Travel Tips

Travel Tips: Cuba is hot all-year-round.  The months June to Sept/Oct can be scorching and very humid day and night.  From late Oct/Nov onwards the humidity drops, offering a much pleasanter climate if you don’t like high humidity. May/June time the humidity starts to rise again.

May brings the opening of the rainy season and the hurricane season which goes through to November.  Although it is the rainy season, it does not mean rain as you know it !!  Any rainfall is usually just a 10-20 minute tropical downpour and then back to the sunshine.  Most rain often occurs throughout the night. Dec to April is much cooler in the fact that you don’t have the humidity and can have a ‘cool breeze’ making the overall climate more bearable if you don’t like the extreme heat and like a bit of air !!!  Cuba is perfect for a tanning all year round.

Travel Tips: Currency and Credit  Cards

Always exchange your money at reputable currency exchanges located at the airport, banks and most hotels in Havana. Never exchange your money in the street with people who tell you they can offer you a real exchange rate, as they will take your currency and exchange it for the lesser valued Cuban peso.

Cuban currency is not exchanged internationally, so you can’t buy it in advance. There are two currencies in use in Cuba – The CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso) which is the only money the average tourist will use and the CUP (Cuban Peso) which is the locals currency.

You can exchange your money at the exchange booth at the airport (but remember you could be holding your bus up if there is a queue – one of you waits for the luggage whilst the other goes to the exchange). Hotels have an exchange booth which offers an exchange rate much the same as the airport. Exchange a little cash at a time so as not have too many surplus CUC’s when you leave or otherwise you will have to pay to re-convert and will lose more money on re-conversion.  Remember to keep back a few cuc’s for drinks/food at the airport and your final tips!!

Travel Tips: Telephone Mobile Phones and Internet

The best place for wifi connection is the Saratoga Hotel located by the Capitalo Building, Park Central Hotel and Inglatera hotels, well worth the walk. Wifi card is 2-3 cuc per hour, but service is almost uninterrupted.
Casas Havana Travel Tips

Some of our happy clients touring downtown Havana

If you wish to make a phone call, the best option is to purchase a pre-paid phone card (usually available at hotels) and use the public card phone.  Calls from the Hotel phones are much more expensive than the public cardphones.

Using a mobile phone is probably the cheapest option, but still approximately charged at $2+ a minute.  The cheapest form of contact is text (approx $1/text). Remember Text is best and cheapest. Make sure to turn off your mobile phones ROAMING!

Most Mobiles work in Cuba; it does not depend on the ‘band’ of your phone but your network provider, it is best to check with your cell service provider and check whether your particular phone will work in Cuba.  You can access your provider’s website to get the current charges for calls and texts for Cuba and also check if they have good roaming in the area you will be visiting.

Mobile data networks and wi-fi networks are scarce and slow.

Travel Tips: Medications and Hygiene Products

Any medication is not widely available in Cuba so be sure to take enough prescription drugs for the whole of your trip; be sure to pack all medications in your hand luggage, if your suitcase gets lost you will likely have no medications for the duration of your holiday.

Casas Havana Travel Tips

Street Life in Havana

Please, whatever you have left over, pass on to any Cuban folk as they will be most appreciative of it, medications are unaffordable to them.  Condoms are a must, for obvious reasons, and expensive to purchase!!

Ladies – please take feminine products with you, they are hard to find.  Be sure to leave any unwanted items with a Cuban – she will remember you forever.

Take little packets of tissues and wipes with you; toilet paper is scarce and they are handy to have  Baby wipes may be an asset as the loo paper in Cuba can be quite thin and cheap. Always pack a couple of rolls from home, you will never regret it!

Hand Sanitizer is not supplied anywhere in Cuba so it would be a good idea to take your own.

  • Drink bottled water or water that has been boiled. Avoid ice cubes and drinks made with tap water.
  • Keep your passport, tourist card and money in safe box or locked suitcase located in your room
  • Avoid street cigar sellers; they will be not the same quality as those purchased from government stores.

Travel Tips: Safety

Cuba is a healthy country and is subsequently a very safe place to visit for families, women travellers and any other category of traveller. Unlike many of its Latin American neighbours, Cuba has managed to escape brutal CIA-fuelled civil wars, provides its population with universal healthcare and education, and has no homelessness, hunger, drug pandemic or gang problems. 

Travel Tips: Petty Scam Artists “Jineteros”

The main niggle in Cuba is the ‘jinetero’, who is a petty scam artist. They have an impressive repertoire of strategies and stories to get money from you. For example, they will tell you that your casa particular has shut down due to a fire, plumbing problem or illegal prostitution crackdown by the police; some of the stories are amazing! This way, the ‘jinetero’ or ‘jinetera’ brings you to another casa particular and gets a small commission. Another classic is to approach you in a friendly, hospitable manner in the street and tell you about a Buena Vista Social Club festival or Hemingway bar that just happens to be around the corner. Other ‘jineteros’ go for more heart-wrenching stories, for example, they’ll ask you if you’ll help them buy powdered milk for their newborn. Once you’ve done this commendable deed, they sell the powdered milk back to the shop and pocket the bounty!

Remember: no one in Cuba is in desperate need as the State provides, so don’t be fooled by crafty jineteros!

Interesting Links – CarolSueStories – A Blog on Cuba – A monthly what’s on guide to Cuba – A unique travellers’ guide with in-depth insights into Cuban arts and culture – Educational site of traditional and contemporary Cuban music, dance and culture – A great blog by American writer who lives in Havana
Casas Havana Travel Tips
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