How much spending money do I need?
Cuba is a lot more expensive than most developing countries. Be prepared to pay as much on the tour in Cuba for food and services, as you would in any western ‘developed’ country. This is mainly due to the Cuban Government placing large taxes on anything considered “non-essential”, or anything to do with tourism, and also due to the artificial exchange rate for the USD. The trade embargo placed on Cuba by the United States also has some effect on prices. Most visitors find Cuba more expensive than they anticipated.
How much you take along with you on the tour is obviously a personal matter. If you intend to purchase many souvenirs in Cuba, or if you enjoy spending it up on a big night out, we would recommend that you take a bit more than the estimated amounts below. In total as an estimate, where no meals or activities are included, you need to allow about 35 to 60USD per day for expenses for the tour not including local payment and souvenirs.
- View our recommendations on How to access your money in Cuba. (Foreign currencies currently accepted in Cuba)
Personal Tour Budget Summary
Expenses you will have once you arrive in Cuba
Tipping on the Tour
There will be times during your tour in Cuba where there'll be opportunities to tip local service providers - such as drivers and local guides. This is a completely optional practice to show your appreciation for excellent service and you should never feel obliged to do so, especially if you feel you did not receive good service. You may tip individually, or your tour guide will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Also at the end of the tour, if you felt your tour guide did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated (see also the section about your tour guide).
For local guides on day trips and other optional activities in Cuba, as a suggestion we recommended a tip of 2 to 5 USD per person.
Local Payment in Cuba
Many of our tours require part payment of the tour in Cuba in local Cuban currency - USD.
This "Local Payment" must be handed to the tour guide at the first group meeting in Cuba (usually on the morning of Day 2 of the tour). We accept this payment exclusively in USD cash.
Why do I have to pay a local payment?
We have part of the cost of the tour paid by you locally in Cuba for these reasons:
- It is a challenge for us to send the large amount of money to Cuba to operate our tours. Paying part of the cost of your tour locally in Cuba alleviates the difficulties we have in getting enough money to Cuba to provide the services included in the tour, that we pay for in cash.
- The local payment allows us to lower the upfront payment amount for the tour, which means that less or your money is collected as commission by travel agents. This helps us maintain the low cost of our tours.
What part of the tour does the local payment pay for?
The local payment does not cover any one particular aspect of the trip - such as the local flight or included excursions. Instead it goes towards paying for our total cost of running the tour (including accommodation, transport, guide, guide expenses etc), much of which we need to pay for in cash in Cuba.