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It's a good idea to calculate how much cash you will need for Cuba if you are American. American credit cards do not work in Cuba, so be prepared to pay everything with cash. We spent 48 hours in Cuba and this is a breakdown of how much the trip cost us.
Cost 9.5K Southwest Rapid Rewards Points + $47 tax/fees
We flew with Southwest and used our Rapid Rewards to purchase our tickets. We love flying with Southwest because they don't make it difficult to use your reward points. They also have an amazing Companion Pass Program (the benefit that allows you to choose one person to fly with you, free of airline charges) and they don't charge you for check-in or carry-on luggage.
Purchased through Southwest Airlines $50
It's mandatory to obtain a visa for American travelers, but the process is super simple. There is no need to acquire a visa prior to your departure date. We obtained our visa on the day of our flight when we checked-in for our flight.
There have been some changes, in the visa category, since we visited Cuba last year. When we visited, we selected the "Educational Activities" category. You can still travel as an individual; however, now it's required to select the "Support for the Cuban People". If you have doubts, check out this tweet from Marco Rubio. Many airlines have been adjusting to these new rules since June 2017.
$54.50 x 2 nights = $109
We made sure to book our accommodation months in advance, since the nicer ones get snatched up pretty quickly. We found an amazing Airbnb right in the middle of Havana and booked it three months in advance. The location was perfect, the hosts were super nice, and it was much cheaper than staying in a hotel. The Airbnb was spacious and it cost us a total of $109 for two nights. We did apply a $35 coupon, so without the coupon it would have been $72 per night. We also paid a little extra ($13) to add on one more guest to the reservation. We made a video with a little tour of the Airbnb we stayed at.
There have been some changes since we visited Cuba in regards to accommodation. If you plan to book a hotel, make sure to check that they are not on the list of hotels that are prohibited by the US government. Luckily, Airbnb has not been affected and is not on this list.
Transportation To and From the Airport
$25 x 2 = $50
We made sure to ask for a price before we hopped into any cab. We were told by other travelers, who have been to Cuba, that anything over $30 is too much for a ride to and from the airport. This was the only time we had to negotiate a ride since the rest of our time in Cuba we had a private tour that took us around the city. More details on that next.
Private Tour Guide
$50 + $10 Tip
Since our visa indicated that we were in Cuba for "Educational activities by persons", it was required to book some sort of guided tour. We booked a private tour with FerTours and they were awesome. We had communication with FerTours through email before our arrival, so it was reassuring to have someone guide us through the process before we arrived in Cuba. It was an all-day tour and our tour guide, Manuel, spoke fluent English.
World Nomads $51
It's mandatory to have proof of medical coverage for your trip to Cuba, so we purchased insurance through World Nomads. World Nomads is our go-to travel insurance company and we use them for all our international travels. Their website is easy to navigate and they make the whole process very easy to understand what you are covered for.
Just remember to purchase travel insurance that has medical coverage. Some travel insurance companies do not offer medical coverage, so make sure you understand your coverage.
Food & Drinks
~$30 x 3 days = $90
We went to a cafe right next to our hotel (Cafe Habana) for our morning (10AM) coffee and brought our own snacks for breakfast. Most places in Havana, Cuba aren't open until noon. Some Airbnb hosts offer breakfast for an additional fee, but our hosts did not have meal options, so we were glad that we brought snacks and breakfast bars with us.
Lunch & Dinner
Everywhere else we went in Havana were tourist prices. The restaurants we went to had similar prices to dining out in the states. We had our most enjoyable meals at Paladar Los Mercaderes and Don Eduardo Alegre. Depending on how much you eat and drink, this estimate will vary between people.
In-between our meals we had snacks, and our favorite was the Churritos stand. They were made to order and it only cost 50 cents. We ended up having Churritos everyday when we were in the mood for some yummy treats.
We bought a few souvenirs like Cuban cigars, but we really didn't spend any more than $30. We really aren't big spenders on tangible items since it takes up space in our luggage. Our friend took home a lot more than we did, so this category really varies among people.
Total Estimated Cost Per Person for 2 Nights and 3 Days
Bear in mind that we used our airline miles to purchase our flight, so this estimated total only includes the taxes we paid on the ticket. However, you should also keep in mind that we split the cost for the Airbnb and the cab rides, so that will help bring down costs if you are splitting things.
If you need more answers to your Cuba questions, we have them!
7 Simple Steps to Prepare for Your Cuba Trip
15 Things We Learned From Our First Trip to Cuba
Your 2017 Guide for Top 10 Things To Do in Havana Cuba
Top 8 Essentials to Pack for Your Cuba Trip
The Best 48 Hours in Havana, Cuba
Top 15 Photos That Captures the Essence of Havana Cuba