Can I travel to Cuba?
The 12 licensed categories include:
- Visiting family
- Humanitarian projects or to provide support to the Cuban people
- Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations
- Journalistic activities
- Professional research
- Educational activities by persons at academic institutions
- People to people travel
- Religious activities
- Public performance, clinics, workshops, athletic or other competitions and exhibitions
- Authorization to provide travel services, carrier services and remittance forwarding services
- Activities of private foundations, research or educational institutes
- Exportation of certain Internet-based services
Some categories might require specific visas to enter Cuba, take time to go over your travel plans with your agent to identify what type of visa is right for you.
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Can you help me determine my license? Who can I contact for assistance?
No. The general licenses are self-qualifying. All licensing is authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. If you are unsure of what license you should be traveling under please contact the Licensing Division of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at 1-202-622-2480 or visit their website.
Please note: a visa is a completely different document from the travel license (affidavit), and all U.S. visitors to Cuba are required to have one in hand before arriving.
Do I need a visa to travel to Cuba and how does it work?
Non-Cubans: Cuba requires that all arriving travelers have a Cuban Tourist Card (Visa) to enter the country. We can assist with the application process involved in obtaining the Visa if the traveler is purchasing the flight or travel package with our company. The Travel Visa has a cost of $85.00 (subject to change without notice) and it is the traveler the one who is allow to fill it out with black ink and no mistakes. In case a mistake occurs the traveler needs to purchase a new Visa. The Travel Visa is perforated in two sections one is for entering in the country. The immigration representative will keep one perforated portion and the second section will be turned in upon departure.
Cuban Born Travelers: Cuban born travelers do not need a travel Visa they need to travel with a green card or an American passport. However they also need to travel with a valid Cuban passport or HE-11 Visa. In some cases an “habilitacion” may be required.The Cuban passport it is valid for 6 years and it also needs 2 prorrogas. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Visa Services: We understand how confusing and cumbersome the visa and passport process can be. Our team has years of experience processing Cuban passports and prorrogas. Purchase today
How do I book?
You can make book your flight reservation online at Cuba Travel Services or contact one of our Customer Service Representatives at 1-800-963-CUBA (2822). If you are interested in booking hotels or car rental please ask your agent.
Flight reservations are booked with commercial air carriers and are to be paid with any major credit card. Confirmation for your flight reservation will be sent via email as an E-.
You will need a Visa to enter Cuba. Once you have your flight reservation booked for Cuba you can purchase your Visa on our website at http://cubavisaservices.com/
*Note Visas purchased on our site can only be issued for direct departures out of the US to Cuba.
-Visas are $85.00 per person plus a shipment fee
-Visa price may vary by airline. Contact a Customer Service Representative for further information.
Visit our website to review a list of places to stay.
You can book your reservation by contacting one of our Customer Service Representatives.
Who do I contact in case of an emergency?
If you have an emergency and need assistance, and you are a US Citizen or resident, you may contact the US Embassy while there. Otherwise, please contact your corresponding embassy or consulate. If you need to call the police while there, you will want to dial 106 from a local telephone for any emergency. Otherwise, you can also dial 104 for an ambulance and 105 for the fire department. Note that you will not find an English-speaking person that answers.
U.S. Embassy contact information:
Calzada between L & M Streets, Vedado, Havana
Main switchboard (53) (7) 839-4100
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed on U.S. and Cuban Holidays)
Emergencies/After Hours: call main switchboard at (+53) (7)-831-4100, dial 1 to speak with emergency operator
What are your terms and conditions?
For details please visit our website: Terms and Conditions
What is the Currency in Cuba?
The major legal currency for Cuba is the Cuban Convertible Peso, CUC. It’s what you exchange your foreign currency for and make all your purchases with in Cuba. Most tourists will only ever deal with CUC. For international exchange purposes 1.00 Cuban Convertible Peso = $1.00 USD. Note that there is a 13% penalty charged when exchanging USA dollars cash, so, you will only receive 87 centavos CUC for one USA dollar when changing the money, allowing for the 13% interest.
The second legal currency in Cuba is the Cuban Peso, CUP, which is rarely used by the vast majority of tourists, but it’s still something you should know about as it is perfectly legal for tourists to use.
How do exchange money in Cuba?
You can exchange USD for CUC at the airport, most hotels, exchange bureau in town centers and some banks. The current fee for exchanging is 13%, i.e. for 100 USD you will get 87 CUC. The fee is the same no matter where you exchange your currency. You will need your passport to exchange money. In Cuba, they will not accept bills that are torn or written on when exchanging into CUC.
When exchanging money into CUC, try to get small denominations to make purchases easier, as many places (little stores, bars and restaurants do not always have the possibility to break down larger notes for you).
Where can I exchange money in Cuba?
You can exchange money at the airport, some hotels or banks. We suggest that you do not use Travelers Checks because they are not insured and may not be accepted. Therefore it is essential to travel with enough cash during your entire stay in Cuba. Note: You may find small locations called Cadecas where you can also exchange money.
Can I use my Credit Card or Traveler’s Checks?
US-issued credit cards, debit cards, and ATM cards were not previously usable in Cuba; this is changing with new regulations and more and more places will start to accept these for purchases or withdrawals, but not yet! It is advisable to bring cash in order to make any purchases in Cuba or pay for most services. Most places will not take USD, so you must exchange currency upon arriving. Tips however can be given in any currency. Traveler’s Checks may also be difficult to cash while in Cuba.
What is the time zone?
Cuban Standard Time is UTC/GMT –5
What should I bring?
- Bug Spray
- Sunscreen and Sun Hats
- Comfortable Clothing, Walking Shoes (casual attire) Medications and OTC drugs, band aids, etc.
- CASH (CC and ATM machines are not yet readily available)
- Small gifts for kids and locals, depending on itinerary (for example, school supplies, small toys, candies, art supplies, band aids, OTC drugs
- Hand sanitizer
- Wash Cloths (not provided at most hotels)
- Tissue Paper (good to have your own at public restrooms)
Can I purchase a ticket for more than 30 days?
Only Cuban nationals are allowed to purchase a ticket for more than 30 days, maximum 90 day stay. Non Cubans may only purchase a 30 day ticket. For Non Cubans, if they decide to extend their stay beyond the 30 days, they must purchase a new one-way ticket with Havanatur at any of their offices located in the city, as well as an extension on their visa and medical insurance.
What should I expect upon arrival into Cuba?
Upon arrival to Cuba, you will make your way to immigration with your visa and passport. Make sure to fill out the blue customs form and white health form prior to arrival. Cuban born travelers also require an additional entry form. Be prepared for questions they may ask, and a photo will be taken during the check-in process. You will then turn in your customs and health form to an official.
Official’s typical questions:
- How many days are you planning to stay?
- Where are you staying?
- Are you traveling alone?
- This is you first time visiting the country?
- What is the purpose of your travel?
Is the water safe to drink in Cuba?
It is best to drink bottled water while in Cuba. You will find that both still and sparkling water are available. Water is purified in the hotels and restaurants, and it is ok to drink beverages with ice wherever we take you on the tour. It is also not necessary to use bottled water to brush your teeth, as the tap water has also been purified. Salads and fruits are also acceptable to eat at all included or recommended restaurants.
How safe is Cuba?
Though Cuba is generally a very safe place to travel (more than other parts of the world), it is always best to watch your belongings and beware of pick-pockets and purse snatchers. Leave expensive jewelry in the safe and only carry what you need for that day. You may see some kids or older adults begging on the streets, sometimes asking for soap, pens, etc. Though a nuisance, this is not considered to be dangerous.
Hotels are equipped with safety deposit boxes and may charge a per day fee. Check with the front desk. It is advisable to leave valuables, including passports in the safe. A copy of the passport should suffice for ID purposes. You will however need your passport for exchanging of currency.
Is there Internet access in Cuba?
Wi-Fi is not available throughout Cuba except at some hotels. Most hotels also have a business center with computer, with limited hours, where internet service is available. Charges can be up to 12 CUC per hour depending on the hotel. Because of the limited technology in Cuba, it is not uncommon to have internet outages. There are now certain Wi-Fi hot spots throughout public areas in Cuban cities where a card can be purchase for access.
Will my cell phone, smart phone or PDA device work in Cuba?
Generally, your U.S. cell phone, texting and smart phone-based Internet will not work in Cuba. Any phone calls may be placed from your guest room in each hotel. Inquire about rates before placing calls, as they are generally very expensive and must be paid for in cash. Also, please note that satellite phones are not allowed in Cuba
What is the electric capability in Cuba?
In Cuba we have the same Electric standards as in US: 110V, though it is common to find both 110 and 220 in the more modern hotels in Cuba. It is advisable to bring a converter, if your electronics are not travel-ready (105-240 V).
Outages: Though many hotels are well equipped, in Cuba it is possible to experience temporary power outages due to limited resources on the island. Though this seems to be happening less frequently in the past few years.
What are the typical things to purchase?
Cuban rum: The famous Havana club or Santiago.
Cuban Cigars: Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo and more.
Note: amount should not be great than $100 USD in combination of alcohol and tobacco. Cuban music.
Hand-made arts and crafts.
May I purchase items in Cuba and bring them back with me to the U.S.?
You may acquire in Cuba and import as accompanied baggage into the United States merchandise with no monetary value, provided that it is for personal use only.
Should I come prepared with items for public restrooms?
Yes, be prepared with toilet paper and small coins when using public facilities. Avoid throwing away paper into the toilet due to flushing problems. It is advisable to use the waste basket placed next to the toilets.
What is the weather like?
The rainy season in Cuba typically runs from May to November and the dry season is between December and April. Keep in mind that it may however rain at any time, so it is wise to always have rain gear when traveling to Cuba. The temperatures in Cuba can range from the 60’s in the winter (though not very common) to the 90’s in the summer months. Wear comfortable, cool clothing. It is common to have AC in restaurants, hotels, and other indoor facilities. Keep in mind that not all places have AC in Cuba. Bring insect repellent as the tropical weather also means a lot of mosquitos at dusk and at dawn
Do you offer tours or travel packages to Cuba?
Visit Cuba Tour Planner for current packages available on a People to People license or contact one of our Customer Service Representatives for a more customized program.
Do you arrange group travel?
Yes please contact one of our Customer Service Representatives for additional information. We work on multiple types of group programs on the various licenses and have a dedicated group department to service your requests.
Tips for traveling to Cuba
- All visitors must hold a valid passport in their name with a corresponding travel visa or travel card. Travel visas must be issued by the Cuban Embassy in the U.S. not from an outside country.
- The following are exempt from taxes: objects for personal use, personal jewelry, photographic or video cameras, sports items, fishing tackle, 2 bottles of spirits, one carton of cigarettes, and up to 10 kilos of medications.
- Items that are prohibited in Cuba are narcotics and firearms, except for duly authorized hunting weapons.
- In order to export works of art or antiques, the corresponding authorization should be sought from the National Register of Cultural Items of the Heritage Department in the Ministry of Culture.
- It is advisable that visitors bring cotton and similar type fabric clothing. It is recommended that fine woolen and gabardine clothing be brought for use during the winter months and for air-conditioned environments. During the rainy season, a light water proof jacket is recommended. More formal clothing is required for theaters, concert halls, night clubs and formal venues.
- Photos and video footage maybe freely taken, except in restricted and designated areas that are of a military nature. Museums have their own specific regulations.
- Wi-Fi is not available in most places; however, larger hotel chains and restaurants may have it for a small fee or complementary.