There are few ways to travel Cuba since it requires some planning its not fit for a short break. The two principal ways to travel are backpacking around and simply taking a holiday.
You will find that Cuba is an extremely backpacker friendly destination with decent means for getting around that are not too expensive and a network of what is called casa particulars. These are actually peoples homes where you organise and pay for a room. It would not suprise me if Cuba gave the founder of AirBnB the idea. However there are many other reasons to backpack around this massive country. The history, culture is apart from other Caribbean in many ways and so is unique. The landscapes change dramatically offering a plethora of activities. This is an excellent backpacking guide on Cuba, you should read that if nothing else to get an idea if this country is for you.
About Cuba Backpacking
I have been contemplating what to do and where to go with my 18 (!) holidays days left until the end of 2008...started off by looking at Thailand again, as I hadn't visited the north nor the eastern islands...however, i went to your site and was reading your Cuba backpacking trip ... looks like this may just tempt me enough. Tourist visa request is pretty straightforward. It's also cheap, as Thailand, and home to my fave cigars, which I owe you a couple at least ;) got a few questions: - could you tell me with which airline you flew. - is it worth just sticking around a few areas or is the island small enough to go on a whole tour? - did you see any other girls backpacking on their own? i.e. safe enough? (this is a weird question i know :) ) - what is the average you spent on (a) food (b) transport (c) accomodation daily? - if cuba wasn't it, what is your next trip to recommend :)! am looking for a chill-out and sporty holiday (snorkelling, cycling, running perhaps...rollerblading could be a bonus! hehe)
I felt really amazingly safe in Cuba. But anyone should take regular precautions and even more so as a woman. But as a woman in Cuba you will get hounded by Jiniteros!
I flew with Virgin Atlantic as it happens. I didnt get as good a deal as some people as they booked more last minute than me or more in advance grrrr. It may just about be as cheap as Thailand in some areas, but for a casa particular you should expect to pay top end of 25 USD per night including breakfast 2008 prices. Food can cost really a lot less than 15USD per day if you manage to get some moneda nacional written MN. You can get this by visiting the local CADECA exchange places.
A good tip is to take euro travellers cheques, issued from a u.k. bank these were fine to get changed and didnt attract as heavy a penalty as using ANY type of card. But a better tip for Cuba is to take a few forms of backup. Many cards don't work and cash points are not exactly common. You will be carrying more cash around than you would anywhere else..so another reason to be careful.
Depending on where you live there will be a good choice of websites that will help you find a holiday in Cuba. It is a popular place because the prices are low yet the beaches are great and though the levels of service and appointment of resorts can be lacking you get great value.
Stay in a casa particular, Visit Viejo Havana and the malecon as it starts to get dusk. Casa de la musica in Havana and Trinidad, Scuba Diving off Isla De La Juventud, feel the revolutionary struggle around the suburbs of Santiago de Cuba. Visit a cigar factory in havana. Visit mogotes in Vinales. Enjoy the lack of commercial advertising and that Cuba makes do with recycling in real terms and that the life of an item is probably 3 times that of the western world where we throw things away so quickly.
Love it or hate it, Cuba has a unique past, and will have an amazing future, a jewel of resources sitting right under the power that is the USA. Raul has just assumed power and it will be interesting to see how he will try and shape her.
For a long time a Spanish colony has meant a contribution to the cultural wealth in Cuba (See Trinidad on the south Coast)Cuba is the largest in the Caribbean about the same size as England. Havana is the weathered capital and in 1972 she was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Many of the cities have beautiful architecture, museums, theatres and market squares, and the best salsa music in the Latin world. You can take a taxi ride in the ageing and unique American cars.
Cuba covers 110,860 square kilometres and has a population of approximately 11 ½ million.
Travel through Cuba not limited to backpacking is so many things - but above all, (and I will surely fail to impress upon you) is the uniqueness of it. With a history dominated by controversy involving most notably the USA and Soviet Union, Cuba has not been without violent incident and struggle. In more recent history these incidents made all the more acute and rightly or wrongly by an individual man called Fidel Castro and certain others outside Cuba - men who have come and gone (Castro remains *), and other less known individuals making up the army and another individual we all know as Che. The revolutionaries that once and for all freed Cuba from Batista. Some think he [Castro] is dead others read that which he has had written from his hospital bed. But this is not a story of the History of Cuba this is a story of Cuba today (may june 2008).
*Summer 2016 it could be that Fidel Castro is dead.
Editors note - Fidel Castro Died November 25, 2016 according to the nations press.
Here is my recommendation on places to visit in Cuba:
1. Habana ( I stayed around near plaza Viaja, in Habana viaja. Casa perticular in Habana is around CUC 25 per day.
2. Vinales - Bus ride from Habana.. This a valley and from here you can go to two different diving sites. 1 to the west tip of Cuba ( Marina Hemingway)and 2 Cauo Lavisa. ( 4-5 days) You can spend ages in vinales.
from vinales you can take a bus to Trinidad.. ( great City), base yoursel here and go around santa Clara, pay of bigs, playa ankon.. .. (4-5 days )
Cuba is one of the greatest places to cycle. The roads are great, very little traffic, friendly people and it’s as safe. It’s not an expensive country and you can have a great time with less than CUC $40 a day, which equates to around UK £25 (March 2008)