Leading the Alternative World Order

Reshaping Perspectives and Catalyzing Diplomatic Evolution

Thursday, September 21, 2023


Subscribe to our Newsletter

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Never miss a story with active notifications

- Exclusive stories right into your inbox

WorldAsiaWhy is it worth going to Havana or Cuba and what awaits tourists on Freedom Island?

Why is it worth going to Havana or Cuba and what awaits tourists on Freedom Island?

The other day it was learned that a Russian language study center had been opened in Havana, where hundreds of Cubans will be able to study it for free in the near future. There are also plans to increase the number of direct charter flights: instead of the existing two, the airline Nordwind intends to operate 4 flights per week to the Varadero resort and two to Cayo Coco. Aeroflot will initially launch two flights per week to the popular Cuban resort town of Varadero. Flights are scheduled twice a week – on Thursdays and Saturdays, and in September their number will increase to three. The cost of airfare is promised from 33,000 rubles one way.

To find out if it’s worth flying to Freedom Island, we spoke with tourism expert Maya Kotlyar.

Maya Isaakovna, Nordwind airline has flown to Cuba so far. What does the resumption of Aeroflot flights mean?

Maya Kotlyar: First is the expansion of scheduled flights. So far, there have only been charters based on an agreement between the Federal Air Transport Agency and the Cuban side. And now we can say that the situation has become more official – Cuba is open to citizens of the Russian Federation. If the experience is deemed positive, the number of flights will increase. Secondly, there is a warming of partnership relations with Cuba, because the Russian economy is also represented there, and they are interested in attracting our investors. Third, it lets the market know that Russia has the capability to make such flights. Still, these are long-haul flights – 12-14 hours, further than, say, Thailand, where to fly 9 hours. And this makes it possible to show the whole world that Russia is entering new markets, that our airlines are able to launch direct flights there on Boeing 777 wide-body aircraft. Perhaps other countries, seeing that everything is normal and safe, Cuba will follow.

Should we go to Cuba?

Maya Kotlyar: Freedom Island is a combination of color with excursions and immersion in history. I always say that it is worth going to Cuba for the sake of Cuba. It is a habitat, a culture and a transparent and very beautiful sea. If you’re interested in this particular combination, it’s worth checking out. At the same time, the service there is generally poor, the hotels are very good.

What about currency exchange?

Maya Kotlyar: Those who buy trips to this country go to hotels where, as a rule, everything is included. They don’t need to go anywhere, especially since Cuba is notorious for lacking a lot of goods. But if there is such a need, there are exchange offices. In addition, from August 2022 you will be able to exchange dollars again. Also, in some ATMs you can withdraw money from the Mir card. Admittedly, it is not yet possible to pay with these cards on site. But this question is being worked out.

Cuba Tourist tips

Daria Yuryeva, the author of a telegram channel on Latin America, explained what to stock up before leaving for Cuba, what to see and what food to try.
It is worth going to Cuba, especially to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of salsa and rumba.

Daria, what kind of information about Cuba you won’t find on the internet. For example, they write that there is no hot water in the central water supply system.

Daria Yuryeva: In general, this is true, but this does not apply to houses and apartments intended for tourists. In fact, to rent accommodation to foreigners, Cubans must go through a series of procedures to prove that it meets the requirements. There should be hot water and a separate bathroom. A blue sign is hung on the doors of these apartments and houses, which means that visitors can stay here. Well, there is nothing to say about the hotels. It’s all there, of course.

In 2021, the withdrawal from circulation of the convertible peso, invented for tourists, began. And what?
Daria Yuryeva: Now Cuba officially has a national currency – the peso. The exchange rate is 120 pesos for 1 dollar. You can change any convertible currency.

What about in-store items?

Daria Yuryeva: The deficit in Cuba is undulating. You never know what will and what won’t be in store. Before the flight in mid May, I stocked up on hygiene items in Moscow, but when I arrived in Havana, I found that the currency stores had what I needed, well that produced locally. And when I lived there permanently, I was faced with the fact that a certain category of goods suddenly disappeared from the shelves, and also suddenly reappeared. Therefore, things and medicines that you cannot do without, just in case, it is better to take with you.

What about the Internet?

Daria Yuryeva: Internet access is poor. In recent years the situation has improved, but be prepared that if you can write in messengers, you will not be able to watch video in the hotel. Roaming depends on the provider – some conditions are better, some worse. As for WIFI in public places, it has already appeared in some squares, and not only in Havana, but it is unstable. And in restaurants, as a rule, this is not the case at all.

What are the must-sees in Cuba?

Daria Yuryeva: Visit Hemingway’s house, dance salsa, go to a cigar plantation, eat lobster. Well, try the Cuban side dishes – potato analogues. These are sweet yam, malanga and yucca.

Read the Latest Science and Technology News Today on The Eastern Herald.

For the latest updates and news follow The Eastern Herald on Google News, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. To show your support click here.


News Room
News Room
The Eastern Herald’s Editorial Board validates, writes, and publishes the stories under this byline. That includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on easternherald.com.

Public Reaction

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.