Nuisances and Dangers
Cuba is one of the safest countries in the world and Habana is one of the safest capitals of Central and South America; the country is ideal for travelling with children – Cubans care a lot about them – and there is almost nothing to fear at night, even if the roads look dark or almost deserted. Although many of the common crimes in all countries in Cuba are almost unknown, there are some “local” nuisances that you should know, to avoid unpleasant setbacks.
The Casas Particular pay very high taxes to get the license, fixed monthly taxes, independent of the number of tourists who will host the house. In addition to obtaining the license, the house should provide minimum standards of cleanliness, size and security – needless to say that if they register a theft against tourists in a house with the license, it would be immediately withdrawn from the inflexible ministry officials.
In Cuba there are many illegal homes, renting one or more rooms without regular license issued by the Ministry of Tourism. Staying in one of these homes – apparently cheaper – will not satisfy the minimum requirements of cleanliness, size and – above all – security, as requested by the Cuban State to holders of regular license. So extreme attention and caution must be paid in accepting a Casa from unknown people or perhaps by a taxi driver.
Our houses are regular holders of Licencia de Arrendedor Inscripto, provided by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism, you can rely on our staff. Once in Cuba is always preferable to request a reservation for your next stop to our Location Manager; we will give you the address, a reservation code – which is known only to the house you reserved – and the pictures of the exterior of the house and the owner, so be sure 100% to get in one of our homes.
Like for casas, in Cuba there are many taxi without a license. The fares are cheaper, but only apparently as – once in the car – the driver will do everything possible to bring the tourist to a home or a restaurant that will pay a bribe to the driver; quite often, houses will have no license (see above). In recent years, there were real scams against tourists, unaware, transported by the taxi driver to a differente location from the one stated to the driver. In other cases, at Habana, some illegal taxi driver wait with a sign written at the airport and copied from the sign of another – legitimate – taxi driver waiting, hoping that tourists will fall in the trap. CaseCuba will provide you with a booking code known only by the driver of the taxi booked for you, so be sure 100% to board the right taxi.
Currency black market
In Cuba there are 2 currencies, the Peso Nacional (for Cuban to be spent only at run-state food markets) and the Peso Convertible (to be spent by tourists in hotels, taxis, homes, etc.). Often on the street some people might offer tourists to change the foreign currency (EUR or US$ or other) – with a very favorable exchange rate. This is a fraud, so be sure to change money only at a bank or exchange point CADECA.
Cigars and Rum
Never buy cigars and rum from a street vendor. Besides the danger of having them confiscated at customs, leaving the country, most likely it will be made out of bad alcohol or tobacco, if not harmful to health. Better then spend a few more pesos and ensure a genuine product.