Cuba is the country of rum, rhythm and romance and an intriguing travel destination. David Beattie visited Cuba during his longterm backpacking trip in Central America and noted down all his Cuba expenses for Bunch of Backpackers (Thank you David!). Take a look at his overview of costs to travel in Cuba and his budget tips. 

Find the post in Dutch here.

This article is part of the Money Matters series in which we ask travelers to keep their expenses for Bunch of Backpackers. Real travelers, real expenses. 



*These daily travel expenses are per one person per day.  Including all tours, domestic flights, souvenirs, lodging, food, drinks, entrance fees, tips etc. Excluding international flights.

Red car in Cuba


These prices are per person unless stated otherwise.

Standard Cuba expenses

One night in a hostel dormitory: 8 euro (10,9 USD)
One night in a double room in a simple guesthouse: 14,70 euro (19,9 USD)
A short 10-minute taxi ride: 3,2 euro (4,4 USD)
A bottle of water (0,5L) at the store: 0,44 euro (0,5 USD)
A local beer at a bar/restaurants: 1,10 euro (1,4 USD) 
A glass of coca cola in a restaurant: 0,5 euro (0,7 USD)
Basic lunch at a local restaurant: 0,9 euro (1,2 USD)
Dinner at a local restaurant: 1 euro (1,4 USD)

Notable Cuba expenses 

Double hotel room in Varadero: 50 euro (68 USD) (all inclusive with food and alcohol)
A 40-minute taxi ride from Havana airport: 18,40 euro (25 USD) 
Cuba departure tax: 18,40 euro (25 USD) 

Examples of other Cuba prices

25-pack of genuine Cohiba cigars: 60 euro (81,6 USD)(nog bought by David)
70 cl of Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros: 70 euro (95 USD)(not bought by David)

Cuba Sunset


About the backpackers: David Beattie
Destination and travel period: Cuba in May 2014 for 19 days.
Visited places:
 Havana, Trinidad and Varadero

Type of trip: Independently and solo.
Accommodation: budget (mainly hostels and guesthouses)
Transportation: luxe (taxi’s, private cars and first class public transportation)
Food: budget (local places and cheap western places)
Exchange rate at the time of travel: 1 CUC = 0,74 euro

Cuba Libre

Cuba budget tips by David!

  • There is a separate, local currency called the moneda nacional. You can change your tourist CUC´s into this and eat 40 cent pizzas, 2 cent ice creams and smoke 2 cent cigars.
  • Finding other people to share taxis with can work out cheaper than taking the bus. A taxi from Havana to Trinidad cost the same price as 3 people taking the bus, and it is 1.5 hours faster.
  • Many people will try and scam you on the streets. Same rule applies here, as with any country, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don´t let it upset you. Many people just want to talk. So be polite.
  • There is no Buena Vista Social Club festival, and even if there is, don´t be naive enough to think that you happened to be lucky enough to be in town on that very day.
  • Do your research before you arrive. The internet is expensive and generally inaccessible.
  • If you are on your own, and want to meet people, stay at one of the few dorms in Havana.
  • The girls in Casa de la Musica in Havana aren´t interested in you for your personality.
  • A great, cheap night can be held on the beautiful Malecon at Havana´s seafront. An $8 bottle of dark rum, a $1.50 bottle of cola and a bit of Spanish will save you money on the bars, and you will get a truly authentic Cuban experience.

“Lastly, regardless of budgets, Cuba is amazing, and should be visited sooner rather than later.” – David Beattie

Useful articles on budget backpacking in Cuba can be found at our friends of Don’t Forget to Move or eTramping

Have you been to Cuba? Can you relate to these expenses?

Or continue to the other articles of the Money Matters series!


  1. Great breakdown of Cuba, David. We went in 2012 and loved it. We stayed at Casa Particulars (locals that rent out a room in their home). It was about $18 a night but we got lots of local tips and advice. We got the local currency which made everything so much cheaper. We wrote an article on eTramping’s site about how to travel in Cuba for $25 per person. If you get a collectivo (shared taxi) from place to place it works out to be 50c per person for a 15 minute ride. One day we will get back and explore more of this vibrant country. Highly recommend this place to anyone (they don’t stamp your passport).

    • Hi Lesh, Thank you so much for your additional tips! Indeed a useful article on eTramping (will add it to the list)! Great to see that many people loved Cuba :)! Cheers, Manouk

  2. Cuba is my all-time favorite place. I’ve been there twice but the last time I visited was back in 2008. It’s so cool to see that the prices have stayed the same!

    • Hey Justine! Thanks for reading. After hearing so many positive stories of Cuba, it’s soon time to visit as well ;)!

  3. Thanks for the great breakdown, we always wanted to go to Cuba at some point and this post certainly helps to understand which kind of budget we should consider for visiting the country :)


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