Travel to Cuba can be the experience of a lifetime!
If you are interested in visiting, you should take a look at what others have to say about their trips. Cuba has a culture all its own. Travelers will find unique food and many options for nightly entertainment
In this section you will find all the information you need about how to travel to Cuba. There is also information about Cuban Health Care and emergency number, Cuban money, and Embassies / Consulates in Cuba as well as all information regarding the transportation in Cuba such as trains , buses, how and where to rent a car or the taxi prices…and much more!
There are sports and recreational activities everywhere in Cuba, they range from an excellent baseball league to scuba diving. There are also a variety of attractions you shouldn’t miss in Cuba. Historical sites, museums, and very nice colonial buildings are everywhere. For that information, please visit our section “Activities”.
Cuban Tourist Card
Every person arriving in Cuba will require a Tourist Card to gain entry, including infants. Tourist cards must be completed in capital letters with black ink and no deletions or corrections. If the card is not completed correctly this can cause severe delays to your entry into Cuba.
Cuba Health Care
Should you require health care in Cuba many larger hotels have 24 hour medical staff on hand. Cuba’s health care is probably the best in the Caribbean! The Department of Health website offers information on any recommended immunization for any destination in the world. As Cuba has a tropical climate it’s recommended that you take insect repellent with you as mosquito’s can be an occasional nuisance. It’s recommended that you take sufficient supplies of any medications that you require and also basic first aid supplies. The ongoing US embargo does make it difficult and expensive to obtain many medical supplies. It is advisable to drink bottled water instead of tap water. Most hotel shops and bars will sell bottled water. Please note that while many hotels will supply free bottled water in your room not all hotels do.
Medical care is provided in every tourist hotel and there is an excellent hospital for foreigners in Havana. There are clinics and hospitals all over the island.
In most cases, you will want to dial tel. 106 for any emergency. This is the number for the police. Alternately, you can dial tel. 104 for an ambulance in six of the country’s provinces (for Havana, dial tel. 838-1185; Pinar del Rio tel. 76-2317; Isla de la Juventud tel. 32-4170; Matanzas tel. 2-8500; Ciego de Avila tel. 185; Las Tunas tel. 4-9192; Granma tel. 185; Santiago tel. 62-3300); and, although in Guantanamo, you can dial tel. 104, in Baracoa, you must dial tel. 4-3472, and tel.
105 for the fire department. The three-digit emergency numbers are part of an ongoing effort to institute a national program for emergency response. However, in some areas of the country, it is still not fully functional. At none of these numbers can you assume you will find an English-speaking person. For legal emergencies, contact your diplomatic representation.
Safety and Crime in Cuba
Cuba is a very safe destination for tourists. In Cuba, like many poor countries, the comparative wealth of tourists can make theft a tempting crime. Fortunately, Cuba’s crime rate is quite low and violent crime in Cuba is very rare. It is recommended taking the same precautions you would use in any new environment. If you are interested in buying cigars or exchanging money ensure that you carry out transactions at an official shop or bank and not in the street. Most hotels offer a safe in the room and it’s recommended that you place valuables securely in the safe and only carry required items with you.Do not put any valuables into your checked baggage and it’s recommended to have your luggage wrapped at the airport before it is checked.
The U.S. government is currently allowing travelers to bring back cigars to the USA. For those traveling from Cuba to their homes in other countries, the Cuban government requires that you have a receipt when you exit the county to show that you purchased them legally. Cigars are of dubious quality when bought from private individuals on the street. They are often old and dry.
Authorized factories are your best bet. You can count on the quality. When you leave the country, the Cuban government might ask you for your cigar purchase receipt. If you do not have one, your cigars might be confiscated.
Most hotels have 110 volt, some have 220 volt and some have both! Sockets should be clearly marked with voltage. You will require a two pin travel adaptor. Many hotels provide hair dryers and irons for your use.
It’s not recommend that you take your own cell phone to Cuba. It’s expensive to activate them. In recent times, most hotels have the ability to set you up with Cuba cell. You sign a contract and you might have to put a deposit. Then you are billed by the minutes that you spend. The minute rates change so we can’t quote you a price.
Calling cards for regular phones are expensive per minute, but card phones are sometimes difficult to find.
Calling from your room in most hotels is quite expensive.
Changing Money in Havana
Most tourists hotels in Cuba either have a location for changing money or will do it at the front desk. Or you may ask your hotel where the nearest CADECA is.
Banco Financiero Internacional
Linea esq O, Vedado. Open Mon-Fri 8am-3pm; last day of month until noon.Provides dollar transactions.
Banco Financiero Internacional
Habana Libre branch. Open daily 9am-7pm.
Banco Internacional de Comercio
Ayestaran esq Paseo, Plaza de la Revolución. Open 8:30am-2pm.
Hotel Nacional. Open 8am-noon and 12:30-7:30pm.
Foreign traveler do not use Cuban pesos. Tourists use Convertible Pesos. U.S. dollars and U.S. Travelers checks can be cashed at the bank or most hotels. There is a surcharge to change foreign currency into Convertible Pesos. Many people are opting to carry Euros, Canadian dollars, or Mexican pesos as there is a lower surcharge to change money from countries other than the US. No credit cards are accepted from U.S banks. There are safes in most hotel rooms.
Travelers checks may be cashed easily and with a low fee at the Santiago de Cuba Hotel and the bank in the Hotel Nacional in Havana (up the flight of stairs to your left after entering the front door).
How to access the web and send email from Havana
There are many places where one can send email and access the web.
Many private individuals have acquired email in the past year but few have access to the web. You will probably have to go to a public site that caters to tourists. Most tourist hotels are internet accessible.