Useful Information & ESSENTIAL TIPS for Traveling to Cuba
The reopening of Cuba for international visitors has raised many questions among travelers who are planning their trip to the island. In this section, you will find useful information and the updated requirements to travel to Cuba, the sanitary protocols upon arrival, and some of the things you need to keep in mind to spend a wonderful time in the island. We hope you find it helpful.
Cuba is generally a safe country to travel to. No drugs, gangs, and consequent violent crime. No terrorism, kidnappings, or mass shootings. Cubans always welcome their visitors with a contagious smile that makes you feel familiar. However, despite its relative safety, guests are told to “take normal security precautions” when visiting the island.
1. Valid US Passport: make sure your passport is valid for at least six (6) months after the date of arrival.
2. Cuba Tourist Card: all visitors to Cuba, regardless of country of origin, need to have a special visa called a tourist card.
3. Round trip air ticket: you can show the printed ticket or an electronic travel ticket. In any case, it must be a round-trip ticket.
4. Travel insurance policy with medical coverage.
5. Customs and health declaration forms: Cuba requires all travelers to bring a Sanitary Statement and a Customs Declaration form.
6. Valid general travel “license” to Cuba: All Americans traveling to Cuba need a “license”, technically referred to as a “general license,” or a category of authorized travel to Cuba. These categories are defined by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Even though it’s called a license, it’s not a physical document that you need to bring with you to Cuba.
The national currency in Cuba is the Cuban Peso (CUP). There are bills of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pesos, as well as fractional coins of 1, 3 and 5 pesos and 5 and 20 cents. However, Cubans can also use a digital currency called “Moneda Libremente Convertible” (MLC) at the stores.
Travelers may bring in cash any foreign currency accepted by the Central Bank of Cuba to be exchanged for Cuban Peso (CUP), except US dollars (USD), which are only accepted through transfers. U.S. dollars in cash cannot be used to make common payments or pay fees or taxes at the airport.
Some private facilities, such as private houses (rooms for rent) and paladares (private restaurants) will accept Euros, Pounds and in some cases, US dollars.
The Cuban Peso is neither valid nor exchangeable outside Cuban territory, so upon your departure you must exchange it to the currency you deem convenient.
Debit or credit cards accepted in Cuba are: Visa, Mastercard, and American International Service (AIS). However, travelers interested in traveling to Cuba are advised to check with the bank where they have their bank account to see if they will be able to use their card in the national territory.
No card issued by U.S. institutions works in Cuba, so it is recommended that you verify beforehand that your card is not associated with a U.S. banking institution.
Nearly every Cuban is fully vaccinated against Covid, and the majority have had booster shots. Cuba leads the world with the highest vaccination rates against Covid. With the entire population protected, the transmission of Covid is negligible. Contracting Covid in Cuba is low-risk. Anyway, getting travel insurance is an important issue. In case of a serious emergency, you’ll want to have a solid travel insurance plan.
• Do not buy antiques and artworks if the vendor does not have the required permit for the item you are buying. Some art and antiques need an export permit from the Country Heritage Office (known as Bienes Culturales), it means the permit may be requested by Customs on departure.
• Do not use, possess or traffic illegal drugs. Cuba has strict laws in this regard.
• Do not work on a tourist visa.
• Do not bring debit or credit cards issued by US banks. They do not work on the island.
• Do not buy cigars or cigarettes from street vendors or clandestine sales points. In some cases, they will charge you and give you fake products.
• Do not bring Bling: The rate of violence in Cuba is low, that is why it is considered one of the safest countries in the world, but avoid bringing jewelry or items that make the eyes of pickpockets shine.
• Do not talk about politics: Cubans are very friendly and warm, so they will treat you as a childhood friend. Sometimes they complain about what they have and what they lack but they do not like visitors to criticize either for good or bad what their ancestors have achieved.
• Do not click pictures of locals without asking them.
• Do not forget to tip workers: Tipping in Cuba is not mandatory but is always welcome. Do not feel forced to tip always, do so only when you think the service has been good and expectations are exceeded. If you are not sure how much to tip, tip the same as you would give an employee of the same category in your country.
MOST IMPORTANT: Do not delay your visit to the island!
Cuba is a paradise under the sun, so the most important thing when there, is to enjoy the place and its people. Be sensitive and polite with people, follow the basic travel rules, make friends, share experiences, stay safe and have fun!
As a tropical island, Cuba stays hot all year, that is why you should not miss your swimsuit and sandals, and it is advisable to bring lightweight natural fabrics such as linen and cotton.
Although casual clothes (shorts, t-shirts, jeans and comfortable open shoes) are the ideal attire to go for a walk in the city, when attending theaters, deluxe restaurants, concert halls, etc, visitors are required to use more formal clothes.
In our short winter (December to March), it’s enough to bring a light sweater, especially to travel on an air-conditioned bus, and during the rainy season (May to October) it is advisable to have a light raincoat or water-proof jacket with you.
It is also important to protect yourself from the sun, so a sun block, dark glasses and a hat would be the ideal complements.
CHARTER FLIGHTS AVAILABLE
Six weekly flight frequencies, destination Miami-Havana, from Monday to Sunday, except Wednesdays.
Miami - Holguin every Monday and Friday.
Miami - Villa Clara every Sunday and Thursday
If you want to have a great trip, do not hesitate to contact us.