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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, as long as the purpose of your trip qualifies under any of the 12 travel categories approved by the government.

- Family visits;
- Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations;
- Journalistic activity;
- Professional research and professional meetings;
- Educational activities;
- Religious activities;
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions;
- Support for the Cuban people;
- Humanitarian projects;
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes;
- Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials;
- Certain authorized export transactions

For additional information check the Office of Foreign Asset Control document at: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_new.pdf  

If you are a non-Cuban born traveling under any of the above categories you will need a Tourist Card. This is a visa issued on a separate sheet of paper that you can obtain at the airport while checking-in with the charter company operating the flight or you can order online along with your ticket. Note that if your flight is in 10 days or less, to make sure you get your visa in time, the online option will not be available.
If you are Cuban born traveler the requirements are different based on when you emigrated to from Cuba.
Cuban emigrants who left the country prior to 1971 can travel to Cuba with their foreign Passport after requesting the Consulate for the HE-11 permission to enter Cuba. If you are not a Cuban citizen but were born in Cuba, you will need an Entry Permit in order to go to Cuba. This process has two different moments: the request of the permit to Cuban Immigration Authorities and getting the permit once approved. The whole process is usually completed in 4-6 weeks and it is valid for 90 days.
The cost for processing the PE-11 or HE-11 (which is the same) is $220.00. For more than one (1) visa a discount applies. The person will need to provide the following:
- Copy of your US passport
- New passport Photo
- Proof that the person emigrated before December 31, 1970. Almost any document will do, here are some examples of documents that are accepted: Passport used to enter US, Medical records, Income tax, SS records. Also, a form has to be filled out; click on the link 'PE-11 (HE-11) visa' to take a closer look at the information that will be requested.

Yes; in the past, all direct flights to Cuba were done through charter companies but as of today, major airline carries are now able to fly directly to Cuba and sell airfare to various destinations in the island. Just take into account that airline prices may not always be so cheap as you may think, so before you book with them take a look at our charter's prices and compare...you might be surprised. Cubarenas.com allows you to search all available flights from most of the charter companies authorized to operate these flights.

Think of your trip to Cuba as an adventure. Inside big hotels and major tourist zones very likely you will have most of your needs covered, however outside these areas even the most basic article, like a soap bar, can be really hard to find. 

Internet access in Cuba is extremely limited. Although you should have Wi-Fi in some of the big hotels, the speed is similar to that of a dial-up connection. If you stay in “Casa-Particular”, (the equivalent of the B&B) very likely you won’t have access. 

Travelers are now authorized to use US-issued credit cards in Cuba; however you are advised to check with your financial institution in advance to make sure your card is supported in the island. Additionally you should consider that, outside major hotels, there not many places that accept credit cards. ATM machines are scarce and unreliable; therefore it is recommended that you take enough cash to pay for all your expenses while staying there.

Cuba uses two currencies, the CUP and CUC. The CUP is used mainly by Cubans and very likely you will not need it. The CUC is the currency that you will use for almost all your expenses. 1 CUC is around 24 CUP and also equal to 1 US dollar. You will be able to change your dollars in CUC at the airport, the Cuban BFI bank or at any CADECA (these are currency exchange offices available in most of the tourist areas). Note that there is 10% fee applied when buying CUCs with US dollars that it is not imposed when buying CUCs with Euros or Canadian dollars.

Under the new regulations, US travelers are permitted to bring back an unlimited amount of Cuban alcohol and tobacco. The imported tobacco and alcohol must be in carry-on baggage and for personal use, and US restrictions still prohibit the sale of Cuban cigars.

Calzada between L & M Streets, 
Vedado, Havana

Main switchboard (53)(7) 839-4100
Work hours: Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (We are closed on U.S. and Cuban Holidays)

Emergencies/After Hours: 
Please call the main switchboard at (+53)(7)-831-4100 and dial 1 to speak with the emergency operator

Click here for more information about contacting the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Your plane ticket will include the air fare plus all US fees and taxes; however you will be responsible for the following:

- Tourist Card (Visa)
- Extra luggage (if exceeds the charter limits)
- Cuban Departure tax. This is a 25 CUC tax to be paid at the Cuban airport when coming back.

If you are a non-Cuban born traveling to Cuba you will need a Tourist Card. This is a visa issued on a separate sheet of paper that you will need along with your passport when entering and/or leaving the island. It allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days which can be extended for an additional 30 in a Cuban immigration office. Make sure you enter your information correctly. A Cuba Tourist Card is non-transferable and non-refundable and it is required by everyone including infants. A Cuba Tourist card is only valid for tourism, leisure o recreational purposes.

There are couple of options for accommodation in Cuba: Hotels and 'casas particulares'. Casas particulares are literally 'private houses' They are very similar to a B&B or an Airbnb experience. The majority of travelers to Cuba stay in casa particulares to get a local experience and because hotels in Cuba are very pricey due to a low supply. The average 'casa particular' (one bedroom/one bathroom) in Havana is $40/night compare this to $200-700/night for hotels. All Inclusive hotels and resorts are also available, most of them in the northern cays of Cuba, those are considered a major tourist destination. Other categories are: Honeymoon hotels, Windsurfing hotels, countryside hotels, etc.

It's necessary to do distinction among the transportation that are paid in dollars (very good quality) and those that are paid in Cuban pesos (the national currency) that are in general of mediocre quality. For tourists, we strongly recommend those services paid in dollars or CUC (cuban convertible peso)
By air: advisable is you have to move between furthermost points on the island or to the cays like 'Cayo Largo del Sur' that do not have access by road. All the main tourist destinations and main cities have airports. Service of air taxi is also available throughout almost all the country.
By sea: a ferry service is available from Havana to the Island of Pines (it includes transfer of cars).Boats and yacht arrangements can also be made.
By bus: Coach/bus is the least expensive way to travel around Cuba.There are several bus lines available, but the more advisable is 'Via Azul' that connects all the tourist destinations with the capital with exact schedules, acceptable comfort and economic prices. There are other companies that offers bus and minibus services like 'Veracuba' or 'Astros'. Astros is the main company running national busses and gives service to Cubans as well as foreign tourists, prices are low but less reliable on shedules and itineraries.
By car/taxi: there are several companies renting cars to tourists and/or offering taxi services, for rented cars, prices begin at 30 dollars the day and fuel is not included. Havanautos, Transautos, Panautos, Micar, Veracuba, Cubacar, Transtur, etc. are the most known and popular car companies in the island. Those companies have agencies all over the country where the main tourist destinations are including airports and hotels. With the exception of some cays like Long Key of the South, the Queen's Gardens and Cayo Levisa, etc. all the other tourist destinations have access by road. This is a good way to know the island and their people.
By railroad: Although the country has a wide railroad network in general the equipment have not been modernized and do nott respond to the European or Americans standards, the trains have little comfort and it is frequent the nonfulfilment of the itineraries, but is still a good mean of transportation for long distances if you are a tourist that possess a spirit of adventure and you have patience. Keep in mind that in Cuba all trains only have seats and they don't have cars beds neither cars restaurants.
There are a lot of options depending on whether you want heat, good deals or local festivals. If your purpose is sightseeing, then the best time to visit is from December to May, when you can expect dry, sunny days and you can soak up the culture and the atmosphere of the island without the weather interfering with your plans. The wet season begins in June, most heavily between August and October. Those months, although wet and with a risk of hurricanes, are the best for beach lovers who love to soak up not only the sight but the sun.
The hurricane season from June 1 to November 31, which typically will not impact your holiday; however, it can be a significant cause for concern if you are stuck in Cuba when a major hurricane passes through. It is worth bearing in mind that these are pretty infrequent but be prepared if they do.
December, January and February are sunny but with cooler temperatures. Prices rise during the school vacation periods of Christmas, Easter and July to August; you will find less expensive flights and lodging options outside of this time, so be sure to book in advance if traveling during those periods.

One of the most traditional of all Cuban meals is Moros y Cristianos, which is black beans and rice usually served with roasted pork marinated with mojo sauce along with yuca (Cassava) or fried plantains (very ripe, called maduros). Other common main dishes include arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) and ropa vieja (shredded beef). Fried plantain chips go well with empanadas and sandwiches. Food is prepared with a lot of spices but it is never spicy. Cubans living in the island usually breakfast with a cup of "café con leche" (coffee with milk) and toast of Cuban bread with butter. This is usually followed or preceded (or both) by dark espresso coffee. Flan, Arroz con leche (rice pudding) and Natilla (custard) are some of their favorite desserts.

Upon arrival:
Make your way to immigration with your visa and passport on hand (Cuban born travelers also require an additional entry form).
Make sure to fill out the customs form and white health form prior to arrival, both forms provided to you by the attendance during your flight.
Be prepared for questions they may ask, and a photo will be taken during the check-in process.
Turn in your customs and health form to an official.
Official’s typical questions: How many days are you planning to stay? Where are you staying? Are you traveling alone? This is you first time visiting the country? What is the purpose of your travel?
All visitors must hold a valid passport in their name with a corresponding travel visa or travel card.
Travel visas must be issued by the Cuban Embassy in the U.S. not from an outside country.
The following are exempt from taxes: objects for personal use, personal jewelry, photographic or video cameras, sports item and up to 10 kilos of medications.
Items that are prohibited in Cuba are narcotics and firearms.
In order to export works of art or antiques, the corresponding authorization should be sought from the National Register of Cultural Items of the Heritage Department in the Ministry of Culture.
Check always the weather before traveling, that will help you with the right closing for the season. Formal clothing is required for theaters, concert halls, night clubs and formal venues.
Photos and video footage maybe freely taken, except in restricted and designated areas that are of a military nature. Museums have their own specific regulations.
Wi-Fi is not available in most places; however, larger hotel chains and restaurants may have it for a small fee or complementary.
For outlets, please check the following: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g147270-c104286/Cuba:Caribbean:Electricity.html
Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, shampoo, medications (even just simple Tylenol / Ibuprofen) that you'd expect to need while in Cuba. A spare roll of toilet paper, especially for public restrooms.
Though Cuba is generally a very safe place to travel (more than other parts of the world), it is always best to watch your belongings and beware of pick-pockets and purse snatchers. Leave expensive jewelry in the safe and only carry what you need for that day.
A copy of the passport should suffice for ID purposes. You will however need your passport for exchanging of currency.
Do learn some Spanish if you can, but do not worry if you cannot, almost all cubans know some english words and expressions and if you ask for help they will be more than willing to assist you.
Do tip, but don’t overtip. 5% is sufficient.
Do bring everything you need in your daily basis routine, do not count in what is provided in hotels and stores.
Don't follow street hustlers, ignore them as well as possible.
Don't throw toilet paper in the toilet. Instead use the trash can.
Don't flaunt money or expensive jewelry in the street. Use common sense.
Don't drink water or juice or something that contain ice or non-bottled water. Bottled water is plenty and cheap.
Do change money in official Cadecas or change houses. Alternatively, exchange in an airport, hotel or bank. Count your change.
Don't buy cigars on the street or in outdoor markets, they are not generally authentic.

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