|How do I look?|
* Cuba is an extremely poor country so make sure you tip people if you take their photo or for any service. This is how many people make their living and even a small tip can make a huge difference when your monthly pay is just $25US
* Don't eat beef, it is rare and expensive and often really unpleasant. I made the mistake of ordering beef on one occasion and it was as tough as the sole of a shoe. On the other hand, chicken, pork and crayfish or lobster are freely available. Note: Cattle are precious in Cuba because they are needed to work. Cubans receive a longer jail term for killing a cow than for killing a person.
* Don't expect milk or cheese in Cuba. Milk supply is extremely limited and, by law, only available to children, the ill and the elderly. You will annoy and/or embarrass if you ask for it.
|Cattle are precious farm workers|
|Cuban tourist bus|
* Cubans are reluctant to discuss politics. They may not agree with their government but do not want to be critical for obvious reasons. It is better to stay off the subject.
* Casa Particulares, what we in New Zealand call a Home Stay, are the best bet for accommodation. They are spotlessly clean, offer fantastic hospitality and immerse you in a true Cuban experience.
|Casa Particulares in Vinales|
* Internet services are poor and unreliable in Cuba but you can buy an internet card which will give you a limited amount of computing time. Large hotels and some city squares are the best places to connect. Cubans are very rarely seen on either the internet or cell phones. Apart from the fact that the service is poor, our guide told us he much preferred to communicate with people face to face, it is the Cuban way.
|Let's dance - any place, any time|
* Only drink bottled water and be wary of ice in your drinks. Oh, and rum is very, very cheap.
* Always carry toilet paper and anti septic hand wash. Be aware that toilet paper is not flushed in Cuba but placed in a bin alongside the toilet. Do not flush it or you will clog the primitive sewerage system and make life difficult for the locals. Toilet paper is not usually provided.
* Cuba's infrastructure is crumbling in many instances so don't expect things to always be in working order, be patient, be accepting and realise you are there for just a short time but this is what the locals live with daily.
* The Cubans are fantastic people, get to know them, to enjoy them and throw yourself into the whole experience of Cuba, you won't regret it.
I loved this wonderful country, there was something about Cuba that really got into my soul. If I got the chance I would love to go back and see the parts I missed and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Any additional ideas or thoughts you may have are very welcome in the comments section at the bottom.