A sense of the cost of living in Guanabo.

The following while not completely exhaustive does cover quite a few key items and activities which should enable to you better plan and budget. We also offer a few suggestions of item that you may wish to bring that are not available or in short supply.


Guanabo is approximately 6 km long and stretches along the ocean. It is approximately 2 km deep and gradually climbs up a gentle slope towards the highway behind it. So essentially you can easily walk everywhere.

However, if you are tired or its too hot or its late and you may have had a few more drinks than you had planned, Guanabo also has many horse and buggies that are called “coaches” in Cuban. These are perfect for simple in-Guanabo hops to bars, restaurants and your home. The cost is approximately $1 for a ride of 1 km and $2 for 2 km and likely $3 for 3 km, and these are for the full coache and not per person. So given that Guanabo is approximately 6 km long you get a sense of how easy it is to get around. The only caveat is that coaches struggle to go uphill so it usually costs a little more as they often have to zig zag to go up the steeper parts of the town.

• When it comes to moving between towns and cities there are a number of other choices and these are:

o Collectivo taxies that usually not clearly or somewhat unmarked to the uninitiated. They usually travel in an a) to b) manner between downtown Guanabo to downtown Havana. These are usually very old 1950’s Ford, Chev and Chrysler type cars. You and others simply flag these shared cars down off the street (you will see other Cubans waiving at cars on the street) and you get in with others if there is space. In terms of costs a one way 15 minute trip to downtown Havana is $1.

o There are also public busses, called wawas, that take you almost anywhere and are just a good way to travel with Cubans. Of course these are a bit slower (and sometimes packed with people) and you will have to talk to someone to figure which bus you want to get to different parts of Havana or other towns such as Cojimar, Alimar, Campo Florida, Cottoro etc… These costs about 4 cents one way.

• If you know a Cuban you also sometimes manage to hire a car but the costs are pre-negotiated. Often your casa owner can arrange these the day before your requirement.

• Finally there are the yellow and much more modern government taxies that go anywhere and run 24 hours a day and which you don’t share. These cost quite a bit more. I would guess that a ride to downtown Havana would be between $20 and $30 one way.


While unscientific I will organize these in three categories. But before I do so, it is important to note that food is not a priority for me, be it Cuba or Canada. So please keep this in mind as I provide the following overview. However, clearly I generally look for and recommend reasonably good, hardy and clean. So here goes:

• There are no five or four star restaurants that I am aware of in Guanabo.

• The cadillacs: In my opinion there are four Guanabo restaurants all within walking / coache distance from downtown Havana that lead the pack. As far I am concerned the food is delicious, the restaurant and setting is beautiful, the service top notch and price is very affordable. An excellent meal (chicken, lamb, beef and fish with lots of spices) is about $6 to $8 (except the fillet mignon and lobster, which costs about $11).

• The fiats: After that we have a larger number of very reasonable, tasty and certainly hardy (I can never finish a serving) and pleasant Italian restaurants all offering pizza, pasta, lasagna etc. (about $4 to $6) with a glass of Argentina or Chilean wine (from $2 to $3 a glass, and probably bring your own).

• The Cuban high end. There about 3 very tasty, hardy and popular Cuban stand-up/sit-down restaurants that are very professional, counter service, quick, filling, pretty tasty enough and very affordable with the average large meal about $3. These are often full of holidaying and better off Cubans. However a large number of expats and myself eat there as well. Often at lunch or mid-afternoon.

• Your basic Cuban restaurant that I am not very familiar with, but do sometimes grab a small outdoor pork sandwich to satisfy a slight hunger. These are 50 cents.


Guanabo Cuban Hotels (Miramar and Playa Hermosa). There are no 3 or 4 or 5 star hotels in Guanabo. But there are, I would say two decent 1 or possibly 1.5 star hotels (with small swimming pools) and a bar/restaurant. These are very basic, pretty clean, but usually come with really nice and pleasant staff. Both of these are in the centre of town and if you walk around with a smile you are more than likely to make friends with the staff and all the other Cuban guests. There are very few if any other North American or European tourists. These costs or at least use to cost about $15 to $20 for one person and usually add another $7 for another person (your buddy, wife/hubby or girl/boyfriend or other. But this usually includes a free breakfast and access to any entertainment they may have organized.

Casa Particulara. While I use to prefer the Hotel Miramar as it was simple, full of Cubans and plenty of day and nightlife, I now prefer Clarita’s casa particulara as its very central, next to the beach, wonderful and helpful Cuban family and 4 other units that other guests use. There are many, many casa particularas in Guanabo that are all different. Some are big, some are small. Some are close to the beach some are up the hill a tad. Other possible features include 1 bedroom or several. AC, hot water, kitchenette, small pool and all have different policies with respect to music, company or have separate or non-separate entrances. Some offer cooked meals and some don’t. Generally there are a large variety and prices range from $18 to $50 and beyond, but there are a large number that are in the $20 to $30 range and these are fairly close to downtown and the beach. The best advice is to take the time to examine several and talk to ex-pats to get some advice as to reputation of these. Please be forewarned that often but not always if a Cuban brings you to, or refers you to a casa, that person then gets a 5/night referral fee, so then your price will be slightly higher.

There at least two other hotels that I have seen but not heard anything about, and would classify these as 0.5 star as they do not have a pool and do not look terribly attractive. But perhaps they are just fine, and I would guess priced around $13/night.

Bar and Clubs:

The following prices are the average costs of bars around town. What is noteworthy is that the coke or pop is often more expensive then the free poured and generous rum.

Also there is no sales tax.


• Real Cuban 50 cents

• Hollywoods 1.25

• Lucky Strike 2.25

Beverages in a bar:

• Cuban Coke or pop $1.00

• Red Bull $2.50

• Beer $1.25

• Separate Rum and Coke $1.50 (if you order a Cuba Libre its $2.50)

• Other specialized (i.e. Mojito) $2.00


• Bottle of rum 40oz $7

• Bottle of wine $6 (should be noted that there is very little choice)