What to know for a trip to Cuba

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Spending a vacation in Cuba, in the Caribbean Sea, is one of the most exciting experiences you can have.
The island, with its natural landscapes and the cultural vitality that distinguishes it, is the ideal destination for those who want to immerse themselves in a colorful world, fragrant and rich in flavors found only here, in the lands of Central America.
Here's what to know to better organize a trip to Cuba!


  1. Best time
  2. Required documents
  3. How many days
  4. How to dress and what to bring
  5. To see
  6. Getting around
  7. What to book in advance
  8. Accomodation
  9. Where to eat
  10. How much
  11. How to pay
  12. Safety
  13. Useful advice and rules of conduct
  14. User questions and comments

Best time

From a climatic point of view, there is good weather practically all year round.
Average annual temperatures are around 24 °. However, it is preferable to travel during the dry season, which goes from November to April; during this period the rains are very rare, while from May to October is the rainy season, when there is a lot of humidity and in the months of September and October the risk of hurricanes increases.

Cuba is full of events and festivals, in November the Marabana is held, a marathon in the capital Havana that attracts people from all over the world, while in December, the Festival Interncional de Jazz is very interesting, involving the cities of Karl Marx, Mella and Amadeo Roldán, as well as La Parrandas , on Christmas Eve with parties and fireworks.

Required documents

The travel visa, which can be purchased at travel agencies or the Cuban Consalato (present in Rome, Milan and Naples), worth € 25,00, with the visa you can stay on the island for 30 days, to obtain it you need a passport, indicate the date departure and return address and the address where you will be staying.
It also serves the Passport with residual validity of 6 months, andmedical health insurance, stipulated before departure. It is recommended that you also bring a photocopy of your passport, which could be useful in case of loss, when you will have to present it to the immigration office to obtain a duplicate.

How many days

  • Minimum travel time: at least 10 days
  • Recommended duration of the trip: at least 15 days

How to dress and what to bring

In your suitcase you can not miss the camera and sunglasses. As for clothing, it is better to opt for light cotton clothing, swimsuit and Comfortable clothes and suitable for coastal regions. A jacket can always be useful, considering that you will find air conditioning in restaurants and in almost all places.
The use of insect repellent is not recommended.

To see

If you are flying to Cuba for the first time, the first stop will be the capital Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982, it will surprise you with its colonial architecture, it can be visited in a few days - here's what to see in 3 days.
The very famous Playas de Este, the long white sand beach. Not to be missed, then, are Varadero, the most touristic city on the island, where you can find dream beaches in the middle of the Caribbean, and Trinidad, a fascinating center that remained stationary in the colonial era.

If you are lucky enough to return to Cuba then you will be able to take the opportunity to visit Casa Particular in Viñales, the valley near the Pinar del Rio, where you can get to know the rural and most authentic face of the island, away from the tourist chaos. Here nature lovers can carry out trekking or long walks, among the cultivated fields.
Beyond the 10 most beautiful beaches in Cuba, those in search of uncrowded and paradisiacal beaches must reach that of Cayo Jutia, where to find pure relaxation in the crystal clear waters, 60 km from Vinales; Casas Particulares Cienfuegos, considered the pearl to the south; the waterfalls de The niche.

  • If you are visiting the destination for the first time: Havana, Playas de Este, Varadero, Trinidad
  • If you are returning to the destination: Viñales, Cayo Jutia, Cienfuegos, the El Nicho waterfalls

Getting around

To move between the cities you can use different means of transport, for tourists there is Viazul bus company, on which you travel with air conditioning and for longer journeys there are entertainment devices (such as films shown on board, cost about 25 CUC - € 23,40).
Another possibility is the private taxis, those where you travel alone with the taxi driver, the rates are fixed (although drivers do not always respect them): 6 CUC - € 5,60 for any urban route before 19:00, 10 CUC - € 9,40 for any urban route after 19:00.
However cheaper and extravagant is the choice of collective taxis, on which you will travel together with other tourists, so as to divide the costs of the route (from 1 CUC - € 0,95 per person).
Finally, if you are over 21 and have an international driving license, you can rent a car, which turns out to be the least suitable condition, given the precarious condition of some roads and the inevitable difficulty in finding one's way in the suburbs of the cities, as well as facing a considerable expense (a week could cost more than € 500,00).

What to book in advance

The decision to book some in advance is strategic tours to do in Cuba, like the one to visit the capital with a local guide Havana, or to indulge in the unique experience of swimming with dolphins a Varadaro.
Even more convenient is the advance booking of the transfers to be made between the various cities, so as not to waste time looking for means of transport, such as from Havana to tourist cities such as Varadaro, the Vinales valley, Trinidad and Cienfuegos.


A Cuba in addition to the hotels and resorts equipped with all the comforts of the main cities, such as Havana, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, Varadaro, owned by the state, you will also find the "casas particulares", that is the houses where Cuban families live authorized to host tourists, usually in a room with a private bathroom.
It goes without saying that the experience of living with the locals, with whom you can have such direct contact is very special and intimate. On average the cost is 20 CUC - € 18,70 per night.

  • Havana: Hotel and b & b starting from € 80,00 per room -
  • Trinidad: Hotel and b & b starting from € 65,00 per room -
  • Casa Particular in Santiago de Cuba: Hotel and b & b starting from € 50,00 per room -

Where to eat

The many restaurants of Cuba they are quite cheap and there you will always find a traditional cuisine, called criolla, resulting from a meeting between Spanish, African and Caribbean dishes, mainly based on rice, fish, legumes, bananas, plantains, various spices and vegetables.
Very special are the paladares, or family-run restaurants where you can taste the most authentic cuisine of the island.
For those staying inside the casas particulares it is possible to have breakfast and dinner, adding a surcharge to the cost of the overnight stay.
There are also numerous rapidos, that is the places where you will find fast-food type cuisine.

How much

  • Cost of flights and travel: € 1,200,00
  • Cost accomodation: € 60,00 (per night)
  • Minimum daily budget for meals and attractions: € 45,00

How to pay

Two currencies are used in Cuba, the Convertible Weight (CUC) and Cuban Peso (CUP). The latter is of little use to tourists, as the CUC is usually used for taxis and most purchases. It is advisable to exchange currency directly at the airport, at the Cadeca, open 24h and to use cash as a payment method.
Credit cards can be used, but it is recommended to inquire in advance about the commission costs, which could be very high and the counters from which to make withdrawals are not very widespread. In fact, we recommend the use of PostePay, which can be used more economically. Remember that € 1,00 = 1.08 CUC


This country it is not a risky place for tourists, the only criminal phenomena are small and occur in the capital and major cities, so visitors are advised to be very careful in particularly crowded places, to avoid theft and pickpocketing.
From a climatic point of view it is necessary pay attention to the months of September and October, during which important natural phenomena such as cyclones can occur.
To find out more, refer to the Cuba section on the Farnesina website.

Useful advice and rules of conduct

  1. Leave cash in hotel safes, carrying around a small sum.
  2. Always go out with your identity documents (photocopies, if you prefer to leave the originals in the hotel).
  3. Do not give money to children who beg, it is illegal, rather give them small items.
  4. Upon return, it will be possible to bring up to 4 bottles of spirits and a maximum of 50 cigars to Italy.
  5. Be kind to the locals who give you hospitality and information, but don't overdo it: you might seem like scammers.
  6. For souvenirs, it is better to buy them in the small markets far from the mass shops of the city centers: you can contribute to the fragile Cuban economy.
  7. Travel / health insurance: recommended.

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