Travelling to Cuba is delightful, and part of the magic is down to the quirks and different ways of doing things, some of which are unique to the island of Cuba.
Travelling with Cuba Private Travel means that you will have your own 24/7 Concierge as well as a pre-programmed mobile phone for the duration of your visit.
We care about what the world thinks of Cuba and having the knowledge you need to make a vacation run smoothly can make all the difference so here are a few of the basic travel tips that we recommend reading before your vacation starts:
Visas : A tourist visa card is required. This can be purchased on arrival in Cuba, but most airlines require it to be presented at check in or you will be denied boarding. It is valid for 30 days and extendable for a further 30 days, except for Canadians who receive a 90-day visa. Available on check in for visitors travelling in from North South Central America and Canada. Rest of world need to pre purchase before the day of travel and we can supply these for you.
Medical Travel Insurance : Travel insurance is required and can be purchased on arrival. Whilst you may not be asked for proof of insurance on arrival you will need to have it should you have an accident.
Restaurants : Cuba now has a number of very good restaurants that have been well reviewed in the press so we recommend making reservations for the most popular ones before you travel. The rest can be booked when you arrive in Cuba.
Credit Cards : Credit cards are accepted in most hotels and government outlets. Private accommodation and paladars only accept cash. Travelers’ checks or credit cards issued by American banks will NOT be accepted anywhere on the island, so make sure that you have other means of payment if your card was issued in the US. There is virtually no cash points/ATM available for drawing cash against Cirrus or switch cards in Cuba. Any Cuban bank or CADECA should be able to issue a cash advance on a non-American credit card if you cannot find a cash point/ ATM for your VISA or MASTERCARD. Generally, banks are open from 09:00 to 14:00 Monday – Friday
Currency : Cuba has a dual currency system but you will use only the CUC Cuban Convertible Peso or tourist currency as this is now the most used currency for everyone. will need to use this currency – the (CUC). You can exchange US dollars but will be liable to pay a tax of 10%. Bring Sterling or Euros if you feel this will benefit you. Scottish bank notes are not recognized and should be avoided. You can convert back on departure.
Internet Access : There are now a large number of WIFI spots in Cuba and there is access in most hotels. The service is fast depending on the number of users. Rates range between 2 CUC per hour in internet cafes or 4 - 8 CUC per hour in hotels. An alternative to hotels is ETECSA offices, equipped with computers and Internet access. You buy a card and scratch off the login number and password to access the Internet.
Telephone calls : International phone calls can be made from your hotel room using any pre-paid cards or the Internet.
Electricity : The norm in Cuba is 110-230V, 60 Hz, American-styled flat two-pin 110V, although most hotels have 220V sockets. However, make sure that you bring an international adapter with you and read the instructions of your appliance before plugging it in. Power hungry appliances are not advised as the wiring in many hotels and private homes is of a low quality.
Health : There are currently no vaccination requirements for international travelers, but consult your doctor before travelling for the latest immunization information. Drink bottled water instead of tap water, easily purchased at most hotels and restaurants. Temperatures frequently hover around the 30 °C mark, so stay hydrated throughout the day. If you need to seek private medical care, the quality of service you’ll receive will match that of developed countries.
Tipping : Small tips to parking assistants, doormen, museum staff, housekeeping and waiting staff is normal, but not essential.
The Cuba Private Travel team has access to the very best in Cuban art, music, literature, dance, environment, history and architecture as well as Cuba’s most outstanding beaches and accommodation. By listening to you, the independent traveller, we are able to create tailor-made travel itineraries for your vacation that take you to the heart of Cuba’s culture, landscape and people. Cuba Private Travel’s bespoke itineraries are fully U.S. Treasury Department compliant and include access to personal guides, experts, interpreters and, of course, a 24-hour concierge.
Delve deeper and be inspired about what to do in Cuba and discover some of the best travel advice for the island...