Cuba-Junky has put us on the front page! Yes, on the bottom of the front page, but still… the front page!
We are for sale at Amazon now. However, we would love you to check out the reviews there and buy it here… Amazon is a bit of a Jinetero 🙂
The reviews are considered genuine (and they are) by these guys
Forums and discussion panels.
People that know what they are talking about are very positive! On the other hand, on some Cuba forums, we are trashed and praised. People on forums tend to have strong opinions, even about things they don’t know anything about…
We just don’t get offended or happy with forum comments…
We are recommended by Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet (which is funny because we trash LP 🙂 ). Better, we thrash people that are individual, adventurous travellers that all have the same bucket list and eat the same dessert at the same restaurant because de L.P. says so…
If you want to know which church to visit in Havana or how to get from Havana to Camaguey by bus, we refer you to the Lonely Planet. This guide is an alternative travel guide that will show you the ropes of life as a tourist in Cuba on a deeper level.
CubaConga starts where regular travel guides end… Just like Cuba starts where logic ends.
The first time we went to Cuba, we didn’t have a clue how different this country is to other tropical destinations. As seasoned travelers, we understand cultural differences, and we are aware that different does not mean “not as good as at home.” But nothing can prepare you for Cuba. Over 60 years of tropical communism has etched itself into the Cuban mentality, and we wish we had read this book before our first trip.
Difficult to understand Cuba
It takes some time to understand Cuba and this alternative travel guide offers you a shortcut. Now, 14 years later, we start to understand the Cuban mentality, but it is only a start. To quote a good friend of ours, who lives on the island since the early 90’s: ‘If you think you understand Cuba, you don’t have a clue.’
And he is right; Cuba stays a mystery. But we do claim we understand what’s going on a lot better than off that enter the country for the first or second time. We wrote this travel guide because it annoyed us to see people being ripped of by the Cuban system, making their holidays expensive and frustrating.
Cuba Conga is an alternative travel guide.
We will show you how to handle the double money standard to save money and to make your Cuban experience much more authentic. We show you the pitfalls, scams, and annoyances that are easy to avoid once you know them. We even show you how to get to know the real Cubans and how to avoid the leeches.
This Cuba alternative travel guide comes with a straightforward guarantee: You don’t like it for whatever reason, we give you a full refund. We can’t imagine you don’t like it…
Apart from the tips and tricks to get more out of your stay in Cuba, we will give you a lot of ‘nice to know’ information.
As you can see I’m not a native English speaker but don’t worry, our book has been professionally edited for your reading comfort.
Our alternative travel guide will greatly enhance your Cuban experience. Cuba is an exceptional country and about half of the visitors leave very disappointedly. Let us help you to become part of the other group, which falls in love with Cuba, its people, music, lifestyle and culture!
We’ll give you a time-saving tip HERE. Just to make up for the time you’ve spent on our blog.
About 90% of the Cuban economy is unofficial. Official channels have a very limited offer on their shelves, the black market provides almost everything. This leads to an interesting error of judgment most tourists make. We think when we hear that the average salary is about 20 $ and something costs 10 $ that the average Cuban will have to work 15 days to buy it. Sounds logical, doesn’t it?
Well, thanks to the black market (la bolsa negra), things do not add up that way.
How to survive in Cuba
Our logic dictates that we go to work to earn money. That’s not the case in Cuba.
To live, Cubans in Havana need about 150-200 $ a month (outside Havana half that amount). If your salary is 15 and you need 200… you have to make some money on the side… The money you make “on the side” is your main income.
Every Cuban is forced to be active on the black market somehow. And they all are. This renders the “official salary” a useless way of measuring prices and spendable income. Real incomes are higher than you are told, and real prices are lower than you think.
Thanks to the black market in Cuba, people can survive, make money, buy goods and since this is not in the official statistics, we make a very wrong estimation of the real situation.
Too manny people believe that the Cubans are poor and helpless… They are not! Rich Cubans exist. Poor Cubans too. Another myth is that all Cubans live of foreigners. Not true either, Cuban has it’s hidden economy and market.
Find the black market
For a tourist, this black market is sometimes hard to find. Yes, taking an illegal taxi is easy, but finding an iPad or a fish tank will be very hard for you… Cubans are always on the lookout for contacts that can supply them stuff or that can become customers for the stuff they happen to sell. Their networks are very efficient, and that makes for a very effective black market. To complicate things, not everything on the ‘informal’ market is black :-).
Read more about the stunning paradoxes that rule Cuba in our book… On this page we’ll give you a tip that will save you a few hours in Cuba.
Negotiate a lot and about everything. That does not make you cheap; they will respect you for it.
Spent a few days at a Campismo, they are very cheap
Never arrive somewhere with a Cuban by your side.
Ignore everybody that starts talking to you on the street.
Don’t make (too manny) Cuban friends.
Speak Spanish. Nothing drives up prices more than the inability to communicate.
Know what you owe and count your change.
Eat 5 pesos pizza (once).
Book your Casa beforehand, using the Internet. Or read this.
Stay away from the tourist areas.
Don’t believe anything anybody tells you.
Use MN whenever you can.
It can be fun to be cheap
Not all of these tips will enhance the fun you have, but they all bring your budget down. Other ways make Cuba cheap and preserve the quality of your holiday: For those tips we refer to our book, which is cheap too, compared to the savings it will bring.
Your Spanish is better than you think!
Nothing raises prices more than the inability to communicate. Learn some Spanish!
You know more Spanish than you think. Almost all words that have more than three syllables in English are derived from Latin and have the same meaning in Spanish. Just pronounce: reservation, communication, vocabulary, direction, investigation or permission with a Spanish accent and you will be understood.
An exception would be ‘introduction’ (‘exception’ itself is no exception by the way), if you ask to be introduced to someone, you are asking if you could put part of yourself into the other person. In Spanish, you present yourself
You see, your Spanish is already a lot better than you think.
During the next part, I will put the Spanish word between brackets just to show you how good your Spanish already is. (to read that part.. you have to buy the book 🙂 though… Sorry…)
Save money, buy our book
No matter how hard you try, Cuba will never become cheap as long as you are not a Cuban. So the best tip to make Cuba cheap… become a Cuban… :-)… the second best tip is to read our book. We’ll give you a time-saving tip on this page…