Running out if money is a worry for everybody. It is one that is at the forefront of the minds of travelers especially. Nothing can dampen your spirits and halt your adventures when you run out of money.
One common lament among travelers is that they did not expect for Cuba to be as expensive as it can be. They hear its a Communist country and that the average Cuban taxi driver earns more than a Cuban doctor’s monthly allowance of $20USD! And they figure it shouldn’t be expensive for a first world traveler to get by with a few hundred dollars over the course of a week.
Au contraire, mon ami…
Cuba is just as advanced as most Western countries in many ways. There is wifi, ATMs, gourmet restaurants, and high rated hotels like the Four Seasons there — all of which conspire to take your money while providing you with a comfortable experience.
Why is Cuba so expensive? It’s just that — your comfort. If you want to be comfortable in Cuba, you’ll pay for it.
The Cubans are a savvy bunch, too. They’ll invite you into their homes to exam cigars that they tell you are of the same quality as those that are sold by their government. They’ll also tell you that you’re getting a deal. The one lie they tell that makes the unsuspecting traveler give in is that the cigar box seal is authentic so too are the cigars. But, it’s all a scam. And it can be a costly one!
Then there are the Cuban prostitutes who invite you to bars, lunch, dinner, parties, and then when you realize she’s not just friendly, but a prostitute, she offers you more for a price. If you give in you’re out of the money you budgeted simply because you wanted to experience a real Cuban.
Those are two scams run by the Cubans. But, there are other ways to lose your money or pay what you didn’t expect to pay in of all places, Cuba!
For instance, Cubans use AirBnB to offer their homes to travelers as a viable option to staying at a hotel. The most notorious is Hotel Nacional which is owned by the Cuban military and Americans are forbidden to spend money there so as not to support the Cuban military. It’s ironic that inside Hotel Nacional’s bars and restaurants there are photos of American celebrities who visited there.
Your accommodation, food, and tours will cost you. But, if you’ve planned for that already then you should not run out of money in Cuba. Right? Correct.
Just don’t expect for things to be cheap there. The souvenirs may zap your budget. Also, the idea that it is your only opportunity in life to visit Cuba is going to push you to spend more. It doesn’t have to be, however.
In a nutshell, if you think Cuba is cheap because the country is blocked from trade with the US, think again! Cuba receives aid from all the other countries and even food aid from the US. Cuba has it all even without the US’s help. And you will quickly realize that once you go there and find out that your assumptions about how poor it is lead you to run out of money.