Prices rise and fall like a yo-yo, according to the Cuban government’s whim. After overpricing almost everything, since 2006 the Cuban government has slashed prices for hotels and many tourist services.
If you use public transport, rent casas particulares, and dine on the street and at peso snack bars, you may be able to survive on as little as CUC25 a day (more in Havana). For a modicum of comforts, budget at least CUC60 a day.
Cubans receive slave-rate wages. Your waiter dressed in a tux probably lives in a slum and is being paid less than CUC1 per day. Waiters expect to be tipped 10 percent, even where a service charge has been added to your bill (waiters and staff see only a small fraction of this, if any). Alas, many waiters haven’t figured out that a tip is meant to reward good service.
Museum guides often follow you around in the hope of soliciting a tip. If you don’t welcome the service, say so upfront. Musicians in bars and restaurants will usually hover by your table until tipped, after which they usually move on to the next table.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition