Cuba, La Havana, Travel
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Things I Wish I Had Known Before Traveling To Cuba

  • You need travel insurance! Immigration officers will ask you for a document verification of your insurance through the length of your stay.
  • There are two currencies in Cuba: The CUC and the CUP. Both of them are complete opposite, so make sure you choose one and stick to it. (Yes, both of them are cuban currencies and No I have no idea why. #ItDoestMakeSense)
  • A Cuban Visa is required to enter the country. A $20 piece of paper that can be acquired in most major airports (Except in the US). If you are traveling from the US, make sure you request this document prior to your trip.
  • Cash is the answer. Forget about debit and credit cards, especially if they are from a USA bank. Havana is very expensive in comparison to other islands in the Caribbean so make sure to bring just the right amount.
  • No Wi-fi. Yes, you heard right! Only high-end hotels offer Wi-Fi service for guests at an additional charge. Expect the slowest connection you’ve ever experience in your lifetime haha
  • Make sure you print-out all important documents. Such as: itineraries, hotel reservations, copies of passports and visas etc.
  • Roaming? Don't get your hopes up, but at least try to see if your carrier works. Nowadays, more phone companies are expanding their international service to Cuba. With T-Mobile, I could make calls and text at an additional charge (not included with my plan).
  • Like the old times before technology took over our lives, you need to buy a physical map to get around the city. You can purchase this at the airport or online in advance.
  • Other kind of food that is not Cuban food will most likely taste gross! Cubans master the making of their food, so go ahead and order a traditional Cuban dish. Ordering any kind of food off the Cuban menu section is a No-No.
  • Cuba is very safe! Crimes are unheard in Havana, but be cautious with your belongings while touring the city. Just because there’s no violence it doesn’t mean there’s no pickpocketing!
  • Get to know your taxi drivers and ask them for their contact information. Better to have someone’s contact to call for pick-up requests and transfers to other cities in Cuba. Most of them are very friendly and willing to pick you up for another ride during your stay.

About The Author

MARIELLA MOLESTINA NOBOA

The art of saying "Yes!" can take you far away. Many people pass on opportunities for many reasons, one of them being fear. Through my life I've encounter many people that forget to live the present for something that might not even happen in the future. If you are constantly waiting for the right time to finally do something, like fulfill your life dream, you are going to spend most of your life waiting.

My name is Mariella and I created this blog as a source of inspiration for others to believe they can live the life they always pictured. The secret? Believe you can and take action. The world awaits!

16 Comments

  1. Love your blog and this post! I’m Cuban American and planning to visit Cuba this Summer! Super helpful information! Thanks!

  2. I’ve yet to go to Cuba so this is really helpful Mariella! I’ve heard about the 2 currencies before; one for locals, one for the tourists, so I’ll remember your advice. Even though we all rely on Wifi and roaming, it might be nice to go back to the old school and use a traditional map again. It brings back the adventurous streak!

    • Mariella says

      Hi Lisa – absolutely! You know what they say: offline is the new luxury 🙂

  3. Yukti says

    Oh this is very helpful as you have listed some essential points which I am hearing for first time. Two currencies which is really crazy and confusing for outsiders but thanks to you that you have drawn attention to this. I will definitely go with cash as sometimes in these kind of place I don’t use credit cards due to doubt of hacking. Wi-fi is slow then I have to carry data packets from my country.

  4. What the hell? They have two currencies? How does that work? This is the first time I hear of a case like this. I am planning on visiting this beautiful country next year so, this post is gold for me. I will see how different things are when coming from Europe instead of the US =). Thanks for all this info!

    • Mariella says

      Hi Jenn- Thank you for your comment! Having two currencies is vey confusing but locals dont seem to bother haha

  5. The photo with the Cadillacs is so great, it looks somehow so “Cuban” to me, at least the picture I have in mind about it. We were planning to go to Cuba as part of our East coast road trip but unfortunately it didn’t happen. But now I must say even better after reading your travel tips – so many things I didn’t know yet… Nearly No Wi-Fi – that’s interesting… Mandatory Travel Insurance – really good and important to know. Thanks for these great tips.

  6. I agree with getting the taxis number, I found a cheap taxi driver in Havana and used him the whole time. I didn’t know about the travel insurance requirement, I understand why though. Foreigners must abuse the good health care system they have there.

  7. Such an informative post and you know what, this makes me want to travel to Cuba all the more. I always loved how “vintage” it was but knowing that there is no wifi and somehow a lot of things are as they were for everyone a couple of decades ago makes me nostalgic about travels from the glorious past. Thank you.

  8. What??? 2 currencies?? Now that’s very confusing… Paid wifi in hi-end hotels??? That’s bad. That’s very bad… But otherwise good to know that Cuba is safe over all. I don’t have any plans to visit Cuba as of now, but we never know where future might take us.

  9. Abigail Sinsona says

    Havana is one city in my bucket list. I love these practical tips – ones that you won’t find in guides. I am surprised that they do not have many good food options outside from Cuban. But at last Cuban food is good, so you can still satisfy your palate!

  10. Your tips are invaluable. I am glad you shared your lessons for they will definitely work for a lot of us heading there for the first time. I did not know for example that they had two currencies. Any tips on what one should do to tackle that?

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