Information About Cuba

Cuba is a 100, 922 km² archipelago composed of the Island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud and over 1,600 cays and adjacent islets. It is located at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico, 77 km from Haiti (east), 210 km from Yucatan, Mexico (west), 180 km from Florida, U.S. (north) and 140 from Jamaica (south).

Language

Spanish is the official language. English and other languages such as French, Italian and Russian are mainly spoken by the staff that works in the tourist sector.

Population

11.27 million (2012) World Bank 

Weather

Weather in Cuba is moderate subtropical with mostly warm temperatures. There’s little cloudiness and an annual average of 330 sunny days. The average temperature is 25.5º C (77º F). January is the coldest month while July and August are the hottest.

Beaches

There are over 300 natural beaches spread over 600 km. We have more than 500 diving sites.

Culture

Culture in Cuba, as in most of the Latin American countries, is a mix of European and African cultures. Considered one of the most influential ones of the region, it’s expressed through the different artistic manifestations in a singular way. Cuba possesses nine places declared World Heritage Sites.

Religion

A secular country with freedom of cult where the Catholic religion and Afro-Cuban cults prevail. There are other different denominations of Protestants such as Evangelic, Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, Methodists, Presbyterians and, to a lesser extent, Muslims.

Electricity

110 v, 60 Hz; flat pins electrical outlet. Many hotels allow 220 v. Plug adapters are advisable.

Time Zone

The official hour corresponds to the Time Zone 19, determined by the meridian 75, longitude west. When it’s 12 m in Greenwich, in Cuba is 7m, which means its GTM-5 hours. This is the standard hour of the west coast of the U.S. and Canada. As in many countries, between March and November the daylight saving time is adopted, so clocks jump forward to take advantage of the day light.

Clothing

It is advisable to wear cotton and similar fabrics. For winter and air-conditioned places we suggest wearing pieces made of lightweight wool or twill. A light raincoat might be useful during the rainy season.

How To Get to Cuba?

The main way to get to Cuba is by air. We have eleven international airports that receive regular and charter flights of over 40 airlines that connect Cuba with about 28 nations. We also have ten marinas and four cruise terminals.

Airport Rate

The arrival and departure tax in the Cuban international airports is 25.00 CUC.

Currency and Payment Methods

The Cuban Peso (CUP) is the official currency but the payment of all the tourist services and products in the country is made using the convertible peso (CUC). The CUC can be exchanged to convertible Cuban pesos (CUC) in hotels, airports, banks and at the currency exchange stores (CADECA S.A.). It is also authorized the use and circulation of the euro in tourist establishments in Varadero, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Coco and Cayo Largo del Sur. When making the exchange of American dollars for convertible Cuban pesos (CUC) a 10% tax is applied. The rest of the currencies: Euro, Canadian dollar, British pound, Swiss franc, Japanese yen, Mexican pesos and Colombian bolivars are exchanged to CUC without any tax. Traveler checks and credit cards are admitted as long as they weren’t issued by American banks or their associates.

Immigration Regulations

All visitors must have a valid passport stating their name and the proper Visa or Tourist Card, except in the cases of the countries that Cuba keeps free Visa agreements with. The tourist cards (individual or for groups) can be requested at the Cuban consular representations and at the travel agencies and airlines offices. If you get here by sea, before arriving in territorial waters (12 nautical miles from the insular platform), the crew must communicate with the port authorities through the channel HF (SSB) 2760 (National Costal Network) and 2790 (Tourist Network), or through the VHF Channel 68 for the National Coastal Network and Channel 16 for the Tourist Network. They must also have a medical expenses insurance, which is sold by Cuban insurance companies in the points of entry to the country.

Customs Regulations

The following are tax free: personal objects, jewelry, photo or video cameras, sporting and fishing articles; two bottles of liquor, a box of cigarettes and up to 10 kg of medicines. Articles of up to 1000.00 CUC can be imported; of that amount, 250.00 CUC are free of tax and the remaining 950.00 CUC are subject to tax according to the value of the import. The following are forbidden: traffic, use and sale of narcotics and drugs. It is prohibited introducing pornography, hemoderivatives, wireless telephones and microphones, home appliances or fire guns, except those hunting guns that have been properly authorized. 

The entry of cash is limited. Nevertheless, it is advisable to declare amounts superior to the 5,000.00 USD, since in order to re-export a similar or superior amount it is obligatory to present the corresponding customs declaration. 

The free export of up to 50 Cuban cigars, loose or in packages, is authorized without showing any document; if the travelers expect to export more than 50 cigars they will have to ask for the original and a copy of the official invoice in the establishments designated by the Compañia Habanos S.A. where they were purchased and give the copy to the Customs where they will leave the country. The Habano Cigars must be in their original packages, with the official labels, including the holographic seal. In case of failing to fulfill the essential requirement of lawful acquisition, the product will be taken by Customs. To extract master pieces or antiques, you must request the proper permit to the National Registry of Cultural Goods; if it’s silver or gold in a bigger amount, the authorization from the National Bank of Cuba will be required. The payment for the transportation for the excess of luggage doesn’t exempt the traveler arriving in Cuba to pay the corresponding tax, according to the value of the articles. The departure tax in the Cuban airports is 25.00 USD.

Health Regulations

Health regulations only apply to travelers from countries where the yellow fever and endemic cholera exist or from places that have been declared infection areas by the WHO, in which case is obligatory to show the International Certificate of Vaccination. The entry of products of animal or vegetal origin is restricted.