Cuba on a Shoestring Budget


For the 30 days I was in Cuba, I had budgeted to spend about $2,000 CUC. I ended up spending only $1,300 CUC. I was able to cut costs by sharing a room, cooking meals in my casa and I also took advantage of traveling like a local whenever possible.

I did however, buy meals or drinks for my Cuban friends so, that did add a little extra to my trip expenses. I was happy to do it though being so under budget.

34% of my budget went to food for total of $435.50 CUC. That breaks down to roughly $14 CUC a day. For the first two weeks I spent about $40 CUC on groceries and made all my meals at my casa. I bought staples such as rice, dried black beans and eggs. I then bought ham, plantains, avocado, bananas and guava every few days. I also purchased 2 gallon jugs of water for $1.50 CUC which I used to fill my water bottle with. You can usually get meals in non-tourist restaurants for around $3 CUC ($60 CUP). If the prices on the menu are in Cuban National Pesos (CUP) you know you’re in the right place.

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29% of my budget was spent on accommodations for a total of $368 CUC, roughly $12 CUC a day. I was able to cut costs by booking the first week beforehand through Airbnb, receiving a weekly discount. Having someone to share a room with for two weeks also helped me to cut costs. Rooms in Cuba generally cost around $20 to $25 CUC a night.

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25% of my budget was spent on transportation for a total of $322 CUC. That’s roughly $10 CUC a day. That accounts for taxi rides in taxi collectivos, bus rides on local buses and the multitude of ETN bus rides all over Cuba. I traveled by ETN bus from Trinidad to Cienfuegos ($6 CUC), Cienfuegos to Santa Clara ($6 CUC), Santa Clara to Santiago de Cuba ($40 CUC) and Santiago de Cuba back to Havana ($51 CUC).


10% of my budget was spent on entertainment, roughly $119 CUC in total and $3 CUC a day. This accounts for entrances into clubs, museums and about 12 hours worth of internet cards. The only “tour” I went on during my trip was a horseback ride to a waterfall in Trinidad. Generally, if there was something I wanted to see I found out how to get there like a local.

2% of my budget was spent on miscellaneous items, about $26 CUC in total. This accounts for the week I started smoking again, fees to use the restroom, a massage and medicine.

The first time I was in Cuba I spent about $900 CUC in 10 days. On this trip I ate at expensive restaurants for tourists, went on tours and took private taxis. Just like with any vacation how you choose to spend your money is totally up to you.

Cuba can be done on a shoestring budget with a little extra legwork!

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