If you haven’t been able to tell by now, we’re in love with Cuba. In all of our travels it’s definitely got to be in our top three favorite countries. Cuba is full of vibrant culture, soulful music, rich history and amazingly cheap street food. And while not everything we ate in Cuba was a winner, there were certainly a lot of super budget choices for the super budget backpacker. Out of all the street food in Cuba here’s our take on the top choices.
Food in Cuba
Hands down the best budget street food in Cuba. In basically every street shop window around the country you’ll find people cooking up these doughy cheesy delights. Individual cheese pizzas cost between 5-10 pesos (20-40 cents), depending on the town. There’s also meat options for all the carnivores. TIP: To add some variety buy tomatoes, onion and avocado from the markets and put them on top.
The best on-the-go street breakfast in Cuba. The simplicity here is the real winner. A fried egg in a plain white roll. The cheapest we found, while staying in the town of Viñales, cost 2 Cuban pesos (8 cents), but they’re equally cheap around the country. You can mix it up a bit with ham or cheese, but the cheapest option was the best for us. TIP: Smash 4-5 in the morning before long distance travel to hold you over.
Fresh home made yoghurt for 3 pesos (12 cents) in Santa Clara was the best budget option we discovered. You can buy it in bulk (pretty much an old water bottle) or enjoy a chilled glass on the porch of a stranger, who is all too happy to enjoy an afternoon chat. TIP: Bring your own clean bottle for takeaways.
Drinks in Cuba
For a sugary fresh pick up you can’t go past blended fruit milkshakes for 3 pesos a pop (12 cents). Batidos vary in flavors, usually papaya or guava, and are the best thing to refresh a tired body from walking around all day. TIP: Try to limit yourself. They’re super addictive!
Cheap Cuban Beer
What would a budget list be without a way to find the cheapest booze. Apart from the cheap options on sale from the pesos stores, you can also find pop up brewing trucks that cruise around town and fill up 1.5 litres of home brew for 7 pesos (30 cents). It’s not the best, but it gets the job done! TIP: prepare to have a wicked hangover!
One Peso Cuban Coffee
Speaking of hangovers, here’s a way to kick them. One peso coffee (4 cents) can be bought all over Cuba. It comes premixed with lots of sugar, and you only get a mouthful, but at that price it’ll do the trick. TIP: pace yourself. The caffeine and sugar will have you bouncing off the walls!
32 thoughts on “Get Stuffed for Under $1 : The Best Street Food in Cuba”
Wow, that is some cheap street food! I had heard horror stories about the food in Cuba, that it was just bland and lacking fresh ingredients, so I like your tip for the pizza toppings to help out with that!
Yeah Cuba definitely is missing a little bit of variety at times, especially for the average Cuban or budget backpacker. For the tourists just about anything is available thanks to their strong emphasis on improving the tourism trade. It’s not the best street food, but it’ll definitely do 🙂
You can buy locally-made hot sauce to help with that, but it’s also not the worst idea in the world to bring some from home. The food situation is getting better, though. Last time I was there a few places had garlic!
Those ARE some sweet Cuban food deals (I’m all over those fresh shakes/smoothies)! Been contemplating a trip there myself. Julian, you’re from California, correct? How was your process getting down there?
Yeah the batidos are amazing! I’m from Australia, but Christine is from California. But she didn’t go to Cuba because her government prohibits it…… hahaha kidding! Check out this article she wrote to find out how she managed it 🙂 American’s Traveling to Cuba Illegally: How to do it Right. Enjoy Cuba.
Food looks delicious and so cheap? what type of accommodation is available and where did you stay? Cuba seems to be a fairly popular destination these days and safe?
Cuba is definitely safe! The tourist police do a good job of protecting foreigners and we felt comfortable walking around the streets at night. We stayed at Casa Particulares which are basically homes of locals that you pay to rent a room in. They are super friendly and a great way to really learn about Cuba!
Hi. I just love all your recent Cuba posts. You really did a great yob!I learned a lot from these posts and all busted myths- thanks!! We are going to Cuba in the beginning of July for 6 weeks and I was wondering what itinerary You would suggest us. We are a couple with 8-year old daughter and we want to do a blend of towns and beaches-incuding some diving.
With best regards, Nenad
Hi Nenad! Glad you like our posts, I hope they have been helpful in planning your trip! 6 weeks is awesome, we only had 2 1/2! We’d recommend spending at least a few days, if not a week, in Havana. It is gorgeous, there is so much to do and so many adorable cafes/restaurants/bars to check out. Trinidad is lovely and you can rent bikes to head down to the beach. Veradero is touristy but has a beautiful beach. If you can, try to head down to the south of Cuba. We didn’t have time but heard great things. Have an amazing trip!
Wow those foods (and shakes) do look good. Somehow I’m always a bit hesitant with street food because I got really sick of it once, however that shouldn’t be a reason not to try it anymore I guess…
I love street food – so much more interesting than tourist restaurants. And I like the look of those fresh yoghurts.
The yogurts were delicious!
Great post! I have a real love/hate relationship with Cuban food. On the one hand it’s often not very good, and most shops sell the same things. On the other hand it can be DIRT CHEAP and sometimes it’s actually quite good.
Still can’t believe I was drinking $0.20 mojitos in Havana at one point.
Haha. Cuban food is very hit and miss. We actually developed a taste for the greasy street pizzas but a lot of the food was quite bland. Loved the batidos though! And the rum 🙂
looks like i can afford to go to Cuba now!!!
Oh WOW I had NO idea!! Cuba is now on my to-do-and-SOON list!!
Yes! It’s an amazing country!
I find it so strange that so many people bag out the food in Cuba – it’s so cheap and delicious! In a homestay we got a home-cooked feast: lobster with about 3 other dishes for $12 each! Unreal value and flavour. Great article! Now I want to go back there…
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I’ll make sure to raid the street when I’m in Cuba then.
Yep! Get stuck into it 🙂
The street food and betidos in Cuba look so good and so cheap!
Street food in Cuba? It must have changed since I was last there in 2008. I don’t remember any street food, or produce markets, or shops. Just expensive bad government restaurants and the occasional wrapped ice cream stick and pizza place. I had breakfast and dinner at my homestay, but finding food at lunchtime was quite a challenge. Loved the cheap mojitos though!
Wow! I guess it has changed a bit! We definitely had more trouble shopping for our own food but found a few places. But the homestay food was usually so delicious! And don’t get me started on the mojitos!
Um. Beer in a water bottle? That’s how you get your party on!
Hey, when it’s 25c for a liter you’d drink it out of anything haha!
Seriously? 8 cents for an egg sandwich? I wonder how long prices will stay this low, with the changes to the US policy….
Hopefully not too much! Street food over there is soooo cheap! You can eat like an absolute boss for next to nothing!
I was in Cuba in 2013 and the food was amazing. We found this little Italian café called Cafe Bohemia in Havana Vieja that is a must. The food was so delicious and you got value for money.. We lived on Pizza and Mango batidos 🙂
Excellent post and photos! 🙂 God damn, the food is cheap. I’m also thrilled that as a vegetarian I have plenty of options, only thing left to be done is to buy the tickets now 😀
I’m headed to Cuba in 1 week. We are so excited. Thanks for this article.
Was it challenging to acquire local pesos? When we were there it seemed near impossible, we could only get CUC.
It was quite simple, you just needed to visit one of the Case de Cambios and ask them to exchange some CUC into CUP. It’s a lot easier traveling around on CUP for sure when paying for local prices.