Looking for travel tips in Cuba? Look no further! Cuba has always been a bucket-list country for many travellers, but there are a few things you should know before going. Cuba is not a dangerous country, but there’s a lot of bureaucracy which can make travelling hard.
Visa and tourist card
Most people need a visa or a tourist card to travel to Cuba. Travellers from 18 countries can visit Cuba without a visa for a limited number of days. Even people born in Cuba but residing in another country, need to hold travel insurance and a return ticket to their country of residence to enter Cuba.
For Americans, it’s even more complicated. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued general licenses for 12 categories of travel. Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited by statute for Americans, but chances are you meet the regulatory conditions. See the full list here
Checklist before you go
It sounds complicated, but just like any other destination, a little preparation is all you need before visiting Cuba and have the best time. Here’s a list of stuff you should know before travelling to Cuba:
● Get your travel insurance, visa and other travel documents in order and print them out before you leave for Cuba. Don’t forget your return ticket.
● Tell your bank you’re going to Cuba. Chances are your credit card won’t work there, and it’s not always easy to get money in Cuba.
● Pack as light as possible. Cuban doorways and staircases are tiny, and struggling with huge bags can be a nightmare.
● Download useful Google Maps and other web pages before you go. Internet in Cuba is not the best, but you can still use your smartphone to get around.
● Learn as much Spanish as you can, even simple words and sentences. People love to talk to you, and if you know a little bit of their language they’ll even be friendlier.
When to visit Cuba
Just like most places in the world, there are good and better times of year to visit Cuba. July to early November is hurricane season, and things can get a bit windy. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad time to go. A tropical cyclone doesn’t hit Cuba every year, and when it does it doesn’t affect the whole country. Furthermore, hurricane response system and evacuation protocol are great in Cuba.
Between mid-November and March is the cooler dry season. This is usually the busier time of year due to the lower temperatures and humidity level. You can expect dry, sunny days and plenty of blue skies.
Between May and June is the wet season, but popular highlights in the Cuban calendar are happening this season that you might not want to miss. The music, dancing, and festivities of the Cuban carnival is a must-experience and usually takes place in June, July and August.
The wet season is also when the tobacco is harvested. Cuba is one of the largest tobacco exporters across the world, supplying tobacco to products such as cigars, cigarettes and snus. If you visit Cuba in the spring you’ll get a chance to watch vast tobacco fields at the harvest time.
What to do in Cuba
There’s a lot to see and do in Cuba. Its history is still very much alive, with revolutions and communism fresh on the mind and museums showcasing weapons used to overthrow the government only decades ago. One visit is not enough to experience all that’s great with Cuba. Here’s a selection of some of the best things to do in Cuba during your stay:
● Wander the streets of Old Havana: This UNESCO-attested district occupies the heart of the capital of Cuba. Old Havana and its Fortifications have a high degree of authenticity in terms of location, designs and materials. Take a stroll looking at the striking architecture and facades during the day, and listen to amazing live jazz music at night.
● Smoke a Cuban cigar: When in Cuba it’s a must to smoke a real Cuban cigar. Cigars can be bought everywhere, but the best ones come right from the tobacco farms.
● Ride a classic car: Old cars and Cuba go hand in hand. Even several taxies are old, classic American cars.
● Visit Che Guevara Mausoleum: The great marble mausoleum of the Cuban revolution is located in Santa Clara, which was also the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution.
● Get lost in Trinidad: Trinidad is a beautiful, authentic and charming Spanish colonial town, with the old part of town being a UNESCO world heritage site. Wander the cobblestone streets and get lost. Around every corner is another photo opportunity!