Ask Our Travel ExpertHavana Times wants to help answer your Cuba Travel questions. We encourage readers planning future trips to the island to write in any uncertainties that we may be able to help with. We'll almost always get back to you within a few days. You can reach us at this link: Cont@ct HT.
QUESTION: I am traveling to Cuba in December 2016. My plan was to visit Baracoa on the 18th and 19th of December for 2 nights.
Do you advise me to visit after the hurricane? bare in mind that it’s not like I wanted to see luxurious things in Baracoa in the first place, I know that it’s already a small rural city full of history; And that’s what I care about actually.. I also wanted to go for an excursion in Alejandro de Humboldt National Park. So my question is the following:
– Would they remove the ruble & destruction from the streets?
– Can I normally go to the excursions I had planned?
or has life totally taken a pause in Baracoa?
I emailed the Casa owner I have booked with in Baracoa, it has been almost two weeks and he hasn’t replied yet. I don’t know how to proceed, I want to visit Baracoa very badly, at the same time if it’s totally impossible I have to change my plans.
ANSWER: Patience is the key right now. I suggest maintaining your plan to visit Baracoa in mid-December on your trip but it may take another 2-4 weeks to have contact with the casa owners. Yes there was a lot of destruction but Baracoa will need the visitors to come and visit and see their recovery efforts. As to the excursions I’d say also give it time since they are still in the beginning of the recovery phase. If you are unable to make contact with the Casa people in the next month write back to us and we will try to make some phone calls. If their place was destroyed there will most likely be some other options.On Using US Dollars and AirBnB in Cuba
QUESTION: We are planning a “people to people” five-day trip for a family of three, departing from the US the last week of June 2016. Things are changing so fast; would appreciate some up-to-date information about two topics…
Can you give advice on the currency situation? Are US dollars used in daily transactions? Or do travelers still exchange dollars into CUC? (And lose 13% in the process.)
We would also like to book lodging through Air B&B to better connect with local people. Since most Cubans have no internet, there must be some “middle men” acting as agents. Do you think it a good idea to use AirB&B? Or do you suggest doing something else for affordable places to stay?
ANSWER: The currency situation has yet to change. The Cuban government said it will take off the 10% penalty when the US allows the Cuban state companies to open dollar accounts in the United States. That hasn’t happened yet. You can save some by taking either Euro’s or Canadian dollars with you instead of USD.
No problem using AirBnB. People who rent find a way to have email or use the Wifi public points to connect. Most either have email at home, legal or not, or someone who does makes the connections for them. There are also other Casa Particular sites for booking homestays.