It’s been a couple of months since I have visited Cuba. On my recent visit, it’s evident that the changes I foresaw are evident. There wasn’t as many tourists as last time I visited, everyone is trying to get a cut from anybody, and crime has been on the rise. This time around I saw more Europeans than Americans.
I didn’t see any cops last time I was in Havana and now they are patrolling everywhere on bicycles, cars, and K9s. 21st century has come and it’s not all bringing good with it. Since tourism has increased tenfold it’s evident that the locals are trying to profit from its new visitors. Everyone that notices you are a tourist attempt to grab a cut from their services. For example, let’s say you are walking down the street and a local takes notice you need a taxi. That local will then flag down a cab for you and earn a cut from the cab driver as a finder’s fee. Now in any other hustle and grind place I can see the benefit from this, however due to this issue prices increase all around because you not only pay the cab but also the finder’s fee. So always remember to negotiate and avoid using locals for help, if they don’t agree there is always another that will for a better price.
Airbnb, flights, and goods have all started to increase in cost due to the demand. Although for some odd reason US flights have started to decrease their routes to Cuba. While I was on this last trip both Frontier and Spirit airlines have canceled flights to Cuba altogether. Cuban rum for example went from $7 dollars a bottle to $40 since my last trip in January. Wi-Fi has become a normal thing now and you are able to find hotspots throughout Havana easily. If anything, just look for a crowd gathered in the afternoons and evenings using hotspots.
In conclusion, I think if you already have booked your trip go, but if you haven’t I would hold off at least until the end of the year for the economy to stabilize with the new tourism economy. Be careful out there now with the new crime and common schemes such as the fake Cubans and drugs offered around. This was the first trip ever that I saw someone get arrested. Hold valuables close as I have been advised if you are sitting at some restaurants outside thieves can quickly run up and grab what’s on the table.
All the Best,