawing as the nation welcomes a new era, starting with the lifting of travel restrictions and a trade embargo that all but paralyzed the Cuban economy.

Sure enough, the easing of economic pressures will stimulate the growth of crucial sectors, starting with the tourism industry. The country will no doubt see a spike in tourist arrivals like it never did before. If you’re planning to your trip to Cuba this spring season, you might want to apply these crucial tips.

Do your research first

No matter how experienced a traveler you are, you still have to consider the fact that Cuba is a new place for you to visit. This means that you will have to get a good understanding of its travel regulations and requirements. It pays to have ample time to prepare, so make sure you visit the Cuban embassy for a list of the things you need to apply for a tourist card.

Know your currencies

Cuba currently has two currencies: the Cuban dollar and the Cuban peso. For tourists, it’s recommended that they exchange their cash for Cuban dollars as the peso is reserved for locals only. Most products are in dollars and in pesos. At any rate, you will have to convert your cash before you depart so you can avoid hefty service fees. You may also need to inform your bank ahead of time that you will be traveling.

Find great shopping places

Cuba has a lot of destinations where you can buy local products you won’t find elsewhere. Sure, buying cigars online seems more practical, but nothing beats getting premium tobacco straight from the world’s most sought-after source. When you’re in Havana, you might as well head on over Plaza Carlos III for your souvenir shopping. If you want a more immersive shopping experience, then Almacenes San Jose would be your best bet for the best bargain prices.

Make the most out of the food

Years of trade restrictions have impacted Cuban cuisine to the extent that it hasn’t fully developed. Then again, it shouldn’t stop you from going on a gastronomic adventure across Havana. Start by visiting paladars, which are homes that also serve as restaurants preparing local dishes such as arroz con pollo, fritas, and pernil rellenos. These are a must-try if you want to experience the Spanish and African influences that make Cuban cuisine one of the world’s most exotic. But apart from the food, no visit to this country would be complete without tasting the very product it is probably best known for. Make time to taste the world’s finest rum at the Museo del Ron.

There’s a lot more you can do while you’re in Cuba and for sure, your first visit to the country isn’t enough to enjoy what it really is after years of isolation.

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