Living in Cuba

Exploring and Living in Cuba

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Tuesday, 19 July 2016 11:10

Can Americans live or retire in Cuba at this time?

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Moving to Cuba now is not for the faint of heart, but doable. Cuba will not be the ideal place to retire for everybody. If you are a special breed of individual who seeks adventure and a pioneer type, then Cuba may just the place be for you. 

Trends Magazine once predicted that Cuba would someday become the baby boomer's retirement haven of the future.  An issue of the Miami Herald stated, "A mass new migration of retirees will start to settle abroad, lured by the low cost of living to stretch their shrinking pensions, reasonable health costs and warm weather.  Cuba will possibly be the hottest destination due to its proximity to the United States and the relative lack of industrialization."

However, anyone considering retiring in Cuba should definitely test the waters first.  Cuba’s lifestyle is very different from that in Europe or the United States.  Any foreigner who wants to retire on the island will need an adaption period to the local life, which is very different from being in the country as a tourist. 

Major differences are: The average Cuban citizen has a completely different lifestyle from the average American. Cubans are lucky if the can earn the equivalent of $30 per month. A foreigner can spend that on a meal in a good restaurant. The cost of renting a decent apartment or homestay at a case particularcan range between $600-$1000 a month. To rent a home you will have to spend $1000-$1500 monthly.

Expect to lose money when you change dollars, anywhere from 5 to 13 percent. Most tourists pay the send rate. If you have connections you can end of getting 95 cucs per dollar.

Do not expect American-style amenities yet, so most people would have a difficult time handling Cuba at this time. Occasional electrical outages and water shortages, limited Internet access, the lack of basic products can occur at any given time, cultural differences due to isolation, the need to speak Spanish and a different daily way of life can all pose a real challenges.

There is a serious lack of good shopping and foods which foreigners are used to. Meat and dairy products are a luxury, scarce, expensive and of poor quality.  Some  imported items and branded products  can be purchased at shopping malls in the Vedado or Miramar districts. The majority of the Cubans can not afford to shop in these places.  Cuban food daily consists of of beans, rice and chicken or pork and fruit and vegetables are of excellent quality.

The majority of  Cubans only speak Spanish, except in the hotels or tourist resorts where the staff is trained to speak English. In order to have any social life, you must have at least a basic knowledge of Spanish and know some Cuban slang. The more Spanish you know the better.. 

There are few cultural activities and U.S.-style entertainment is lacking but there are DVDS with TV programs from the US available on the black market. I have a retired American friend living in Havana who says that he is not starved for TV shows from the States. 

Unless you marry a Cuba or have a Cuban relative, you cannot own property or buy a vehicle. Residency is a prerequisite for both and it is extremely difficult obtain for non-Cubans. Individuals must be married to a Cuban national before even applying.

The bottom line: At this point in time you cannot live by western standards. Also, do not expect to set up a small business, a bar, a shop, a restaurant etc. All are prohibited UNLESS you have Cuban residency through marriage. Work or a job in Cuba is not easy to get and paid only 20 USD per month. So, you have to rely on financial resources from abroad, a pension, rental income, savings etc. However, all of this should change dramatically in the future as the rules are relaxed to encourage investment. 

Just continue reading the information in this blog and in my books and you should be able to live in Cuba now or in the not-too-distant future.

 

 

 

The bottom line: At this point in time you cannot live by western standards. Also, do not expect to set up a small business, a bar, a shop, a restaurant etc. All are prohibited UNLESS you have Cuban residency through marriage. Work or a job in Cuba is not easy to get and paid only 20 USD per month. So, you have to rely on financial resources from abroad, a pension, rental income, savings etc. However, all of this should change dramatically in the future as the rules are relaxed to encourage investment. 

 


Just continue reading the information in this blog and in my books and you should be able to live in Cuba now or in the not-too-distant future.

Guidebook

Official Guide to
Cuban Spanish

Official Guide to Cuban Spanish

For those who want to communicate with the locals and to develop basic Spanish survival skills, purchase our one-of-a-kind eBook which includes Cuban slang in English

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"I always keep this book on my tablet so that I can maneuver through Cuba’s linguistic maze."

Max Gómez, Cuba Scout, Travel Expert

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Disclaimer

Living and Investing in Cuba - Live in Cuba - Retire in Cuba - Retirement Tours in Cuba 

Information herein is authorized through the courtesy of Christopher Howard, author of the best selling Cuba information source, Living and Investing in the New Cuba. Please be aware that all information herein is protected by COPYRIGHT © and misuse of it will carry a penalty by law.