Travel Tips for Cuba 2023

January 6, 2023 | by Lucy Davies

Top Tips for Travel to Cuba 2023  🇨🇺 

What you need to know before you head to Cuba

Cuba is open and travel to Cuba is relatively easy – PCR tests are no longer required and you’re no longer required to show a Covid vaccination certificate.

Here are some key things you need to know before you get there so that you can enjoy a smooth and stress free trip.

Our guides helped me gather some extra travel tips to share with you.

The pandemic seems to be a thing of the past and although you are no longer required to wear face masks, Cubans are very health conscious and will expect you to adhere to their health regulations.

Here are our top tips for any trip to Cuba:

  1. Make sure you’re fully vaccinated because Cubans are. 💉90% of the Cuban population is vaccinated ( 5 year olds and upwards ) and Cuba find the idea of refusing a Covid vaccination inexplicable.  Although you can now travel to Cuba without a Covid vaccination certificate, we recommend you bring one.   Keep up to date with entry requirements by checking the FCO travel advice for Cuba here.It’s good to know that everyone  ( and I mean everyone ) who works in tourism has been vaccinated and has received a booster vaccination too.
  2. Bring a  supply of face masks and hand sanitiser  😷Cubans are no longer obliged to wear masks in public places.  However, many still do and there will be places where you might be expected to wear one ( the airport, some transportation for example )  You will be expected to sanitise your hands every time you enter a shop or restaurant. Bring your own supply of masks and hand sanitiser, Cuba isn’t a rich country and you won’t be able to buy any in Cuba.
  3. Download and fill in your personal details on the new D’Viajeros App.  📲  You’ll need to generate a QR code by filling in the passenger locator form which you can find here:https://www.dviajeros.mitrans.gob.cu/inicio .   As of 1 January 2022, it is compulsory to present the QR code as you enter Cuba and before you pass through Immigrations.Wi-fi connection is patchy in Cuba so get it done before you travel and keep a photo of the QR code on your phone.   It’s a quick and easy process once you have the QR code.  NOTE:  you can only complete the form 48 hours prior to arrival in Cuba.
  4. Bring EUROS cash in small denominations.  💶€💶Cuba’s national currency is the CUP ( Cuban Peso ) but its value has dropped during Covid and everyone in Cuba wants EUROS.   Best to bring your cash in EUR5,10 or 20 notes.You’ll be able to use it pretty much everywhere and especially in bars and restaurants where proprietors actively prefer payments in a solid currency over payments in CUP.  It’ll work out better value for you too!Although you can easily exchange your EUR cash into CUP cash, it makes sense to keep the bulk of your cash in EUR as restaurants will often give you a better rate of exchange than the official one.   Currently the official exchange rate is EUR1:CUP117  while the unofficial rate is EUR1:CUP165.  Just saying…😉
  5. Whatever you do, don’t bring USD cash!  $😩       Euros are currently the most accepted currency in Cuba and can be used anywhere.    USD cash can be exchanged anywhere, but an additional 10% tax will be charged at exchange.   USD, EUR, GBP, MXP, CAD are exchangeable at the local exchange bureau but the current official rate of exchange bears little relation to the  higher rate of exchange on the street.   Put simply, if you bring these currencies and exchange your money in the official CADECA exchange offices, your trip to Cuba will be more expensive.  Do yourself a favour, take my advice and bring EURIn small denominations.   This is what you’ll use to pay for pretty much everything.If you’re a UK citizen you can use the very efficient, reliable and easy The Currency Club where you can order and pay for EUR online and get them delivered to your home in 24 hours.
  6. Expect shortages of many basic items.  🍽🍹Cuba has never been the land of plenty but the pandemic has created more shortages than ever.   You can get stuff in hotels and some stores but most of the goods are expensive by any standards and you’ll need to pay with a bank card.  You’ll see queues at lots of shops.  Cubans endure these shortages with remarkable resilience so be nice and don’t complain if you can’t get the exact meal you fancy.    And bring chocolate.  You’ll be the most popular person in Cuba if you pack a few bars of Cadbury’s finest.Food will be basic but , on the plus side, there’s no shortage of rum!  Havana Club, Black Tears, Ron Santiago, Caney – you’ll be an expert by the end of any week spent in Cuba.Rum cocktails and the local Crystal beer will make up for any lack of variety in food 😉.
  7. Medication and toiletries  💊🧴Bring any medication and toiletries you will need during your trip and be generous –  bring extra to give to Cubans you’ll meet along the way.   Cubans currently struggle to find even the most basic medication so the most useful gifts you can bring at the moment are over-the-counter painkillers and useful meds such as Benadryl ( for allergies )  or hydro-cortisone cream for insect bites and skin rashes ) They will be super grateful for any extra items you can fit in your case. Go to Poundland or Superdrug, spend £20 and make someone’s day (and friends for life) when you get to Cuba! Here is a list of items currently impossible or very hard to buy in Cuba…

Paracetamol

Ibuprofen

Anti-histamines

Sun-cream

Insect repellent ( those pesky mosquitoes )

Hydro-cortisone cream ( for rashes and insect bites )

Nappy cream ( Sudocrem, the magic cream which works on any skin condition! Brilliant on sunburn too J )

Soap bars

Sanitary Towels ( yup, imagine you can’t get sanitary protection 🥺 )

Razors ( now you know why everyone is sporting a beard in Cuba )

Moisturisers ( both face and body )

Shampoo and conditioner

Deodorant

And if you like snacks ( and like the idea of making someone really, really happy) you might want to pack:

Chocolate  🍫

Coffee

Teabags

Sweets  🍬

Nuts

Snacks 🥨

 

How to use the internet in Cuba

Connectivity is patchy, that’s the honest truth, but YES! you can still connect to the internet in Cuba. Head over to our blog where we share our expert tips on how to connect to the internet in Cuba. 

cubans using their mobile phones to connect to the internet on the streets

We know you’ll have a good time once you get here, just make sure you take our advice so that you have the best time possible!

Need help planning your perfect Cuba holiday? 

Our expert team has over 20 years of experience organising tours and activities in Cuba – the Cuban way! Here are some reasons why our customers trust us:

★ Sustainable and responsible travel experiences
★Travel safely in the hands of an international team of travel professionals
★ Stay in local casas and get closer to Cuban life
★ Bike hire included (Trek hybrid 8.3 DS bikes with front fork suspension)
★ English-speaking tour guides and drivers and mechanics!
★ All bus transfers in private air-conditioned bus
★ Mineral water and local snacks on cycling days
★ 24 hr assistance

Get in touch today with our friendly Team for more details.

 

Written by

Lucy Davies

Lucy Davies is the director of Cubania Travel. Currently she lives in London and is itching to get back to Cuba and back exploring the island by bicycle.

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