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Travel To Relax – Cuba 2017Everything you need to know before traveling to Havana as an American

Cuba 2017Everything you need to know before traveling to Havana as an American

Just got back from Cuba, if you couldn't tell
by the cigar. Which side are you suppose to, put this side
in your mouth. Going to Cuba can be a little complicated,
especially if you're going as an American so I'm going to try to cover for all the questions
you might have as far as Visa currency, things not to do, things not to bring, you are going
to go prepared. Tip number one, Cuba is very very safe but
be careful of pick pockets.

People recommended that I get one of those
hidden wallet waste pouch things that you wear under your cloths and I was like. Pfft. I don't need that. I'm just kidding this is just a toy.

I kind of put it off and this happened. That was not cool, this dude just tried to
steal my phone. A guy grabbed my phone out of my pocket and
I had to grab it back from him, it was kind of, I'll tell you the whole story another
time. We met a guy there that got his wallet stolen
from a zippered pocket.

Don't worry, it's very safe, very little violent
crime, just keep your guard up. And maybe get one of those hidden wearable
wallets. Next, try to do as much research as you can
before heading over there. I always travel spur of the moment and traveled
without an itinerary so when I got there, I was glued to these small wifi hot spots
with dreadfully slow internet.

I wanted to die. What to bring, what not to bring. Walking shoes. Taxi's are generally easy to track down but
we ended up doing a lot of walking.

44.7 Miles during the five days we were there. These definitely did the trick for me there. Next, make sure you take toiletries. Medication, contact lens solution, sunblock,
all that stuff you might need.

A lot of these things are a lot harder  to get
there than it is to get here so if you're planning on going there and just picking everything
up at a 711, uhh, no. A lot of public bathrooms don't have toilet
seats or toilet paper so kinda be prepared. We stayed at a airbnb so that worked really
well for us. We booked it only a few days in advance so
we were kind of out of options but it still worked out.

There's also super fancy hotels if you're
a baller, which we definitely are not. If you're bringing anything out of the ordinary,
just double check to make sure it's okay. You can't bring in things like a toaster,
iron, ****. Sorry guys, you have to leave your *******
magazines at home.

Do they even sell that anymore? ******* magazines? I was this close to bringing my drone, and
it's a really good thing I didn't. First thing that pops up when I look up if
I can fly my drone in Cuba is this guy who gets taken to jail for 13 days trying to get
some footage. It took him like five days before he could
even let his family know he's alive. It's a crazy story, you should go watch his
video if you want to be terrified of Cuban prison.

Electricity while you're there. I'm super smart and got this adapter which
is totally the wrong one so, uh, yeah. A majority of their outlets are the same as
the states so I just plugged everything straight into the walls, turns out that's actually
not the best idea. Cuba's energy grid is far from stable, there's
a lot of spikes and outages so if you're plugging in expensive electronics, you should probably
get a universal travel adapter with a surge protector.

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The surge protectors aren't that expensive
online and I read one guy say that his macbook got shorted while he was there. I plugged in my laptop the whole time I was
there, uh, I guess I got pretty lucky there. I guess now a lot of the newer places are
popping up with 220 volt outlets, most modern electronics can regulate this power but if
you're in doubt, you can get a voltage converter. As far as language goes, if you're in an area
with a lot of tourists like old Havana, you should have no problem getting around with
just english, but outside of there, I noticed most people don't speak English so if you
know a little bit of Spanish, that's great.

You might also want to have an offline translator
app on your phone. Speaking of phone apps while you're there,
you should definitely get an offline Cuban map. This is the one I used, it's called Cuba and
it's free and it was a lifesaver when it came to navigating around the streets. You should probably download it right now
before you forget because the internet there is so slow that you probably can't get it
there, it'll take forever.

So go ahead and install it right now, I'm
going to wait. I wish I had a watch so I have something to
look at. Now let's talk about some cash money. No but seriously, bring cash.

American credit cards and debit cards don't
work while you're there, so make sure that you bring plenty to last you the entire trip, plus a little bit extra as a cushion. We met a guy who lost his wallet and all his
cash so he had to go the US embassy to get some cash. So just like I did with my Iceland video I
tracked every dollar I spent for this entire trip and I'll make a completely separate video
explaining exactly how much I spent on food, travel, flight, visa, all that stuff so that'll
be coming soon. Their dual currency system sounds really bizarre
and confusing at first, but it's really not.

They have CUC and CUP, for the most part,
just ignore CUP. CUC is based off 1 US dollar, 1 CUC, 1 US
dollar. You will only be dealing with CUC, that makes
it pretty simple because you know that if you see something that's 10 CUC, that's basically
10 dollars. Ok, so this other currency, CUP, what do you
need to know about that? Sometimes if you go to a more local place,
you'll see prices listed in CUPs, and at that point you can ask how much is it in CUC and
pay accordingly.

We figured that out on our first night there
because we went to this bar in the middle of nowhere, no one spoke a word of English,
and we ordered a couple rum shots, and he was like this. So we gave him 10 CUCs, and he gave us 9 back. We were expecting to spend 10 dollars and
it was actually in CUPs so, it only cost 1 dollar for a round of shots. Okay, so how do you get the currency? The easiest way is to bring US dollars and
bring it over there and get CUC.

The problem with that, is that aside from
the exchange rate, you're also paying a 10% tax to go from US dollars to CUCs. For example at this one hotel, for every $100
US, you exchange to CUCs, you're going to lose about $13-14. One way to minimize that is to convert it
to a different currency here in the States. So we got US dollars and converted them into
Euros.

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We found a place here that gave us a good
exchange rate to Euros, and then we switched to CUCs, so when it was all said and done,
we were losing about 6 dollars per 100 dollars. Do a little bit of research to find the best
exchange rate in the States though, because if you go to the airport, my friend got a
terrible exchange rate over there, and she ended up paying $20 per $100 converted. Not the best. Tipping etiquecy: Yes you should tip there,
but the standard is a little bit less than the States.

At restaurants, it's generally about 10% or
15% for really good service. Taxis are generally 1-3 CUC, and we gave out
1 CUC tips here and there and they were super appreciative. Obviously you're going to need your passport
to go, but aside from that you're also going to need a visa. So how do you get this visa? We ordered ours online at CubaTravelServices.Com,
we got ours within a week of ordering it.

Also turns out you can get it at certain airline
terminals for $100, so that might be a little bit easier for you, just make sure you're
terminal has it. Visas look like this and be very careful when
you're filling it out because you have to fill it out with black ink and if you make
a mistake, it's a $100 mistake because you have to get a whole new one. As you probably know, you can't go to Cuba
as a tourist, you need to go with one of these twelve reasons to visit. So when we got to the airport we checked in,
and they gave us a form to fill out, where we mark off our reason for visiting.

This part made us a little bit anxious, I
marked off "Journalist" because, you know.. We weren't sure how many questions they were
going to ask how deep they are going to look into it, what kind of credentials we're going
to need, so I secretly recorded my entire verification process, so you guys can prepare
for it. Ready for this? Here it goes. Perfect, thank you, just keep moving.

That was it. That was it, for two seconds. I wish they would have at least looked at
the paper, I put a lot of thought and concern into this. But no it was straight up just like "next,
next, move, move" Cuban travel medical insurance is required to enter the country, but it's
most likely included in your airfare.

They're going to give you more papers on the
plane to fill out, which they don't look at either. The only thing they really look at is your
visa. So don't mess that part up. O before going, I also recommend making a
copy of your passport so you can carry it around with you at all times.

You're going to need to have your passport
on you for a few things, like this: The rest of the time just carry around a copy like
this. We learned that the hard way. So I don't know where my passport is. And we're going to keep looking for this passport,
and hopefully it pops up.

Yeah so, I thought I had to carry my passport
around with me the whole time, which is why I lost it. Turns out when I went to the embassy the lady
there just said that I only need a copy or even my driver's license. Also don't spit or blow your nose in public. It is considered super rude there.

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I actually ended up puking all over the street
on my last day there, I don't know what they consider that. Luckily no one saw except a 6 year old boy
who was watching from a balcony. Don't take pictures of government officials
while you're there and also do not talk negatively about the government. At least in public.

They Cubans we met have been all super nice
but be careful of the ones that are overly eager to help you out. It's like they have a script that they all
go by and it's kind of like this: "Hey where are you guys from? You guys are great people! I love people from, (wherever you're from),
today is the last day of the cigar festival! Everything is half off!" As an experiment we asked these people everyday
we were there if there was a cigar festival, and they were like "Yeah, but today is the
last day!" Every single day is the last day. "Oh you guys must be hungry, I know the best
Cuban restaurant, best food you'll ever eat, let's go! Let me walk you to this place that's really
good!" They'll take you there and then the food will
be super overpriced. I'm almost certain that they get a commission
out of it, because the guy that walks you always like shakes the hand of the doorman.

We looked at the menu and it was like 16 CUC
per plate. We went right next door, and it was like $4
a plate. So, TRUST NO ONE. Don't drink the tap water there, only the
bottled water, and some say avoid the ice, like even margaritas.

We had a couple ice drinks and it was fine,
but it's kind of at your own risk. I thought the food there was amazing, but
some people go there expecting to get a lot of spicy latin food. So we were one a plane with a guy who actually
brought his own hot sauce. So if you really like spicy food, I guess
that's a pretty good solution.

It's generally a good idea to know how much
things should cost before going there, or else you're going to end up overpaying for
somethings. For example, taxis, if you tell them how much
you're willing to pay to go somewhere, you're going to get a better rate than if you ask
them how much things might cost in broken Spanish. If you go, "Cuanto ride to Old Havana?" They're gonna rip you off. Like I mentioned, I'm gonna make a separate
video where I explain exactly how much everything costs in detail and also a video about all
the stuff we did while we were there, if you're trying to bulk up your itinerary.

Regulations seem to change pretty frequently,
so if things change I'll try to keep it updated in the description box. If I left anything out, or you guys have something
to add, leave it in the comments section below, I usually pin the most useful comment so that
everyone else can see it. My next video will probably be how much Cuba
costs, or…Things to do there..Uhh..We'll see, see you guys next week!.

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