Cuba: A cheaper place to shop

Posted: 24-Jun-16 09:05

Although vacationing is not yet a pre-approved reason to travel to Cuba, industry experts firmly believe it will only be a matter of time before this restriction is also lifted. Should this happen, it will certainly be a great day for frugal holiday hunters as there are a number of things that cost less in the country than they do in the US - and in this article we'll look at some of the more exciting ones.

Cuba: A cheaper place to shop

Having suffered decades under a U.S. imposed trade embargo, Cuba still has its own (albeit sluggish) economy where some goods and services are not as expensive as you might think. Its dual currency system is also one-of-a-kind and you should endeavour to understand its complexities before setting foot in the island. With many items in the country costing less than they do in America, time.com recently compiled a list of 11 of the most important things US tourists can save a few bucks on when seeking to enjoy the island nation on the cheap:

1. Hotels

Although tourism is booming in Cuba at the moment, visitors can still find a great deal on their accommodation. According to statista.com the average price of a room in the country is only $120.

2. Bed and breakfasts

For even cheaper accommodation in Cuba, US tourists can take advantage of many of the privately run "casa particulares". These typically cost $20-$40 a night and offer a more authentic perspective on Cuban life. You can choose from well-equipped rooms inside hosts' homes or opt for renting an entire apartment for yourself and your travelling party.

3. Taxis

Given that many of the cars in Cuba date back to the 1950s, it’s not a surprise that the cost of taking a taxi does too. A two-and-a-half-hour round trip averages around $30, making it incredibly cheap to get about.

4. Dining out

Eating out in Cuba certainly won’t break your budget. The average cost of a three-course meal in a restaurant is just $5, while even a high-end seafood dinner will only set you back around $15 in total.

5. Beer

Enjoying a cold beer in the hot sun is another inexpensive activity in Cuba. The average price of a domestic beer is just $1 ($1.50 for a bottled import), which is some $3 cheaper than it is in America.

6. Cuban rum and cigars

Two of Cuba’s most famous products – cigars and rum – retail at a much lower price on the island than they do elsewhere. Hand-rolled cigars start from $3 apiece, with quality rum is available from $5 a bottle.

7. Cappuccinos and Coke

Buying a little pick-me-up in Cuba is also far cheaper than it is in the US, with the average cappuccino retailing at $1.14 and a bottle of coke going for $1.19. American franchises are advised to take note!

8. Cigarettes

If you’re looking to give up smoking, Cuba is probably a good place to avoid! Even American brands like Marlboro cost an average of $1.50 per pack, compared to a far costlier price of $6.50 in the US.

9. Produce

Similarly, purchasing produce in Cuba is very inexpensive. Fruits like bananas can cost just $0.16 per pound, while lettuce, potatoes and onions are also markedly cheaper to buy than they are in the US.

10. Levis

Even an American style icon like a pair of Levi 501s could cost you less in Cuba. While still not dirt cheap, the jeans retail for $32.50 on the island – far less than the $42.29 average found in the States.

With all these great prices on everyday goods and services, Cuba is an incredibly inexpensive destination to visit. While you’ll currently need a better reason than “shopping” to have your entry into the country approved, there’s nothing to stop you from making a few quick purchases while you’re there for educational reasons. With a generous $400 cap on the amount of goods that you can bring back from the country, you’ll be able to take a little piece of the island home with you.


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