International Cost of Living Calculators

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Cuba, All Areas

Cuba, All Areas

Cost of living in Cuba, prices and what it is like to live for an Expat, quality of life / hardship, and compare cost of living for Expatriates as at July 2023.

What is it like to live in Cuba?

Climate: The climate is tropical moderated by trade winds.

Language: The official language is Spanish. Cuban Spanish is often difficult to understand, even for Spanish speakers from other countries. For important business dealings, visitors will need to be either fluent in Spanish or have an interpreter.

Religion: Christianity.

Economy: The economy of Cuba is a largely state-controlled, centrally planned economy overseen by the Cuban government, though there remains significant foreign investment and enterprise in Cuba. Most of the means of production are owned and run by the government and most of the labour force is employed by the state.

Inflation: 41.77% for Cuba as at July 2023.

Money: Cuba operates a dual currency system. Visitors usually use the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), whereas locals use the Cuban Peso (CUP). The CUP is worth much less than the CUC. Not all international cards will work in Cuba.

Tax: In Cuba is based on the tax on expatriates, levied on a monthly basis at 15% from the income gained or generated in Cuba.

Population: 11.3 Million (2022 est.)

Expat Life: In Cuba decision-making authority is narrowly concentrated, with decisions almost always made at a high level within government agencies. It is generally advisable to address people using their professional title, or by either Senor (Mr), Senora (Mrs), or Senorita (Ms) and their surname. Because of the heat in Cuba, dress code tends to be very light-weight suits or sports coats with trousers. Women are prominent at all levels of business and public life. The safety risk for expatriates in Cuba is low. Risks include petty crime, such as pickpocketing, bag-snatching and theft, particularly in Havana, as well as confidence tricksters who may target expats, while violent crime is relatively rare and unlikely to involve expatriates. Other risks include criticising the authorities which may lead to arrest and harsh punishment, as well as the risks related to hurricanes and earthquakes.

Health Care: Health care facilities in Havana are better than the rest of Cuba, however serious specialist health care emergencies may require health care evacuation which can be very expensive. Many medicines are unavailable in Cuba. Expatriates should bring prescription drugs taken regularly with a copy of the prescription and a letter from the doctor explaining the condition for customs. Cases of Chikungunya virus and cholera have been confirmed.

Cuba covers all areas within the country other than Havana.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Cuba?

The cost of living for expatriates in Cuba as at July 2023 is average in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 65.49 (New York =100). We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in Cuba is as follows:

1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: Cost is low for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$580. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$11.05, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$3.25, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$2.39 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$5.20.

2) Clothing: Cost is very low for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$420. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$42, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$73, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$58 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$35.

3) Communication: Cost is very high for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$316. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$165, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$40.00 per minute.

4) Education: Cost is low for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30,000 in New York costs USD$19500. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$12,613 for Primary School, and USD$14,036 for High School.

5) Furniture & Appliances: Cost is low for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2,500 in New York costs USD$1575. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$620, and USD$532 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.

6) Groceries: Cost is average for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$660. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$4.52, 1 kg oranges USD$0.81, 1 head lettuce USD$1.08, 1 kg potatos USD$1.09, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$3.84, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$3.52, 1 dozen large eggs USD$2.73, 500g loaf white bread USD$1.33, 1 L full cream milk USD$16.77, and 1.5 L water USD$1.29.

7) Healthcare: Cost is average for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$610. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$49, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,515.

8) Household Accommodation: Cost is average for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5,000 in New York costs USD$1950. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$3,146 in a central location, and USD$1,620 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.

9) Miscellaneous: Cost is average for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$325. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$6.38, while an international newspaper is USD$1.96.

10) Personal Care: Cost is very high for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$870. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$69, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$347.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is average for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$340. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$1.60, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$20 per month.

12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Cost is low for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$420. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$2.33, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$3.16, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$6.50, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$32.50.

13) Transport: Cost is average for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$880. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$4.76, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$85,000.

How does the cost of living in Cuba compare?

Cuba is -17% cheaper than USA for groceries, -33.1% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 71.4% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Cuba?

Cuba is ranked as an extreme hardship location.The hardship premium for Cuba for an expat from Australia, is for example 30%, i.e. host location (Cuba) premium of 40% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%.

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