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CubaCasas.Net - Rooms in Cuban homes
Guide of 65 cities, towns and villages listing some 500 of the best casas particulares [aka B&B]

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Casilda near Trinidad Santa Clara

Cuba is witnessing an economic crisis that has taken the country
back 30 years, to the so-called "Special Period".
As then, when subsidies from the former Soviet Union vanished,
Cubans are suffering hardships and acute shortages of everything,
from food to fuel. The difference is that today, many tell you that the worst shortage is of hope.

And so, a new mass exodus of Cubans is under way, the largest in four decades.
On this 23 July 2022 edition, AlJazeera meets some of the people confronting the crisis.
Six months later (January 2023), it is getting even worse. 

Reaching more than 282 million households in over 140 countries,
#AlJazeeraEnglish reports and videos have been seen 2,9 billion times.

Download "Traveler Manual"

Also called D'Viajeros, the mandatory entry form and its purported explanation
on youtube is full of quirks which
no one has addressed
8 months. Does anybody in Cuba care at all ? Meh.

Unanswered questions

The mysterious video on youtube.

Exit Health Protocol
Unvaccinated travellers must take an antigen test 24 hours before leaving Cuba.
Antigen tests are available at hotels and cost around C$30.

Details on this Ministry of Tourism page : Mintur/Protocolos Vax World Tracker NYT

Havana Airport Arrivals here. Varadero Airport Arrivals here.

CURRENCY : The local currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP).
The convertible peso has been discontinued and is no longer accepted in Cuba.
Stores (tiendas) catering to tourists make all payments payable ONLY by credit cards
otherwise known as MLC - Moneda Libremente Convertible, or Freely Convertible Money.
Some Cubans have MLC debit cards and can buy there also using
bank cards issued by Bandec or BPA banks.

US dollars are NOT officially accepted in stores in Cuba but can be seen everywhere
while Canadian dollars, Euros, British Pounds, Japanese Yens currency are all accepted.
Casa owners will accept all afore-mentioned currencies except (cough, cough) US dollars.

From Lonely Planet, April 2022 : "The Euro is the most interchangeable
currency and the one preferred by Cubans.
You can also use and exchange Canadian dollars
and pounds sterling, but avoid
(cough, cough) US dollars."

As of spring 2022, the official euro-to-peso exchange rate was 1:27,
but on the black market, the rate was closer to 1:60 – a huge difference.
State-run enterprises and banks use official exchange rates,
but the superior services offered by private businesses
generally reflect the more favorable black market exchange rates." Source

Casa owners accept most foreign currencies in cash (never plastic),
favoring Euros and US dollars; will take cup as
payment at the current street value NOT the bank exchange rate which is very much less.
Example : room rental rate is 25US$/Euros.
The "street" exchange rate is 170, so 25x170 = 4250cup.

At tourist areas which include hotels, restaurants and shopping malls,
payment is only accepted with credit cards issued by non-US banks.

Apart from shops, some restaurants will accept payment in cash Euros
or US dollars and will show equivalent prices from cup prices.

Viazul bus tickets can only be booked
on the internet - by the Viazul agent at the Viazul station
- and can only be paid by credit card.
In advance (sometimes 24 hours ahead) or minimum 3 hours before departure.

Customers (Americans mostly) who do not have a credit card
can buy a prepaid "MLC" debit card ($200, $500, $1000) at the airport
or at any money exchange kiosks at hotels. Payments outside the tourist areas are all in Cuban pesos (CUP);

We recommend exchanging Canadian dollars (EUR, GBP, YEN, etc) for cash pesos as needed and only if you plan to travel OUTSIDE of tourist areas. All foreigners may buy Cuban Pesos (cup) in banks using their credit cards (cash advance)

FYI : you will not be able to change the remaining CUP into your own currency at the end of your stay in Cuba.

Official exchange rates EUR
GBPUSDCUP here which NOBODY, NADIE and NO ONE uses or cares for 
:: Currency & Money in 2022 here ::

U.S. Regulation Punishes Europeans for Visiting Cuba
Several European countries have issued travel warnings to their citizens:
if you go to Cuba, you’ll need to apply for a visa to visit the United States.

For most Europeans, traveling to the U.S. is an easy process.
They qualify for the U.S. Visa Waiver program (ESTA),
meaning they just have to fill out an online form.

However, U.S. law denies normally eligible individuals access to ESTA
if they have visited countries on its State Sponsors of Terrorism list.
Cuba was added to the list last year by Donald Trump
and it has been kept on it by Joe Biden,
even though there is no evidence Cuba sponsors terrorism. 

Source : Belly of The Beast, youtube - 5 oct. 2022

Lonely Planet - Rules for Americans 22 May 2022
Lonely Planet's Rules for Americans visiting Cuba - Updated 20 May 2022

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What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other ? 09.01.2023