Using few resources, Cubans have been able to create spectacular dishes with only a handful of ingredients.Read More →
The Daiquiri was invented in La Floridita bar in Old Havana. Ernest Hemingway is said to have helped create the idea for the drink.
Cuba has one time zone called Cuba Daylight Time, which is the same as the Eastern Time Zone(GM-5.) Cuba also observes Daylight Saving Time.
In order to travel to Cuba, a tourist visa, otherwise known as a Cuba Visa or Tourist Card, isrequired. This is valid for single entry and allows stay in Cuba for 30 days.
The major airport is José Martí International Airport located nine miles from Havana.
The most common form of transportation is government company owned buses, which are usually more modern, or old 1950s and 1960s-style cars used as taxis or for-hire cars.
Generally, Cuba is a relatively safe place to travel other than small, petty theft. For solo female travelers, Cuba is a safe place to travel around. Be cautious of the usually petty theft and stick to the normal safety precautions taken when in any other country.
Cuba is located in a tropical climate with year-round temperate weather. The winters are usually in the high 60ºs and low 70ºsFahrenheit. During this time, sweaters or light jackets are recommended. The summers are usually warmer, averaging around 80ºFahrenheit, the perfect time for standard summer clothing attire. June to November is hurricane season so be wearywhen planning trips around that time.
Spanish is the main language spoken in Cuba.Here are some common phrases:
¡Buenos días, Estela!–Good morning, Estela!
Buenos días, Esteban. ¿Cómo estás?–Good morning, Esteban. How are you?
Bien, ¿y tú?–Well, how about you?
Buenos días–Good morning
Buenas tardes–Good afternoon
Buenas noches–Good evening
¿Dónde está …?–Where is…?
¿Cuánto cuesta?–How much does it cost?
Typically, the dress code is more relaxed and casual, although avoid wearing bathing suits while away from the beach. The normal dress codes when eating in a restaurant are held up, such as taking off hats when eating.Greetings:Generally, sayingHolaisfine, but in more formal settings, Buenos días or Buenas tardes/noches is better to be used. Also, to add respect, use Señor for men or Señorita for women.
Cubans don’t like discussing politics, especially with strangers and if it involves being openly critical of their government. From our personal experience, the Cuban people are nice and welcoming toward Americans but are not fans of American politics.
Cuba has the Cuban Peso as well as the Cuba Convertible Pesos which is preferred for tourists. It currently converts to 1.00 US dollar. You must bring Cuba Convertible Pesos before arriving in Cuba in order to spend any money. When leaving, you must spend or exchange your money back to your country’s currency, as the Cuba Convertible Peso is not allowed out of Cuba and will be taken at the airport.
Tipping:A service charge is becoming more common in tourist heavy locations such as Havana. This includes paladares, private restaurants, and some state-owned restaurants. In some places, a 10 percent service charge is common. You may also tip people at your own discretion, including servers, tour guides, hotel staff, drivers, etc.
In Cuba the standard voltage is 110 / 220 V and the frequency is 60 Hz. Most Canadian and US guests will need a voltage converter to lower the voltage. UK appliances will work in Cuba, although an adapter is necessary.
Your adapter should look like this:
Generally, avoid drinking tap water and drink bottled water instead. This includes drinks from bars and ice cubes. The tap water in hotels is usually safe, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
There are currently over 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Cuba and more are coming. In many locations,access to Wi-Fi will cost money, however, the prices have been going down and speed is ramping up. You should buy a NAUTA card in order to access public Wi-Fi spots. A NAUTA card allows you to buy internet access by the minute or hour. Some of the upscale hotels and resorts have free Wi-Fi but smaller hotels may require you to purchase a NAUTA card. Getting a VPN is recommended due to the privacy and censoring within Cuba.
You can access social media and email, however, things that take up a lot of high speed internet usage, such as downloading or uploading large files, may not be available due to internet connection and speed in Cuba.
If your mobile service provider has an international roaming agreement with ETECSA, Cuba’s state-owned telecommunications provider, and your phone has roaming capabilities, then cellular connection will be enabled. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile currently have roaming agreementswith ETECSA.
Historically, Cuba had been anti-LGBTQ+ people, but as times have changed, their stance has changed as well. President Raúl Castro’s daughter, Mariela, has been crucial in creating awareness and tolerance with theL GBTQ+ community. New legislation has been brought up to change laws regarding discrimination on the basis of sexuality, gender identity, and gender to become illegal. While these laws have been introduced, there is still a social stigma, especially with the domination of the catholic church and masochism being key impacts in people’s everyday lives. Recommended places to go would be Santa Clara, which has a gay beach and a history of drag shows, or Havana, as they are the most forward-thinking cities in Cuba.
There are no apps for rideshare in Cuba, however, it is easy to get a taxi when in major cities.You can hail a taxi or have a taxi called for you, usually at a hotel. For many taxis within Cuba, there can be a lack of safety features including seatbelts.
FOR THE PLANNERS:
Most travelers either visit Havana or stay at a resort in other cities (relatively close to Havana.)
The ancestors of the Taíno migrated from the mainland of South America.
Christopher Columbus became the first European to discover Cuba.
First Spanish settlement was founded at Baracoa.
Havana is named the capital of Cuba.
Construction of Havana cathedral is completed.
American author Ernest Hemingway visits Cuba for the time and stays at the Hotel Ambos Mundos, the first stay of many for the next decade.
U.S. imposes embargo prohibiting all exports to Cuba except food and medical supplies.
The Bay of Pigs invasion occurs and the United States Trade embargo begins on Cuba.
Fidel Castro becomes President of Cuba.
American President Barack Obama visits Cuba, making him the first US president to visit Cuba since 1928. Also, Fidel Castro’s death is announced.