Fast Facts: Cuba
Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.
U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid at the time of entry, though we strongly recommend it be valid for at least six months after your return date.
U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter Cuba. Under current U.S. law, travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens and residents for tourism is prohibited. However, there are several forms of authorized travel, including licensed "People-to-People" cultural exchange programs such as those operated by Friendly Planet. Travel to Cuba is regulated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Please see the Treasury website or the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.
Booked on one of our packages with Scheduled Dates? For U.S. passport holders, we will pre-arrange your travel visa, and the visa fee is included in your package price. After you book, please send a color scan or color photocopy of the photo page of your passport to email@example.com so that we may process your visa.
If you hold a passport from another country, it is quite possible that you may enter Cuba on one of our programs; please contact us before you book to learn more.
If you were born in Cuba, regardless of your citizenship, you must apply for a visa directly from the Cuban Embassy. Please notify us when you book if this applies to any travelers in your party.
More information about passports & visas.
Friendly Planet Travel is an authorized sponsor of People to People travel to Cuba in accordance with the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) section, 1 C.F.R. § 515.565(b) People to People Travel.
Information about OFAC and the rules governing U.S. citizens' travel to Cuba is located on the U.S. Department of the Treasury website.
In order to comply with OFAC rules for visiting Cuba, travelers should keep a travel journal as a record of the trip. This journal will serve as proof that you have traveled to Cuba for educational purposes and should be kept for a period of five years as proof of the educational nature of your trip.
The weather in Cuba is humid and tropical. The warmest month of the year is July where the temperature averages about 85° F. The coldest month of the year is January where the temperature during the day averages about 70° F.
The rainy season last from May through October. You will find the dryest months from November to April.
Check out the current weather conditions in Cuba.
Before visiting Cuba, it is recommended that you are up to date on all your routine vaccines ( measles, mumps, tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine etc) You may need to get the following vaccinations and medications for vaccine-preventable diseases and other diseases you might be at risk for at your destination: Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid and Rabies.
(Note: Your doctor or health-care provider will determine what you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities.)
Although there are pharmacies open 24 hours, they only give you the essential medicines, as most are scarce and the ones you can get will be expensive. Therefore it is desirable to take, in addition to the remedies prescribed by your doctor, a basic kit with analgesics, tablets for diarrhea, antacids, antihistamines, calamine lotion, sterile gauze, Band-Aids, insect repellent and sunscreen.
In Cuba, the official currency is the Cuban Peso which is also known as the “Moneda Nacional" (MN). The Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) is the currency that tourists must use. You can exchange your money to convertible pesos at airports, hotels, banks, and exchange offices (subject to daily fluctuations). To exchange U.S. dollars into the CUC there is a 10% surcharge, while exchanges from Canadian dollars, Euros, UK pounds and Swiss Francs will not incur a surcharge. Please review the current exchange rate for the CUC.
While U.S. travelers are now technically allowed to use U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba where they are accepted, most U.S. banks have not yet finalized arrangements for credit card transactions in Cuba. Please be sure to check with your card providers to determine if they have established access in Cuba. We do not recommend that you rely solely on credit cards, as they are not accepted everywhere. For now, cash is still king, so go prepared.
In general 1CUC is fine for waitresses, barmen, maids, etc. with maybe 5CUC for a tour guide. You are not expected to tip after each drink, after every meal, or even every day for the maid. Tip the barmen once every other day or so and the room maid a little during your stay plus a larger tip on the last day.
Under current regulations as of January 2015, authorized U.S. travelers are permitted to import up to $400 per person worth of Cuban goods for personal use, including no more than $100 total value of alcohol and/or tobacco products. The following materials are exempt from the regulation and can be imported freely: books, periodicals, paintings, scultptures, records, tapes, CD's, films, video cassettes, photographs, posters, lithographs, serigraphs, microfilm and other informational and educational materials.
110 and 220 volts. Plugs A & B; C & L. We recommend that you bring an adapter/converter along with you as not all hotels will have 110 volt (A&B plugs) outlets. View more information about electrical standards around the world.
See our blog post on using your cell phone abroad.