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Everyone believes Cuba is an inexpensive country - and that's true, if you're Cuban. For tourists it's another story. Tourism is the largest industry here and is stringently regulated and designed to encourage visitors to leave as much of their currency behind as possible.

In Viñales, when we tired of tobacco road, we chose a day trip to Cayo Levisa - a beautiful nearby island. The short bus ride, followed by the short boat ride to the beach was $30 each. Then if you wanted to snorkel, that was another $20 each. You could do it for a lot less if you arranged it privately but you can't. It's impossible for tourists to go anywhere or do anything outside the official State-run framework.