Frequently Asked Questions

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Useful Information for Travellers to Cuba

Live Cuba's team of Cuba holiday experts have put together this handy guide based on questions our travellers ask us the most. If you don't find an answer to your question below, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.

Tourist Card - Visas to Cuba

Everyone, including infants, is required to have a Visa to enter Cuba. Visas are included in the price of all our holidays and will be sent to you 2 weeks before you travel. They are sent from our Visa Department by Royal Mail Special Delivery and, when they have been dispatched, you will receive an automated email with the Royal Mail tracking number.

The visas are very simple to complete but please don’t make any errors as this will make them invalid and you will have to buy another one. You’ll see that the visas are perforated down the centre and, when you arrive in Havana, the authorities will tear this and take half of the visa. Keep the other half safe as you will need to hand this in when you leave Cuba.

In the unlikely event that you decide not to travel with us, please remember that you will still need Cuban visas for each traveller, including kids. For a reliable and efficient process, we recommend Visa CubaVisa Cuba offers an online application service and delivers Cuba Tourist Cards anywhere in the UK, and abroad to all countries allowed by the Cuban Consulate.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is required for travel to Cuba and you may be asked to show evidence of your cover at the airport. Please make sure you have the correct cover before you travel and bring printed proof.

We do not offer insurance. However, should you need insurance for your trip, Travel & General Insurance Services offers good policies, valid in Cuba, at competitive rates. Click here to receive a quote.

About Travel & General Insurance Services Limited

Travel insurance is a vital aspect of booking a holiday, giving you protection against unforeseen circumstances that could spoil your trip.

It’s not just while you are away on your holiday that you need travel insurance cover. Cancellation cover starts from the moment you buy your insurance and protects the cost of your holiday, in the event that you have to cancel for a range of reasons e.g. illness or injury.

It is important that you purchase travel insurance that meets your demands and needs and covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake on your trip. To provide you with an option to consider, we have arranged a competitive travel insurance scheme with Travel & General.

The scheme offers a choice of cover levels and excess so that you can choose a policy that suits your demands and needs. A wide choice of activities is available and there are also options to add gadget cover, travel disruption or an excess waiver.

Travel & General is a specialist provider of travel insurance policies. We believe that the service provided is as important as the policy itself, which is why our dedicated team will be happy to answer any queries you may have before and after your policy purchase.

Please click here or call Travel & General on 0330 880 3625 to discuss a quote.

Travel & General Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Registration number 304788. Registered office: 117 Houndsditch, London, EC3A 7BT. Company number 02527363.

Travelling via a third country?

For passengers with connecting flights via France, please check the latest Coronavirus - Advice for Foreign Nationals in France.

For the latest Cuba Travel Advice, check FCO-Cuba.

What is the luggage allowance?

The hold luggage allowance is 23kgs and the hand luggage is 10kgs on most of the scheduled flights (Virgin, Air Europa, KLM, Iberia and Air France). For TUI flights hold luggage is 20 kgs.

When can I do the check-in?

You can check-in online on the airline's website , usually 24 hours before departure. You will need to enter your full name and airline reference number, which will be on your invoice. 

What is the local currency?

The Cuban government has reformed the currency in Cuba. From 1 January 2021 the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) - that was the currency used by visitors - is removed from circulation. Thereafter, the Cuban National Peso (CUP, known as "moneda nacional") will be the only legal currency in Cuba. 

Which currency should I bring?

We recommend bringing either EUR or GBP.  Both currencies are welcomed at private facilities such as “hostales” (private accommodations) and “paladares (private restaurants), as well as in many bars and as payment for excursions/day trips.  EUR are accepted in slightly more places so are perhaps preferable. Cuba is primarily a cash economy so please plan on paying for most of your expenses with EUR or GBP.

We recommend that you bring EUR in small denominations: €5, €10, or €20 notes because prices are listed in either CUP (Cuban Pesos) or MLC (hard currency), please make sure you buy your food and drinks in EUR or change your EUR or GBP at a reasonable exchange. 

Although banks and the Government Currency Exchange Houses (CADECA);  located in airports, hotels, resorts, and shopping centres are the safest places to exchange your hard currency, they are also the places that you will get the worst exchange rate ( 24CUP for $1 instead of the informal exchange of approximate 90CUP for $1). If you would like  to change your hard currency (GBP, EUR) into CUP, ask the casa particular’s host and they will be happy to assist you. Most casas particulares will offer you a much better exchange rate than the bank and the difference in rate is considerate. Be careful of scammers of criminals.

You cannot take CUP out of the country that is why we recommend if you change some hard currency into CUP, do it in small amounts making sure to spend it all before the end of your trip and thus avoid the re-change at the airport.

Can I use credit and debit cards?

Yes, you can but please check with your bank that your card can be used in Cuba before you depart. If it's not a card issued by an American Bank, you should be able to use it without any problem in Cuba.  Although some European cards, for example; Revolut will not work. 

At government-owned establishments you must pay by card. We recommend you bring more than one card because in some places the transactions could be simpler using a Visa (PIN) rather than a Mastercard (SWIPE & SIGN). 

You can withdraw CUP from ATMs using your home Credit/Debit Card; however, we do not recommend it as you will not only may be charged a bank commission fee per transaction but also will get the worst exchange rate as explained above (24CUP for $1 instead of the informal exchange of approximate 90CUP for $1).  Another thing to consider is that  ATMs are placed in large cities and popular tourist destination only. 

How private transfers works?

If you have booked private transfer, the vehicle will pick you and drop you off at your casa or hotel.

What about shared transfers?

Coaches are not permitted to stop at private casas particulares. If you are staying at a "casa" and have booked a shared transfer, the coach will drop you off at a central location (for instance in Viñales it will be Plaza Viñales), where your casa owner will be waiting for you. They make pick-ups from central locations and various big hotels.

In Havana, the central area of the old town is pedestrianised, which means coaches cannot access all the hotels. If you are staying in an Old Havana hotel, then the coach will pick you up or drop you off at the nearest accessible hotel to the one you booked (rarely more than a 5-minute walk).

How far from each other are the most popular places?

These are approximate timings and will depend on whether you are travelling by car or by coach. Please note that travel times are a lot longer for those travelling by coach, as the coach will stop at several pick-up locations in the departure destination. The general travelling time guidelines for private transfers are:

 

Destinations Approx Distance Average Time
Havana Airport to Havana 11 Miles 30 Minutes
Havana to Varadero 87 Miles 2 Hours
Havana to Vinales 117 Miles 2.5 Hours
Vinales to Cienfuegos 275 Miles 5.5 Hours
Cienfuegos to Trinidad 50 Miles 1.5 Hours
Trinidad to Varadero 163 Miles 3 Hours
Cayo Santa Maria to Havana 240 Miles 6 Hours

When you book your holidays to Cuba with us, our travel designers take care of all the transfers required for your itinerary and help you decide based on their extensive local knowledge the best or most convenient type of transfer, the most adequate transfer times to help you make the most of your time, and will take into account all sorts of factors, from travelling times to weather conditions, to help you build a rock-solid itinerary.

Do I need to bring the vouchers from my booking?

When you have paid the balance of your holiday, you will receive a Final Confirmation Invoice. Attached to this email is all the information you need plus, very importantly, the VOUCHERS for each service you will be using. These are important because you will be asked to hand them in whenever you use one of the services, so please don’t forget to print them off and take them with you!

Which vaccinations do I need before I travel?

Please seek advice from your GP about vaccinations for travelling to Cuba.

Are there mosquitoes in Cuba?

As a tropical island, mosquitoes are prevalent across Cuba. Although Cuba has not been greatly affected by the Zika virus, please still take precaution by applying repellent that will protect you against Aedes mosquitoes (the type that carries Zika) in the early evening. Whilst we do advise that you take precautions against mosquitoes, please do not feel alarmed. The Cuban government is very proactive when it comes to fumigating across the island and removing potential breeding spots.

How much should I tip?

Salaries tend to be low in Cuba so tips are very much appreciated. We suggest leaving 1-2 EUR per night for the cleaner in your hotel as well as giving taxi drivers 3 EUR after a short trip and tipping bar staff 2-3 EUR on a night out.

Will my phone works in Cuba?

Most phones should work in Cuba, but we recommend contacting your provider before travelling just to make sure it does. Making calls and downloading data on your phone will be quite expensive. Text messages are a more economical way of keeping in touch.

Is there WiFi available?

Wi-Fi is available at most hotels and in many open-air plazas and city parks. In order to connect to Wi-Fi, you will need to purchase a Wi-Fi card from ETECSA (Cuba's telecommunications company). These are available at hotels and ETECSA establishments. Wi-Fi cards cost 1.50 USD for 1 hour, though pricing is subject to change. Most hotels will also offer internet cafes where you can connect directly from the available computers.

Please be aware that the internet connection in Cuba could be quite slow at times. You may not always be able to connect to the internet where there is a Wi-Fi hotspot (especially when there are a lot of other people at the hotspot).

Which type of electric sockets and plugs adaptors should I bring?

Cuba uses US-style plugs. It is a good idea to bring a UK to US plug adaptor.

Is it safe to drive in Cuba?

We advise all or self-drive clients to avoid driving at night. Roads tend to be poorly lit and you may come across other drivers with their headlights on the full-beam or an unlit horse and cart on the main road! Otherwise driving in Cuba is safe.

Is it Cuba a safe country, crime related?

Cuba is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean. Obviously, you should be careful, as you would travelling anywhere, but generally, it is an incredibly safe place to travel in.

How is the weather like?

Cuba is HOT! Wear light, breathable fabrics and plenty of sun cream. It's easy to burn quickly without realising. It's important to stay hydrated, particularly during a long day of sightseeing.

The Live Cuba Promise

High Commission Levels

We pay the highest commission levels on the gross holiday price.

Local representation

Knowledgeable English-speaking friendly team located throughout Cuba offering unparalleled levels of support.

Complete Service

All our holidays include flights, accommodation, transfers and Tourist Cards.

Knowledgeable reservations team.

Our reservation team gives honest and impartial advice with a real passion for the country.

Authentic Experiences

Our defining feature. We are committed to showing our clients the real Cuba from the most popular and off-the-beaten-track experiences

Widest selection of Accommodation

Our portfolio includes a wide-ranging spectrum of hotels from five-star beach resort hotels, to more boutique accommodation and casa particular.

Tours and Multi Centre Itineraries

As we are destination specialists our knowledge of the country is unrivalled and we other a comprehensive range of tours and specialist itineraries highlighting the real Cuba. Our escorted tours offer a real insight in day to day Cuban life.

Competitive Pricing

With the relationship Live Holidays have built up over many years we are able to negotiate exclusive special offers including value added upgrades and are confident that our prices are the most competitive in the market.

Wide selection of regional departures

With our agreements with the major airlines we can offer direct services from London Gatwick and Manchester with Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook and indirect flights from our partner airlines KLM, Air France and Air Europa from a number of regional departure points.

Our Partners

  • Autentica Cuba
  • Cuba Tourist Board
  • Virgin Atlantic Flights to Cuba
  • KLM, Air France, Sky Alliance Cuba Flights
  • KLM, Air France, Sky Alliance Cuba Flights
  • Blue Diamond Hotels Cuba
  • Iberostar Hotels and Resorts, Cuba
  • Melia Hotels and Resorts, Cuba
  • Kempinski hotels Cuba
  • Blau Hotels Cuba
  • Ecotur
  • Gran Caribe Hotels Cuba