Although the United States and Cuba have a bit of a checkered past, it’s a gorgeous place to visit any time of the year.
Although there is a distinct rainy season, even that can be enjoyable if you’re the type who loves thunderstorms and the sounds of cicadas, sitting in cafes while it rains outdoors, or splashing through puddles.
Cuba also has many other things going for it: white sand beaches, turquoise waters, delicious local food, blooming gardens, and architecture.
Lodging is as cheap or expensive as you want it to be, transportation is affordable, and tickets from the United States are quite low.
You will, of course, have some questions about traveling to Cuba. Given the embargo that was in place for a long time, that’s natural. It’s best to be prepared by thoroughly educating yourself on who can go and when before making your plans.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll tell you all about that as well as how to find the best deals when searching for airfare, planning dinners, and booking your hotel or home.
There also exist some significant safety precautions. Read on for everything you need to know about traveling to Cuba today!
Average Trip to Cuba Cost in 2023
An average one-week trip to Cuba for two people in 2023 will cost around $3,000:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $100 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $400 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $75 per person, per day
- Transportation: $150 total
- Total Cost: $3,000
The exchange rate for Cuban pesos is extremely favorable to the dollar, which is why much of the country is so affordable for travelers.
You won’t need to plan on a large per-day budget for food and sightseeing, nor will you need to set aside much for transportation inside the city.
The main concern when going to Cuba isn’t the cost, which is equivalent to a one-week trip inside the United States – or possibly less, depending on where you’re going. The concern is, rather, traveling to get there.
In the next section, we’ll take a look at who can go to Cuba, when, and what the rules are. That way you won’t face any surprises upon trying to enter the country or get back home.
Who Can Go to Cuba?
Typically our guides don’t cover this, but since travel to Cuba is restricted by the US government, it’s important to have all the information upfront.
President Obama lifted the embargo against Cuba, which had been in place since 1958, when Fulgencio Batista was in power.
However, the Trump administration reversed the policy, making it so that travel was once again restricted to the country – and emigration from Cuba to the US was limited as well. President Biden then reversed the reversal, but only in a limited fashion.
As of today, says the US Embassy, “Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited by statute. However, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued general licenses for 12 categories of travel.”
As of right now, according to the embassy, “The 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba are
- Family visits
- Official business of the U.S. government
- Foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
- Journalistic activity
- Professional research and professional meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
- Support for the Cuban people
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and certain authorized export transactions
If your goal is to see this beautiful Caribbean country and you don’t have family there, read the above list carefully. Chances are good you can try and qualify for one of the exceptions through a church group, school activity, developmental workshop, research, performance, or competition.
Most likely this will take some extra planning to devise a strategy, but if you’re motivated, you can make it happen. Travel to Cuba does require a visa, and the US government will not provide one.
Instead, you must contact the Cuban embassy to get it sorted, the details of which you can find here.
Also note that dual US-Cuban citizens must use a Cuban passport upon US exit and entry. With that said, if you are included in one of the 12 categories or believe you can figure it out, here’s everything you need to know about costs.
We’ve also made a detailed guide on the 12 ways Americans can travel to Cuba. It’s definitely worth reading, as we dive into each of the categories we’ve listed above.
Cuba Trip Cost: Average by Item
Covid-19 kind of nuked the travel scene. Millions of people around the world were forced to cancel vacations and rethink their vacations for months, if not years.
This did a number on tourism both during the pandemic and after, when travel rebounded with a vengeance.
That means costs today are pretty high, but Cuba’s depressed economy and embargos make it much more affordable than most places. Still, there are always ways to save, which is where the following sections come in.
The upside of traveling in a developing nation is that you can find the same services as in your own country or a developed one for a fraction of the cost.
In Cuba, you can rent a small guesthouse or apartment for $40 or $50 a night. A nice bed and breakfast in the city of Havana will cost you only about $60, as will a room in a villa.
Boutique hotels, with beautiful rooms and great service, cost between $150 and $200 for a room with a big bed and sometimes a balcony. However, there aren’t that many of them, so you’ll need to book as soon as you get your flights.
A nicer hotel is likely a safer place to stay, FYI, though for the most part, the Cuban people are warm and welcoming everywhere.
Just make sure to lock up your valuables when you leave and keep cash close to you at all times. Overall, plan on an average of $100 a night for a nice hotel or apartment that is decently close to the local attractions.
The good news about Cuba is that flights from the US are dead cheap. A round-trip ticket from Miami is somewhere in the range of $200 to $300, while flying from Los Angeles will cost you about $500 and Chicago $400, if you price shop.
On average, you can plan on around $400 per ticket, round trip. Note that the internet knows your interests.
When you search for flights online, cookies on websites embed in your browser history, telling the search engine that you want to go.
It will therefore return higher-priced results next time around. To avoid this, search in incognito mode. Life hack: this will also help you avoid the flood of advertisements you get on desktop and mobile any time you search for (or seemingly talk about) anything at all!
Definitely use it for flights and hotels, but feel free to employ this technique for your Christmas shopping, mattress purchases, and legal searches as well.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Cuba is a fantastic place to see a lot of sights at low or no cost. It has many public beaches and pretty parks where you can spend your time, and it also offers free public attractions.
Consider Fusterlandia, a stunning art installation made of mosaic structures by local artist José Fuster. Be sure to bring your camera to that one! Old Havana is definitely a must, with its Spanish architecture.
Enjoy a walking tour of cathedrals, administrative buildings, and sweeping plazas. Make sure to check out top sights such as the Plaza de la Catedral, the Plaza Vieja, and the Old Havana Administrative Area.
The Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro is definitely worth a look-see as well. If you’re up for a little travel, the Viñales Valley in the Sierra de los Organos is absolutely breathtaking.
Surrounded by jutting mountains, jungle scenery, and green fields, it’s a wonderful place to cool off and enjoy Nature at her finest. It’s located in the Pinar del Río Province about a 3-hour drive from Havana.
Food and drink are likewise very affordable in Cuba. You can get a great meal, full of local flavor, for between $5 and $10 during the day.
If you want to dine at a nice restaurant, there are many in Havana and scattered around the rest of the island. Plan to spend about $30, with affordable drinks as well. Overall, you can get by on $75 per person, per day, and have a lovely time.
If you really want to see a lot of the countryside, go parasailing or on boat tours, or do winery tours, you should plan on a little bit more, perhaps $125 a day.
Taxi costs in Cuba are shockingly low, on the order of public transportation. You can easily travel to cities outside Havana for a few dollars or less, making it an excellent way to get around.
Since public transport is a dicey proposition, it’s best to hire a taxi or a private car, which will cost a bit more.
Overall, the best way to get around Havana and other Cuban cities is on foot. Still, if you want to see anything outside of them, you’ll need to hire drivers. You can safely set aside about $150 and call it good.
Things to Consider
Now that we’ve discussed basics, here are a few more things to keep in mind:
- Cubans often accept dollars and euros, so you don’t need to change a bunch of money when you get to town. However, it’s good to have some Cuban pesos on hand.
- Driving is sketchy in the country, so don’t plan on doing your own. Instead, find a good taxi driver and stick with them all week, if possible. Many are willing to become personal guides if you tip well.
- Traveling alone is not a good idea in Cuba, but if you’re there to visit family and know your way around, it is safer. If you’re there as part of a group or a tourist, always stick to the group and to populated areas. Leave jewelry at home and only carry small amounts of money at one time, enough to see you through the day plus an emergency.
- Many establishments don’t take credit cards, so keep cash with you at all times.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I travel to Cuba?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions about Cuba, if not the main one at the top of travelers’ minds when considering a trip. The answer is … maybe.
Although the United States lifted its travel restrictions against Cuba briefly in the Obama administration and put them back in place under Trump, Biden has established a middle ground. Read the above section “Who Can Go to Cuba?” for everything you need to know.
Is Cuba expensive?
Cuba is not at all expensive. In fact, this is one of the most affordable trips you might take.
Is it safe in Cuba?
That said, one of the reasons Cuba is so affordable is that it is an extremely impoverished nation and the standard of living is low. That means unwary tourists can become prey to muggers, carjackers, and terrorists. If you stay in populated places that dedicate themselves to tourism, however, this is unlikely to occur.
Is it easy to get around?
Yes, it’s relatively easy to get around in Cuba. The best way is to take taxis.
When is the best time to visit Cuba?
Hurricane season is from June through November, so be aware if you schedule during that time, you may have to cancel your plans. December through March are cooler and the weather is calmer, but that means it’s busier as well. April and May are often lovely without a lot of foot traffic.
So, What Is the Average Cost for a Cuba Trip?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$100 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$400 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$75 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$150 total|
|💲 Total Cost||$3,000|
The average cost of a one-week trip to Cuba is around $3,000 for two people. As long as you have a good reason for being there, plan well ahead of time, and practice good safety sense, this is one of the nicest and most affordable vacations you’ll have!