Cuba has long been on the travel radar for many Canadians, Europeans and Americans. Every year, tourists visit this 'time-warp' island without much information about the dos and don'ts of travelling to Cuba. So in order to make things easier for you, here are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to have a peaceful stay in Cuba.
1. Avoid clicking photos of police officials or soldiers.
You should know that it is illegal to take photos of police personnels or soldiers in Cuba, okay? If you are caught doing something suspicious you might be accused of espionage. So take this rule pretty seriously folks.
2. Don't get confused by the two currencies used in Cuba.
There are two currencies that are used in Cuba which differ in terms of valuation. One convertible peso (CUC) is worth 26 Cuban pesos (CUP) so, don't get confused and keep this in mind if you don't want to get ripped off.
3. Tipping is a must in Cuba.
The standard and cost of living in Cuba is quite high but the basic salary that most people get is very low. So be a kind tourist and don't forget to tip generously.
4. Don't blow your nose/spit in public.
I am sure you'll agree with the fact that when someone picks their nose in front of you, you end up making a disgusting face? Well, the Cubans are going to do the same if they see you picking your nose or spitting in public. Doing so is considered incredibly rude. Period. Just watch where you are and find yourself a private place if you really need to do some cleaning.
5. Don't refuse to drink from a shared glass.
The Cubans enjoy their drinks in a different way so do as the Cubans do. The Cubans pass around a glass of rum and take a sip or have a shot from it before passing it on to the next person. So if a local offers you to take a sip, don't turn them down. This can really offend them. Drink like the locals and don't forget to share. After all, sharing is caring, right?
6. Don't engage in political conversations.
Guys, Cuba is a communist country so criticism is not something that the government or the locals takes lightly. Discussing about politics or the government can make the Cubans quite uncomfortable. Striking up a political discussion might get you reported to the police for being a subversive foreigner. So mind what you say.
7. Avoid visiting Cuba without carrying your basic essentials with you.
Just make sure you bring everything you need with you. Why? Because there is a serious shortage of many consumer goods in Cuba. Bring your shampoo, conditioner, lotion and all your essentials with you. Sometimes, even finding a toothpaste or toilet paper can become like quite a struggle.
Escape to this not-so-expensive sunny island now.