Frequently Asked Questions
Cuba is an amazing country with a fascinating history and culture not to be missed. As with travel to any foreign country, travelers should be aware of the rules, customs, and practices of the host country in order to make their stay most enjoyable. We hope that this guide provides you with answers to the most frequently asked questions about travel to Cuba.
Yes. Under the latest regulations from the US State Department and OFAC, Support of the Cuban People activities are allowed. Although current regulations include a few documentation requirements, compliant travel is permitted. P2P maintains an electronic record of the required documentation for your access and/or request for hard copy. This includes expenses, invoices, receipts, itineraries, compliance licenses, visas, etc.
Persons authorized to travel to Cuba may purchase alcohol and tobacco products while in Cuba for personal consumption. Authorized travelers may also return to the United Sates with alcohol and/or tobacco products acquired in Cuba as accompanied baggage for personal use. OFAC considers “personal use” of an imported item to include giving the item to another individual as a personal gift, but not the transfer of the item to another person for payment or other consideration.
Unlike other countries in the region, Cuba is a remarkably safe country, as the government is keen to encourage and build tourism. As with any foreign travel, however, you should observe standard safety rules to avoid any unpleasant situations. The most important thing to remember is to remain with your guides, as they will ensure you have a safe an enjoyable trip. Other tips include:
*Do not carry your passport with you unless absolutely necessary
*Walk in well lit areas at night
*Keep wallets in your front pocket
*Keep belongings such as purses, cameras, etc. close to your person when walking
*Keep vigilant when walking in crowded areas
*Do not wear flashy jewelry that may attract unwanted attention
In general, Cuba is a relatively inexpensive place to travel. On average we recommend a daily budget of roughly $100 per day, per person to cover non-covered items and meals, incidentals, etc. Bear in mind that this does not factor in purchases of items such as upscale artwork or premium cigars or rum, for which your cash outlays could vary. Plan on these items costing what you would pay when visiting other similar locales in the Caribbean.
Cuba operates with a dual currency system – the Cuban peso (CUP) for the locals and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) – or convertible – for foreign visitors. Neither is traded internationally, so you must purchase currency upon arrival in Cuba.
Both currencies are legal tender in Cuba and both are completely available to anyone – including foreigners – with no restriction.
Other than small amounts for use as collectible items, It is illegal to take either CUC or CUP out of the country. Make sure you exchange your CUC$ for $US before going through passport control in Cuba.
Bottled water is recommended for consumption in all parts of Cuba unless you are in a facility, such as a hotel, that has a filtration system. We will provide bottled water for all expeditions.
While Cuba boasts one of the best education systems in the world, English is not as common as you might expect based on your travel to other countries of the region. This is gradually changing, but as media and internet are limited, the average person does not have as much exposure to English as you might encounter elsewhere. With that said, Cubans are extremely helpful and curious, so a smile and some basic Spanish will go a long way in communicating with your hosts.
Below are a few choice words and phrases that may help you get started.
Where is the bathroom?
Donde estan los servicios?
How much does it cost?
Where is the US embassy?
Donde queda la embajada de los Estados Unidos?
Where can I find a taxi?
Por donde se consigue un taxi?
What is your name?
Como se llama?
Carne de res
In Cuba the standard voltage is 110 / 220 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz, although this can vary by region, the city or even the hotel at which you are staying . Please check locally if you can use your appliances otherwise a power converter may be required.
Power sockets are of type A, B, C and L.
Given our history and current geopolitical climate, politics is a curious, but sensitive subject for both Americans and Cubans. Initiating a discussion of a political nature is discouraged, although you may find that some Cubans are willing to express their thoughts openly. If you do encounter someone willing to engage in a political dialogue, the best thing to do is to simply listen politely and answer questions factually, but without regard to opinion.
Below is a list of the most important documents you should have for your trip.
*Passport – Your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months from your date of entry to Cuba. Bring two (2) or more photocopies to carry with you as you travel around. You may wish to leave a copy at home with someone you can contact in case your passport is lost.
*Travel Visa – Cuban entry visa and exit visa, provided by P2P
*Valid Airline Tickets for travel
While credit cards from most countries outside of the US will work in Cuba, credit card acceptance is low and is typically only available in tourist oriented locations, so local currency is a better option.
Internet is available in Cuba but bear in mind that it is controlled by the government and limited to specified Wi-Fi areas. Hotels and some casa particulares provide internet access for a fee as well, and their connections are approaching standard broadband speeds. Please work with your guide if you have a need to secure internet access while in Cuba.
Cuba is a tropical country so pack as you would for a trip to a similar destination. Days are typically hot and sunny and nights tend to cool down, with a refreshing breeze off of the coast. As with most of the Caribbean, Cuba does get its fair share of rain, so please pack accordingly. Cubans are informal people, so shorts, short-sleeve shirts and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable in most places.
Things to bring to ensure a comfortable stay:
- Cash for currency exchange
- Prescription Medicine
- OTC medication
- Insect repellent
- Personal care (handi-wipes, sanitizer)
- Rain slicker/poncho
- Batteries for electronic devices (AA & AAA)
Do not pack valuables in your checked luggage. You may want to use TSA approved locks for your luggage as thefts have been known to happen at both US and Havana airports.
Tips will not be included for your travel package.
If you leave a tip for exceptional service we recommend leaving it in CUC, as this is more valuable to the recipient.
We recommend the following guidelines:
- At each outside meal, please leave a tip in the amount of 10% of the bill.
- 1 CUC per person each day for maid service.
- Driver – 20 CUC for the trip
- Tour Guide – 30 CUC for the trip