If you are looking for tips to travel to Cuba, it is because you have probably already decided that you are going to visit this beautiful Caribbean island. Despite its lights and shadows, I’m sure it will fascinate you. You are going to visit beautiful colonial cities like Trinidad or Cienfuegos and you are dying to visit Havana in 2 days, 3 days or 4 days. The capital of Cuba is going to welcome you with classic cars that look like they were taken from the set of a movie and a lot of rhythm in its streets to the sound of ‘Guantanamera’ or ‘Rico vacilón’.
If you are planning to travel to the island soon, you need to know some information before you go.
To travel to Cuba you will need a valid passport with more than 6 months validity and at least 2 blank pages.
It is mandatory to have medical insurance to travel to Cuba
With the pandemic, the CUC was withdrawn, leaving the CUP (also called National Currency -you will see it as MN-) as the only currency.
You have to know that the only legal way to change money is at the bank or Cadeca.
Although there are businesses that accept payments with a foreign card (Visa or Mastercard), it is possible to make online payments (for example, Viazul bus tickets) while you are in Cuba with the use of a VPN.
Surely when you go to travel to Cuba, make a route of more or less days. There is accommodation for all budgets, whether you are looking for good hotels and resorts or if you are going on a backpacker budget. You can also combine both!
There are large hotel chains with different hotels spread across the island. From luxury hotels in historic buildings in Havana, Trinidad or Santiago, to incredible all-inclusive beachfront resorts. As a general rule, none of these are cheap, but they are certainly worth it.
The Casas Particulares will be your best option if you want to travel to Cuba economically and get to know the local life better. They are small lodging businesses that Cubans make available to tourists, private rooms with bathrooms for an average of €15/night. Depending on the place they cost more or less. Breakfasts are paid separately and are around €4/person for each breakfast. You will distinguish them because they have the Casa Particular Badge, so you will know that it is legal. They are usually very clean, with a fan and on many occasions a fridge and air conditioning. It is the ideal way to support local life.
Many are surprised that when they look for accommodation in Cuba, Booking does not work for them, and that is because this website, like many Americans, does not work in the country.
If you are short on time and have a high budget, you can travel faster by renting a car or hiring a private driver to make the desired circuit for you. You have the same freedom in both options, but the second one is more comfortable.
The main tourist destinations are connected by the Viazul bus network. They are not the cheapest option, but they fit into a smaller travel budget.
Internet connection has improved in recent years, but is still comparable to that of other countries. Depending on the use you give it, there are 2 options:
1. A basic itinerary needs a minimum of 15 days and could be the following: Havana (2 days) – Trinidad (2 days) – Santa Clara (1 day) – Cayo Santa María (3 days) – Varadero (3 days) – Viñales (2 days) – Havana (1 day). If you have more time (recommended!) we advise you to visit the south of the island (Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba, Guardalavaca, …)
2. If you travel to Trinidad, which we highly recommend, try the local drink: the canchánchara, a cocktail based on lemon, honey and brandy.
3. If you like to dance salsa… Cuba will be your paradise! There are always places where there is live music and people dancing: they have it in their blood.
4. Since you will not have internet at your disposal at all times, we recommend you download the map of Cuba in the maps.me app, so you will always know where you are and you can help taxi drivers find the exact destination. It works offline!
5. Is Cuba safe? Yes, the crime rate is low, but as in every tourist site, take the necessary precautions and always listen to your common sense. You can rest easy, Cuba is one of the quietest countries in the entire American continent.
6. Try the local beers: the Cristal is very tasty.
7. Do not miss a sunset on the Malecón in Havana.
8. You may leave the island in love lost or confused, like us. What is going to happen is one thing: with the passage of time you are going to want to return, because Cuba has a soul. You may not be able to understand it at first, but it is one of those sites that hook you. To all. Sooner or later you will fall asleep!