ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent

Important information to travel to Cuba

Fri 22 Dec 2017

  Important information to travel to Cuba


Before planning a trip, you should do all the homework possible. It means to research everything about the place you are going. Here in Bed and Breakfast in Cuba www.bandcuba.com we will like to tell you some important information to travel to Cuba.

How to start planning a trip to Cuba

The first thing you should know when planning a trip to Cuba is the documentation you will need to get there. It all depends on where are you from. For example, US citizens need different documentation than Canadian citizens.

The basic documentation to travel anywhere abroad is your passport. It should have a valid date up to 6 months of your trip date. You should be careful with your passport once you arrive at your destination because you will need it to go back home.

If you lost your passport you should go to your embassy and to the immigration office.

You will need a visa and some other documents to visit Cuba, this could take weeks, so start planning. 

Documents for US citizens

US citizens have some restriction to travel to Cuba. The trips are regulated by the US Department of Treasury. In general, this office says that “travel for tourist activities is strictly prohibited”. 

Even if you are not a US citizen but you are flying from the US to Cuba, you will need to meet some requirements.

The US government will like to know the reason for your travel, the health insurance, your passport, and visa. And the round ticket. 

The rules for US citizens for traveling to Cuba are very strong. So you should know them before planning your trip. First, as we mentioned, it is not allowed to travel for tourism reasons to Cuba.

Are you wondering how to travel to Cuba if you are an American? The permitted reasons are 13, you will need to apply for a license, general or specific, and then you can go. 

The categories for a general license are: “family visits, official government business, journalistic activity, professional research or meetings, educational activities or group people-to-people exchanges, religious activities, sports and public events, support for the Cuban people, humanitarian projects, research, informational materials, authorized export activities and non-immigrant Cuban National”.

If your reason to travel to Cuba is not named in this list, you can ask for a specific license.

You will also need a health insurance that is accepted on the island. You could ask about this to the airline.

The US citizens also will need a Cuban entry permit, you can buy this in the airport. But if the reason for your trip is not covered by this document, you will need to issue a visa in the Cuban Consulate in Washington. 

Documents for Canadian citizens

Besides your valid passport, you will need a tourist visa or tourist card. The travel agency or the airline can process this documentation for you. Sometimes the cost is included in the ticket or the package, you should ask that. 

If you are planning a trip to Cuba from Canada you can issue the visa also by yourself in the Cuban government office in this country. This, in case you organized your flight privately.

Another way of getting the visa is purchasing it in certain airports. Keep in mind that this visa is only for tourist proposes, so you cannot do business or journalism activities. 

When traveling to Cuba from Canada you will also need a health insurance, a ticket back home, 50 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos) per day for the trip.

If you are in a different country of the ones we just mention, you should contact the Cuban government office and ask how to get a travel visa for Cuba.

playas de cuba

Important information to travel to Cuba

If you are planning a vacation to Cuba this information will be very helpful for you.

Currency and credit cards

In Cuba there is a ‘double economy’ it means that they have two official currencies, the Cuban Pesos (CUP) and de CUC. The theory says that the tourists only can use the CUC, but you can use CUPs in some cases.

The exchange rate is 1 CUC is 1 dollar, in theory. And, 1 CUC is between 22 and 25 Cuban national pesos.

In theory, the credit and debit cards will work in Cuba. But the truth is that the economy moves in cash. So, our recommendation is that you should bring enough cash, and avoid any surprises. Especially if you are going to visit small towns.

And, you should know that the United Stated cards do not work in Cuba.

In Cuba, you will be able to exchange your currency, like US dollars, Canadian dollars or Euros in hotels, airports, banks or Cadecas. But it is advisable to avoid getting there with US dollars because it will cost you 10 % in tax. Prefer the other two currencies.

Cuban travel information

  • The weather in Cuba: the country has a moderate subtropical climate. They can distinct two seasons: from November to April (dry season, with temperatures between 21 and 28°C). The rest of the year is summer, the temperature oscillates around 30°C.
  • The official language in Cuba: Spanish. In the main tourist areas, hotels, Casas particulares in Trinidad, parks, and attractions you won´t have troubles communicating in English. You will find tourist guides who also speak French, Italian and German. But it is advisable to learn some basic phrases in Spanish.
  • The electrical plugs in Cuba: they are the American type with two flat legs (Type A). In general, electricity in Cuba is 110V / 60Hz. Although in some hotels (usually in bathrooms) they also have 220V and plug for European-style round pins. (Type C).
  • Internet connection in Cuba: it wouldn´t be easy to find an internet connection on the island. It´s limited and expensive. There is Wi-fi in some squares and big hotels. To connect you will need to buy a special card, from 2 to 10 CUC you can get from 1 to 5 hours of internet.
  • Cuban time zone: is GMT -4, it shares it whit Washington and New York, also with eastern Canada, like Toronto and Québec.

historical cuba

Souvenirs and cigars from Cuba

When traveling you always want to bring something back as a souvenir for your loving ones or as a collection for you. But you should know that the US Government also regulates this.

If you go to Cuba the government allows you to bring spending up to 400 dollars in souvenirs and other goods, for personal use, it means for you or for a gift. Tobacco and alcohol are also included in this list.

Remember if you are going to buy tobacco, do it only in legal stores, that will give you a receipt. Because in the airport they are going to ask you for this document.

Is Cuba safe for travelers?

If you are planning your first trip to Cuba this is a recurring question. The truth is that if we talk about crime rates Cuba is safer than many other countries in Latin America or the Caribbean. But crime exists, like in any other country in the world.

The most common crimes that affect tourist are pick-pocketing, purse snatching and assaults. This can happen in the crowded places in Havana, the main tourist areas, market, and beaches.

The solution for this is to be a smart traveler. Don´t go around showing affluence, like using expensive jewelry. The recommendation is to have on you just small amounts of money, what you will need on the day.

Keep your belongings like passport and money in the hotel safe box. But always remember to carry o photocopy of your passport with you. Avoid leaving your personal possessions unattended on the beach. 

In case you get involved in an assault stay calm, do not resist. If you get robbed go to the local police.

Can I drive in Cuba?

Yes, you can. You will need your driver license from your home country. It can cost around 75 dollars for a day, and a limited number of kilometers. You will need to hire a special insurance, it can cost around 15$. As you can see is not cheap.

If you would like the experience, go for it. But it is not easy to drive there, you won´t know the laws and local rules. And of course, the streets and roads are unfamiliar to you.

Taxis are the most reliable transportation

The cabs are the most common way to go around Cuba for tourist. There are official taxis, the yellow ones, but there are other options, like the classic cars, share cabs, Cocos or bicitaxis.

Keep in mind that even if the taxi has a parking meter, the driver will like to convey the price. 

The touristaxis are the official’s ones, they are under the government administration. The cars are new, they have an air conditioner and safe belts. The private taxis, although not officials, the drivers have a license. These are old cars,  but the cost of the rides are similar to the first ones.

The classic cars are an institution in Cuba, they are from the 40s and 50s. You can book a ride in these cars with tourism companies. 

This important information to travel to Cuba will help you to have a better trip to Cuba and enjoy the beauties of this Caribbean island. If you want to visit this country contact us and book your accommodation.


Related post

What you need to know about Cuba travel insurance

What you need to know about Cuba travel insurance

Wed 31 Oct 2018

Read more

6 day trips from Havana to enjoy Cuba

6 day trips from Havana to enjoy Cuba

Wed 17 Oct 2018

Read more

10 tips for first-time travelers to Cuba

10 tips for first-time travelers to Cuba

Tue 25 Sep 2018

Read more


Newsletter Sign Up

I have read and accept the Privacy policy  

See privacy information

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best bed and breakfast deals and news sent straight to your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Best Cuba Travel blog


Explore Cuba

Pinar del Río and its Tobacco Route
Pinar del Río and its Tobacco Route

Read more