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Going to Cuba? Pack lots of cash

Travelers heading to Cuba will need cash -- and a good bit of it.

Visitors suffer sticker shock at the island's lofty prices almost as fast as they notice Havana's colonial architecture.

Most of the basic needs of travelers -- hotels, rental cars and restaurants -- are expensive compared to other Latin American countries. However, there are alternatives for traveling on the cheap, such as casas particulares, private homes whose owners have government permission to rent rooms to visitors.

Earlier this week the Obama administration lifted restrictions on travel to Cuba by Cuban Americans as well as the limits on remittances they send to their families there, a move that is expected to prompt many South Floridians with family ties to make more frequent trips.

Cuba may be just across the Florida Straits, but it's a world away: U.S. credit cards and debit cards won't work on the Communist island; neither will U.S. travelers' checks, so travelers should take plenty of cash.

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