WHAT SHOULD I KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO CUBA?
There are two ways to travel to Cuba. The first is through an agency, which organizes a tour and issues you a visa to enter the country. The second option is to fly through a connecting country. Mexico City, Cancun, Cayman Islands and the Bahamas are all popular connecting destinations. However, in June, the Obama administration authorized eight American airlines to begin direct flights as soon as fall 2016. This decision gives 10 U.S. airports at least one weekly non-stop flight to Havana, the Cuban capital.
Most foreign visitors to Cuba need a tourist card to enter. Independent travelers can purchase a tourist card at the check-in counter of their connecting country. A 30 day Cuban tourist card costs around $20 – $30 USD and no application processing time is necessary. If you are traveling with an American passport in Cuba, you can request to have your tourist card stamped instead of your passport. This card may be obtain in person in the at The Cuban Embassy in Washington, or by mail.
For more information visit www.cubadiplomatica.cu
There are two currencies in Cuba. The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) is the “tourist” currency, pegged to the American dollar, and the Cuban Peso (CUP) is what locals use. Currently, $1 U.S. dollar equates to about $1 Cuban Convertible Peso or $26.50 Cuban Pesos. Many vendors, restaurants and cab drivers don’t accept American credit cards and ATMs are rare and don’t accept U.S. debit cards, so cash is a must. You can exchange US dollars for CUC, but there is a special 10% penalty fee for this service. So it is cheaper to exchange Euros, Canadian Dollars, British Pounds, or Mexican Pesos for CUC instead.
Airbnb is now operating in Cuba and offers over 4,000 homes for vacation rentals online. However, it is important to know that you can book listings on Airbnb only before going to Cuba. Once in Cuba, you’ll be blocked from actually booking rooms through the site.
For more information, visit airbnb.com