Fast Facts: Cuba

Below are some of the most common questions from our travelers.

Do I need a passport? What is required for entry?

U.S. citizens must have a passport, which should contain at least 2 blank pages and be valid for at least six months after your return date. Passports expiring before then should be renewed as soon as possible.

U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter Cuba. We have been authorized by the U.S. Government to obtain visas for travelers on our People-to-People Cuba tour programs.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please contact us before you book. It is quite possible that you will be permitted to enter Cuba on one of our programs, and we will find out if any further documentation is required.

If you were born in Cuba, regardless of your citizenship, you must apply for a visa directly. Please notify us when you book if this applies to any travelers in your party.

How are you able to offer trips to Cuba legally?

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. ยง 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.

What is the weather like?

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.

Are there any health precautions I should take?

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.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

What is the currency?

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.

Are tips & service charges customary?

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.

What are the best items to shop for?

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.

What are the voltage requirements?

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.

Can I take my cell phone?

See our blog post on using your cell phone abroad.

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