Travel Notices

CubaCuba

Friendly Planet has successfully operated fully compliant legal tours to Cuba for Americans since 2011, and we look forward to continuing to do so under the latest rules.

Just 90 miles from US soil, travel to Cuba is easier than ever! Our value-packed Cuba tours have been in high demand, and we've helped thousands of delighted travelers discover this once forbidden island. Experience the rich culture of indigenous, African, and European roots. Meet artists in their Old Havana studios and rural Cuban families in the Viñales Valley, a region renowned for the cultivation of tobacco, cassava, and taro.

From salsa dancing beneath the night sky in Havana and the sweet and earthy smell of hand-rolled cigars and the bright smiles (and wardrobe!) of warm and welcoming locals—experiencing the authentic side of Cuba is a bucket list item every traveler should check off!

We're proud to be one of the first U.S. tour companies awarded a license for Cuba travel, way back in September 2011. Since then, we've sent thousands of American travelers to this relatively unexplored destination to participate in unique, inspiring, and affordable encounters with the Cuban people.

Friendly Planet Travel operates legal tours to Cuba under the "Support for the Cuban People" travel category, in accordance with 31 CFR § 515.574 published by the Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Highlights

  1. Havana

    Plaza de la Catedral, Old HavanaA throwback to another generation, Havana's old-world charm is a glimpse into the heart of this fascinating country. Old cobbled plazas and historic buildings turned museums are juxtaposed with popular nightclubs and hotels that still exude a 1950s atmosphere. Don't miss the chance to explore Habana Vieja (Old Havana), a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of narrow and winding cobbled streets and almost 1,000 buildings of historical significance.

  2. Paladares, private restaurants

    Ropa viejaAmid a culinary revolution, dining in Cuba becomes an adventure as thousands of little-known (and sometimes even secret!) independent restaurants have exploded across the island. Relaxed government regulations on private business have facilitated this growing industry—with more than 2,000 newly opened eateries. Innovative restaurateurs have opened up in surprising locations, offering experiences that often rival dining in London or Paris. The flavorful food and atmosphere are comforting and authentic, and rich and complex dishes shatter the "rice and beans" stereotype. Don't forget to grab a freshly made mojito to follow your savory ropa vieja (braised, shredded beef)!

  3. Classic American cars

    Classic cars, Revolution Square in Havana Photo by Aurelien Courtet on UnsplashTravel back in time as you ride in style in one of Havana's classic American cars. In the early 20th century, these incredibly-maintained automobiles were imported to Cuba for around 50 years; however, importing the classic cars came to a halt after the Cuban revolution. Today, Cuba is seen as a living museum for vintage cars, as it is common to see them in many different colors cruising along the streets. It's estimated that there are about 60,000 classic American cars in Cuba, with some dating back to the early 1930s!

  4. Casa Particular, Havana

    Bedroom, El Encanto de PerserveranciaEl Encanto de Perserverancia, the Cuban Bed and Breakfast on our Authentic Havana and Authentic Havana & the Scenic Vinales Valley tours, is a highlight in itself. This B&B, or casa particular, was hand-picked by our President Peggy Goldman during her many trips to Havana. It is a traditional colonial-style house that has been lovingly restored and converted into charming accommodations. The casa is privately owned, meaning your money goes directly into the pockets of the locals, and it offers a much more authentic, intimate, and satisfying stay versus the huge government-run hotels in the city. Our casa is also centrally located, only a seven-minute walk from the Malecon, the city's iconic sea wall. In addition, it is within easy walking distance of several trendy restaurants, including La Guarida, frequented by many American celebrities when they visit Havana. Plus, we give you the genuine experience of staying in a real Havana community with schools, cafes, and local shops nearby while only being a short drive from touristic Old Havana.

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to Cuba? See everything you need to know before you go.

Overview

Capital: Havana
Population:  11.3 million
Currency: CUP (Cuban Peso)
Languages: Spanish
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: GMT -5

Entry requirements Please see our Entry Requirements page.
Staying Healthy

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, 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

Weather

The weather in Cuba is humid and tropical. The warmest month of the year is July, when the temperature averages about 85° F. The coldest month of the year is January, when the temperature during the day averages about 70° F.

The rainy season lasts from May through October, and the driest months are from November to April.

Dining

Cuba’s communist government continues to impact agricultural production. But despite the lack of varied fresh ingredients, great meals can be found across the nation! Many traditional Cuban dishes are fried or roasted, and the main staples of the locals’ diet consists of chicken and pork accompanied by moros y cristianos (white rice cooked in black beans).  With the explosion of paladares, or private restaurants, opening across the island, Cuba is experiencing a bit of a culinary renaissance. 

Must-savor Cuban dishes include ropa vieja (marinated braised lamb or beef), pudin (similar to flan), Cuban coffee (strong and sweet, espresso style), tres leches cake and to finish it off - an authentic mojito (a traditional Cuban cocktail made of rum with mint, sugar and lime)!

Money & Credit Cards

Currently, the EURO is the predominant currency in Cuba. However, we suggest you bring cash in both EUROS and US Dollars. U.S. travelers will need to bring sufficient cash for the entire trip. Take into consideration all the extras for which you’ll need cash, such as non-included meals, taxies, souvenirs, and guide and driver tips. Please make sure you bring enough CASH with you for the entire trip.

Credit cards and debit cards issued by U.S. banks cannot be used in Cuba. Due to the official embargo, U.S. issued debit/credit cards are not recognized by Cuba banks.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card while traveling.

Shopping

Bring home more than a postcard from your travels in Cuba!  Wander the open-air markets, artisan workshops, and stores to pick up mementos that will help you remember how unique Cuba is:  fine art and sculpture, expertly crafted musical instruments, and Soviet Union era antiques.

You can also enjoy Cuban cigars and rum while in Cuba. Effective September 24, 2020 authorized U.S. travelers are no longer permitted to return to the US with alcohol and/or tobacco products acquired in Cuba. For more detail see U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection

Electricity & Power Adapters

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.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? Read up on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • 1 in every 4 cars in Cuba predates the Cuban Revolution! Passenger vehicles considered rare in other parts of the world are relatively common in Cuba. Don’t be surprised if a family passes right by you in a Model T Ford!
  • Cuba has a literacy rate of 99.8%, one of the highest in the world.
  • A majority of Cubans practice some form of Santeria, a geographically unique religion that blends African beliefs with catholic saints.
  • Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean.
  • In 2000, Fidel Castro erected a statue in a Havana park of The Beatles’ John Lennon! He admired Lennon for his contributions in revolutionizing music.

Videos

Tours & Packages

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Small Group Tour Havana Express
Dive deep into the authentic life in Havana: a journey that will open your eyes, expand your understanding, and fill your heart
from $1499 w/ Flights from $1299 Tour Only 4 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Authentic Havana
Take in the heart & soul of this colorful & cultural island: Havana, Cojimar, Guanabacoa & Lawton
from $2099 w/ Flights from $1799 Tour Only 5 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Authentic Havana & the Scenic Viñales Valley
Explore the magic and magnificent heritage of Cuba from the culture and communities of Havana to the spectacular vistas of the Viñales Valley
from $2499 w/ Flights from $2199 Tour Only 7 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Havana International Jazz Festival 2025
Take in the heart and soul of this colorful & cultural island: 40th Havana International Jazz Festival | Optional 3-night Pre-Tour Extension w/ Opening Jazz Performance
$3499 w/ Flights $3199 Tour Only 6 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Colors of Cuba
Experience Cuba: Havana, Santa Clara, the colonial treasure of Trinidad & Cienfuegos, "the pearl of the south"
from $3599 w/ Flights from $3299 Tour Only 8 days
per person, double occupancy*

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* Advertised prices may include an "Instant Savings" discount and/or sale discount, available for a limited time. Prices reflect these discounts. Advertised prices are per person, based on double occupancy; single occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge. Advertised prices are the best available based on the least expensive travel dates, departure city, and other options, and do not include optional excursions or other optional items. Your total price will vary based upon the dates, flights, and other options you select during the booking process. For packages including flights, prices include Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee, but do not include excess baggage fees or advance seat reservations. Prices and availability subject to change. More about our prices.

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