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Practical information on Cuba cuba

Required documents: passport (expiring at least 3 months after the date of return), tarjeta de turista and health insurance are required. You can buy the tarjeta de turista in Cuban Embassies and Consulates, or travel agencies (not all agencies sell it). Its cost is about 25-30 euros and it is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. La tarjeta de turista will be stamped by the police on arrival at the airport in Cuba and you'll need to keep it until your departure from the country. On your departure you will be requested to pay a fee of 25 CUC. Warning: tarjeta de turista is not available for purchase at the airport and if you don't have it you will not be able to leave. 

Health Insurance: to travel to Cuba is is necessary to buy a health insurance for the period of your stay in the island before your departure. It is possible to buy it in a travel agency. 

Length of stay: the tarjeta de turista has a duration of 30 days from your arrival to Cuba, and you can renew it for another 30 days.

Vaccinations: no vaccination is required for a holiday in Cuba 

Time Zone: GMT-5. 

Weather: it is pleasant for practically all year. The dry season runs from October to April. The most hot and humid from May to September. In winter, the country can be affected by cold fronts from North America. 

Currency and currency exchange: in Cuba there are two currencies, the peso moneda nacional (used mainly by Cubans) and the convertible peso - also known as CUC (used by foreign tourists). To know what is the updated exchange rate of the CUC you can click on this link
bodeguita del medio cuba

As tourists almost all your expenses will be in CUC. It may still be convenient to change a very modest amount of money from CUC in moneda nacional (only in a governmental "Casa de Cambio") in case you'll go to outlets that accept moneda nacional. 

VISA and Mastercard credit cards issued by non-American banks are accepted. American Express credit cards and all credit cards issued by American banks are not accepted. 

Contrarily to the past, it is not convenient to bring U.S. dollars as they are heavily penalized by the exchange rates. 

Safety: Cuba is considered one of the safest destinations in Latin America due to a large presence of the police and to severe penalties for thefts and acts of violence. It is still worth respecting, as always when travelling, elementary precautions such as avoiding walking alone at night in deserted streets. You need to be particularly wary of the small frauds against the tourists. Avoid changing money in the streets as to exchange foreign currencies in moneda nacional pretending they are CUC is one of the most widespread frauds at the expense of the tourists. Also avoid buying cigars or other items from the many people who offer them in the streets as these are poor quality products sold at high prices. 

Electricity: the most common type is the 110 volt one, plugs are American-style. Adapters are hard to find but you can easily buy in Centro Habana / Habana Vieja(eg in Calle Obispo) a voltage stabilizer which also works as converter for most European plugs and as a power converter (even if the sellers aren't usually aware of this). 

Where to stay: we obviously recommend staying in a private home (casa particular) as this is the best way to meet local people and therefore the get to know the real Cuba. 

Internet: you can access the internet in the main hotels (this is possible for everybody not only for hotel guests) and in the outlets of Etecsa (the Cuban telephone company) in both cases for a fee. 

Phone: the most convenient place where to call abroad are Etecsa outlets (calls from hotels are also possible but more expensive). The calls are rather expensive also from Etecsa outlets though, at about 4-5 CUC per minute. The code to call from Cuba is 119. The code to call Cuba from abroad is +53 followed by the area code. 

Mobile: It is possible to rent a mobile phone card in Cubacell outlets, at the cost of 3 CUC per day. Your phone must be "free" for use with other companies. The card will cease to operate automatically after the period of the rent. The cost is 0.5 CUC per minute to call and receive calls. This is also the best way to receive calls from Cubans as for them to call a mobile phone from a fixed Cuban telephone has a political price, while calling a foreign mobile phone is extremely expensive. 

Taxi: it is advisable to ask the taxi driver the fare to your destination before entering the cab in order to avoid unpleasant surprises upon arrival. If the taxi driver asks you too much let him go and wait for the next taxi, unless the price drops. If you do not have the money for the race counted (including a small tip, but only if the driver activates the meter, which is not often the case) make sure the driver has change before getting on the taxi.


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