Cuba, La Isla Grande, the island of beautiful beaches, old classic cars, cigars and a rich history
Varadero – You will find hotels, restaurants and nightclubs in Varadero, along with its main attraction, 20 km of exquisite beach that seems to go on forever. Visitors can sample Cuban food and cocktails, learn to dance Cuban-style, delight in the music and shop for souvenirs and arts and crafts in open-air markets or the growing number of shops. Watersports are available for almost every taste.
Santiago de Cuba – A city rich in culture and modern history, it is a beautiful city surrounded by the Sierra Maestra Mountains.
Guardalavaca- Playa Esmeralda & Playa Pesquero (Holguin) – This prime beach area is becoming more and more popular each year.
Cayo Coco/Cayo Guillermo/Cayo Santa Maria (Ciego de Avila - Jardines del Rey) – Here you will find unique landscape and true virgin nature. The charm of this magnificent area absorbs you until you begin to feel you are the first person to set foot here.
Santa Lucia (Camaguey) is home to a magnificent flamingo sanctuary, and Cao Sabinal – one of the most breathtaking tropical islands to be experienced.
Manzanillo on the southeast coast of Cuba. The Sierra Maestra Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop and a white sand beach stretches for 2 km.
Travel Documents Needed
When travelling outside of your home country you should always have a valid passport.
Valid passport for the duration of the stay in Cuba plus one day after return date and a tourist card are required for vacationers. Passport holders from other countries with no embassies in Havana, should travel with a passport that has to be valid up to two months after the return date.
Always check with your travel agent regarding current entry requirements.
Driving is on the right-hand side of the road; speed limits are normally posted and generally respected. Taxis are available in busy commercial and tourist areas; radio-dispatched taxis are generally clean and reliable.
Although the main arteries of Havana are generally well maintained, secondary streets often are not. Many roads and city streets are unlit, making night driving dangerous, especially as some cars and most bicycles lack running lights or reflectors. Street signage tends to be insufficient and confusing.
The principal Cuban east-west highways are in good condition but lack lights. Night driving should be strictly avoided outside urban areas. Secondary rural roads are narrow, and some are in such bad condition as to be impassable by cars. Due to the rarity of cars on rural roads, pedestrians, bicycles, and farm equipment operators wander onto the roads without any regard to possible automobile traffic. Unfenced livestock constitute another serious road hazard.
Cuba has two different currencies:
The Cuban Convertible Peso or CUC.
The visitor will mostly pay in Convertible Cuban Peso. The CUC can be exchanged for a number of foreign currencies - only notes, coins are not accepted - like the EURO, Swiss Franc and English Pound, US Dollar (vice versa). The exchange of the US Dollar in cash will be charged with a gravamen of 10% on top of the established bank commissions (not applied on transactions with credit or debit cards). Most items relevant to tourism like hotels, car rentals, most restaurant, luxury goods, Heineken beer and Nestle ice cream etc. are being paid in CUC.
There are banknotes of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos, coins come in 5, 10, 25 and 50 Cents and 1 peso.
The Cuban National Peso (CUP) or Moneda Nacional (Nacional Money).
The Cuban Peso is used mainly by the Cubans to buy fruits and vegetables in the markets, a pizza on the street, for city bus fares, and to pay the gas, telephone and electricity bills. Most salaries are being paid in Cuban Peso’s.
There are banknotes of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos, coins come in 1 centavo, 2 centavos, 5 centavos, 20 centavos, 1 peso and 3 pesos.
1 Convertible Peso = approximately 24 Cuban pesos
You can acquire 'Pesos Convertibles' at the airport, banks, various hotel lobbies and at the money exchange offices, called "CADECA" (you can find these offices everywhere in the country). You can also get Cuban National Pesos (CUP) in the CADECA or at any local bank.
All Cuban money is only valid inside Cuba, importation and exportation is not allowed.
In tourist facilities and other service units, prices are set in Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). In Varadero, Cayo Largo del Sur, Jardines del Rey (Coco and Guillermo Keys), Santa Lucía and Covarrubias Beaches as well as in the province Holguín (tourist resorts on the northern coastline), Euros will be mostly accepted.
Most likely you will find yourself in a situation where you are asked to pay in CUC for products priced in Moneda Nacional. Common sense will help a great deal!
As of May 2010, Cuba requires a travel insurance policy to cover medical expenses for all travelers, foreign and Cubans living abroad, in order to enter the country. The resolution states that the insurers issuing the policies, should be recognized on the island, and announced the sale of Cuban insurance policies at points of entry into the country for those unable to present an appropriate insurance policy.
In about 95% of hotels a doctor is present to provide primary care to patients. In addition there are eight international clinics that offer specialized treatment
Visitors should possess an effective passport, valid at least 6 months after departure, or a trip document stating their name and the corresponding visa or Tourist Card, excepting those countries that Cuba maintains Free Visa agreements with.
Tourist Cards can be requested at the Cuban consular representations. Sometimes also with travel agencies and airlines.
Although they are not holidays, they are also considered important dates: January 28: Anniversary of the birth of José Martí, Cuba's National Hero, in 1853. February 24: Anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence, in 1895. March 8: International Woman's Day. March 13: Anniversary of the attack to the Presidential Palace of Havana, by a group of revolutionary youths that sought to execute the tyrant Fulgencio Batista, in 1957. April 19: Anniversary of the defeat of the mercenary attack at the Bay of Pigs, in 1961. July 30: Day of the Martyrs of the Revolution. October 8: Anniversary of the death of Major Ernesto Ché Guevara, in 1967. October 28: Anniversary of Major Camilo Cienfuegos’ death, in 1959. November 27: Commemoration of the execution of eight students of Medicine, by the Spanish colonial government, in 1871. December 7: Anniversary of Antonio Maceo's death in combat in 1896, an outstanding figure in Cuba’s War of Independence against the Spanish colonial rule.
In tourist facilities and other service units, prices are set in Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). In Varadero, Cayo Largo del Sur, Jardines del Rey (Coco and Guillermo Keys), Santa Lucía and Covarrubias Beaches, and Holguín province (tourist resorts on northern coastline), you can also pay in euros.
Credit cards - except those issued by US banks or their branches in other countries - are accepted. Among those accepted are MasterCard, Visa International and CABAL.
The CUC is not an internationally circulated currency. When withdrawing cash with a credit card, the CUC will be converted first to the US Dollar, the amount in USD will be deducted from your account plus 3%. Example: if you want to cash CUC 100,00 with your credit card, USD 103,00 will be billed.
Cuban Convertible Pesos have unlimited legal course in the national territory. Cuban convertible pesos can be changed upon departure at bank offices at international airports and ports in Cuba.
There are only restrictive sanitary regulations for visitors coming from countries where yellow fever and endemic cholera exist or have been declared infection areas by the World Health Organization. In such cases, an International Vaccination Certificate is demanded. Products of animal and vegetable origin have entry restrictions. Animals may be imported, previous presentation of the corresponding certificate.
Ciudad de La Habana
Cuba Opening hours for Commercial activities
From 8:00 or 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 13:30 pm to 17:30 pm.