Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Eastern Ontario
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Re: Cuba Sailing- Hobie Cat- Cayo Santa Maria
We didn't really do any local shopping. I am not sure what the grocery store situation is, we ate in restaurants. However, I did see local shopping. Private citizens are allowed to open up little shops in the fronts of their homes and sell what ever. Pots, pans, pizza, cane juice whatever. I attached a pic a couple of homes where people are selling stuff off their front porch. The currency is the Cuban Peso, they are phasing out that goofy dual currency thing they had and it seems most transactions are handled with the Peso.
The Peso exchanges as roughly one US dollar. Things are cheap. A 1 peso tip will get you pretty far. A 26 oz bottle of nice quality Havana Club dark rum was 4.50. A 20 pack of Monte Cristo Cuban minis was 10.00 Pesos.
My understanding is you can not buy Cuban Pesos out side of the country, you have to exchange there, which was straight forward. From what I saw they could give cash advances on non American Credit cards (for example, my Canadian Visa worked), they would also exchange Canadian Currency for Cuban Pesos. I suspect Euros would be accepted too.
The only street food we bought was ice cream and beer. I paid 2 Pesos for a can of Buccanero on the street, you can probably get it for less. There are outside patio restaurants too, pizza etc. The restaurant food in Cuba is interesting. The ingredients are limited. We were at a pizza place that couldn't make pizza because they had run out of flour and didn't seem to have any way to immediately rectify the problem.
The Cuban Peso is easy, you hand over a bill, they give you change. Just like in Canada or the US.
Local transportation is a mix of horse drawn taxis, old American car taxis and newer, Russian or Chinese vehicle taxis and old buses. You can rent motorcycles and jeeps in touristy areas. I have done both, I find Cuban roads to be reasonably decent roads to drive or ride on.
Here is a pic of a street vendor and a bank.