Holidays in Cuba - F.A.Q.

Useful Information for travellers to Cuba

Useful Information for Travellers to Cuba

Cuba Direct’s team of Cuba holiday experts have put together this handy guide based on questions travellers to Cuba ask the most. It does not intend to be a thorough guide to Cuba but to put in one place answers to questions our clients ask sooner or later. Read it and, if you can’t find answers to your questions, do not hesitate to ask. That’s what we’re here for. In addition to this FAQ page, we’d recommend that you download and read or magazine, Hola Habana. It not only gives more tips about travelling to Cuba with us, it also suggests places to eat and drink, and lists excursions you could book through us once in Cuba.

Cuba Holidays FAQ - Flying to Cuba

Flying to Cuba

LUGGAGE: The hold luggage allowance is 23kgs on Virgin, Air Europa, KLM and Air France. For hand luggage it is 10kgs on Virgin and Air Europa and 12kgs on KLM and Air France.

CHECKING IN: You can check-in online at your airline website 24 hours before you fly (or, in the case of Air Europa, 48 hours). You can then pick your seat and print out your boarding pass. All you need to do this are your name and the airline reference number which is on your invoice. If you are flying with Virgin, then please speak to your travel consultant to get the code for Virgin’s check-in.

TICKETS: Most airlines are ticketless these days so, if you want to, you can turn up with just your passport and Cuban tourist visa because all your flight information is loaded on the airline system. If you’ve already checked in online, you will have your boarding pass to present at the desk.

Cuba Holidays FAQ - Cuba Currency

Money

CURRENCY: In Cuba the currency you will be given is the Cuban Convertible Peso, otherwise known as the CUC (pronounced “cook”!). This is the currency for tourists so you will not be using the Peso which is for Cubans only.

CASH : Only use Sterling – never dollars! Change a small amount at one of the kiosks at the airport when you arrive, just enough for your first evening and morning. Then, to get a better exchange rate, change your money at a bank or use an ATM machine (but don’t always rely on them as sometimes they aren’t working!)

CARDS: Cuba is a cash economy so please don’t rely on being able to use cards because there are still very few places where they will be accepted. If you do use a card, please make sure it is not associated with an American bank or institution, e.g. Amex etc.

Cuba Holidays FAQ - Transfers and Transfer Times

Transfers & Travelling Times

PRIVATE TRANSFERS: If you have booked private accommodation, then the car will collect you and drop you off at your casa or hotel.

COLLECTIVE TRANSFERS : If you are on a coach transfer, these are not permitted to stop at private casas. This means they will drop you off at a central location (for instance in Viñales it will be Plaza Viñales), where your casa owner will be waiting for you.

In Havana the central area of the old town is pedestrianised which means coaches cannot access all the hotels. If you are in one of these, then you will pick up the coach at the nearest accessible hotel to where you are staying (rarely more than a 5 minute walk).

TRAVELLING TIMES : These are approximate (and will depend on whether you are in a car or a coach) but the general guidelines are:

Destinations Approx Distance Average Time
Havana Airport to Havana 11 Miles 30 Minutes
Havana to Varadero 87 Miles 2 Hours
Havana to Vinales 117 Miles 2.5 Hours
Vinales to Cienfuegos 275 Miles 4 Hours
Cienfuegos to Trinidad 50 Miles 1.5 Hours
Trinidad to Varadero 163 Miles 3 Hours
Cayo Santa Maria to Havana 240 Miles 6 Hours
Cuba Holidays FAQ - Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Insurance is required for travel to Cuba and you could be asked to show evidence of your cover (highly unlikely but it could happen). Please make sure you have the correct cover before you travel. We do not offer insurance.

Cuba Holidays FAQ - Travel Vouchers

Travel Vouchers

When you have paid the balance of your holiday, you will receive a final e-confirmation. Attached to this email is all the information you need plus, very importantly, the VOUCHERS for each service you will be using. These are important because you will be asked to hand them in whenever you use one of the services, so please don’t forget to print them off and take them with you before you go!

Cuba Holidays FAQ - Travel Vaccinations

Vaccinations

Please seek advice from your GP about vaccinations for travelling to Cuba.

Cuba Holidays FAQ - Cuba Tourist Card, Visa

Tourist Visas

Your visas are included in the price of your holiday and will be sent to you 3-4 weeks before you travel. They are sent from our Visa Department by Royal Mail Special Delivery and, when they have been despatched, you will receive an automated email with the Royal Mail tracking number.

The visas are very simple to complete but please don’t make any errors as this will make them invalid and you will have to buy another one! You’ll see that the visas are perforated down the centre and, when you arrive in Havana, the authorities will tear this and take half of the visa. Keep the other half safe as you will need to hand this in when you leave Cuba.

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General

Zika Virus Information - Updated: 29/01/16 – 17:08 hrs

Up to this moment, there are no reports of Zika Virus in Cuba. Please check this website for official information in relation to travel advice: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cuba. Do also check this website which is recommended by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: travelhealthpro.org.uk/zika-virus-update-and-advice-for-travellers-including-pregnant-women/.

Mosquitoes

As a tropical island Cuba has its fair share of mozzies. If you are particularly susceptible to being bitten, or tend to have a bad reaction, make sure you are armed with a good mosquito repellent as well as a cream for soothing any bites should you get bitten!

Tipping & Gifts

Many people like to take small items for gifts to Cuba, things which the Cubans themselves have a hard time either affording or, even if they have the money, actually finding in the shops! Stuff like toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel, soap etc. Silly things but which are incredibly useful. However you don’t have to do it, but when you are there then tipping goes a long way because in Cuba the average salary is the equivalent of $15-20 per month. So tipping is much appreciated and, for example, if you leave 1-2 CUCs per night for the chambermaid in your hotel at the end of your stay, or give the taxi driver 1CUC after a short trip, and the barman a CUC or two, then you will be making a big difference to their lives.

Phones & Internet

Using a mobile phone to make calls in Cuba is very expensive and downloading data (if you should find yourself in one of the rare areas with access) can give you a big shock when you get your next bill!! If you want to keep in touch, try to keep it to texting which is a lot cheaper or, alternatively, ask your provider before you travel whether they have any deals.

Plugs

If you want to recharge anything or use any other electrical equipment, then you will need to take a US adaptor.

Driving

If you have chosen to hire are car we advise not to drive at night – you might come across other drivers with their headlights on full beam or an unlit horse and cart on a main road! Otherwise driving in Cuba is safe and the roads are good.

Safety

Cuba is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean. Obviously you should be careful, as you would travelling anywhere, but generally it is an incredibly safe place to travel in.

Weather

Cuba is HOT! Natural fibres and plenty of sunscreen – it’s easy to burn quickly without even realising so don’t ruin your holiday!

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Avg. Temp 20 21 22 24 25 26 26 26 26 25 22 21
Avg. Max Temp 25 26 27 29 30 39 31 31 30 28 27 26
Avg. Min Temp 16 16 17 19 21 22 22 22 22 21 18 17
Avg. Rainy Days 3 1 3 3 4 7 6 7 7 6 4 3

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For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

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