Let’s face it…you’re traveling to a different country. Things WILL be different. Here are a few tips to make travel to Cuba as easy, and surprise free as possible. This will ensure you enjoy your time in the AMAZING country of CUBA!
- Leaving the resort? Take along some toilet paper, or little packages of Kleenex. Public washrooms will not provide this or might charge for it! Better to be prepared! Also, use the bins nearby to discard the tissue, not the toilet bowl.
- Like spicy food? Creamer in your coffee? Kraft peanut butter? Bring it along (in your checked baggage of course)!
- Forget the internet – As far as the internet goes, Cuba is among the most poorly connected countries in the world. Relax and take a break from the cyber world!
- Always stash some cash – Cash is king in Cuba and you should never rely on credit or debit cards for payments. ATM’s are scarce. They do not accept credit cards drawn off any US banks. Exchange your CAD to the Cuban Peso at the resort.
- Travel Insurance for Cuba – You will need to have medial insurance for your trip to Cuba. They do spot checks at Customs and if you can’t produce policy documentation, they can deny you entry into the country.
- Havana good time!! Take the time to check out Havana. Hire a car (a cool 50’s style one) for the day and check out the sites! Places like the Hotel Nacional, Jose Marti memorial, Revolution Museum, upscale Miramar and more!
- Learn as much Spanish as you can—there can be a language barrier. Even simple words and sentences will go a long way in Cuba. People love to talk to you and if you know a little of their lingo, they’ll be even friendlier.
- Electricity—Most resort have outlets running on 220 voltage, where an adapter/converter would be necessary. Especially items like a curling iron or hair straightener.
- Take plenty of toiletries and first aid products -Forgetting your toothbrush, shampoo, or sunblock usually isn’t a big deal when you travel. A convenience store or pharmacy is usually close by. But in Cuba, due to the trade embargo, certain toiletries can be tricky to find for both Cubans and visitors, or very expensive when they can be found. Be sure to pack extra in your suitcase before heading to the airport.
- Soda tastes better—After sipping a few Cuba Libre’s, you might notice that pop tastes differently than what you’re used to back home. That’s because all soft drinks in Cuba are sweetened with cane sugar instead of the high-fructose corn syrup used in Canada.
- Resorts can be dark at night. Take a little flashlight. They conserve their power and reduce the lighting.
- Hot water is hit and miss. Try to shower during the less popular times of the day.
- Drink bottled water.
- Relax, enjoy yourself. Take in the culture and expect it to be different than Canada!
As Canadian tour company G Adventures put it: It is important to note that Cuba tends to be quite different to other areas of the world you may have traveled in. Buildings and infrastructure are generally old and may not have been maintained to the highest standard. Elevators, internet and A/C often break down, things happen very slowly and water pressure and hot water can be minimal. Cuba is an amazing place to visit but to fully enjoy and relax, western expectations should be left at home and your sense of adventure should be your guide.