Cuba Backpacking Budget – How much money do you need per day?

Havana, Cuba

On this page you will find our estimated cost of travel in Cuba. The country’s economic and political climate makes it a strange place to visit in many regards and its former two-currency system only complicated matters. However the switch to one currency was made in January 2021 simplifying things a bit for visitors. Check out our suggested shoestring and more comfortable Cuba backpacking budget for the largest island in the Caribbean.

cost of travel in Cuba
Map of Cuba from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Cuba Cost of Travel in 2023

Shoestring Backpacker Budget

  • US$35/day (840 Cuban Pesos)

For anyone backpacking Cuba on a low budget, expect to spend roughly $35 per day. This shoestring budget covers all your daily travel expenses including the cost of accommodation, transport and meals. There are various factors that will have an impact on the exact cost of your trip though, the most notable of which is whether you are travelling solo or with a friend/partner.

That’s because hostel dorm-type accommodation isn’t that common in Cuba, although recent years have seen more hostels open up in Havana for example. Therefore renting private rooms in the homes of people who have a special licence to run what is effectively a small guesthouse (casa particular) is the best value you can really find. As a result paying for accommodation will take up a sizable chunk of that budget. If you’re travelling solo, that can be a real pain. However couples or groups of friends travelling together may be able to get by on a bit less than $35 per day by sharing rooms and splitting costs.

Food and drinks are pretty good value and if you speak decent Spanish, you’ll stand a better chance of finding the best value options. Transport is also quite cheap, although Cuba is a relatively large island so you will need to travel a fair bit if you want to explore the whole country.

More Comfortable Cuba Backpacking Budget

  • US$50/day (1200 Cuban Pesos)

Cuba’s travel industry is still in its relative infancy but it is growing quickly and there are lots of different trips and excursions you can do in almost all the main travel destinations now. While it’s not quite North Korea, it’s not that easy to have a totally independent travel experience in Cuba so you will probably find yourself having to pay for more organised trips than in other countries.

By upping your budget to $50/day, you’ll have more freedom to take up these options on a virtually daily basis and it might be a wise option anyway if you’re travelling alone given it’s not an easy country to meet other travellers. Again, couples or friends splitting accommodation costs may want to reduce this figure slightly ($40/day may be a better idea of a more comfortable backpacking budget in this case).

Overall, travelling in Cuba is certainly more expensive than many countries in the region such as Nicaragua and expenses are roughly similar to the overall cost of travel in Panama.

Havana Club Rum Museum, Cuba
Tours of the Havana Club Rum Museum in the capital cost $8.

How much do things cost in Cuba?

Approximate Price (in US Dollars) 
Bus from Havana to Trinidad (4 Hours)From $5
Meal in an affordable local restaurant$6-10
Local beer in bar/restaurant$2-3
Dorm bed in a hostelFrom $7/night
Budget private roomFrom $15/night
Tour of Havana Club Rum Museum$8
Travel insurance for backpacking CubaVaries according to length of trip, your age & some other factors – Get a quick quote from Heymondo in 60 seconds!

All things considered, Cuba is still a budget friendly destination. While there are things that make life frustrating for budget minded travellers, you can still find good value with prices roughly in line with the cost of travel in Mexico for example.

If you’re a solo traveller looking to get off the beaten track in Cuba, it is worth noting that you will struggle to find dorm accommodation though, which will push up costs. Stick to main destinations like Havana and Trinidad and it should be a bit easier to keep costs down and stick to a daily budget of $30-35/day.

How do you pay for things in Cuba?

Currency – Cuban Peso

£1 = 29.59 Peso

€1 = 26.02 Peso

US$1 = 24 Peso

These exchange rates are accurate as of April 2023. The Cuban Peso is pegged to the dollar, typically at a rate of 24:1 to buy and 25:1 to sell. Note that Cuban Pesos are not usable or exchangeable outside of Cuba so exchange any remaining Pesos when departing. The old Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) that was designed for foreigners is no longer used. Many outdated articles online may reference this but the two-currency system is no more.

This Cuba backpacking budget was updated in April 2023.

Cuba Backpacking Budget – How much money do you need per day?

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