Christian and I took a short trip to Cuba. We had to make it a short one due to the limited internet and it being the middle of my teaching schedule. He got us a great little Airbnb one street away from the Malecon and shops and restaurants.
The flight over and visa process was very easy with no worries about using American passport (me). We both bought visas at the US airport but didn’t have to mark a category or give any extensive information. It was very smooth at the other end too with short lines through immigration (a nice change).
We changed dollars at the airport into CUC and were hit with a bit of a charge as it’s 10% for dollars (research later suggests euros better). Taxis were plentiful and easy to get to where we were staying and the roads were pretty easy traffic wise.
Our host met us and showed us around a little and then we set off for lunch. Sidewalks are a little precarious with broken steps and holes/sewers but no more than we find in many Asian places.
We wandered the mall for 10 minutes as it only had a couple of lackluster shops with dusty looking appliances, racy lingerie and a convenience store that heralded good beer and water but no snack food and only strange condiments and pickled octopus type of things. Very limiting in terms of food availability outside of restaurants and this continued everywhere we went.
Our meals were decent in restaurants for the most part but quite expensive and on a par with Florida. The beer was very good and Christian enjoyed the Cuban rum. Everything else seemed to have run out (even though bottles were on show). I did have delicious lobster kebabs, which for $8 was a great deal.
At the airport café when leaving we lined up for coffee and breakfast to discover that the only thing on the menu was coffee and ham and cheese sandwiches. That as it but we did find some strange cookies in duty free. And internet!
We had a great tour around the countryside for a day. It was pretty (much like Costa Rica combined with the Yucatan) and people were very friendly. The tourist sites are still limited and just now being developed so it’s a bit rickety which is understandable.