Cuba is a fascinating but complex destination. As a result, first-time visitors usually have many questions about travel to Cuba. Are there any restrictions? Is Cuba expensive? Is it safe to travel there? These are just some of the questions that Espíritu Travel often gets in the mailbox. To help answer the most frequent doubts about travel to Cuba, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of all the things you should know before organizing your trip to this beautiful Caribbean island.
Is it safe to travel to Cuba?
This is, without any doubt, one of the most frequently asked questions about travel to Cuba. In short, yes, Cuba is a safe destination for tourists. With the lowest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere, violent crimes are extremely rare in the island. In fact, in 2018, the country was recognised as the “Safest country in the World” at the International Tourism Fair held in Spain.
Nevertheless, as any other touristic country, travelers should take precautions to avoid fraud schemes and pickpockets in public spaces. In addition, certain areas of the country could be dangerous, especially at night. To avoid them, simply follow the advice of an experienced travel guide.
When is the best time to travel to Cuba?
The island’s location in the Caribbean allows warm temperatures during the 12 months of the year. However, hurricane season runs from the beginning of June until the end of September. For that reason, the winter months between November and May are undoubtedly best in terms of weather. In addition, most festivals on the island take place over those months!
How do I get to Cuba?
There are 13 international airports in Cuba, but Havana, Varadero and Santiago de Cuba hold the majority of flights coming from Europe and the US. This is one of the most common doubts about travel to Cuba for American travelers. So, we will be a bit more specific about their case. If you are traveling from the United States, you can find direct flights departing from New York, Miami and Florida by American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United.
Are there restrictions on where I can travel?
Some travelers wrongly believe there are restrictions to travel around the island. But, this is completely false! Except for a few military areas such as Guantánamo Bay, you can explore the island as you wish.
Is Cuba expensive?
At Espíritu Travel, we also get some questions about travel to Cuba that evolve around its reputation for being expensive. But this is a false belief. The island definitely offers some luxurious options for an all-inclusive holiday, but there are also many ways of traveling on a budget around Cuba. You can find accommodation in casas particulares for around $20-30 per night, affordable meals in local takeaways and get around with public transport for just a few pennies. Cuba is what you make of it!
Do I have to tip in Cuba?
Even though it is not mandatory, there is a tipping culture in Cuba. Generally, you will tip around 10% on top of the final price of your service to taxi drivers, restaurant staff or hotel staff. However, if the service was exceptionally good, you might want to tip a little extra!
What currency is used in Cuba?
Until recently, Cuba used two different currencies: the Cuban pesos (CUP) and the Moneda Libremente Convertible (MLC). Therefore, understandably, there is still some confusion about currency within the questions about travel to Cuba.
Nowadays, the only valid Cuban currency is the Cuban peso (CUP). To exchange your money for Cuban pesos you can bring any type of currency to the island and exchange it once you are there. However, be careful to avoid getting ripped off! To get the best value for your money we recommend you to only exchange money at the following places: airports, Cadecas or exchange houses in the city, banks or major hotels.
Are credit cards widely accepted?
Another of the common doubts about travel to Cuba focuses on the widely accepted forms of payment. At Espíritu Travel we highly recommend using cash as the main form of payment when in Cuba. Even though Visa and MasterCard are often accepted, the processing equipment does not always work and, most importantly, there is generally an 11% surcharge for using them.
If you have any other doubts or questions about travel to Cuba, you can contact Espíritu Travel’s team of local experts. They will be more than happy to help you. You can also visit our website where you will find more information about visiting Cuba and some great itinerary suggestions.