Cuba is a popular holiday destination for travellers from around the world. A number of things in Cuba are different from what you might be used to in the UK or Ireland, so it is good to know what to take into account in order to be well-prepared for your trip.
For example, it is necessary to exchange currency, but the use of the Internet also works differently. In this article, we describe a number of practical things that are good to know when travelling to Cuba.
This article describes a number of practical things that are important to know when travelling to Cuba. Firstly, before travelling to Cuba, it is important to apply for a Cuba visa. This can easily be done through this website. Only after the visa has been granted can one travel to Cuba, so make sure that the application is received in time by the Cuban authorities.
It goes without saying that it will be difficult to travel through Cuba without money. It is important to know that pounds and euros must be exchanged for Cuba's local currency, the CUC. This is a currency specially designed for tourists. The value of one CUC is approximately equal to the value of one US dollar.
It is recommended exchanging money at the exchange offices at the airport, which are the official exchange offices approved by the government, the so-called Cadeca exchange offices. Occasionally, there can be long queues to exchange money at the airport, in which case you might want to ask the taxi driver to take you to another exchange office.
It is often also possible to exchange money at the hotel. However, this is not recommended as you will often get less than the real value. Never exchange money on the street, the risk of fraud is high.
Update: starting 1 Januari 2021, the CUC, or tourist peso, is no longer accepted as a payment method in Cuba. With this, Cuba's two-currency system comes to an end after 26 years. Toursists can now pay with the same currency as the local population; the Cuban peso (CUP).
The use of the Internet in Cuba is slightly different from what you might be used to. You usually have to buy an Internet card, which gives you the right to use the Internet. Take into account a price of 2 CUC per hour. Reception is not always good in Cuba, however, so it is often only possible to use the internet at the hotel.
It is possible to stay at a hotel or a flat. If you would like to have more contact with the Cuban inhabitants, it is best to stay in a flat. The locals regularly rent out rooms in order to earn some extra money. Most houses in Cuba have their own bathroom and air conditioning and are not inferior to a hotel. Those who still want a bit more comfort and privacy should choose a hotel.
The vast majority of travellers going to Cuba choose to use taxis for transportation in the country. The official taxis have a blue number plate and belong to the Cuban state. There are also older taxis, which are reminiscent of the classics on photographs. These are not owned by the Cuban state, and they are often not suitable for long distances. In exchange, prices can often be negotiated here (if you have good command of Spanish).
Of course, it is also possible to choose for public transport. In most cases, it is necessary to book a place on the bus a few days before departure. Most buses are air-conditioned. It can be very complicated to rent a car.
Do not forget: Cuba visa
Before the journey can begin, it is important to remember that British and Irish travellers must apply for a Cuba visa. The Cuba visa is mandatory, even for underage children. It is a paper visa that must be kept with the passport. Applying for a Cuba visa for a tourist trip can be easily done online and costs £39.95 per person.
Apply for a Cuba Visa
The Cuba visa is a green paper card with a tear line in the middle. Personal details must be entered on both the left and right sides. On arrival, one part is taken, and the other part is consfiscated when leaving the country again. That is why you should never affix the Cuba visa to the passport.
A requirement for travelling with the tourist visa is that the passport must be valid for at least another seven months upon arrival. The visa is not suitable for travellers flying to Cuba from the USA, in which case a special pink visa is required. In addition, the visa can only be used to enter Cuba by plane.
Urgent visa application for Cuba
Anyone who is in urgent need of a visa for Cuba can apply for one through the urgent procedure. A surcharge applies, but if an urgent application is submitted and paid for before 12:00 on a working day, the application will be processed on the same day and the Cuba visa will be sent by post.
Take note: this news article about the visa for Cuba is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the visa for Cuba.