How to get to Cuba?

Getting to Cuba is easy. The great majority of visitors arrive by air. Cuba is connected to approximately 50 cities in the world through regular and charter flights: the most important cities of the Caribbean, Canada, United States, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. Over 60 foreign airlines fly to Cuba landing in its ten international airports located in the main cities and tourist destinations of the country. However, the main place of entry to the Island is José Martí International Airport in Havana.

To enter Cuba as a tourist you only need a valid passport, a Tourist Card and a travel insurance policy. The passport must have a minimum valid period of six months beyond your stay in Cuba. The Tourist Card can be purchased at travel agencies and airlines that fly to Cuba.

The Tourist Card allows free travel throughout Cuba for up to 30 days and can be extended once for another 30 days at any immigration office in Cuba. The Tourist Card allows Canadians free travel for up to 90 days and can be extended once for another 90 days.

Visas for long-term stay & non-tourist

  • Students, business persons, journalists or any other visitor who comes to fulfil a specific task should get a special visa, which can be requested in the Cuban Consulate of their respective country.
  • During your stay in Cuba, we advise to carry with you a photocopy of your passport and not the original, unless you need it for some specific task.

Travel insurance policy

As a requirement for entering the country, all foreign travelers and Cubans living abroad, shall have a travel insurance which covers medical expenses or a policy for medical expenses with coverage in Cuba. The policy must be shown upon request and must be issued by an insurer authorized by Cuba.

Travelers, who do not have insurance at arrival, could obtain insurance and assistance from Cuban insurance companies at the airports, ports and marinas.

Do you have the right currency?

You may obtain CUC at your arrival exchanging Euros, CAD, GBP, USD, and other currencies. Get more info on Cuban currencies.

Electricity

Electric appliances with round prongs require a flat-prong adapter to be used in the electrical outlets of Cuba. The electric current of general use is of 110 v / 60 hz, even though recently constructed hotels also have 220 v / 60 hz.

Health

Though tap water is drinkable, it’s recommended that you stick to bottled water as an added protection against tropical illnesses. Most hotels have doctors and nurses on call for 24 hours a day, and the main cities and tourist destinations of the country have clinics for tourists.

Cira García Clinic in Havana provides emergency services, long-term care, and any medical need to tourists and foreigners. It has a good selection of doctors and nurses and offers excellent services. There is also a pharmacy across the street from the Clinic.

Cira García Clinic: Calle 20 #4101, esq. a Ave. 41, Miramar, Playa, La Habana, Cuba / Ph: +5372042811 & +5372042640 / Web site: www.cirag.cu

Health regulations upon arrival to Cuba

Restrictive sanitary regulations are only for visitors who come from countries where yellow fever and endemic cholera exist, or from countries the World Health Organization has declared as infected areas. In such cases, it’s required an International Vaccination Certificate. Products of animal and vegetable origins have entry restrictions. The corresponding certificate is required to bring animals into Cuba.

Communications

Calling to Cuba: Dial the country code 53, the code of the city, and the desired phone number. Havana code is 7. To make a phone call from Cuba you must dial 119, followed by the country and the area codes and then the phone number you want.

Calling from Cuba: You can call from Cuba to any other country from your own home stay by using an ETECSA Prepaid Telephone Card, available at prices starting from CUC$ 5. You can also call to other countries from hotels or from phone company desks (ETECSA) available throughout the country, or from cellular phones.

Cellular phones can be rented upon arrival, or you can bring your own phone and activate it here. It will work in major cities and tourist areas.

Internet access is becoming more and more common in Cuba. At the moment, there are around 200 public Wi-Fi hotspots in Cuba, more than 20 in Havana.

Temporary access to Cuba’s public Internet is offered through prepaid cards. The prepaid cards are marketed in ETECSA’s retails locations and in hotels, airports and many tourist locations.

The official rate is CUC$ 1.50 per hour at public Wi-Fi locations. Hotels, Business Centers and Internet Cafes have higher prices and sell Internet access at a premium, usually CUC$ 5 per hour for access within their facilities. Exceptionally you will find Internet access at casas particulares or private accommodations.

Time zone

Cuba is in the same time zone as Bogota, Kingston, Lima, New York, Toronto and Washington D.C. Daylight Saving Time runs from April to October.

Essentials in your suitcase

Regarding clothing, cotton and linen fabrics, or similar are adequate for most of the year. In winter and in air-conditioned facilities, it’s advisable to use light wool garments or a light jacket. Theatres, concert halls, cabarets, and deluxe restaurants require more formal clothing. It’s advisable to be prepared for some rainy days. Be sure to include sunglasses, a swimsuit, and a sun blocking lotion.

Be a smart traveller in Cuba

Even though Cuba is a safe country and has low crime rates, you should be aware of certain precautions to avoid being a victim of thieves and impostors. It’s wise to consider some recommended precautions:

  • Exchange your currency only at banks, hotels and exchange houses (CADECA), never on the streets.
  • Carry only as much money as you will need.
  • Be careful with your belongings and purchases, especially in crowded areas.
  • Check the bill at restaurants.
  • Don’t pay attention to people approaching you in the streets and introducing themselves as “tourist guides”.
  • Don’t pay attention to cigar sellers at cheaper prices than the ones in authorized stores, such as Habanos S.A., because those cigars are a fraud.
  • Try to keep away from dark quiet areas and side streets if you are on your own, particularly late at night.
  • Always take a taxi at night to return to your accommodation.

Departing Cuba

Guarantee your arrival to the airport at least two hours before your flight is due to depart. Make sure to retain at hand the second portion of your Tourist Card, as this ticket must be handed to the immigration official on departure.

A CUC$ 25 Airport Service Charge must be paid by every traveler when leaving Cuba by airplane and it should be included in the price of your ticket. If the airline has not included it, you will be asked to pay the departure tax at the check-in counter.

In all Cuban international airports are booths to pay the departure tax after you have checked-in at your airline's counter. They will affix a stamp on your boarding pass as a proof this tax has been paid.