10 Things to know before going to CUBA

1. Tourist Visa

You will need a tourist Visa for visiting this country, only 18 countries can enter Cuba without a Visa.

If you are EU citizen you can get them at the Embassy, some countries can even purchase them online.

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2. Best time to go to Cuba

You should avoid visiting Cuba from July – November as it is hurricane season. We went there in September and we experienced the hurricane, Irma. At that time we were in the safest place of Havana – Vedado, only a few streets down, people ended up cut from electricity for 7 days, streets completely flooded. We were lucky, even there were no buses going to our next destination – all of them canceled, we could move out from the casa and call the Taxi. I guess November is the best time to go to Cuba.

3.  Accommodation in Cuba

Couchsurfing in Cuba is prohibited by law. You would need to be a good friend of Cuban person to be allowed to stay at his/her place for free.

You can stay in hotels which are expensive and poor quality or you can choose from Casa particular. The prices vary depending on Location. For example prices in Havana are between 20-40 CUC.

3.Should I book my accommodation in Advance?

I would recommend booking two first nights in Havana, If you speak basic of Spanish I am sure you will find something on the go. Plus it is more exciting :D, you never know when you are going to sleep tomorrow.

4. Print everything before going to Cuba

It is impossible to find internet Coffee in Cuba, I recommend you to print all documents needed: Your reservations, tickets, a copy of passport etc.

5. Tell your bank that you are going to Cuba

…because you never know, if you will be able to withdraw money from local cash machines or not. I would also ask for the withdrawal price. US nationals cannot withdraw money in Cuba.

6. Cuba has two currencies

There is CUP – Cuban National Peso and CUC – Cuban Convertible Peso.

When in the bank you will have to ask for CUC, as this currency is used almost everything. Never exchange CUP.

Tourists have to pay with CUC, however, local people pay with CUP. You will not be able to use CUP anywhere only when buying fruits and bread.

7. Food in Cuba

Food in Cuba is nothing special if you are looking forward to culinary experience forget about it. Cuban people are poor and have lack of ingredients.

If you are eating in a restaurant never order fish or seafood. When they catch a fish they do not cool it, when the seafood arrives in a restaurant it spends weeks in the fridge. It is not fresh and after eating it you could end up in the bathroom for the rest of the day.

Order meat, Locals say it is fresh and I trust them in this. Although, never order Pollo assado which is roasted huge chicken served on the plate which is smaller than a chicken thigh itself :D. It looks disgusting. 😀

8. Never drink water from a tap in Cuba

Never ever, always buy bottles of water, you will be surprised how hard it is sometimes to buy a bottle of water :D.

9. Take your favorite snack with you

Due to the regime, you will be able to find limited basic food items in the shops. Snack in shops are hard to find and they are always imported from other countries. I wanted to buy some delights for my colleagues, which was absolutely impossible as there is no treat made in Cuba.

I recommend to take some crisps, if you are sweet tooth take some sweets as well, those who are sugar addicted will suffer a lot 😀

10. Traveling in Cuba

is Expensive…I have some tips to share with you guys. If you want to travel from point a to b you can use taxi colectivo , which is a shared taxi. Be careful with this, they always like to say the same price as the bus….but. Be aware that this type of transport tries to pack as much as they can into one Taxi, so you really can end up squeezed like a sardine in tomato sauce for 8 hours { Vinales to Trinidad} :D. I am sure I will never forget this journey, I could not move.

Bus Viazul.

Let’s say you want to go to Havana from Trinidad in two days. My tip is to book it at least one day in advance, they will put you on the list. Get to the bus station at least 30 min before departure.

When you are about to book your bus and you realize that station is closed, don’t negotiate with people standing next to bus station as they offer higher prices than the Viazul company.

Finally, when you get on the bus, expect that it will stop everywhere possible. I took us 6 hours to get from  Trinidad to Havana. Now, what is better, to take a bus or to be squeezed in Taxi Colectivo.

Taxi in Havana

Always pay no more than 5 CUC, negotiate, negotiate……….


Last but not least, make a copy of your passport as I know the story of two Canadians who lost their passport and had to stay in Cuba two more months. Always leave your passport at the casa , unless you go to the bank or to buy internet card, you will need your passport.

And learn some basic of Spanish before visiting this charming country…or you will get into …….:D They will be happy to see that you are putting some effort to speak their language and they are patient.










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