In Cuba, the Hospitality Club is functioning in a very particular situation, mainly because there is very little internet access (for both hosts and guests) and because it is illegal for normal persons to invite a tourist to stay at their house. This makes it more difficult to use HC on your travel in Cuba. But it is well worth the extra effort.
It is a lot easier for HC hosts to help you, if they know in advance that and when you are coming. Since you might not be able to communicate per internet while in Cuba (see reasons below), it makes sense to contact all of your prospective Cuban hosts well in advance and take note of their phone numbers, so you can call them when in Cuba.
Most Cubans don’t speak English. If you want to be able to communicate with more than the handful of select persons who know English, you should consider learning some Spanish. Actually it is not very difficult and a few simple expressions already help a lot. If you already know a little bit of Spanish, you can learn some more so you will be able to understand what is going on air max safari around you and communicate with everyone.
« Casas particulares » are the Cuban version of a Bed These houses have to buy a license from the government that costs at least 140 CUC per month. Therefore they can hardly ever rent their rooms for less than 10 CUC per night. This is the standard and cheapest accommodation for individual travellers. If you are on a tight budget, you should consider bringing a tent, to avoid spending 10 15 CUC each night.
Jineteros are persons who offer services or products to tourists and charge some commission (which they won’t tell you about of course).
Things on offer are: casa particular, food, cigars, sex (chicas), transport etc.
Typical commissions are 5 CUC per person per night at a casa particular. If you are paying 15 CUC, 10 go to the house owner and 5 to the jinetero who brought you there. If you want to get the cheapest possible rate you need to go to the house by yourself and ask for a discount. Even a helpful person just showing you the way can charge the commission if he takes you all the way to the house.
When someone calls you in the street or on public places to offer you one of the above mentioned services, you can safely assume that he is a jinetero. Girls who go out with tourists nike air max tn are also called « jineteras », because it is assumed that they air max 90 pas cher do so out of pure financial interest. (Many Cubans believe that foreigners are not good in bed!)
Because of the huge economic gap between Cubans’ salaries and the amounts of money that tourists spend, these activities are financially very attractive.
The heavy environment with many jineteros waiting for toursist is one of the main reasons why individual tourists often get tired of Cuba very quickly. This is one of the big reasons why it makes a lot of sense to spend time with your HC hosts! While you are shown around by your Cuban friends, you avoid all that hassle!
A few Cubans have email at their workplace or at school, even less have internet access. Besides economic reasons this is a way to control the flow of information in Cuban society.
Telephones are not that rare, but still the bigger part of the population doesn’t have one at home. Therefore, when Cubans give you « their » phone number, often it is that of a neighbour and when you call them it takes a while until they reach the phone.
Calling abroad is beyond the possibilities of most Cubans a call to Europe costs about 3 Euro a minute! Cell phones are also very expensive: 0,45 CUC/min to call and 0,35 CUC/min to receive a call. If you compare to average salaries, you get an idea.
If you need to use the internet, besides the big hotels, Etecsa, the telephone company offers nike air max bw air max pas cher that service for 6 CUC per hour. Yes, that is very expensive! And that is the reason why it makes sense, to make your HC contacts before coming to Cuba.
For making calls in Cuba, the best is to buy a card (« tarjeta propria ») in moneda nacional. You can use it on almost all public and private phones.
There are two local currencies: Pesos Cubanos, also called « moneda nacional », MN and Pesos Convertibles, also called « divisa », CUC, « chavitos », « fula » or dlares.
1 CUC = 25 Pesos Cubanos. You can change foreign as well as the two local currencies at agencies called CADECA.
You should not bring US Dollars to Cuba, because when changing them you will be charged about 20% fee on top of the normal exchange rate.
In August 2006 1 Euro was about 1,14 CUC.
In most cases, products or services offered in Moneda Nacional are a lot cheaper than those offered in Divisa. When you ask hawkers about a price, they like to say something like « only two pesos ». But they are not talking about Pesos Cubanos, they are talking about Pesos Convertibles!
Average Salary vs. Tourist Economy
Normal Cuban salaries are between 250 and 450 Pesos Cubanos. All tourist services are charged in Convertible Pesos.
If you nike air max classic bw look at prices for tourists and for locals, you can air max tn see a huge gap. There is a two class economy in Cuba and most Cubans are part of the lower class most of the time, and most tourists are part of the higher class most of the time.
Because of the huge economic differences between most Cubans and foreigners, Cubans usually spend a lot of time complaining about this situation. You will get used to it after a while.