Cuba Travel Information
Cuba is a true island paradise and one of the world's best holiday destinations! Cuba is considered to be the safest country for tourists in Latin America, but there are still a few things you should know before you go.
Entry and Exit
All tourists will require a valid passport and tourist visa in order to enter Cuba. Travellers’ passports must be valid for at least six months after the date of departure (from Cuba) and, in order to gain entry, tourists will be required to provide proof of a return ticket, proof of booked accommodation, and proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay in Cuba.
The following nationalities require an entry visa in order to visit Cuba; this visa is known as a Tourist Card:
- Members of the European Union
A Tourist Card is valid for a single entry for 30 days and has an issuing fee of £51 or the equivalent thereof.
When packing for your vacation in Cuba, there are a few things to consider. Remember that custom violations are extremely severe transgressions and can put a damper on a holiday if not followed correctly.
Passengers over the age of 18 can take the following items into Cuba:
200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco.3 bottles of alcoholic beveragesUp to 10 kilograms of medication if stored in a separate bag
Passengers over the age of 18 can take the following items out of Cuba:
200 cigarettes, 50 loose or unwrapped cigars5 bottles of alcoholic beverages provided a receipt is presented upon requestSouvenirs and sold goods up to the value of US$1000
It is illegal to carry the following items in Cuba:
- All kinds of seeds, fresh animal or vegetable products – unless special permission has been granted by the Ministry of Agriculture.
- Narcotics, drugs or any other illegal substances. Medication is to be accompanied by a valid medical prescription and should be clearly labelled.
- Explosives, firearms and ammunition
- Obscene and pornographic material
- Household appliances
Tourists can carry unlimited amounts of foreign currency as long as amounts exceeding US$5000 be declared upon arrival.
As of May 1st 2015, the departure tax usually charged at the airport, will be charged to the airline, and included in your flight price.
Tourists are advised to go for a full medical 4-6 weeks prior to their departure. It is advisable for all tourists to remain up to date with their vaccinations and protect themselves by receiving the following vaccinations prior to their departure.
- Routine Vaccinations should be up to date before travelling to Cuba – these vaccines include the MMR vaccine, Tetanus-Diphtheria, Varicella vaccine, Polio vaccine and an annual flu shot.
Tourists are recommended to be vaccinated against the following illnesses and should follow the advice of local health and safety organisations:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
Travel Facts for Cuba
Cuba is an island country which boasts a subtropical climate and approximately 330 days of sunshine a year! The climate can be clearly defined by two main seasons – namely the wet and dry season.
From November until April, Cuba enjoys the dry season with cool temperatures averaging 25◦C. This is the busiest tourist period as the pleasant temperatures and inviting beaches attract visitors from all over the world.
The wet season takes place from May to October and brings with it warm temperatures and the threat of hurricanes. Hurricanes do not strike annually but when they do, they cause havoc resulting in floods, damages and forced evacuations.
June to September are the hottest months by far, but the trade winds make the hot temperatures bearable and almost pleasant.
Cuba falls into the UTC/GMT-04:00 times zone and makes use of daylight savings time. Daylight saving usually begins in March, resulting in the clock going one hour ahead and ends in November resulting in the clock going back one hour.
The official currency in Cuba is the Cuban Peso (CUC). Travellers Cheques are accepted as long as they were not issued by American Express. Credit cards are also accepted largely throughout Cuba and ATM's are easily accessible in larger city areas.
Cuba has a mix of electrical currents and plug types, but the majority of the hotels use a 110 volt current and a standard US-style two or three prong plug outlet. Hotels that cater towards the European market usually make use of a 220 volt current, so it is always advisable to bring an adaptor with you and check with the hotel prior to arrival.
Cell phones can be hired in Cuba or tourists can make use of public telephones found in hotels, resorts and large tourist areas. Cuba’s country code is (+53) while the area codes differ – hotels will have a directory with area codes as well as international codes. In order to dial an international number from Cuba, tourists will need to dial: 00 (country code) (area code) and then the number.
Internet is accessible in hotels and resorts through WiFi, as well as roaming. In order to enable data roaming, tourists will need to activate it with their own network company, although data roaming charges are extremely high.
Tourists should keep these numbers and addresses handy at all times.
- Ambulance – Havana – 104
-Pinar del Rio – 76 2317
- Police – Havana – 106
-Pinar del Rio – 106
- Fire station – Havana – 105
-Pinar del Rio – 105
Hotels and resorts in Cuba do have medical practitioners on staff or on call at all times, so don’t be afraid to ask reception to contact a doctor if necessary.
People and Landscape
Cuban nationals are made up of a variety of ethnic groups, contributing effortlessly to the nation’s quintessential multicultural culture. With over 11.2 million people in Cuba – the country boasts a diverse and dynamic nation, making it the second most populated country in the Caribbean.
64% of that 11.2 million are white individuals, with 27% made up of the Mulatto/Mestizo community and 9% are black. In a country where diversity has come to be treasured rather than discriminated against, it is no wonder Cuba is a safe and magnificent country favoured by people from all over the world.
The culture in Cuba has blossomed from a variety of cultures from around the world. Spanish, African, French, Asian and English cultures have all taken root and joined together, to create a unique Cuban culture which has succeeded in joining tradition with something new and distinct.
Roman Catholicism is the prevailing religion in Cuba, but has in some cases been blended into Afro-Cuban religions. These Afro-Cuban religions are made up of a blend of the Roman Catholicism traditions, as well as native African traditions.
Cuba has breath-taking wild landscapes, charming cities, and compelling historic sites. Conservation has been a priority of the Cuban government for decades and its preservation efforts make it a great place for eco-tourism. Here you'll find coral reefs, sea turtles, painted snails, and the infamous jumping crocodiles. Visit Cuba to experience unparalleled natural beauty.
Cuban cuisine is delicious. There are many unique dishes to choose from, but most meals are paired with rice, black beans, plantains and yucca. Most meals also include roasted and fried meat - mainly pork, beef, and chicken. Fruits and vegetables are also served alongside almost every meal. Even though Cuba is in the Caribbean, seafood and lobster are not always on the menu. Sometimes these can be found in local restaurants. All meals are prepared simply, with a focus on flavour rather than presentation.
Avoid drinking tap water in Cuba. You should only use bottled water and ice made from water that has been boiled and then frozen.
Travel and Security Information
There are a few guidelines that every traveller should follow in order to have the best vacation possible.
- Tourists are required to have a valid passport. This passport must be valid until after the last day of your trip. Visas are also required for some nationalities.
- Medical and travel insurance are strongly recommended for all tourists.
- Tourists are advised to travel in groups and should never walk alone after dark.
- Obvious shows of affluence can sometimes welcome unwanted attention from criminals. Tourists are advised to keep valuable belongings safely stowed in their hotel safes if possible. It's never a good idea to keep large amounts of cash or expensive jewellery where they are clearly visible and it's important to remember to never leave valuable items in unattended vehicles or any other public spaces, including on public transportation and luggage holds.
- It's essential that tourists keep emergency details on hand at all times. These include the numbers and addresses of nearby hospitals, ambulances, consulates, and contact details of their next of kin.
Exclusion of Liability
Those who choose to travel do so entirely at their own risk. SC Travel Adventures endeavours to inform tourists of the risks involved with travelling but cannot be held liable for any events which occur outside of their direct control. Tourists are advised to avoid areas considered unsafe, remain vigilant and cautious at all times throughout their stay, and heed the advice of local authorities.