When we think about the tour to Latin America, there are few names Which comes to mind immediately. Yes, Havana is one of them. In order to take this opportunity, we three friends decided to take a vacation to one of the most popular Latin America’s city named “Havana”. We took 5 days Sunwing vacations package and travelled from Toronto > Veradero on 27 July 2022.
Havana – right from its name is tinged with ancient colors. The full name of this city in Spanish is La Habana, formerly San Cristóbal de la Habana. Economy of cuba is not very healthy so its not a very expensive country for the tourists.
At the Airport
We landed at Veradero (John G. Gomez) airport. We were the only flight landed at that time. Airport was vacant and we got cleared through the immigration easily after very few being question (total stay, what are you going to do etc). Luggage collection was quick followed by a Machine scan cum check by the detection dogs, which appeared to us their routine process as same procedure was performed to random passengers. We were held for enquiry for another 15 minutes and then finally breathed the fresh air of Cuba.
Airport looked 1960’s type airport unlike Pearson Intl Airport of Toronto. It was old building, Least use of technology with limited internet access. A uniformed male from local transportation company staff was waiting for us outside who drove us to hotel ‘Be Live Havana Copacabana’ (https://www.belivehotels.com/es/hoteles-la-habana/be-live-havana-city-copacabana, about 130 Kms from airport). The hotel is located in the heart of Havana City.
To get Cuban Peso in exchange of Canadian Dollars is restricted in Canada. Therefore we carried US$ & Cad$ along to exchange at the airport or in Cuba.
Two Options to exchange money, which are Banks vs. high Street. The exchange difference is huge which is 19 Cup against CAD$ by Banks vs. 60-90 Cup against Cad$ from high street unlicensed money exchangers. US$ is in high demand & can get you 100 to 110 Cup from unlicensed money changers for every 1 US$ and about 25 Cup for each US$ from a Bank. The middle men working with these unlicensed high street money changers will follow you at all times, quietly offering lucrative exchange rates. It’s your call as a tourist to follow the one which seems to be more reliable and trustworthy. AVOID handing him over your $$$s unless being taken to a designated shop, where the exchange should occur.
When to visit, Weather of Cuba
Havana has typically two seasons. Rainy season (May-Oct) and Dry season (Nov-Apr). During our 5 days of stay, there were 3 rainy days. The good thing was that rainy day did not spoil the day as it doesn’t long last. Havana being a coastal city, is mostly breezy and in the evening, temperature cools down and let you enjoy a good walk on sea shore.