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14 Tips For Travel To Cuba

things-and-tips-to-know-before-travel-to-cuba

My name is Victor and recently I just spent 10 days in Cuba so I wanted to write an article of some tips and things to know before you go to Cuba because when I went there I basically didn't plan anything because I kind of like things to be spontaneous but Cuba is definitely not the place to have a spontaneous vacation. I found that out pretty quickly straight on the first day. So to help people who are going to be visiting there I wrote this article and just so that you know what to expect. So I got a list here of about 14 different subjects that will help you when you travel to Cuba.

Visa.

You do need a visa to go to Cuba. I went on a Brazilian passport from Brazil so I got the visa from the Brazil Airport before going there. I think that's the case for the majority of tourists except Americans. So if you're an American you'll have to work out how it is for you. I know it's a bit more complicated than other countries So yeah that's just one thing to know is that you will need a visa.

Yellow Fever.

If you're coming from a country that has yellow fever or even in transit from a country that has yellow fever you will need a yellow fever certificate. So as I mentioned I came from Rio De Janeiro in Brazil that does have yellow fever so I needed the certificate. I got asked for it about three times once in Brazil and twice in Cuba in the airport so just keep that in mind.

The Currency.

What is the best way to get around there spending money. So once again if you from the US so you definitely will not want to take US dollar. Even if you from any other country don't take US dollar because Cuba has a 10% tax when you exchange to that currency called CUC. Cuba actually has two currencies one is called the paisa which is their local one and then there is the CUC which is like the gringo currency that we have to use.

Since I knew that the dollar would be taxed 10 percent I got loads of euros. I think I took over like a thousand to two thousand euros but what I didn't know is when you're at the airport they even put a 10% tax on Euro and British found as well. We were exchanging although the money there at the airport and luckily the lady actually told us like "hey look don't exchange all the airport because you've got much better offer throughout the island". It is because the rest of the island euro and the pound doesn't have the 10% tax. it's only at the airport but the dollar on the other hand is 10% tax everywhere so it's still beneficial to take yeah euro or any other currency. Just keep note that you shouldn't exchange it all at the airport just exchange a bit for the transport leaving the airport and then exchange the rest in whatever city you go to.

Another big thing to know is that they don't accept mastercard from any country but they do however accept visa at the ATMs but no American cards are allowed. I think even visa from an American bank is not allowed and from what I've read they will tax the hell out of you on ATM. So from everywhere that I read they said that cash is the best way just take a load of cash with you so that you never have to use ATMs or anything else and like I said just don't take dollar.

Internet.

This was the most stressful one for me is the internet situation in Cuba. For the most time around the island you're not going to have internet. The way it works in Cuba is the company called a DEXA and they have little internet cards. Each one has one hour of internet. It usually costs one dollar or one CUC if you buy it from the Texas store but there's many vendors in the street that will sell it for a bit more because they bought it and they're just selling it. On sometimes it's actually better that way because usually there's only like one Texas store and it's not always open so usually for like 50 cents more per card. You can buy one in the street sometimes it'll charge two dollars so one dollar more only in like the squares.

They're the packs you're able to access their public Wi-Fi and then on the card you can just scratch off the username and password and then it will give you access. Keep in mind that it is very slow so the Internet good at all and like I said it was just stressful because we use one into light book hotels stuff like that and sometimes it was just so impossible especially the peak hours when the parks are full. The places that you go like restaurants or even your guest houses might have a router but it doesn't necessarily mean you're gonna get internet. You'll access their router but still have to put in like password from your card there was only a few really touristy restaurants and hotels that I think give you straight internet access and you don't need the cards but in my experience it wasn't that common.

Spanish.

A lot of people that don't speak any English and not even the basics so I would definitely write down a few things of the basic things that you might need like food or water. just list the number of things that you usually ask for in countries and yet translated to Spanish so that you can show people because if not you're gonna have a hard time. luckily I speak Portuguese which is pretty similar to Spanish so I'm able to get by in these kind of countries but if you speak no Spanish at all or no Portuguese you probably gonna have a bit of a tough time.

Safety 

It surprised me that Cuba is actually one of the safest countries in the world. A violent crime is literally non-existent apparently drugs and gangs are almost non-existent as well. When I was there I felt very safe especially for that region. I've been to Latin American countries and usually you get a bit of a sketchy vibe in some areas but in Cuba barely anywhere I felt unsafe. I was even walking around sometimes like 1:00 in the morning 2:00 in the morning never really felt unsafe. However they do have minor theft like pickpockets and stuff so definitely watch out for that. We we actually ran into two tourists that yeah I think their bag was stolen, they lost their passports and everything so keep that in mind. Definitely take photocopies of all your documents and leave them separate somewhere from your passport in case anything happens but for the most part you're probably going to have a very Tripler.

Food.

food was definitely hit and miss in a Cuba. It was generally cheap. I'd usually got a plate with like fish, rice, vegetables for six seven dollars. I even got pizzas for like four dollars. The majority of the occasions that we would eat that the portions were really small and sometimes even a bit tasteless and sometimes even in fancy restaurant more expensive. It was pretty much the same exact dish and taste there's even a cheaper restaurant so yeah like I said it was hit and miss. But every now and again we did find another place that were add more food and it was delicious. It was just how to know food is really important to you. It would be good to check reviews of restaurants before you go so then you don't have a bad time with the food all right.

Transport.

This is like three main forms of transport there. one is the national bus that they have the other is taxi and another one is taxi colectivo which is a shared taxi which we use the most.

we never actually used the bus. We found out that I think you have to book ten days in advance to get a guaranteed reservation so we didn't book anything in advance and there also wasn't that many buses sometimes. It was just like two a day and they were almost always fully booked. There was one time that we went to the main bus station and we were actually quite shocked because when we got there they were writing stuff on like paper. They had no computers at all. It was all unorganized, they couldn't even guarantee as if we'd get on the bus. they were just saying like "oh just turn up on the day and if the bus isn't full you can go apparently" people make reservations online and sometimes don't because you don't have to pay beforehand. We just didn't deal with that at all so we only got a taxi.

Although we didn't really deal with the taxi that much. The one that we deal with the most is the taxi colectivo the shared taxi. So usually in the street or in front of the bus stations you'll these guys offering the tactical. It evils they'll ask you where you go in and they all know each other so they'll find you a ride or even your guesthouse or hotel can arrange it for you. We'd always get around that way usually it'd be in one of those cool 1950's cars and we never really faced any problems until the last day.

The last day we had a range wrong with a guy and we paid him a $5 deposit and then on the day when he was supposed to turn up he never turned up and he stole our $5. So one thing to know he has never paid a deposit that doesn't exist there. So if anyone asks you for a deposit just get the hell out of there because yes it's a scammer and you don't want to go through what I did.

Tax Equality

The tax Equality will normally the price is around $10 extra per person than the bus. We were always able to haggle it down $5 extra so that's one thing to keep in mind. Every time we got one we were able to knock five dollars off the price of what they are initially offered. So yeah definitely consider doing that.

Scams.

like I just mentioned, I'm not gonna go too much into detail in scams I have another articles about scams in other countries that goes over the scams that we faced all. I'm gonna say is the scams are very high. there are so many people are trying to charge you way more then things should be all the time. So definitely expect that and some of the scams that happen there to other people.

Accommodation

Over there you do get hotels, hostels and I think called Casa which is basically a guesthouse where you'll stay in the room of a family. Usually the whole time I did has a Casa because the first time we did it we had a really good experience and then we did it in every single place that we went to. We visited four different cities and we always had a great experience. It has always nice for you know the top with the locals and a lot of the times they can even give you like breakfast or dinner and usually at cheaper price than what you'd find in the street and usually a huge portion. The guest houses also guaranteed awesome amount of food. I couldn't even finish through that sandwich food.

They always have a Wi-Fi access fine. So I could use the cards also they always had AC and I had very good experiences with that and I definitely consider looking that up because it's also very cheap. The cheapest one we got was eleven dollars for two people own private room and I think the most expensive wasn't bad idea. I think it's around thirty dollars but that's because that's a really touristy area in general. we was always paying on like fifteen to sixteen dollars in the other places. I definitely consider the guest houses Casa.

Airport Chaos.

This is an important one and it's the airport chaos. On our last day in Cuba we arrived at the airport two hours before. Our flight was leaving but the airport there is absolute chaos. It was completely unorganized worst Airport I've ever been to. The queues just take forever and you also have to convert your CUC back to whatever currency you want. When I went there they only had dollar. That's another issue if you want euro or another currency might be better to convert the majority of it in another city. We almost missed our flight arriving that two hours earlier because it took so long to get through. We were just lucky that our flight was delayed. so if you go I would literally go three to four hours earlier because you're gonna see it's it's real chaos.

Drones.

This one doesn't apply to many people but no drones are allowed in Cuba. You're not even allowed to take them into the country. I actually have a drone and I did take mine because I don't live anywhere currently. I'm traveling full-time and I couldn't work out a way to leave it anywhere else. Luckily they didn't find it in my bag. I only have a small drone so I don't think they noticed that I had one but I have seen other people that if you get caught they will interrogate you like a spy apparently. I also saw that one guy decided to fly in Cuba and got caught and he got locked up in jail for two weeks so yeah don't mess with drones in Cuba.

Travel Insurance.

You have to have travel insurance to go to Cuba. They will ask to see it, yes if you don't have travel insurance at least arrange one for your time in Cuba because if not you're not going to be out saying to the country.

That's it that's all my tips of things to expect when you go in there hopefully this allowed you to plan your trip a bit better and not to what I did.

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