A few years ago Cuba was considered a paradise in terms of Safeness. Today, although it continuous
being one of the safest countries in the world, the difficult economic situation and the development
of the tourism has provoked an increase in the standard of criminality. You should take some measures
in order to avoid you unpleasant moments.
- In the main cities of the island, especially in Havana, is not advisable to walk very late at night on
streets poorly lit or on outlying areas (as in any big city in the world).
- Be suspicious of any person that approaches you in the street offering Cuban cigars, proposing girls or
merely trying to strike up a conversation without any sense. These people are known in Havana as
Jineteros or Jineteras and they are specialized in living at tourist’s expense and in many occasions
are professional con artists and are also prostituted. Get rid of them with this simple phrase No,
gracias (no thanks) and if this does not work and he or she becomes a nuisance, switch over
to ‘No moleste’ (Don’t bother).
- If you decide to pass the above suggestion, and you buy cigars in the street, you must know that the
Custom officials at the airport will only allow you to take out of the country 23 Habanos without
having to show the official purchase receipt (a standard box contains 25 cigars). If you exceed that
amount, you will take the risk to be required to show the original purchase receipt and to hand a copy
of it to the customs office at the exit point. The cigars must be contained in original cases with all
official seals, including a new holographic seal which rarely is present in the boxes bought in the
street. Any failure on the above, the product will be seized by Cuba’s customs office.
- If you have a local companion she or he would be admitted at your accommodation, however, your friend will
be required by the owner or the night guardian of the house to show an ID card as a security measure.
- If you are going to travel to the internal provinces, especially to Trinidad and Camaguey, you will find
many Jineteros from the same entrance of the towns trying to divert you to a place of their interest.
They can use the most varied strategies, from passing for the owner of your booked accommodation and
taking you to another place, to tell you that the owner of the house reserved by you has just died and
that house is not renting any more. So, if you are travelling by car you must check the address of your
accommodation very well. If you travel by bus, the owner of the booked house will be waiting for you at
the station with a poster with your name.
- Be aware of the suspicious low prices in the internal provinces, most of times they hide an illegality
(is impossible to charge lower prices because of the high taxes). If you rent an accommodation without a
proper license you will take the risk of being thrown out of it if the house is inspected and hardly will
you recuperate your advanced money.
- In Cuba there are currently two legal tenders, the Cuban Peso CUP (not convertible) and the Cuban Convertible
Peso (CUC). Since November 2004 is forbidden the use of USD to pay for the goods and services received in
Cuba. Tourists have to pay now in CUC which is officially rated 1 x 1 with the USD. If you are planning to
travel to Cuba you should avoid bringing USD since this currency is currently charged with 10%. This is in
response to the USA embargo that not allow to the Cuban companies and banks to use the USD in their international
transactions, e.g... You will receive 86 CUC for 100 USD. We suggest you to bring Euros or GBP which are easily
exchangeable without any deduction (Most hard currencies can be changed into CUC at CADECA (Casas de Cambio or
Houses of Exchange), banks and hotel exchange desks.)
- Credit cards and traveller's checks issued by US companies are not negotiable in Cuba.
- Cash advances are possible on MasterCard and Visa credit cards (and some other credit cards) provided they are not
issued by a US bank. Anyway you should avoid paying small amounts by credit card as this procedure could be slow
and your password will be required. We suggest you to bring a reasonable amount of cash since there are not weird
the cases of tourists whose credit cards (some banks put restrictions to the use of the credit card issued by its
branch in certain countries that they consider as risky). On the other hand, you always must exchange into CUC at
your arrival to Cuba in the same CADECA of the airport since you will have to pay at cash the transportation to
the city and the reserved accommodation.
What to bring:
- Some medicine you usually use. Sometimes certain medicines are in short supply.
- In Cuba you will only require light cotton clothing although you should always bring a sweater for the air-conditioned
locations and if you are travelling in winter a windbreaker may be necessary. Shorts are appropriated for both men and
women, but men are sometimes required to wear long trousers in certain restaurants, museums and churches.
- Sunscreen (at least SPF 15 minimum).
- A hat, although we suggest you to buy it here. You will be able to find beautiful hats everywhere in Cuba.
- Some insect repellent. Cosmetics.
- A plug adapter, in Cuba we use the American-style plugs and outlets are the norm. Nevertheless, some of the accommodations
you can book in this Website are equipped with European-style plug.
- Never drink water from the faucet, most of Cuban do it and nothing happened to them but you are not accustomed and
surely will waste your precious time in Cuba in the bathroom.
- Although you will desire to show your nice Caribbean tanned skin in your cold country, you should avoid exposing your
skin here from 11.00 AM to 4.00 PM. Sun at these hours, especially during the summer, is harmful to your skin. If you
are in a beach or a swimming pool during these hours make sure you are well protected in a shade of an umbrella and
never do prolong swimming and, in any case, always use sunscreen.
- Don’t exchange Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) into non-convertible Pesos, you won’t use them frequently.
- Remember to separate CUC 25.00 for the departure tax at the airport.
Y nada más, que la pase bien, ya en Cuba estaremos a su disposición para ayudarlo en todo lo que necesite.