FAQ: info about Cuba

Below you’ll find info about Cuba and the answers to most frequently asked questions by travelers. If your response it’s not here, feel welcome to contact me with any concerns or questions.

1. What kind of accommodation Cuba Means offer?

If you want make your trip with Cuba Means, I offer you a homestay accommodation. We bet for support small privates business, for that reason always makes lodging in Casas Particulares or Las Casas, like we called here. That could be in 3 types like usually tourism industry doing:

B&B: Bed + Breakfast

MAP: Bed + Breakfast + Lunch or Dinner (your choice)

AP:    Bed + Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner

We offer homestay accommodation with basic conditions like clean and lightings areas, air conditioner and private bathroom with hot water.

2. What is the group size for CubaMeans tours or vacations packages?

CubaMeans work preferably with small groups between 10 or 12 pax. That wasn’t means that we don’t work with single tourists or biggest groups. In this web you can find interesting offers for travel to Cuba in small groups, but if you are a single traveler interesting in some of our packages, probably we have to make new arrangements including an additional cost for a single room in your trip or change the transportation. Something similar happens for groups biggest than 12 pax, so it is your case, please contact me for make necessaries arrangements. I do this without additional cost.

3. My customize travel with CubaMeans

CubaMeans is flexible, so you can ask me customize some tour or vacation package. All work of personalize and modify your trip, I do it without additional cost. Anybody can access to this service, particularly single passengers, groups over 12, and I recommended for those that already visited Cuba and don’t want repeat the same places or, why not? If you want repeat some magnificent pass experience. If you opted for this option, just you know, contact me. I love it.

4. What about security for travelers in Cuba?

Cuba has good structure in place for visitors coming to see the island. The political climate inside Cuba is stable. Cuban people are friendly and there is a remarkably low crime rate in comparison to other relatively poor countries. Cuban people are kind and welcoming with tourist, so you can’t have to worry about security been among Cubans!

5. Cuba Visa requirement: Do I need a Cuba tourist card?

Someone called Visa, others tourist card, it’s the same thing, your entry permission to the country. And yes, you will need this to travel to Cuba.  It is just as important as your passport and your flight round ticket.

6. What about travel protection/health insurance?

Travel insurance is mandatory if you travel to Cuba, no matter what country you are. You will be asked to show proof of travel insurance when you arrive here. Make sure you have sufficient cover for the duration of your stay.

Travelers who arrive to Cuba without travel health insurance, or with an invalid travel medical plan, will be able to buy a policy from a Cuban insurance company at the airport. But be careful, this option probably must be the most expensive for you.

In case of any medical emergency, the Cuban health system guarantees the necessary medical care through a network of polyclinics and hospitals, covering every corner of the island.

7. I need any vaccination for my Cuba travel?

No vaccinations required by Cuba, but may your insurance do, so get inform about your insurers conditions.

8. Currency for tourist info about Cuba:

This info about Cuba is very important for tourits. Cuba has two currencies, the CUP and the CUC. This last one, is the Cuban dollar and is the currency that you need for make all payments during your trip. The CUC is the currency in Cuba for tourist, but isn’t available out of Cuba, so exchange money after arrival is unavoidable. You can do this when you’ll arrive at the airport. If you want to know more about money, credit card, ATM, or travelers cheques keep reading the post Currency exchange in Cuba.

For example:

Exchange rate for Canadian and American Dollars and USD to convertible pesos (CUC):

In Cuba you will pay for all the expenses in CUC.

1 CUC = 1.20 Canadian Dollars

1 CUC = 0.87 USD

9. Can I use a credit card or ATM/debit card in Cuba?

Important NOTE: Cards affiliated with American banks are NOT accepted in Cuba. Please note that no foreign coinage can be exchange.

My RECOMMENDATION: it is always helpful for tourists to carry cash, no matter if you get a service with private business or the government. Cash is always your best choice.

Provided that tourists are not using a U.S. affiliated Bank, cash advances can be received through debit/credit card transactions from banks and Cadecas. The foreign transaction fee can be incredibly high, however (+/-15%).

Visa and Mastercard are always accepted credit cards, although Visa is the most established. However, authorization can occasionally be denied due to technical issues such as poor computer connection. Once your transaction goes through, the amount charged will be recorded in U.S. dollars.

Receiving cash advances can be a long process, and banks do require seeing tourists’ passports before the transaction takes place, so that is something to consider when planning your Cuban trip.

ATMs can be unpredictable, so it is always helpful for tourists to carry cash. If you are from the United States, the cards must be non-U.S. affiliated. Visa and Mastercards are accepted, though only Visas are accepted in ATMs. To clarify: ATMs can be inefficient, so tourists want to have a backup plan in case a card is lost, eaten by the machine, or stolen.

10. Travelers Cheques in Cuba  

Travelers Cheques can be difficult to exchange and a commission is required to cash them. If the travelers cheques are lost or stolen, they cannot be replaced while in Cuba. As such, while they can be a useful additional resource, they should not be relied upon as a primary option.

Similar to credit cards, travelers cheques associated with U.S. Banks are not accepted in Cuba. However, Euros or Canadian Dollars will be acceptable. American travelers could consider exchanging their USD to CAD before exchanging their money to CUC as this can occasionally help lesson the 10% surcharge for USD to CUC exchanges.

11. Will I need an adapter or electric converter in Cuba?

The electrical current in Cuba is 110V with a current of 220V.  However, while most outlets are of the same type as those in the U.S. and Canada, there are a variety of outlet types in certain parts of Cuba, so to be safe I recommend you bringing a plug adapter.

12. Cuban cigars and rum; how much can I bring home?

Important: All travelers, including USA and Cubans, can leave the country with 50 cigars/tobacco or less without receipt. More than 50 cigars the authorities can demand the receipt. They don’t always do it, but they do reserve the right.

US Travelers: Well, how many can you buy with $100?  The spending limit, per person, is $400 for US citizens for any personal use items.  $100 of the $400 can be on tobacco or alcohol for personal use.

UK Travelers: You get to bring back ONE of the following: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of tobacco.  If you decide you want half of one…say 100 cigarettes, than you can bring 25 cigars.

Canadian Travelers:  If you are from Canada traveling to Cuba, you are allowed 20 “loose cigars” or “50 packaged cigars” with proof of purchase.  Canadian travel forums sometimes will say “50 cigar limit” which leads Canadians to believe any type of cigar is fine.  But there is a 20/50 rule.  If you want to get 50, make sure they are packaged with proof of purchase!

13. What about internet access in Cuba?

You probably know that internet service in Cuba is very limited.  There may be Wi-Fi in some hotels and public spaces, to get access you need to buy an Internet card to access Wi-Fi. Don’t worry because your guide knows well the connection spot and how buy those cards. Also you have to know that speeds are slow. Actually there are increasing numbers of internet cafes, and other locations with service, so don’t worry, if you needed, you can be connected some time during your Cuba trip. Also, if there is an emergency, our guides are equipped to communicate using phones and internet as needed.

You may want to check with your specific cellular service provider and ask if they have coverage in Cuba.  And if you must have cellular access, an unlocked quad-band GSM cell phone will work in Cuba.  Cell phones and SIM cards can be rented in Cuba but are in short supply. If you are interested in this last option, like I always said, contact me.

14. Can Americans go to Cuba for vacation?

Oh, yeah!! I tell you more, you can make an authorized travel with a general license and without it. I don’t say that you have to do a non-authorized trip to Cuba, I just comment your options and what some Americans do, with excellent results.

You can travel to Cuba under an approved itinerary. There is a general license procedure to travel to Cuba independently or as a tour group, like part of one of the 12 categories approved.