The 2021 Cuba Travel Guides

Cuba Travel Guides

Where to Go in Cuba

When to Visit Cuba

What to do in Cuba

Where to Stay in Cuba

Where to eat & Have a Drink in Cuba

Best Beaches in Cuba

Best hotels in Cuba

Getting to & Around Cuba

Cuba Wiki

FAQ about Travelling to Cuba

Is it necessary to book accommodation?

Our advice is: book the first few nights in Havana, then book as you go. Do it in private houses: they are the cheapest way to stay and allow you to have real contact with the Cubans.
On the other hand, if you prefer not to waste time and energy in finding your ideal house, you can make reservations before arriving in Cuba. We advise you to have a look at this web where there are many options, always in private houses

What’s the temperature in Cuba?

Cuba has about the same temperatures all over its surface. The south-eastern part of the island, where the city of Santiago de Cuba is located, only enjoys the highest temperatures a little longer. Thus, mild temperatures, which are between 24°C and 28°C, settle in the western part of the island (where Havana is located) from November to March. They give way to the highest temperatures, 30°C on average, from April to October.

The eastern part of the island benefits from mild temperatures in January and February and the thermometer shows higher temperatures from March to December.

What is the Best time to go to Cuba

The best time to go to Cuba, if you want to avoid precipitation, is between December and May, during the dry season. If your stay with TUI takes place mainly in Havana, the capital of the island, we advise you to leave in February or March because the rainfall is only 40 mm. These are therefore also the months when the sunny weather is the most important throughout the year.

Is Cuba safe to travel ?

Cuba is a very safe place for the whole family. Children can travel to Cuba without any problems; and women can walk alone in the streets with complete freedom and confidence.
You just have to be careful and have common sense to avoid unpleasant surprises during your stay in Cuba.

How much time do I need to visit Cuba ?

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).

Do I need a visa to travel to Cuba?

The answer is YES! Although it is actually a “Tourist Card” that must be applied for in advance of your trip. To get it you can go to the office of one of the Cuban consulates in Spain, although the best thing is to go to some online company specialized in this procedure, which obviously will charge you a supplement (to our taste, it’s worth it). You will also need to take out a mandatory travel insurance. We always travel with IATI, here we tell you how to choose the best travel insurance.

Is Vaccination required to enter in Cuba ?

To travel to Cuba it is not obligatory to be vaccinated of anything. You will not be asked for your vaccination letter at the airport on your arrival. However, some vaccinations are recommended (hepatitis A and B, rabies, typhoid fever…). Check with your international vaccination centre.

Which is the best Beach in Cuba?

Most people want to know which is the best beach in Cuba. I’m going to tell you something to calm you down : you will love any beach you go to.

How to get to Cuba ?

Getting by plane in Cuba
There are 11 airports on the island : Havana (international airport), Varadero, Nueva Gerona (Isla de Juventud), Cayo Lardo del Sur, Cayo Coco, Santa Clara, Camagüey, Holguin, Las Tunas, Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba (international airport).
The companies are Cubana de Aviacion, Aerogaviota and Aercaribbean.
We recommend domestic flights only if you don’t have time to take the tour in a rental car, as flight prices are quite high and the weight of luggage allowed is limited (especially with the company Aerocaribbean).

What is the currency used in Cuba?

Cuba has the particularity of using 2 types of currencies: the Cuban Peso or CUP and the Cuban Convertible Peso or CUC, with 1 CUC = 25 CUP.
As a foreigner, you will use the CUC to pay for your purchases, hotel expenses, transportation…
You will be able to convert your euros at the airport, in the national banks or in the exchange offices called Cadeca.
If you prefer to pay by credit card, use your VISA card and not your MasterCard.

Do I need to bring an adapter to Cuba?

In Cuba the sockets are of the American type with two flat legs (Type A). In general the electricity in Cuba is 110V/60Hz, although in some hotels (normally in the bathrooms) they have 220V and a socket for round legs of European type. (A type C)
It is advisable to ask at your hotel before leaving and to bring an adapter if necessary.

How do I get around in Cuba?

You can take a plane if you want to move quickly through the island and its archipelagos.
Otherwise, you can take the bus, either to get around the city or to get to the different points of interest.
Taxis are also a good solution for your stays in the city.
Finally, if you have your driving licence, you can rent a car.
What to put in your suitcase for your holidays in Cuba?
In Cuba, it is warm all year round, even in winter.
So you can fill your suitcase with T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, little summer dresses…
and don’t forget bathing suits and beach towels.
Remember to protect yourself from the sun by bringing a hat, sunglasses and of course sunscreen.

Cuba: What budget should you plan ?

The cost of living in Cuba is a little more affordable than in France.
For your information, meals in restaurants cost between 3 and 9 € per person, fast-food menus cost an average of 5 €.
For transportation, count about 0.5 € per bus ticket.
Taxi fares cost an average of €0.5 to €0.9 per kilometre.
If you plan to rent a car, you should know that the price of a litre of unleaded petrol varies between €1 and €1.5.
In short, plan to spend at least €60 per person per day for a comfortable holiday in Cuba.

What are the Cuban culinary specialties

Cuba offers a wide choice of tasty dishes where meat is particularly honoured.
Among the national specialties is the Picadillo, a delicious mixture of minced meat, garlic, onion and spices.
It is traditionally eaten with Moros y Cristianos, a dish of rice and black beans.
For those who want to try something new, try the crocodile meat that Cubans usually cook with spicy pineapple.
Speaking of pineapples, this fruit is a real institution in the country where it is cooked sweet, salty, spicy…
The Cuban-style stuffed pineapple is a dish that you absolutely must try.
As well as Ropa Vieja, a dish made of filamentous beef, simmered for a long time in a special broth.
For dessert, try the delicious Cuban flank, then finish your meal with a coffee that the locals like very strong and very sweet.
Lovers of full-bodied drinks will find their happiness with the local rum and tasty cocktails, including the unmissable Mojito and Cuba Libre.

How to get to Cuba ?

Arriving in Cuba is only possible by plane or ship, and this last option has been reduced in 2019 by the threat of strong US sanctions against the world’s most important cruise companies that touch Cuban ports.
The vast majority of passengers arriving by air usually arrive at Havana airport and to a lesser extent at Varadero. If you don’t have your flight yet, compare prices here.
3. Cheap flights to Cuba
The prices of the flights to Cuba usually suffer a maximum variation of 15%.
It is difficult to find “bargains”, if you are looking for flights to Cuba in a complicated month like August, I recommend you to read this post by Antonio, a great megatutorial about how to get the best flight in Skyscanner.
If you are going to travel to Cuba from Spain, there are four companies that make direct flights to Cuba, all from Madrid:
Cubana de Aviacion.
Iberia.
Evelop.
Air Europa.
The cheapest company is always Cubana de Aviación, although you should know that it is very common that Cubana’s flight is delayed.
Ask any Cuban and they’ll tell you: “If you fly Cubana, if you don’t fly today, you’ll fly tomorrow.
It is the only company that allows landing from Madrid in Santiago de Cuba.
I would dare to say that in any country that operates, the cheapest option is to fly with Cubana de Aviación. Here you can see the destinations Cubana de Aviación flies to.
Although I must say that after the last plane crash I don’t like to recommend it and from Madrid I recommend more Evelop.

Where to stay in Cuba?

When it comes to plan your trip, your itinerary can make or break your journey
You will learn here all the best places to go in Colombia
Hotels
The Cuban hotel park is struggling to cope with the influx of tourists.
Although the infrastructure is generally good, and even luxurious for some, the prices charged are often higher than the quality of the service provided.
In the comfort category, the Spanish international chain Mélia is at the top of the list with more than twenty hotels throughout the island.
Adapted to international standards, it is certainly one of the best options.
Then come the Cuban groups Cubanacan, Gran Caribe and Horizontes, which make up the bulk of the offer.
Also noteworthy are the charming hotels, which have flourished in Havana’s historic district under the management of the Habaguanex company.
Remarkable work of restoration to the key.
Roughly speaking, a hotel has at least one restaurant, air conditioning and television.
The more you go up the range, the more the facilities expand: discos, tourist office, shops, swimming pool, water sports, sauna, car rental.
As everywhere, prices depend on the season, geographical location, level of equipment and number of stars.
Finally, you should know that some establishments will refuse the presence of a Cuban at your side but this practice is becoming increasingly rare.
In general, the receptionist will simply ask for the identity papers of your Cuban companion to register his or her details at the time of check-in.
The high level of prostitution in Cuba has indeed forced hoteliers and special casas to be more careful about their clients.
protect, as robberies by prostitutes are common in establishments where they spend the night.
Bed and Breakfast
It is the most economical solution across the country.
Rooms at the home are marked with a blue logo like an anchor turned upside down that can be spotted on the doors of your potential guests.
A good way to enter the reality of Cuban families.
Allow between 20 CUC and 25 CUC outside the capital and expect a range of 25 CUC to 35 CUC in Havana (same price for one or two people). It should be noted that the level of taxation for the owners of these casas has increased considerably in recent years, as the Cuban state seeks to redirect tourists towards hotel structures. 
Important Warning
Many Cubans offer to take you to a particular casa. Just be aware that the latter – rabble-rousers or jineteros – systematically take at least 5 CUC of commission (and often much more) per room and per night. The price of your room is increased accordingly…

This is the case not only for people posted at the entrance of cities, at bus stations, met in the street but also taxi drivers and people who have a casa where you may have slept and recommend you an address in another city.

Their help is never free, even if they seem very nice and are often sincere in their recommendations.
Smart guys even simply stand in front of a casa and discreetly wait for the clients to arrive and, once they have entered the casa, they go to see the owners and make them believe that it is thanks to them that the clients have taken a room in their house .
And, therefore, they discreetly collect a commission on you.

Make sure that there is no one directly near the entrance of the casa to avoid this kind of scam, which will also have the disadvantage of inflating the price of your room! (since you will have to pay the rebate) To be sure of this, you can simply inform the owners of the casa as soon as you arrive that you have come alone, without anyone’s advice, you will then pay exactly the price indicated in the guide.
For the casa owners, it is a joy to see a tourist who has found their address in a guide because there is no commission to pay, and they inevitably earn more money than when a flapper or another casa owner is in the loop.
Also ask the owners of particular casas about their water system (cistern, how many litres for how many people) as it is sometimes outdated, or precarious, so that you can find out whether the shower is insured and whether you will have hot water without problems.
Campsites
Wild camping is forbidden. The campgrounds actually only have bungalows. A 100% Cuban atmosphere is guaranteed, as foreign tourists still use this type of accommodation very little. 
The infrastructures remain indeed spartan and rudimentary.
Historicals
The communist glacis has its good points: for proof it keeps historic buildings and interiors in good condition, insensitive to styles and the passing years. 
Havana is a delight for those curious about colonial architecture and outdated decoration. 
Saratoga, Florida or Nacional de Cuba, so many historic buildings where the spirit of illustrious characters and moments in the life of the world remain. 
Candy boxes to open delicately, perfume boxes of yesteryear.
All inclusive
You can imagine the astonishment. “All inclusive” what a horror! Objection, your honor. The phrasing may be sound. For example, in Cuba. 
For example, in Cayo Ensenachos. 
Four kilometres of splendid beaches, perhaps the most beautiful in Cuba, a hotel divided into three parts, one for adults, another for families, a choice of five different restaurants, sports activities galore, a delicious festive atmosphere. All inclusive par excellence.
Colonial
All Cuba is travelled by staying only in colonial hotels. Havana of course with its mythical addresses but also Cienfuegos and its succulent Palazzo Azul, Trinidad and its Grand Hotel and even Varadero and its astonishing villa Xanadu, former property of the French-born American billionaire Dupont de Nemours. 
At each stage its little story in the big one. Details, anecdotes, famous people, delight in a deliciously old-fashioned atmosphere.
Casa particular
This is a typically Cuban specialty. In a country where resourcefulness is combined as soon as you wake up, the smartest and the best off offer to welcome you in their homes. 
You benefit from a room (or several if necessary), a bathroom reputed to be in good condition, all private. 
You will share with your host his dining room, living room and kitchen. 
You will soon get to know the whole family and will be filled with anecdotes and jokes about Fidel and Raul, derision being a national sport where the Cuban excels. Great!
The hotel option will always be more expensive [approx $100 per couple per night] and if you look for something cheap, you risk it being in bad condition.
Hostels are not very common. 
We only recommend it if you go alone and want to meet other travellers [10$ / night]. 
Our most recommended option is the private houses. 
The government gives licenses to some citizens to offer accommodation in their houses. 
They are usually in good condition and all have air conditioning. (you don’t know how much you will appreciate it!)
You have the option of booking by AirBNB or searching on site, which is always cheaper and you will find a safe room.
There are all levels [from 15 to 50 CUC per night]. And they all offer breakfast for 3-7 CUC.

Cuba Wiki

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Presentation of Cuba
Cuba is a beautiful holiday destination with sunshine and festivities almost all year round. This beautiful and gigantic Caribbean island offers a mix of cultures, flavours and authentic places to discover. You can choose to stay in the bustling cities, recharge your batteries in the mountains, or bask in the sea and explore the seabed. But no matter where you go, rest assured that your vacation in Cuba will be unforgettable.

The Country

  • Official name: Republic of Cuba.
  • Motto: Patria o muerte, Venceremos (Fatherland or death, we shall overcome)
  • Capital: Havana.
  • Surface area: 110,922 km².
  • President: Miguel Diaz Canel (since 2019).

Population

  • Population: 11,271,819 (2014).
  • Density: 102.4 inhabitants/km² (2014).
  • Natural increase: 0% (2014).
  • Life expectancy: 78 years (2014).
  • Literacy rate: 99.8% (2014).
  • Human Development Index (UN ranking): 0.815 (44th out of 187 countries in 2014).
  • Composition: 51% Métis, 37% white, 11% black, 1% Chinese.

The Economy

  • GDP: US$ 72.3 billion (2013).
  • GDP per capita: US$ 6,300 (2013).
  • Growth rate: +3% in 2013, +3.1% in 2012; +1.3% in 2014.
  • Unemployment rate: 4.3% (2013).
  • Share of sectors in GDP: agriculture 3.8%, industry 22.3%, services 73.9%.

Phone

  • National code: 53.
  • To call to Cuba: dial 00 53 + city code + number of your pen pal.
  •  Cuba, local call within the same province: desired number without province code.
  • Cuba, from province to province: 01 + province code + number.
  • Cuba, from the province to Havana: 07 + number

Phone cards of 5 CUC, 10 CUC or 20 CUC are on sale at ETECSA (telephone operator), in hotels, airports, restaurants and petrol stations.

They are valid all over the country, especially in the call centres of the largest cities. Expect 4 CUC/min for USA

Unlike calls abroad, domestic calls are very cheap. In this case, use coins, as the use of prepaid cards is overcharged.

Time Zone : UTC/GMT -5 hours

The time changes take place at almost the same dates (end of March and beginning of October).

You must also remember:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, particularly if you visit the eastern region of Cuba where the climate is usually warmer. Although tap water can be drunk, it is recommended that you buy bottled water.
  • Some establishments accept credit cards, but ideally you should always carry money in cash to make any payments.
  • If you want to buy traditional products such as rum, coffee, tobacco and music, choose the specialized or authorized shops and establishments for their sale. That is the only way you can be sure of acquiring authentic quality merchandise. Never make this type of purchase in the street or from unknown subjects.
  • Exchange coins only in the Exchange Houses (Cadecas), distributed in all the cities or towns, as well as in the Banks destined to such purposes.
  • Use lotions to protect yourself from insect bites.
  • Most services in Cuba do not include tipping. This is accepted if you wish to offer it.
  • If you wish to travel with your dogs and cats, they must be vaccinated against rabies and you present the updated Veterinary Certificate of the country of origin. Time zones:
    Standard time: UTC/GMT -5 hours.

Cuba adopts a summer timetable between the months of March and October with one hour in advance.

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