US CITIZEN: Learn more about the legality of traveling to Cuba as an American by visiting the Treasury Department’s Cuba FAQ.

TRAVEL INSURANCE: Make sure you have travel insurance and print it out. In Cuba, you may be asked to show it when landing at immigration.

CUBAN TOURIST CARD: Travelers from most countries will need a Cuba Tourist Card or Cuba Visato enter the country. You can get the Cuban Tourist Card online (through sites like EasyTouristCard), from your airline or travel agency, or at your country’s Cuban Embassy. Technically, you can also buy the Tourist Card at Cuban airports for about 25 USD, but the reality is that you can’t even board your flight if you don’t have it. Don’t throw away your visa or any other documents that were given to you upon arrival. You will need them when you departure. 

HEALTH & CUSTOMS FORM: Fill out the health and customs forms online.Instead of borrowing pens, filing out annoying forms, and wasting your precious time in the airport, sign up for D’Viajeros. D’Viajeros is the official website of the Cuban Customs, where you can complete all the required documentation to enter Cuba. Then, just print the documents and bring them with you.

CAR RENTAL: Rent your car in advance. If you stay a few days in a city, you won’t want to get into the hassle of renting a car in Cuba. Believe me, it can be complicated. However, if you want to rent a car to visit all the fantastic places on the island, you better do it in advance. Car inventory is always limited, fleet management is inefficient, and the service is terrible. This is especially true during peak season. Therefore, at least three months in advance, rent your car from online travel agencies like Cuba Travel Network, or Holiplus. Fuel shortages across Cuba can lead to tourists having difficulty acquiring petrol and diesel, including in Havana.

TOURS: Book the tours to Cuba before you leave. Guided tours offer an unparalleled, authentic experience of Cuba. From walking tours of history-rich cities like Havana to hiking or horseback riding in the stunning countryside, an experienced guide can show you parts of Cuba that you’d miss out on if you traveled solo. 


CUBEN CURRENCY: 1 Cuban Peso = 1 USD. Be sure to select CUC (not CAC) CUC is the tourist Cuban Peso. The other is for locals only. Bring US cash with you in small bills to be able to change at your hotel upon arrival. Don’t change money in the street. You can’t get CUP it in advance! And if you do, you can import only 2,000 CUP, which is like 80 USD. It’s better to wait until you land on the island to exchange.

ATMS & CREDIT CARDS: Don’t count on ATMs! There are a few, they are not reliable and expect long lines. Don’t Rely on Credit Cards. Most credit cards are accepted around the country, but some US card issuers are blocked. Your best bet is to call your card issuer to check whether or not it can be used in Cuba. Also note that using your credit card in Cuba might result in commission fees. 

MOSQUITOS: Protect against mosquitoes in Cuba You’ve probably heard of Zika or Dengue outbreaks in the media.Cuba is a humid, tropical island home to lots and lots of mosquitoes. Since Cuba is warm all year round, mosquitoes will be around no matter what time of year you visit. The International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT) recommends “taking meticulous anti-mosquito bite measures during the daytime. Pregnant travelers should seek counseling from a travel medicine practitioner and consider postponing travel to this country.” Bring a potent insect repellant to keep away mosquitoes during your trip!

WATER: Don’t forget that the water in Cuba is not drinkable. Always purchase botteld water.

MAPS: Be sure to download offline maps before traveling to Cuba. The Internet is terrible there and it helps to have maps stored on your phone.

VOLTAGE: Plugs in Cuba are 110v. Don’t forget your adaptors. 

INTERNET: It is available through the ETECSA telecom company and you can buy prepaid cards for around $2-3 per hour.

MEDECINES: Bring your own medicines: but it is perennially short of imported pharmaceuticals. Bring all the medications you think you’ll need, including prescription medicines and pharmacy essentials such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.

AVOID PICKPOCKETS: Cuba is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean to visit, but petty theft is commonplace. This is especially true in major tourist areas where thieves seek “easy” targets. The best way to deter pickpockets and protect your valuables is with a money belt like this one from Peak Gear. A money belt is subtle, secure, and lightweight, so you can always keep your valuables hidden and close to you.

HIRE PROFESSIONAL GUIDES: Cuba is full of guides willing to take you on tours of the cities and beyond, but only some of them are legitimate. Instead of hiring someone on the street, stick to reputable guides. Hiring the wrong guide can be a waste of money and potentially dangerous.

RESTAURANTS: Since food from street vendors can be iffy, you should instead eat at one of Cuba’s many private restaurants, referred to on the island as paladares. Don’t expect the entire menu to be available. Cuban restaurants are often working with limited ingredients depending on what’s available. This is mostly because the Cuban government still controls the availability of meat, vegetables, and other ingredients. This can impact the availability of certain meals and dishes on the menu.

BATHROOMS: Many bathrooms are paperless. If you’ve spent a lot of time in North America or Europe, you probably take toilet paper for granted. Many bathrooms in Cuba don’t have toilet paper or have toilet paper outside the stall near the washing basin. If you find toilet paper, there’s a chance it will be low-quality. Instead of finding yourself S.O.L., you may prefer to bring a small supply of your own or a packet of travel kleenex when you’re out in town.

LONG LINES: Be prepared for the long lines. Many goods and services on the island are still rationed and distributed via the state bureaucracy. Be prepared to wait in line at the bus stop, bodegas, banks, and cultural attractions like museums.

SNACKS: Bring your own snacks. in Cuba there are a the few grocery stores around where you can bye snacks. 

DRONE: Don’t bring a drone to Cuba because they are banned, so to avoid having it taken away at customs and paying a holding fee to collect it on your way out, don’t bring yours!

POLITICS: Avoid talking about politics. Politics is a passionate and complicated subject in Cuba. We recommend steering clear from politics while chatting with your new Cuban friends to keep the conversation light-hearted and pleasant.


  • First aid kit
  • Medicines
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face masks
  • Water bottle with filter
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Voltage adapters


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