What You Need to Know When Planning a Trip to Cuba

If you're taking advantage of the new opportunity to travel to Cuba, here's what you should know before embarking on your journey:

1. There are 2 types of currency in Cuba: the CUP & the CUC. The CUC has monuments on it and is the one you need as an American traveler (about a 1:1 value with the US dollar). The CUP (Cuban peso) has faces on it, such as Che Guevara. While these coins make for cool souvenirs, and look like they should have value, they are worth about 1/25 of a dollar.

 
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2. Everyone wants to bring home a Cuban cigar & Cuban rum as a souvenir, but be mindful...while $400 worth of gifts can be brought back to the U.S., only $100 of these gifts can be from tobacco & alcohol. Art, books, and other educational materials are not included in this total.

 
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3. Be prepared to have locals ask you for money. Many of the Cuban locals who will engage you in conversation on the streets will be looking for compensation for your chat. Also, beware of the registered men on the streets, who are cleared by the government, who may start drawing you without your permission, and will expect compensation.  

4. You won't see McDonald's or Starbucks while in Cuba. America and Cuba have not had economic relations for the past half century, so there is no trace of American products across the country (minus the 1950's Fords & Chevrolets). So, bring any American products you need with you.