Are you planning a trip to Cuba soon? If so, you are advised to check the current travel advice before departing. On this page, you can find various safety recommendations for Cuba, as well as some information on the entry requirements.

Travel advice for Cuba: an overall safe destination

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office considers Cuba to be a relatively safe destination for visitors. There are no specific safety warnings for Cuba, nor are there any regions with particularly high security risks. Nevertheless, travellers should consider a number of general safety guidelines. Also, travellers are advised to follow the instructions of the local authorities at all times.

Travel documents

Travellers need to carry a number of documents if they intend to visit Cuba. Upon entry, all travellers need to show a valid passport and visa. Make sure to prepare all needed documents well before your departure.

Passport and visa

You need a valid passport to travel to Cuba. On your last day in Cuba, this passport should be valid for at least six more months. Next to a passport, you must hold a valid visa or a valid tourist card for Cuba. You can apply for the required travel authorisation online on this website. 48 hours before departing, you will have to fill in the online D’Viajeros form. You will need to show this form (digitally), once you arrive in Cuba. More information about all the required documents for travelling to Cuba can be found on the page about the entry requirements for Cuba.

Apply for a tourist card for Cuba right away

Driving licence

Do you intend to drive a motorised vehicle in Cuba? If so, do not forget to bring your driving licence. You are allowed to drive a car, motorbike or scooter using your UK or Irish driving licence, but it can still be useful to apply for an International Driving Permit. Keep in mind that traffic in Cuba is different from traffic in the UK or Ireland. More information can be found further down on this page.

Security advice

While visiting Cuba, you need to consider some general security risks. In the following, you can find more information on this. Remember to always follow the instructions of the local authorities.

Criminality

While there is relatively little criminality in Cuba, it is still important to be aware of the risks. Theft, muggings and pickpocketing are risks to be aware of in tourist hotspots. Do not show off valuable jewellery, smartphones or other valuable items in public. Also, make copies of all important documents, such as passports and credit cards, and store them in a safe spot. Furthermore, consider the following advice:

  • Do not pack valuable items in your hold luggage and lock your suitcases
  • Be especially alert about pickpockets in tourist areas, public transport, bars, nightclubs and other crowded areas
  • Store valuable items and documents you do not need in a safe place
  • Make sure to only use registered taxis and be wary of people offering transport
  • Do not offer resistance in case you are robbed or mugged, since that can lead to further violence

Drugs

There are heavy penalties for owning, trafficking or using drugs. Under no circumstances should you carry any drugs to Cuba, unless they are for medicinal purposes. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before departure to find out which drugs you can take to Cuba. A certificate might be necessary for certain medication. Never carry any medicinal drugs if you are not sure that they are allowed.

Prostitution

Prostitution is illegal in Cuba. Engaging in prostitution can lead to long prison sentences of up to 25 years.

Natural disasters

The period from June until November is hurricane season in Cuba. Hurricanes are often accompanied by heavy rainfalls, which can cause floods and landslides. This can also affect the power grid and transportation systems. You are advised to keep an eye on the local news. Also, keep in mind that Cuba is situated in a seismically active area, meaning that there is a risk of earthquakes.

General travel advice

Besides the aforementioned security advice, you should also consider some general travel advice for Cuba.

Payment and currency

The official currency of Cuba is the Cuban peso (CUP). However, the Cuban peso is not accepted everywhere. Payments in euros or dollars are common, especially in tourist areas. Since payments by debit and credit cards can be difficult in Cuba, and withdrawing money can cause issues, you are advised to bring sufficient cash for your entire stay in Cuba. Money should be exchanged only at official locations, e.g. at the airport or in state hotels. You can check the exchange rates on the website of the Central Bank of Cuba beforehand. Exchanging Cuban pesos back to euros or pounds can be difficult, and you might get a bad exchange rate. Therefore, you should not exchange too much money into Cuban pesos.

Check before departure whether you can pay and withdraw money with your debit and credit cards in Cuba. It is recommended to take a credit card to Cuba, as debit cards do not always work. Debit cards from American banks, American Express credit cards and Diner Club credit cards are not accepted in Cuba. However, credit cards from Mastercard and Visa should work in most cases.

Shortages

Cuba suffered from regular fuel shortages in the past. Even for tourists, it can still be difficult to access petrol or diesel. The fuel shortages might also lead to power outages, which are often announced in advance. Some, but not all, accommodations have back-up generators. Keep this in mind when booking your accommodation.

Medication

There is a scarcity of various types of medication in Cuba, including basic medication that is readily available in the UK and Ireland. If you use any type of medication, you are advised to bring a sufficient amount with you to Cuba. Otherwise, you might find it difficult to purchase it in Cuba. Keep in mind that you will need to hold a certificate to travel with certain types of medication. Consult your doctor for further advice regarding travelling with medicines.

Travel insurance

You are advised to check well before your departure whether your health insurance covers medical costs in Cuba. Consider taking out additional insurance to cover the costs of hospitalisation and repatriation in case of an emergency. You might also consider taking out travel insurance.

Mobile phones

The network coverage can be bad in some parts of Cuba. There are areas where you might be unable to make any calls or to use mobile data. However, the bigger cities are fairly well-connected, and many hotels offer (paid) Wi-Fi.

Check with your mobile provider how much it costs to make calls and to use mobile data in Cuba. Purchase a travel package, if necessary. Cuban SIM cards can be relatively difficult to find, but should be available at international airports.

Vaccinations

There are a number of vaccines that are recommended for a trip to Cuba, including vaccines against hepatitis A and tetanus. Please consult your doctor well in advance about which vaccines are recommended in your case.

Please keep in mind that mosquitos in Cuba can spread diseases like dengue fever, the Zika virus and chikungunya. Take precautions to avoid mosquito and other insect bites.

Travel to the USA after a visit to Cuba

The United States of America regards Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism. Have you been to Cuba after 11 January 2011, or will you travel to Cuba soon? If so, you are not eligible for the ESTA for the USA any more. This does not mean that you cannot travel to the USA. However, in that case, you will need to apply for a US-visa.

Traffic

Traffic in Cuba differs from traffic in the UK and Ireland. Please consider the following:

  • The roads and vehicles in Cuba might be badly lit and badly maintained
  • You might experience difficulties in obtaining petrol and diesel, due to possible fuel shortages
  • Avoid picking up hitchhikers to minimise the risk of encountering criminals
  • Avoid driving at night, as in the dark criminals are more likely to operate and poor road conditions are more difficult to prevent

Important contact details

The following tables contain several important phone numbers, as well as the contact details of the British Embassy in Cuba. You are advised to save these numbers on your mobile phone, and to note them on a piece of paper which you can store in your luggage. Besides the following numbers, you should also save the emergency numbers of your bank and insurance company.

Phone numbers of the local authorities in Cuba
General emergency number 106
Ambulance 104
Fire brigade 105

In the following, you can find the contact details of the British embassy in Cuba. Ireland does not have an embassy in Cuba, but Irish travellers can contact the Irish embassy in Mexico City if they require assistance. You will find the contact details below. For information about the Cuban embassy your home country, visit our page about the Cuban embassy in the UK and Ireland.

The British Embassy Havana
Address Calle 34 no. 702 esq Avenida 7ma.
Miramar, Playa, Havana
Telephone +537 214 2200

Location of the British embassy in HavanaLocation of the British embassy in Havana


The Embassy of Ireland, Mexico City
Address Goldsmith #53 Piso 4
Col. Polanco, Chapultepec, Alcaldía Miguel Hidalgo, CP
11560, Ciudad de México
Telephone +52 55 5520 5803

Location of the Irish embassy in MexicoLocation of the Irish embassy in Mexico

Disclaimer: you remain responsible
This travel advice for Cuba has been compiled with care. Nevertheless, e-Visa.co.uk will not accept liability for any problems, damage or injury that may occur from the use of this information. You must remain vigilant at all times while travelling in Cuba, and you are solely responsible for your safety while travelling and staying in Cuba, as well as for the choice of whether to take a particular trip. Before travelling to Cuba, it is advisable to consult the latest security updates from the Government of the United Kingdom regarding travel to Cuba (www.gov.uk) or to consult the British embassy in Havana, and/or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

e-Visa.co.uk is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the Cuba visa. e-Visa.co.uk acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for a visa directly with the immigration service (17 EUR per visa). However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via e-Visa.co.uk, our support centre is available to you 24/7. In addition, we manually check your application and all the documents you provide before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 17 EUR in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as £30.64 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous Cuba visa was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.