We often get questions about communications in Cuba and whether or not the internet is available. In Cuba there is access to mobile phone networks and the internet, however they are rarely both available at the same time.
The state-owned telecommunications company ETECSA offers public payphones in its offices, which can be used to make calls to Europe. You can purchase calling cards directly at the ETECSA offices with 5,10 or 20 CUC credit options available. Making calls with a European mobile phone is relatively expensive, but it is possible in case of emergency.
Internet is often available in major cities via public WiFi hotspots, (a list of places can be found on Tripadvisor) which are located in most hotels and ‘telepuntos’ (small Internet cafes). Prepaid internet cards are available from 30 minutes to 5 hours and cost 2 CUC per hour. Patience is required as internet connections in Cuba are often extremely slow.
It is advised that you bring some of your national currency with you for exchange, avoiding US dollars as there is a specific surcharge for exchanging them. You can usually withdraw money upon arrival at Havana Airport and you can use credit cards to withdraw money from ATMs. Visa generally works better than Mastercard in Cuban ATM’s so it is generally advised that you bring more than one credit card to be on the safe side.
Cuba is different from most other countries in the world in that a license is required in order for locals to host visitors at their houses. Once this license is acquired, the homeowner can rent out portions of their houses to others and these arrangements are known as ‘Casa(s) Particular(es)’.
All Casas Particulares are registered and can be recognized by a white/blue sign on the house-front. As with any hotel, all travellers are booked in and for this reason, the host family will need your passport and tourist card. State hotels are an alternative form of accommodation, but Casas are often an unrivalled means of gaining authentic insights into Cuban culture and daily life more generally.
In general, Cuba is a very safe travel destination; you can easily explore the country on your own course the same safety precautions apply in Cuba as in every country. It is best to carry your wallet in your front pocket, and you should keep an eye on your valuables such as your camera and mobile phone if you carry them openly. On the beach, always keep an eye your valuables and when out on the open road, be very cautious of hitchhikers.
Why does it make sense to tour Cuba with a driver?
If you rent a car in Cuba and have an accident, you will be banned from leaving the country for several weeks. In the event of an accident resulting in death, foreigners are given especially harsh penalties. Furthermore rental cars are usually not in the best condition and traffic lights, appropriate street signage and right of way regulations are not reliable.
In Cuba, tourist season starts in mid-November and lasts until mid-April. During this period temperatures are slightly lower than in other months, with slight variations in temperature year-round, ranging from 25°-28° C with a water temperature of 25° C. Tobacco season is from November to March/April and this is the best time to get a first-hand look into Cuba’s tobacco harvesting process.FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THE BEST TIME TO VISIT CUBA
The tourist card is the visa required for your trip to Cuba and people of all nationalities, including the UK, will need one to enter the country. Note that your tourist card will not be stamped or otherwise added to your passport, rather it is a small, standalone document with your important information on it. At Cuba Buddy we factor tourist cards into our personalised offers and more information regarding this service is available on our website.
For further information on entry into Cuba: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cuba
Upon arrival in Cuba you will need to provide the following 5 things at immigration:
- Valid passport
- Proof of return flight
- Tourist visa
- International health insurance for Cuba
- Addresses of all the places you will stay at whilst in Cuba
To enter Cuba, you will need valid health insurance that meets Cuban requirements. It is possible to get insurance at your point of entry but this is not recommended as it takes a lot of time and effort. Health insurance costs between 2 and 3 CUC per day.
There are several direct flights to Cuba from Canada, the UK and the US and if there are no direct flight options from your preferred airport, a one-stop flight is always an option. In recent months, more and more flights to Cuba have become available and new routes are always being added.
We would highly recommend national bus system ‘VIAZUL’. These buses are air conditioned, in good repair and are usually on time.
It’s worth bearing in mind that buses/coaches usually only provide connections to the big tourist centres, so try to plan accordingly!
A rental car is a flexible, dynamic way to explore Cuba and offers freedom in where and when you go.
Enjoy the freedom of charting your own course! As compared to a bus trip, rental cars offer you the opportunity to travel off the beaten track and explore the distant corners of each city at your leisure.MORE ON RENTAL CARS IN CUBA
Working closely with our team of experienced chauffeurs you can experience Cuba from the comfort of a classic car. Get to your desired destinations comfortably and in your own time, whilst riding passenger in an iconic classis car.
We have known our drivers for years and their expertise coupled with their cars make for an unforgettable trip through Cuba. Each of our drivers has considerable experience navigating Cuba’s roads so you can sit back, relax and drink in Cuba’s rich atmosphere.
With so much to see and do on this amazing island there are countless activities awaiting discovery! If you prefer a more active holiday you can go diving off the Cuban coast, dancing in the city or hike through some of Cuba’s stunning landscapes. If a more relaxing holiday takes your fancy you’re never too far from a world-class beach and some famous Cuban hospitality!
About Cuba Buddy
Here at Cuba Buddy, we create bespoke Cuba holidays, tailored to the individual needs of the customer. Whether you see yourself riding in a classic car through central Havana, going on an adventure through rural Cuba or relaxing on one of the island’s many beaches, at Cuba Buddy we pride ourselves on our personalised holidays and our attention to detail, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!