Useful Information



Many questions arise when planning a trip to the Caribbean island. Find below useful information to reduce stress and make your Cuban adventure unique, comfortable and fun.

Cuba is known for being remarkably safe for tourists. Embrace the beauty of the island with a sense of security. That being said… take into account that Havana is a city of over 2,000,000 people. As in any big city, it is advisable to be careful. Precautions with personal belongings are necessary. Don’t wear expensive jewelry and keep cameras and handbags secure to your person at all times. We recommend using the buddy system… Make sure someone in your group always knows your whereabouts.

Spanish is the official language in Cuba, but many in the tourism industry speak some English. Familiarize yourself with some basic Spanish phrases for enhanced communication. The more Spanish you know before you go to Cuba, the more you will enjoy your trip. During your Sagua Services & Travel tours your tour guide will accompany you to help with translations. However, any Spanish you learn will greatly enhance your experience while conversing with the locals.

Prepare for a Caribbean climate! November to April is the best time to visit, with February offering the most agreeable temperatures and minimal rain. Havana averages 78°F during the month of February. Temperatures can drop to the low 60s at night.

Embrace the friendly atmosphere by greeting locals with a warm “Hola”. Always ask for permission before directly taking photographs of people and respect the cultural customs as you would in any large city worldwide.

U.S. regulations require all guests (including minors) visiting Cuba to complete a travel affidavit identifying the category of travel under which you are visiting Cuba. Please complete and sign this affidavit. Take the complete signed Affidavit  with you in case you need to present it and keep a copy for your records for at least five (5) years.

This information is for general guidance only. We are not responsible for the accuracy or last minute changes of this information. Please always check with the airlines before booking.

From USA: American Airlines, Delta, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines

From Canada: Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, Air Transat

From Mexico: Viva Aerobus, MagniCharters, Aeromexico

From Bahamas: Bahamas Air

From Colombia: Cubana, Wingo

From Panama: Copa Airlines

From Peru: LATAM

From Trinidad and Tobago: Caribbean Airlines

From Dominican Republic: Air Century, Sky High

From Europe: Air Europa, Iberia, Swiss Air, Iberojet, World2Fly, Air France, Turkish Airlines

From Africa: TAAG Angola Airlines

Clothing: Pack light, comfortable clothing, and comfortable shoes, and at least two dressy/casual outfits for special occasions. A swimsuit, hat or cap for sun protection would be useful.

First Aid and Medicine Kit: Insect repellent, band-aids, pain relievers, antiseptic cream, insect bite cream, diarrhea medication.

Health and Personal Care: Toothpaste, roll on deodorant, don’t forget SPF 50 sunscreen, small hand sanitizer, shampoo + conditioner, razors, shoe deodorizer, toilet paper and soap (travel sizes are extremely useful).

Others: Travel adapter plugs, a portable power bank for phones, a multi socket power board (useful when there is only one outlet in the room), AA and AAA batteries (if you have devices that use them), small travel umbrella, cameras and extra batteries.

Electricity in Cuban hotels is often 220 volts. We suggest you to take with you a Type C Travel Adapter. Most private homes have both 220 and 110-volt electrical outlets, and most of the sockets are Type A and B sockets (Plug type A is the plug which has two flat parallel pins and plug type B is the plug which has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin).

All the Tour Packages designed by Sagua Services & Travel include Cuban airport-accommodation transfers at arrival and departure. If you are part of a group arrival, you will be greeted after clearing customs by your tour guide with a sign that says the name of your Tour Package and/or the logo of Sagua.  If you are traveling alone, you will be greeted with a sign bearing your name.  Make sure you provide all flight details prior to arrival.

During your Sagua tours, transportation to and from activities is included to provide you with a convenient and comfortable way to explore the area.  Taxis and private drivers are also readily available for independent travel during your free time for you to explore on your own. Be sure to agree on a price for your destination before you enter a taxi.

Wi-Fi is limited but available in some public areas. You can use your mobile phone, laptop, or tablet and connect to the internet through public hotspots in Havana and across Cuba. Please bear in mind that the Cuban internet connection is not as fast as in other countries. Most of the hotels and casas used for our clients provide WiFi access, but in some specific cases, you’ll have to buy an Internet card for 1 or more hours. These cards rates range from 1.00 to 2.00 USD per hour. Check with your mobile provider regarding roaming services in Cuba. It’s essential to be aware of roaming services and associated costs. These can add up very quickly on the island.

Considering that the internet connection will be limited to your time at the hotel or casa, and most customers prefer to be permanently connected during their trip, CUBACELTUR  has the perfect solution. You can get a temporary phone line with internet access plans for an additional cost. Note that CUBACELTUR  is a service offered by ETECSA, the Cuban telephone operator. Sagua Services & Travel does not benefit from this operator. We only provide information for our clients.

The official currency in Cuba is the Cuban National Peso or Peso Cubano (CUP) but the Moneda Libremente Convertible (MLC) is also used in certain places. Foreign currencies like USD and EUR are also widely used and they can be exchanged at the official government rate at airports, banks, hotels and exchange houses (CADECA). The current official exchange rate is $1USD = $120CUP although when changing USD, an 8% conversion fee will apply. The other currencies have a 2% conversion fee. Avoid exchanging your money in the informal market (black market). Even when its exchange rate is much higher, this is not a legal practice. While in Cuba, we recommend you to use a combination of US dollars and CUPs; exchange only small amounts of money to CUP at a time, and avoid having extra CUP at the time of your return home.

When traveling to Cuba, it is advisable to take some Cash with you since Credit or Debit Cards issued by US-based banks cannot be used in the island and you won’t be able to draw some money at any of the ATMs. On the other hand, many cards issued from non-US banks are generally accepted although some of them are affiliated with US banks and they may not work either. That is why we never recommend relying on cards as a method of payment when traveling to Cuba. Always bear in mind that customs regulations in Cuba allow you to import up to 5,000 dollars cash. Any amount larger than that will be subject to declaration upon arrival.

Tipping in US dollars or EUR is customary, especially for tourists. US dollars, particularly in $1 bills, are useful for this. The amount you give is totally optional and up to you. Even though, we share with you the common tips most clients give to be kind to those who assist them at all locations.

Restaurant staff: Even when you leave the tip to the waiter or bartender, this tip goes to a common tip box and is divided at the end of the night among all the workers of the Restaurant/Paladar, since each one of them plays a fundamental role in the place. You can pay between 10 and 15% of the total of your bill. In case your meal is already included in your package, we suggest you to leave $2-$5USD per day per person (pd/pp) based on service.

Hotel porters: Doormen or porters in hotels or rental houses are sometimes the ones we pay the least attention to. However, they are the first to greet us and the last to say goodbye on each visit. They are the ones who help us and take care of our luggage. Don’t overlook them. $1.00USD or more depending on your baggage weight and size is always appreciated.

Chambermaids or Housekeepers as they are also called: laborious ladies with a slow, steady, and exacting eye for detail. $2.00USD pd/pp.

Museum guides and special local guides: They serve as ambassadors, educators and entertainers for the museums, local projects, galleries, workshops, etc. They possess a thorough knowledge of their area, which allows them to explain you an exhibit or artifact’s significance, and answer any questions you might have. A tip of $2.00USD pp is always welcome.

Musicians at restaurants: This case is similar to that of waiters or bartenders. However, most of them entertain the public in restaurants or paladares without receiving any specific payment from them, but only the tips you wish to leave if you liked their singing. Consider a tip of at least $1.00USD pp.

Tour guide and driver: Your tour guide and driver will become part of your family. Many of our clients finish our tours with tears in the eyes when leaving them behind. Your guide, besides sharing with you all his/her knowledge, will make you feel like a little baby, worrying about every step you take and taking care of you even when you are on your own. Your driver will be like an overprotective father. He will help you get on and off your bus every time and keep it clean throughout your stay to make it comfortable for you. And most importantly, he will make sure you arrive safe and sound at each of your destinations on this wonderful adventure. A tip of $8.00-$10.00 pd/pp for each of them would be greatly appreciated.

Donations and gifts are also customary in Cuba, mostly coming from tourists, and Cubans appreciate them whether they are small or large. “It’s the thought that counts,” is the popular idea among the beneficiaries.

As everyday goods are in short supply in Cuba, things like:

  • Unexpired medicine and supplies in sealed you would usually stock in your medicine cabinet: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Multiple Vitamins and Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, Band-Aids, Diclofenac, Medical gloves and masks, medical thermometers,
  • School and Art supplies: Paintbrushes, liquid tempera, pencils and erasers, colored pencils, crayons, permanent markers, glue,
  • Spanish/English dictionaries, and English phrasebooks, reading glasses,
  • Adult diapers, baby diapers, baby wipes, napkins, tooth brushes, tooth paste, deodorant, body soap, razors,
  • Small rechargeable lamps, rechargeable fans, AA and AAA batteries, etc are great items you can bear in mind.

We recommend carrying medicines and hygienic supplies already organized in a different bag, so “Custom Control at the airport is easy and fast.” Do not describe these items as donations if Cuban Customs asks. You are just bringing gifts. You will have different opportunities to give these “gifts” at some of our scheduled visits with community based organizations.

Many medications are unavailable in Cuba, so travelers should plan to bring any prescribed medicines and over-the-counter remedies in their original containers and in amounts commensurate with personal use in the event of delays to return travel.  All personal items are subject to scrutiny by customs officials, so a copy of a prescription and a letter from a prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription drugs may facilitate entry.

Cuba is full of beautiful art! Some items sold on the street (to tourists) are quite good and can be reasonable in price. Souvenirs and handicrafts require no export permission. Original works of contemporary art require an official export permission letter to leave the country. The artist or gallery will provide this documentation.

Cuban rum and tobacco are known worldwide for their high quality and are among the best in the world, so most travelers love to take these products home as souvenirs and emblematic memories of their visit. Cuban customs allows tourists to take with them up to 3 bottles of rum and up to twenty (20) units of loose twisted tobacco, without the need to present any documents. It is also allowed to take up to fifty (50) units of twisted tobacco, provided that they are contained in original, closed, sealed containers with the official hologram, requirements without which export is not authorized. When the export of twisted tobacco does not comply with the established requirements, confiscation shall be applied to the quantities of twisted tobacco in excess of fifty (50) units that are not declared by the traveler and any quantity that exceeds the declared amount, or that having been declared, its licit acquisition is not accredited by means of the official sales invoice or the packages do not possess the attributes that identify it as Cuban twisted tobacco.

If you are a US citizen or are traveling from Cuba to the United States, please bear in mind that as of September 24, 2020, passengers entering the United States are no longer allowed to bring in alcohol and tobacco from Cuba and/or of Cuban origin.


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If you like our standard tours but want to customize it, choose the one you prefer and contact our team to organize a tailor-made package for you and your group. If you want a different package, just let us know the dates of your trip and the services you want to include. Leave the planning to us and enjoy the journey.

Travel with your own group
If you are one of those who likes to organize travel experiences for other adventure-seekers like yourself, or groups of people you already know like friends, family members, book groups, coworkers, etc bring them with you and get rewarded for doing it. You can choose one of Sagua’s packages or contact our team to tailor a complete itinerary that fits your group’s schedule, interests, and budget to ensure that every visit is an enjoyable one. Whether you are planning a birthday celebration, graduation, anniversary, honeymoon or a wedding in a different style, partner with us and provide memorable travel experiences for your travel group.

Put together a group of at least 10 members or more and unlock exclusive benefits:

  • You can get a free spot on the tour package, or
  • Each member of your group can save 8% off regular package prices, or
  • You can gain valuable benefits for your organization.

Once you select your program and travel date:

  • We create a communication channel  with your group either via email or WhatsApp Business so that they are in direct and permanent contact with our team for any questions that may arise.
  • We provide the whole group with the necessary information to travel stress-free.
  • We conduct information sessions whenever the group requires it via WhatsApp.
  • We collect all payments taking into account any of the 3 variants selected by you, and offer flexible payment plans to each group member individually.
  • We check that the travel documents of each and every member of the group is in order before traveling.
  • In addition to your guide and driver, an assistant from our team will welcome you upon your arrival in Cuba and verify that your itinerary is being followed to the letter.
  • Your group will take home a personalized souvenir of your visit to Cuba.

Interesting, isn’t it? Contact us now. Don’t leave it for tomorrow.

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Sagua Services & Travel
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