Travel Guide

It’s always good to arm yourself with a little knowledge before embarking on a trip.

Not just in terms of geography, but also a country’s historical sites, favorite places, best food, local festivals and travel information. CUBA is no different, but it’s also a unique country that requires some extra knowledge.
In this article and the following pages, I will be explaining everything a traveler should know before starting their Cuban adventure. I emphasize TRAVELER and not tourist, because I think there is a difference between the two. For me, the traveler is someone who decides to visit a location and then plans, organizes, hires and book most of it themselves not through an agency. This type of "traveler" is the one that I mean. Of course, many of these issues will also affect anyone traveling to CUBA.

Let' s begin preparing our trip.

What do I need to enter Cuba

  • Valid Passport
  • Visa, this document can be obtained directly from CUBAN Embassies and Consulates in your home country or online. The application may also be made at some Travel Agencies.
  • Health Insurance

There are that provide this document and many travel agencies also . Failure to carry insurance is not an option, it is mandatory, so if you don’t arrive with it you’ll have to purchase at the airport in Havana before entering the

What you should know

  • Visa lasts for 30 days. It is possible to obtain an extension for a further 30 days.

At the airport control, you will have to present your passport with the visa. They will return your passport and visa (exit). You should keep it very, very safe along with 25 CUC (2014), which is the payment to be made when exiting CUBA.

  • Health Insurance - This document ensures medical attention but not the payment of the services provided. TRAVELERS have to pay all expenses incurred at the time of use. You’ll need to arrange payment from your insurance company when you arrive home.

If you do need medical attention during your visit you should request an invoice for everything.

These are the three most important things, and without them you cannot travel to CUBA. But there is one more thing, that although it is not essential is necessary - ACCOMMODATION.

  • Accommodation - As mentioned, this is not essential to book before your travel, because you can arrange it in CUBA, but you need to know where you are going to stay, at least for the first night.

There are three options

  • Hotels
  • Private Accommodation
  • The home of a friend

There are no issues with the first TWO options. You simply respond with the name of the Hotel or home where you are staying when asked, but it’s a good idea to have some kind of confirmation document if you can.
You should be very careful if staying at the home of a friend as officially it IS PROHIBITED to stay at a Cuban's home, without prior authorization from the relevant body. The requirements and procedures are under Decree Law 171/97. Once you arrive in Cuba, you will have to apply for a Visa Family A-2 and meet the requirements demanded.

What sort of trip to choose

CUBA is a large country and it’s a good idea to determine the cities, beaches, Cayos, towns, villages you wish to visit .... You have more than 1,300 kilometers to travel. So we must be clear about something like:

How long will I be in Cuba?

Importantly, this depends on the type of trip you are making. My view is that a minimum of 9 nights is needed. Less time and you’ll barely have time to see Havana, Viñales and a few beaches. Do not forget that we’re talking about TRAVELLING and not tourism.

Your type of trip

Tourism

Visiting the country purely for fun and recreation rather than culture. Although the cultural aspect maybe secondary you’ll surely have a little interest in emblematic features of your destination.

Cultural

An emphasis on the history of Cuba and a desire to see the monuments, churches, squares and cathedrals ... .. this type of traveler is keen on the citizens' culture and customs as much as famous monuments. For this type of visit it can be a good idea to employ a TOUR GUIDE.

Beach

Water sports or simply relaxing by the sea is the priority with this type of visit, with little attention paid to culture and architecture.

Nature and Sport

More and more people request this kind of travel. Cuba is an island with many options for lovers of the outdoors. Those visitors are looking for activities including trekking, hiking, caving, snorkeling, diving, horseback riding and biking.

Now we have decided the type of trip, we continue ...