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Cuba Traveler's Information

OK we are going to Cuba, and now?
Step one: read the FAQ's and after reading the FAQ's return to this page

Ah you're American? no worries
Read the special page for US citizens to Cuba

 

 

Travel insurance including medical expenses!

Travelers to Cuba must have a medical insurance!

To fulfill this demand, the traveller should have a travel insurance that includes medical expenses or a medical expenses policy, with cover inside of Cuba. The policy should be acquired in the country of residence. Those travelers that exceptionally don't have the insurance at their arrival, they will be able to acquire a policy with insurance and assistance cover subscribed by Cuban insurance companies at the airport, port or marines.

The travel insurances subscribed by Cuban insurance companies and by most of the international insurance companies have the Asistur Assistance Services in trip inside of Cuba. It is a 24 hours service during 365 days of the year.

According to statistics, more than 80 percent of persons who visit Cuba at the moment; have an insurance provided by companies of their country of residence. This insurance covers the medical expenses in Cuba.
In the case of residents in the United States that travel directly to Cuba, they will have to acquire a policy with Cuban insurance cover in the country of residence. This policy is marketed through a network of agencies associated to Havanaturcelimar, due to the impossibility for North American insurance companies to guarantee covering in the national territory.
The traveler who is checked when arriving to the country, should show the policy, certificate of insurance or travel assistance card, which is valid during the stay in Cuba.
For any case of medical emergency, the Cuban Health care System guarantees primary assistance through a net of clinics and hospitals all over the country. The primary medical assistance is provided in most of the tourist facilities. For more information on the service, when planning your trip to Cuba, please visit the website, or you can go to the nearest Embassy or Consulate, or to the offices of Cuban Ministry of Tourism. You can also visit websites of Ministry of Tourism or the insurance and assistance company Asistur.

Cuban Embassies & Consulates worldwide

Cuban Ministery of Tourism

Asistur

Visa / Tourist card

Tourist Card Visa Cuba

To pass customs in Cuba you need a tourist card. You can order this casual "visa" through the Cuban Embassy or Consulate in your country and some travel agencies and flight companies. Cuban Embassies and Consulates worldwide

You can also order your tourist card online though CubaVisas.com they ship the tourist cards to almost anywhere in the world. From Tripadvisor we understand that people are very happy with their service

Remember that most airlines won't let you board without one.

Traveler's Tips Cuba Tourist card


Aug 2013

Cayman Islands
FYI: Paul from the Netherlands told us he could buy a tourist card at the airport of the Cayman Islands for 20USD


September 2011
Name: Linda Lan
Country: Taiwan

Cuba tourist card in Paris
I planned a trip to Cuba this month, flying from Taipei - Hong Kong - Paris - Havana, I was flying with Air France starting from Hong Kong. Before departure, I realized that Air France, unlike other airlines, does not provide tourist cards before boarding for Havana. I panicked as there was no way I could obtain a Cuba tourist card in Taiwan as there is no Cuban Embassy here. My solution was, I arrived at Paris, visited the travel agency below during transit, and bought a tourist card for EUR27, no documents were needed, it was very convenient! Then I had time for coffee and croissaint before returning to CDG, just in time to board the flight to Havana. Share with travelers who are not with tour groups and may have similar problems as I did.

NOVELA TRAVEL,
14-14 bis Rue des Minimes, 75003 - Paris - France.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00-13:00, 14:00-19:00.


June 7 2012
Name: allan
Country: canada

Tourist card for cuba entry
always u can buy a tourist card at the entrance of the cuban airport for cdn.$25.00. and if u make errors on it you can replace it for another 25.00 no sweat. cuban immigration are one of the most accomodating in the world.


 

Luggage bags clothing & other stuff

A well locked suitcase, or a lock on your backpack is best. You can also decide to plastify your backpack or soft weekender at the airport of your departure. Remind when you are traveling with more people and rented a car, bring soft bags! In Dec / Jan it can be chilly at nighttime. So bring something warm too in these months. Bring clothes with you which you might not like anymore, and give it to Cubans at the end of your vacation, clothes are expensive for a Cuban.
Anti mosquito stuff, some areas are overloaded with these bichos. Leave you're jewelries at home, you don't need them on this Island. Cubans need not only ballpoints, soaps, clothes, toothpaste, toys ... but everything which for us is normal. Medical stuff is needed as well, even glasses. Please take some stuff with you to donate.

Cuban Customs

Cuban aduana

Havana airport is more relaxed than Varadero or Holguin, but remind this ... All your stuff is getting scanned!!! Every suitcase is passing the x-ray!!! Check out the Cuba-custom website to see what is and what's NOT possible to bring in. Money can do some help sometimes ... But if "they" decide it is not allowed ... it just isn't allowed ... sorry! Besides this not ALL aduana people are charmed for getting bribed
Remind that when bringing in new stuff, you might have to pay tax.

Cuban customs website

Electricity in Cuba

Socket or outlet Cuba

Cuba has 110 volt, some more luxury hotels also 220. Sockets are as shown in the picture, same as in the USA.

Crime

It is a wise thing to read our crime page

Crime in Cuba



 

Internet

Etecsa internet office

Internet in Cuba

There are possibilities to go on the internet in most hotels and there are small offices from Etecsa all around the island. Internet in Cuba is slow so forget uploading your pictures through the Cuban Internet connection.
You can bring your laptop without problems with the Cuban customs.
Wireless is only possible at some hotspots in the bigger cities and most hotels.

Infotur Tourist Office

Infotur shop in Havana Calle Obispo

The Centers of Information are characterized for the exclusiveness of the product that they offer: information. Teams of well-informed professionals with a high degree of technical and language training, offers you free and accurate information each one of the 365 days of the year.

Infotur offers:
- Information on the Cuban tourist product.
- Specialized programs and promotional brochures.
- Maps, guides, posters and post cards featuring Cuban images.
- Phone cards, photographic movies, CDs and cassettes of Cuban music.
- Magazines, newspapers, books and promotional videos.
- Reservation of lodging, tours, trips, walks and car rentals.
- Service of photocopy and impression of documents.
- Reception and transmission of fax and e-mails.

Address in Havana (picture): 521 Obispo, La Habana, Cuba

Cuba Weather

The whole year through about 28 / 29 C degrees. The East of Cuba is always a few degrees warmer than the West
Most rain fall in May till October, during these months short but heavy rainy showers can fall, mostly at the end of the day.

Areas like Baracoa and Moa in the east of Cuba do have to most rainy days, because the mountain which come from the Atlantic Ocean
The dry season is from November till April.

Most sunny hours in July and August, Cuba has short days in winter, at 18.00 it is getting dark. In summer the sun is very powerful.
Dec / April: colder then usual, specially at night
June / September: hot humid, every end of the day a rainy shower
June / end of November: hurricane season (possible)
High and low (tourist) season December / January, Easter, July / September

Currency

Cuban Pesos

Money in Cuba

First of all: Don't exchange money in the street ... EVER!

Foreigners and money exchange
After November 8 2004 Cuba only except convertible pesos (CUC). This means you have to bring Euros, CAD, Pound Sterling (whatever hard currency) with you to exchange it into CUC (convertible pesos).
Besides this you can bring your credit card with you to get money from the bank in Cuba.

For the local people The Cubans
Pesos Cubanos
This currency is more or less only used by Cuban citizens.
Of course you, as a foreigner also can exchange your CUC (convertible pesos) into the "normal" national currency CUP. This CUP you can use for buying at local markets.

More detailed explanation Cuba and money

Traveler's Tips Cuba Currency

 


May 21 2015
Name: Hans-Georg Maertl
Country: Germany

Using VISA-Cards in Cuba

(1) It is not sufficient, that the card is not from an American bank. You have to make sure, that the issuing bank is not using servers in the USA, when you try go get money from an ATM. Recently I used a VISA-Card from condirect.com and it would not give me money for this reason.

(2) I have been using ATM (banquero automatico) en Cuba for several years (using different German issued cards) and had no problem of any kind. You have only watch that for one transaction at at machine you get only 40 bills (not matter of the value).

Regards,
Hans G. Maertl

 


Dec 5 2012
Name: tom wilcox
Country: Canada

Confiscation of money at a cuban airport
City: Holguin

On Nov.17th. while visiting Cuba for the 7th time 5 in the past year,I learned of a law that doesn't allow money to leave the country. They confiscated 1280 CUC from me and did not give me the option of exchange even though there is a currency exchange in the departure lounge. This was similar to a legalized robbery. This in itself has not caused me to lose my love for the country nor the people.


 

Water in Cuba

It's no good idea to drink tap water in Cuba. Buy bottled water or when you are self supported in an appartement boil the water before you use it for whatever consumption or your fantastic new Cuban recipes.
Brushing your teeth and having showers is fine.

Bathroom / WC / Toilet

Never throw toilet paper etc into the toilet but always use the pedal bin next to it.

 

Cuba travel Reviews & Tips

Feb 1 2017
Name: carmen lupulet
Your country: romania
What's your review about?: cuba
Which city or area in Cuba?: many

My review: My name is Carmen, I am from Romania and I traveled to Cuba for the first time in January 2017 and stayed over then 3 weeks. I am 45 and I traveled with my husband as backpackers.
We had a first reservation in a casa particular in Havana, then, based on the places we decided to visit and the time spent in each one of them, we used Cuba Junky.
Knowing that in Cuba acces to internet is very difficult, after a long research we decided to take the Cuba Junky app and we discovered that it was the best decision. It has a lot of casas registered , with all the info you need and IT WORKS OFFLINE!!
Everybody there wants to help you to find accommodation, but because they insist too much and because of the lack of my Spanish language, many times a had the feeling that there is something fishy. Maybe they have good intentions , but I felt safety and calm having Cuba Junky and I used it a lot.
After I dowloaded the app I opened all files with casas in order to be sure they are properly saved and it worked perfectly offline.
We went to Vinales, Varadero, Boca de Camarioca, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Playa Giron. We traveled from a place to another by taxi colectivo , the most convenient out of the possibilities available. The average cost is about 10 CUC per person per 100 km. Viazul- the tourist bus in high season is only for those making an internet reservation in advance. Regular taxi is much more expensive, train is impossible to be used it if you don’t speak the local language. For distances up to 50 km there is an option with camiones and buses for locals, they are very cheap and funny (plus the feeling of integration in the local spirit).
We had breakfast every morning in each casa for 5CUC, the worst was good enough. We tried some restaurants for tourist at the beginning, then we decided to use the dinner offers of the owners of the casas ( better in terms of offer, quality and price) and many times the pizzas, hamburguesa and sandwiches for locals at extremely low prices.Of course the quality is questionable but it was safe, good and cheap.
We were dressed with poor “designed” clothes and valuables so we easily avoid the permanent offers and aggression of the locals who tried to sell you something (tobacco, rum, trips, taxi, casas etc) and we let the Americans to “enjoy’ that .
Coming from an ex-communist country, we saw and felt what we experienced in Romania 25 year ago plus the recently private market activities. Cuba is a mixture of communism with capitalism and a beautiful laisser faire. You are safely everywhere, they keep their word if you set something, they are on time and respect your privacy in the house.

 

 

 

 

 

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