Resources

  • BBC (www.bbc.co.uk) Interesting correspondent reports on Cuba.
  • Cubacasas.net (www.cubacasas.net) Information, photos and contact details for casas particulares.
  • Info Cuba (www.cubainfos.net) Excellent collection of web pages focusing mainly on Cuba's resort areas. In French and English.
  • La Habana (www.lahabana.com) Art, culture, business and travel in Havana.
  • Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/cuba) Destination information, articles, hotel bookings, traveler forum and more.

Top Tips

  • For a glimpse of the real Cuba and a chance to put your money directly into the pockets of individual Cubans, stay in a casa particular (private homestay).
  • Carry toilet paper and antiseptic hand-wash, and drink bottled water.
  • Avoid driving in Havana. The city has various public transportation options and reasonably priced taxis. Most neighborhoods are walkable.
  • Thanks to heavy bureaucracy, answers to simple requests aren’t always straightforward. Probe politely and ask at least five different people before you make important decisions.
  • Bring a warm jumper for buses – the air-conditioning is often freezing.
  • US travelers shouldn't rely on credit/debit cards – despite diplomatic talk, their use in Cuba still hasn't been activated.
  • Book ahead for accommodation and transport, especially in peak season.

What to Take

  • Latin American Spanish dictionary/phrasebook
  • Plug adaptors for European and US sockets
  • Good money belt that fits snugly around your waist
  • Basic first aid kit, pain killers and any required medications
  • Insect repellent, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Stash of cash in euros, Canadian dollars or pound sterling
  • Energy bars for long road trips

What to Wear

Cuba is a hot, humid country which, thankfully, has a casual approach to clothing. Locals generally opt for shorts, sandals and T-shirts; women favor tight-fitting Lycra, men looser guayabera shirts (invented in Cuba). There are only two nude beaches in Cuba, frequented almost exclusively by foreigners. Cinemas and theaters usually have a ‘no shorts’ rule for men.

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Preload credit card with funds in your home country, in case you run out of cash.
  • Print out copy of medical insurance to show at airport.
  • Check when booking air ticket that tourist card is included in your flight package.
  • Book ahead for accommodation and bus tickets.