OK. As always this is going to be more Pinar del Río update. I can´t say what´s the situation in oriente because as always we stayed 99% of our time in Viñales with the fam. We did go to Havana for a couple get away time.
Here we are in Poland again. We came back from Cuba 2 weeks ago but this time we already have our tickets to go back in June. The last time I booked tickets so fast after coming back from Cuba it was when I met Fidel. We have some things to do there 😎. More details in the future.
First of all. The tickets guys are expensive 🤯. I know everything is getting expensive but we have never paid so much in 10 years what we paid for these 2 trips. Also flying from southern Poland ain´t easy. We have 21h journey with 2 stopovers. Things you do to go to Cuba 🇨🇺.
But how is Cuba these days?
Hiperinflation is real.
If you think your country is getting expensive than don´t try to survive in Cuba on Cuban salary. And here of course I have to specify because the reality that a visitor is experiencing (including us) is very different. An average salary in Viñales (spoke to a lot of people) is around 3600 – 4200 CUP. Obviously some people are getting more but some are getting much less. An average retirement is 1600 CUP.
Now the beloved dollar. When we arrived dollar costed 167 CUP and when we left it was already over 180 CUP. Now you see Cuban salaries with different eyes right? Now the prices for Cubans.
- a pound of rice 150-180 CUP (yep, it´s not even half of kilo)
- a pound of cucumber 40 CUP
- a pound of tomato 60 CUP
- a pound of black beans 200-250 CUP
- medium pig for meet (alive so you have to kill it and everything) 25000-30000 CUP
- small pineapple 100 CUP
- Cuban coke 300 CUP for 1,5l
- beer from 160-200 CUP
- rum from 1500 CUP
- toilet paper (if available) 700 CUP for 4 small rolls
Yes, it takes all the retirement money to buy a bottle o rum in Cuba. And there were times when we were saying that rum was cheaper than water. These days are gone.
However for us who come to Cuba with $$$ and change it to Cuban money nothing really changed. A beer still costs around 1$, you can have a meal under 5$ and restaurants are still full of foods and drinks. Some places are more expensive than the others but still very affordable for visitors. The most expensive drink I had was 4$ which was crazy for Cuban prices but still cheaper that I would get in any European city. Viñales is full of new places to visit so everybody will find something suitable. We change our spot every year according to prices and every time we find some place worth to visit.
However you can imaging that somebody who earns 4000 CUP can not afford to spend 400$ for a Cuba libre. So if you ask me if Cuba got more expensive I have to say yes – for its people, no – for visitors.
Family is doing well
As always we didn´t go to Cuba for it´s sites, we went to spent time with the fam. Of course all the young people want to leave. I don´t blame them. It´s very hard to prospect in Cuba and the perspective of earning 4000 CUP with these prices is not really optimistic. But it was a great reunion. Finally my mother in law has all her 3 sons after one roof after 7 years. We live in different continents so is hard to coordinate sometimes but this year we did it.
Last time we went to Cuba I told about Cubans leaving through Nicaragua. Few people would still choose this way but in the beginning of 2023 Biden announced that the program of humanitarian visas which was already working for Venezuelans will be extended for Cubans and citizens of Haiti and Nicaragua. USA will grant 30000 visas each month and to get it you just need to have a sponsor (relative, a friend, a company) who will meet the financial requirements.
Now all what people are talking about is parole and who got it and when they applied and who applied before and still didn´t get.
So things may change, the way may change but the desire of Cubans to leave is not.