Travel to Cuba the important things you must know

cuba travel
(Image: © Alexander Kunze/unsplash)

Your travel to Cuba will be memorable, because you have just landed in the heart of the Caribbean, on a legendary island that has a lot to offer. Here, the sun reigns all year round, and the omnipresent Cuban music immediately takes you into a festive and relaxed atmosphere.
Want to enjoy beautiful landscapes? Take out your swimsuit and head for the most beautiful beaches in Cuba like those of Varadero, Cayo coco, or Cayo largo. Crystal clear waters and coconut palms are just waiting for you to bubble, or swim among the fish. If you prefer hiking, put on your walking shoes and set off for the Viñales or Barranco regions. Long walks in the middle of the tropical forest, surrounded by flowers of all kinds where only the song of the birds will disturb you.

After these nature escapades, you will retrace the history of Cuba while admiring the picturesque streets of Havana, Trinidad, Santa Clara, or Santiago. These cities offer several fascinating museums, as well as monuments, where the Cuban revolution still resonates. Colonial architecture offers real hidden treasures on every street corner. A simple stroll in town becomes a trip back in time. Cuba is also a cocktail of traditions where music makes you meet at any time. Free Cuba, American car, handcrafted cigar, salsa on the beach, not these are clichés, but what awaits you during your next vacation.

Cuba’s republic is an island in the Caribbean, it is situated to the south of the United States (Florida) and to the east of Mexico, to the west of Haiti and to the north of Jamaica.

A Travel to Cuba isn’t like any trip to other countries. Tourists have been visiting Cuba for years, but American citizens have recently joined the fray, thanks to the revival of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in 2014.
It is illegal to enter the country for Americans who want to travel to Cuba, and that’s true, but it doesn’t mean they can’t visit Cuba. They just have to fit the “tourist” travel under a general license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

In addition to the Office of Foreign, there are also two most familiar and applicable general license categories for a visit to Cuba, which are People to People (P2P) and Support for the Cuban People (SCP).
Furthermore, once they got the license to enter Cuba, they have to make sure of the travel documents to support their spending time while traveling to Cuba.

Here below we are going to present the twelfth categories of a legal travel to Cuba

  • Educational activities (schools, students, teachers)
  • Support for the Cuban people
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Professional research and professional meetings
  • Religious activities
  • Public performances
  • Journalistic activity
  • Family visits
  • Private organization’s activities or educational institutes
  • exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
  • Certain authorized export transactions
  • Official business of the United States. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations

Despite the general license categories, Americans still need a visa, which is the Cuban government’s requirement for all tourists.
Before heading to Cuba, you need to prepare the essential travel documents including travel insurance

Travel insurance

The most important thing for travel to Cuba after a Visa is travel insurance, which is obligatory and must comply with Cuban laws. You can’t visit Cuba without travel insurance, the travel insurance includes medical insurance, guarantees any health problem as it ensures any stolen or lost luggage.

A travel to Cuba means Havana

“A wonderful city of the modern world,” the capital city of Cuba has a unique charm, each street; each place, and every monument mark the colonial era. Wandering in the Havana is just amazing, no words can describe the city of Havana, with its colorful buildings, beautiful American cars and its musical dancing of salsa all make Havana a unique city to visit while traveling to Cuba.
Cuba is definitely a fascinating country and different from most places. If you’re planning a visit to Cuba, take on board these Cuba travel tips:

  • Stay in a Casa particular

Apart from many hotels in Cuba, and If you want to know real Cuba, you need to know Cubans. There’s no easier way of doing this on a two-week trip to Cuba than to stay in the Cuban version of a B&B. A casa particular, which is like a homestay or guesthouse, you’ll feel more like a lodger than a hotel guest, sharing the owners’ living space with a Cuban, given the national penchant for chat, and engaging with them in next to no time. It’s mostly the socialist Airbnb.

  • Transportation in Cuba

To visit Cuba, you have many options to choose; Buses, shared taxis, vintage taxis, or rent a car. The most obvious option is the American-style classic cars that you ‘ll find in all streets, with beautiful colors and different models creating a living car museum; those cars are a source of pride for their owners.

  • No internet in Cuba

Cuba is the most badly connected country in the world, with the state restrictions, and when getting access, awful connection speeds and no mobile wideband other than Wifi.
Even you get closer to a five stars hotel don’t expect to be able to connect with the phone, unless you search out the public Wifi or wait for the queue at the net cafés.

  • Security in Cuba

Cuba is one of the safest countries in the region and this is an asset in terms of tourism. Certainly, there are some pickpockets, and small scams, as in any tourist country. However, the climate of security that you breathe in Cuba invites you to take a leisurely stroll around the island. It is enough to take the necessary measures:

– Take care of your belongings (bag, camera …)
– Do not wear flashy jewelry
– Make photocopies of your passport
– Do not change money and do not buy cigars on the street
– Avoid the tourist traps (“exceptional concerts”, “restaurants where you are offered ‘formulas’ unbeatable”, “the special occasion to get cigars at an attractive price”, …) kindly announced by touts on the street.

 What to do in Cuba

Visiting monuments and museums will punctuate your days. If you stop in Santiago de Cuba, do not miss the discovery of the Antiguo Cuartel Moncada Museum and the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity located in El Cobre. A visit to Cuba is also inseparable from lazing around, swimming and other seaside activities. All this is possible on the beaches of Varadero, the Cayos (islets): Cayo Santa María, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, and Cayo Largo del Sur. Diving enthusiasts will be treated to a breathtaking spectacle in the waters of Juventud Island, at Maria La Gorda, Playa Los Cocos and the Bay of Pigs. In summary, historic cities listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, beautiful turquoise water beaches, tropical vegetation forests and unique landscapes invite you to discover this wonderful country.
However, the distances are sometimes long between two interesting regions to visit, and often they must be measured in hours rather than kilometers. So, you have to know how to adapt the routes to the length of your stay and what you plan to do.

In general, it would be better to do all researchers and get every information you need about travel to Cuba before you leave your country, and the best Cuba travel tip is to get a guide book.

Originally published on Live Positively.