Basic Advices for travel to Cuba
You must be aware of some customs regulations before you travel to Cuba, for example: no weapons, explosives or pornographic magazines are allowed in the country; those tourists arriving from the States, either directly or from a third country, are not permitted to bring videocassette players. Tourist are allowed to bring, tax free, two bottles of liquor, one carton of cigarettes, personal belongings and jewels, photographic and video cameras, typewriters, sports and fishing gear. You can bring, duty free, up to 10 kilos of medicines in their original packaging.
Clothing should be light, mainly during summer, so it would be best to wear shorts, cotton and flannel outfits and sandals. As for winter, a light jacket or a fine wool sweater and closed comfortable shoes would do, mainly at night. You should also bring sunglasses, and a bathing-suit and so that you can take a refreshing swim, and don’t forget your sunscreen.
The voltage in most residential and trade areas, offices and hotels is 110 V / 60 HZ, though some facilities already have 220 V / 60 HZ. Wall outlets are for flat plugs.
You should not take urban transportation – like the “camel” -, they are always crowded and unreliable. You should take taxis or tourist buses instead, or walk when it’s short distances. If you want to go on a tour of the island, your best option is to rent a car. There are several car rental offices at the airports, hotels and tourist spots providing high quality cars and services.
You must show your passport and driver’s license in order to rent a car. The driver must be at least 21 years old; the license could be international or from your country but at least a year old. It is not advisable to drive at night. You must also watch out for animals on the road and cyclists in urban areas when you are driving. Park the car in a safe well-lit place and do not leave anything valuable in it. You are liable for traffic fines, failure to pay would mean incurring a debt with the State. We recommend you buy a “Road Guide of Cuba” which is very helpful for finding your way around on the roads.
There is no need to be vaccinated to come to Cuba. Most hotels provide 24-hours health care services with specialists and nurses. There are specialized clinics for tourists in the main cities.
Though tap water is drinkable, we advise you to drink bottled water to avoid tropical illnesses.
Even though Cuba is a safe and has a low crime-rate, you should take some precautions to avoid being caught out by petty thieves, who are just waiting for the chance to grab any belonging such as wallets, photo and video cameras, pieces of luggage, handbags or shopping bags. Public peace is ensured in streets by lots of young police officers always willing to help in case you need them, though they do not speak english. You should take note of the following advice: do not take more money with you than you need; do not be careless with your belongings and purchases; take good care of your wallet and passport in crowded places, we suggest you keep them in your front pocket; check the bill at restaurants; get rid of so-called “tourist guides”, they are not professional and many are not aware of Cuban history and culture, they just pretend to be nice to tourists in order to fool them; keep your jewels and valuables in the room safe.
Most hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, etc., take Visa and Mastercard credit cards, as long as they are not issued by American banks. However, you should have some cash on you just in case the machines are not working.