THINGS TO KNOW

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Your US mobile phone will work depending on your service provider (roaming charges will apply).  Contact your provider prior to departure for details.
  • You can use it for data only when connected to a Wi-Fi network (as long as it is Wi-Fi-capable)
  • You can rent a cell phone that will work in Cuba from us – if interested please contact our office for more information.
  • To dial out of the country dial 119 + country code + phone number.
  • To dial from the United States to Cuba dial 011+53+phone number.
  • To call a local cell phone will in Cuba from a land line dial 05 + phone number/ to call a local cell phone in Cuba from another cell phone dial 5 + phone number.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

  • Passport
  • Airline itinerary with locator number
  • Visa
    • Half is taken at arrival in Cuba; the other half is required for departure from Cuba
    • Do NOT lose that other half
  • Travel Affidavit
    • Sign and return to our office – we do not require the originals.
  • Customs form
    • Only one copy needs to be completed for each family; there are boxes in which the additional passport numbers can be entered
    • Leave the currency boxes blank
    • Leave the last box blank on the bottom of the front page (“Besides your personal belongings…”)
    • Leave the boxes blank on the top of the back page (“List the equipment…”)
    • This is turned in at the Havana airport
  • Form from the Health Department (Sanitary Statement for Travelers)
    • Leave the space for Agency / Organization blank
    • Check Tourism for the reason for your trip
    • Address in Cuba is Hotel Saratoga
    • Check No for the other questions
    • This is turned in at the Havana airport

AT THE AIRPORT

  • Check in is 3 hours prior to departure.
  • If booking connecting flights please allow 3 hours between flights.
  • Be sure to have your documents with you (passport, visa, travel affidavit)

CHARTER FLIGHTS: BAGGAGE RESTRICTIONS

For commercial airline restrictions please refer to their website.

  • The first 44 pounds of baggage is complimentary; there is a $ 2.00 per pound surcharge for additional weight. Everything is weighed, including purses. Carry-ons cannot exceed 20 pounds or they will be checked. You are only allowed one carry-on per person.
  • Each checked bag is $ 20.00 USD. Bags cannot exceed 70 pounds. Some charters will only accept cash for this payment
  • There is a $ 28 US departure tax that must be paid in cash at the airport at the time of check in the US prior to your departure to Cuba.

CURRENCY

  • You can exchange money at the Havana Airport & at most major hotels.
  • There are two units of currency in Cuba: the Cuban peso (CUP) and the Cuban convertible peso (CUC)
  • Foreign visitors use CUC for nearly everything. Pricing in restaurants, shops, hotels, etc. are in CUC.
  • The value of $1CUC is $1USD, but US dollars are exchanged with a tax by the Cuban government, rendering the exchange effectively $1CUC to $.87 USD. Canadian dollars and Euros can also be exchanged
  • Be sure to exchange money only in hotels or banks; do not accept offers of exchange from anyone on the street
  • Cash is the preferred means of exchanging currency
  • Credit and debit cards issued by US banks will not be accepted, limiting you to the cash and travelers checks that you bring with you.

TIPPING

  • Tipping is customary in the hospitality industry
  • Restaurants sometimes include a service charge, but leaving an additional 5% to 10% (depending on the quality of service) is appreciated, as often the waiters are not paid the service charge
  • It is also customary to tip restroom attendants if the restroom was clean and/or you used the toilet paper they provided
  • Remember that most Cuban workers earn very low salaries and tips are an important source of income
  • Tips can be in CUC or USD

SHOPPING/PURCHASING ITEMS

  • Havana is definitely not a shopping destination
  • The only items that you can bring back into the United States free from restrictions are “informational materials”: books, films, artworks, posters, photographs, tapes and CDs. You can bring back $ 100 worth of rum and cigars combined.
  • If you are interested in purchasing something from an artist during one of your artist studio visits for more money than you have with you, payment arrangements can be made with them
  • Make sure you have everything you need (e.g. batteries, memory cards for your camera, etc.)
  • Many ordinary items (e.g. note paper and pens) are in short supply and/or relatively expensive
  • We recommend that you bring anything that you will need

HAVANA AIRPORT TAX & medical insurance

  • Commercial airlines include the fees for both Cuba departure tax and Cuban medical insurance within the cost of your airfare.