The Government of Cuba decided last February 16, that all travelers, foreign and Cuban living abroad, coming to the island from May 1, 2010 and thereafter shall take out a medical insurance policy.
To meet such requirement, travelers shall have a travel insurance which covers medical expenses or a policy for medical expenses with coverage in Cuba.
The insurance policy should be taken out at the home country of departure. Travelers, who, exceptionally, do not have insurance at arrival, could take out a policy of insurance and assistance from Cuban insurance companies at the airport, port or marina. Havana Tours is an authorised distributor of SureSave travel insurance. Click on the insurers logo to purchase travel insurance.
Upon demand after their arrival, travelers shall present a policy, insurance certificate or traveling assistance card valid for the time span they will stay in Cuba.
US insurance companies do not provide coverage in the Cuban national territory.
Protect you and your family for up to 12 months including your dependent children under 25 who are covered for FREE with SureSave travel insurance. Underwritten by certain Underwriters at Lloyd's.
You must obtain a tourist visa to enter Cuba and this can be obtained from the Cuban Embassy in Canberra. The visa allows you to stay 30 days in Cuba and can be extended for another 30 days from within Cuba.
Spanish is the Cuban language. There is enough English in Cuba for you to get by, but for more complex communication you might need an interpreter.
The main international airport is Jose Marti in Havana. It is about 35 mins drive from the city centre. There are also international airports at Varadero and Camaguey and quite a number of domestic airports.
Cuba has two currencies, which could be confusing - The Cuban Peso and the Cuban Convertible Peso. Cubans mainly handle Cuban Pesos, which have a very low value. Foreign visitors should use the Convertible Peso and the conversion rate is about 1.5 Australian dollars per Peso. You can change your currency at the Airport or at most banks. American dollars are not allowed in Cuba. The Cuban government charges a tax of about 10% for converting foreign currencies into Convertible Peso. The best cash currency to bring to Cuba is Euros.
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in Cuba and can be used at many retail outlets. Many other cards are not accepted and Visa and MasterCard are the only ones you should use. There are ATMs in major cities and towns and you can withdraw up to 400 convertible pesos at a time. At international banks and some of the larger hotels you can withdraw larger sums. but you need your passport for identification.
Within the cities there are tourist taxis which are reliable and cheap. You should avoid non tourist taxis because they are not registered for that purpose and may not reach good standards of safety.
There are good quality air conditioned buses - Via Azul, between all major destinations.
Cuba has the most extensive rail network in Latin America and the fares are cheap, but the carriages are crowded and not always comfortable.
Good quality car hire is widely available. This is a good option as long as you can adapt quickly to driving on the right hand side of the road. The roads can also be very crowded with pedestrians and bicycles and in the country with horse drawn vehicles. Driving at night is not recommended.
The public buses are regular and very cheap but very very crowded and to use them you would have to prepared to rough it.
There are quite a number of domestic flights between major centres. Contact Cubana Airlines.
Food and Beverage
The Cuban national dish is pork, black beans and rice; and it is delicious.
Most Cuban dishes are spicy but not hot - they don't use chillies.
Other specials are Tamales (Processed corn with pork), Congri (Rice and black beans), Ropa Vieja (Spicy Stringed beef), and Yuca (Cassava).
The national drink is rum and they are experts at making many varieties. Many rum connoisseurs believe Cuban rums are the worlds best. Try a Mojito!
If you don't like cigars it's not a problem but if you do, this is cigar heaven. The soil, the leaves, the processing, the cigar making - everything is the best.
How to apply for a tourist visa to visit Cuba
- Australians, New Zealanders and most European citizens require a visa to visit Cuba. A Cuban visa is granted as a loose leaf document. The loose leaf document is not attached to the passport nor is the passport stamped. The visa does not have an expiry date but once you enter the country you will be allowed to stay for 30 days. For more than 30 days an extension may be granted by applying to the immigration authorities in Cuba.
- For information about health insurance, please visit the following website: http://www.asistur.cu
- For information about customs regulations, please visit the following website: