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Please advise

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A friend and I are going to Cuba for a week via Montral (we're American) on July 5th.
I know that it is best to use cash while in Cuba, but we have no idea how much to take. We're staying at Hotel Sevilla, where breakfast is included.
Can anyone tell me how much approximately someone would spend on transportation, meals, entertainment, etc.? We want to be moderate in our spending, but will also like to splurge a few times on dinner and entertainment.
Thanks in advance!!

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    Hello there:

    First off, not only is it "best" to use cash, but as an American you MUST use cash as no credit or debit cards would be accepted if drawn on an American financial institution. This is also true of travellers checks from US banks.

    On my many visits to Havana I usually budget about $100 USD per day. This is for meals out, taxis, a good cigar every day, drinks, admissions to some museums etc. For me this is comfortable and I usually bring some left over funds back home with me. Mostly it depends on how much you spend on drinks and souvenir stuff. A typical lunch (say at El Patio in Cathedral Square) will run around $10-$12 for a Sandwich Cubano and a couple of cold beers. There are also lots of other cafe's along Obispo near Plaza Armas where you can also get lunch for a decent price. Dinners out in a nice restaurant, wine included usually runs about $40-$50 USD for a couple (El Aljibe). Proportionally, it would be higher if you drank the whole bottle of wine yourself :o)

    If you like, you can check out some of my Cuban photos (with INFO) showing many of the sights around central Havana and some other areas.
    http://photopilot.tripod.com

    Hope you have a great time in Cuba. Take lots of film.

    Steve

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    We just returned from a two week educational trip in Cuba We're also American. This was a University course, US Tresury sanctioned trip.
    I'd be happy to try to answer any question you might have, and since we traveled around the entire island, I could give you my opinions of different places as well.
    The Hotel Sevilla has a beautiful lobby, Moorish influence, with interent access (there's a user fee, per half hour or per hour) We didn't stay there, but did stay in the neighborhood, around the corner. You will be right across the street from the art museum--check out the current one person modern art exhibit (very expressionistic) as well as the Cuban collection. The revolution museum is also across just the street.
    As Steve has said, you must use cash. A large bottle of water is one dollar. Go to the dollar markets all around to buy it, and buy a lot of it. Most of our meals were included. Hotel food is okay, but bland, restaurant food is tastier, although still somewhat bland. We did have great sandwiches at the El Floridita restaurant. Drinks $6.00, sandwiches $7.00. We ate at one legal palador which I would highly recommend. The food was terrific and the experience well worth it. Meal, drinks, and tip approx. $20.00. per person. I'll have to check my notes on the name and location, although it's the one mentioned as the best in the Fodor's Cuba book, in Central Havana, and is spelled something "La Guarita." I'll check my notes for the name of the jazz club we went to.

    Yes do take lots of film. I shot over twenty rolls. The country is at once both beautiful and tragic. The architecture is crumbling everywhere. The economy is shot and in ruin. The people are, in my opinion, poor, some seem content, others disturbed. It's a land of conflicts and contradictions.
    The trip was quite an eye opener. I've been to countries under communist rule, and I have to say, the Communist regime in Cuba has been responsible for creating the devasting effect seen everywhere, far greater here, than I've witnessed elsewhere. I do believe you will return with a great appreciation for America. Please let me know if I can help answer any other questions. Kathy

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    We spent $2500 for two people for one week, including accomodation.

    The food is not all that bland. It is not spicy like other caribean countries, it seasoned with onions and garlic. Try Ropa Vieja (a beef and tomato stew), roast chicken, Cuban sandwich, excellent fries and omelettes (due to use of beef fat!), and dirt cheap street pizza. Also the Chinatown is good. Try to eat in paladars.

    El Floridita is a huge rip-off! go have a look, but have your lunch elsewhere for 1/4 the price, and twice the service.

    Cuba looks poor, but in ways they are rich. All of their education, medical, dental, and housing are fully paid by the government. Everyone has at least grade 12. Everyone has a basic living wage and food supply, and can earn extra for profit if they like (hence paradors). A lot of their infrastructure issues are linked to US trade embargos.

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    I was just going to say, that the US has ruined thier economy, not thier gov't. I don't really agree with the communist systom, but without imports and exports, the country has done surprisingly well. They still have the ability to have thier social programs running.

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