- Spanish is the official language.
- English is spoken in tourist places.
- Accent: the “s” at the end of a sentence is not pronounced, and the “u” is pronounced “or”.
- Grammar: the second person in the plural “vosotros” is replaced by “ustedes”
A few words
- Hello : buenos días
- Bye /See you = Hola/Ciao or hasta luego
- Please /Thank you= por favor/gracias
- Oui/non = si/no
- Plane / Bus /car = avion/ guagua / auto
- I am from US = soy de estados unidos
Cuba is GMT -4
- 2 flat plugs, continent America or 2 round holes.
- You may need to take an adapter
- Check that they your electric appliance are compatible with 110 volts current.
- If not, you will need a transformer (travel, from an electrician).
Telephone & Internet
There are several solutions for telephoning, either :
- A card booth: you can buy a card in ETECSA shops with a value from 5 to 20 CUC (this solution is ideal for local calls).
- In a call center: there is in almost every provincial town a “telepunto ETECSA” center: it is a telephone exchange, you ask for a booth and you can call and see the cost of your call.
- At the inhabitant’s house: if you stay in a “casa particular”, you can ask your host to call for you (local), it doesn’t cost him/her much but you can leave a tip coin.
- In hotels: they can call for you but be careful, some hotels charge 1 CUC per minute!
- From your mobile phone: ask your operator before you leave if you have a “world” option on your phone.
- Buying a SIM Card : Since 2020 foreigners can buy an Etecsa SIM card with internet data. If you plan to stay more than 2 weeks, this may be the most convenient solution
If you do, you will be able to use your French mobile phone, but be careful to ask your operator for the cost of calling and sending and receiving SMS.
Concerning the internet, in major cities or tourist places, you will have no difficulty in finding “cyber cafés”, the “all inclusive” hotels have a room with 2 computers available to customers (paying or free depending on the category).
The wifi is starting to be more widespread in Cuba, terminals are offered to the inhabitants in public places, as well as in some hotels rather 4/5*, cafes and restaurants.
You will have to buy wifi connection cards in the Etecsa shops, 1 hour for 2 CUC, it will be necessary to contact you on the site to access wifi. However, do not count on internet in Cuba, the network is slow.
From USA to Cuba, add 00+53+ before city code + phone number.
Ex: from USA to Havana, dial 00 53 72 08 25 12.
From Cuba to Cuba, add 0 + province code + telephone number.
Ex: from Havana to Santiago, dial 0 22 643 903 From Cayo Santa Maria to Cienfuegos, dial 0 43 255 10 20.
Is the water drinkable in Cuba?
This is one of the most important questions for any vacation abroad: is the water drinkable? And as always in Cuba, the answer is never quite simple: yes… but no! We explain!
In theory, tap water is safe to drink in Cuba.
Cubans drink it, but some boil it beforehand.
However, tap water is known to have a bad taste.
In practice, it is advisable to avoid drinking tap water in Cuba.
It is better to use bottled mineral water instead.
However, a little tap water will not kill you.
If you are served a cocktail with ice cubes, don’t worry.
Especially since large hotels, bars and restaurants in tourist areas often use purified water.
Mineral water in Cuba
The most common brand of mineral water in Cuba (by far) is Ciego Montero.
It is available in still and sparkling versions.
(Ciego Montero even offers a local version of coca cola, among other sodas).
A large bottle of water will cost you between 1 and 2 CUC on average.
Good to know
If you are planning to go hiking or simply to be forward thinking, you can also invest in water purification tablets or a filter to make the water drinkable.