A tourist visa card is required. This can be purchased on arrival in Cuba, but most airlines require it to be presented at check in or you will be denied boarding. It is valid for 30 days and extendable for a further 30 days, except for Canadians who receive a 90-day visa. Apply by mail, in person or online for a visa with agencies or the Cuban Consulate.
Travel insurance is now required when visiting Cuba either before travelling or on arriva l in Cuba.
There is a 25 CUC departure tax by person to be paid on leaving Cuba. It’s important to put aside this money, as at times the ATM at the airport is not working sometimes. Some airlines are including this departure tax in your ticket fare. Ask to your airline representative about the tax to be paid departing from Cuba’s airports.
Credit cards are accepted in most hotels but not generally in shops and restaurants. Travelers’ checks or credit cards issued by American banks will NOT be accepted anywhere on the island, so make sure that you have other means of payment if your card was issued in the US. There is virtually no cash points/ATM available for drawing cash against Cirrus or switch cards in Cuba. Any Cuban bank or CADECA should be able to issue a cash advance on a non-American credit card if you cannot find a cash point/ ATM for your VISA or MASTERCARD. Generally, banks are open from 09:00 to 14:00 Monday –Friday.
Cuba has a dual currency system with a national currency used by locals and a convertible currency for tourists, which is roughly equivalent in value to the US dollar. You will need to use this currency – the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). Do not bring US dollars to exchange, as you will be liable to pay a tax of 10%. Bring pounds or Euros. Even you can convert CUC back into euro or US dollar when you leave; it is advisable you make sure you have nothing left apart from 25CUC in cash for your departure tax. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels but not generally in shops and restaurants. Travelers’ checks or credit cards issued by American banks will NOT be accepted anywhere on the island, so make sure that you have other means of payment if your card was issued in the US. There are virtually no cash points/ATM available for drawing cash against Cirrus or switch cards in Cuba. Any Cuban bank or CADECA should be able to issue a cash advance on a non-American credit card if you cannot find a cash point/ ATM for your VISA or MASTERCARD. Generally, banks are open from 09:00 to 14:00 Monday – Friday
There are no Internet cafes in Cuba, but there is access in most hotels. Sadly, the service is almost always slow and unreliable. It is also expensive: rates range between 5 CUC to 9 CUC for an hour. An alternative to hotels is ETECSA offices, equipped with computers and Internet access. You buy a card and scratch off the login number and password to access the Internet. Most Cubans have no Internet access, as it is still illegal to have it at home. In a specific floors of some hotels (The Level of Melia Habana, for instance) WIFI is free 24 hours a day. Ask us about the conditions in the hotel you selected.
International phone calls can be made from your hotel room using direct service, any pre-paid cards or International Telephone Centers. You can also use your mobile in Cuba, although it is expensive and you should check with your provider beforehand about rates. For dialing to Cuba you must dial the country code (+53) followed by the code of the city or town and then the number you want to call. Rates are expensive from Mexico and calls should be avoided if possible. To dial from Cuba you need to dial 119, followed by the country code, then the code of the city and then the number that you want to dial. Using your mobile will be expensive at about 5CUC per minute, and more if calling from a hotel phone. A 25 CUC phone card could easily be used in a 5-8-minute phone call.
The norm in Cuba is 110 -230V, 50-60 Hz, American-styled flat two-pin 110V, although most hotels have 220V sockets. However, make sure that you take an international adapter with you and read the instructions of your appliance before plugging it in. Power hungry appliances are not advised as the wiring in many hotels and private homes is of a low quality.
There are currently no vaccination requirements for international travelers, but consult your doctor before travelling for the latest immunization information. Drink bottled water instead of tap water, easily purchased at most hotels and restaurants. Temperatures frequently hover around the 30 °C mark, so stay hydrated throughout the day. If you need to seek private medical care, the quality of service you’ll receive will match that of developed countries.
There are some good wines available however you may want to take a couple of bottles with you as a precaution. A tip to parking assistants, doormen, museum staff, housekeeping, guides, bus drivers and waiting staff is normal and very appreciated, but not essential.