Useful Advice

Useful advice before visiting our island.

  • You should have an up-to-date passport and a tourist visa which you can obtain through the Cuban Consulate in your own country. This visa can also sometimes be purchased through your Travel Agents.
  • It is necessary to avail of travel insurance with medical cover (new measure in effect as of the 1st of May 2010). In order to comply with this demand one must make sure to have travel insurance which includes medical expenses (covered in whole or in part) as part of its policy, with cover within Cuba. The policy has to be taken out at the point of origin. Some travelers that are not carrying travel insurance when they arrive can acquire a policy with the appropriate cover from Cuban insurance agencies in the airport, port or dock. Travel insurance policies taken out with Cuban insurance agencies or with the majority of international companies count among their assistance services the company Asistur SA with a 24hr service, 365 days a year. For more information go to Información sobre Póliza de Seguro and to acquire an insurance policy go to Póliza de Seguro.

  • Upon arriving in Cuba you will encounter the customs authorities to whom you will have to show your personal documentation (tourist visa, passport and insurance policy). It is of vital importance that if you are coming to stay at our hostel that you inform the immigration authorities of our address as a legal hostel.

  • You should not stay in a ‘casa particular’ that is not legally authorized to rent to foreign tourists as to do so could bring problems to the owner of the house and also the tourist that committed this infraction. The houses and hostels that have a license should have over their door a blue sign that indicates that they can legally rent to tourists. (Arrendador Divisa)
  • Le ofrecemos el servicio de Transfer desde el aeropuerto hasta el hostal. Puede leer los detalles en la sección de transferencias. ¡Visítela!

  • Cuba’s climate is sub-tropical, there are no extremes of temperature. The driest and freshest time of year is from November to April. It is a great deal hotter from May to September and thus it is advisable to bring clothes made of cotton or other similar material as they are best suited to the climate, whatever the time of year. However it is necessary to keep in mind that from the end of October until March Cuba often encounters cold fronts and it can get quite cold especially in the months of December, January and February with temperatures falling as far as 10°C (40F). For this time of year it is at times necessary to wear a light sweater. In the rainy season (May to October) it is advisable to bring along a light raincoat. Although informal clothes (jeans, shorts, tops etc) are fine to wear in nearly all places, to go to the theatre, luxury restaurants, concert halls and such places more formal clothes are required, in the majority of these places a long-sleeved shirt and tie will be sufficient though in some instances a jacket will be required.

  • The electrical current is from 110 volts and 60 Hz and the plug sockets use flat prongs, like in the United States. In the majority of hotels however there is also a current of 220 volts and 60 Hz and adaptors for plugs with a round prong. The TV signal is the normal NTSC (American), in Cuba there are 5 TV channels and in the majority of hotels they also receive satellite channels.

  • In Cuba there are two currencies in circulation: The convertible peso (C.U.C) and the national peso (C.U.P). The currency most used by tourists is by and large the convertible peso (1 convertible = 1 American dollar), with this currency you can avail of all the services and products available in the county, though certain services and products can also be obtained in the national peso (moneda national), for instance products in the fruit and vegetable markets, street food and food sold from people’s homes.

  • Currency exchange can be undertaken in airports, banks, hotels, large shops, and the bureau d’exchange known as CADECA’s, changing the currency on the basis that the CUC is weighed against the value of the American dollar. However one must note that to change dollars themselves carries a tax of 10%, for this reason if you are coming to Cuba it is more convenient to bring Canadian dollars, Euro, Pounds Sterling or Swiss Francs as to change these will not incur a large tax.

  • The Euro can be used directly to make purchases in the tourist destinations of Varadero, Jardines del Rey, Playa Santa Lucia, Playa Covarrubias, Cayo Largo del Sur and Northern Holguín, though the exchange rate is not as favourable as exchanging currencies in a bureau d’exchange. You can check the exchange value of other currencies against the CUC on the website of the Banco Central de Cuba.

  • The following credit cards are accepted: Cabal, Transcard, Visa, International Mastercard, Access, Bancomer International Eurocard, Banamex, Diners Club International, JCB and Carnet, unless they have been issued by American banks or their affiliates. Other credits cards that can be used are those issued by the following Cuban banks, Banco de Crédito y Comercio, Metropolitano, Popular de Ahorro and BICSA, or credit cards issued by the Banco Financiero Internacional. ***The magnetic cards that can be used in ATMs must be active as a fundamental requisite and must not have any links with any North American bank and they must possess the correct numeration at the front and the Magnetic Strip behind. On the contrary you can use the same if it is activated within the bank or Bureau d’Exchange with your passport and tourist visa. .

  • Regarding mobile phones:The telephone company C-Com has international roaming agreements with Vodafone, Amena and Telefónica Mobiles. Another alternative to make calls is to buy a phone card in ETECSA, the Cuban telephone company, to the value of 5, 10, or 20 CUC and follow the instructions on the card. Whichever way, it must be known that while local calls are very cheap, international calls are extremely expensive, owing to the fact that the satellites that are used are from countries that are very far from the island. In the principal cities there are also phone cabins that allow the user to make calls in moneda naciónal as well as with prepaid cards.

  • Regarding drugs or potentially explosive chemical substances:It is absolutely forbidden to traffic, consume, or sell any type of narcotic or psychedelic substance and to possess the same will result in being heavily punished by our government.

  • The products of excellence that can be purchased in Cuba are rum and cigars, which are considered to be the best in the world and can be acquired at a very reasonable price, brands such as Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey and Punch. You can take with you up to 50 cigars, either loose or packaged without any excess charge but beyond this you must show the receipt from the establishment in which they were purchased. The rum is of a very high quality and it is recommended to try local brands such as Santiago, Paticruzado and Legendario. In the great majority of the stalls and marketplaces that you find at the entrances of almost all the monuments that you might visit, you can buy wooden sculptures or little statues of the virgin Mary in hand-painted porcelain with vivid colours. A good purchase that you might also make is black coral, one of the semi-precious corals to which is attributed medicinal and aphrodisiacal qualities. It has also been used to ward against ‘the evil eye’ in some towns. The gathering of black coral is strictly controlled by Cuban authorities so in order to take it out of the country it is recommended to buy it in authorized shops that can draw up an invoice or whatever measure is necessary to enable you to return home with your purchases.

  • You must take into account that you have to be well informed of the legislation with regard to the products that can be taken out of the country, the quantity of rum, of cigars, licences for oil paintings; you have to be careful if you buy an old book, as those published in the 1940’s or before are considered to be part of the National Heritage. If you need more information about the customs regulations you can visit the website: www.aduana.co.cu or www.sua.aduana.cu.

 

You must not forget:

  • Medicine that you would normally take.
  • Light clothing, preferably made of cotton. Shorts are indispensible though you must bring more appropriate clothes in the case of wishing to go to Tropicana or another luxury cabaret. It is also always advisable to bring a light sweater for when you are in air-conditioned places.
  • Sun cream, never with a factor less than SPF 15.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Mosquito repellent, if you decide to go on a trip outside of the city.
  • You must keep in mind that when leaving Cuba there is a 25 CUC embarkation tax that you have to pay to leave the country. This consists of the airport tax established by the Constitution of the Republic.

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