Can I stay in private homes in
Yes. You can go legal, illegal
or semi-legal. Legal is when you stay in a house paying taxes
to the government. They must have an inscription in the front
of the house. Illegal is when you stay in a house where the owner
pays nothing to the government. Semi-legal is if you stay in
some friend's house. Technically your friend should report to
the Immigration Office that there is a foreigner in his/her house,
and prove there is a close friendship or that the person is a
member of the family. There is also a $40 stamp you must get
in your passport. (Most of the people don't do that, and stay
semi-legally.) We recommend staying only in legal places or with
friends. Prices vary from 15 to 35 per day.
Is it legal for
United States citizens to travel to Cuba?
Yes. There are several
categories which are discussed thoroughly at http://www.cubatravelexperts.com/faq01.html.
Even U.S. citizens going on their own through Canada, Mexico,
etc., have reported few problems upon returning. If you take the
independent route, however, we recommend not showing up at U.S.
customs with your pockets or suitcases stuffed with Cuban cigars,
which are illegal to import. You can stay within the law even
by going on your own. Just be sure you know what the law is.
Is Cuba safe?
Based on the reports
of travelers going with groups associated with us, Cuba is one
of the safest countries to visit. Recently there have been reports
of the theft of items left untended in the tourist areas, similar
to other tourist areas around the world.
Should we go to
Cuba with a group or on our own?
This depends on what
you want to do. Read this trip report
by a couple who went on their own and tried to make contact with
the Jewish community, and the complications they ran into. To
visit synagoges or Jewish families in Cuba, we recommend you go
with an organized tour.
Can I rent a car
Yes, but hiring a car is not recommended
for getting around the city of Havana. The roads are badly
signed and there have been many accidents with tourists driving
rental cars. Here are two places
where you can rent a car:
Havanautos, Calle 36 505 entre 5 y 5a, Miramar, T 332369, F 331416
Transautos, Calle 21 entre N y O, Vedado, next to Hotel Capri.
How do I get to and from the
José Martí Airport is 18 km from
Havana. Turistaxi costs US$16-25 depending on time of day or
night and destination. Panataxi
are US$12-16. The Cubatur
desk will book a taxi for you from the airport. The return journey
in a private taxi could cost as little as US$10, but don't count
on it. City buses run from
Terminal 4 (Air Cubana terminal) to town, ask around. To the
airport from town, M2 buses leave from Parque Fraternidad, but
are always full, long queues, difficult with luggage.
I want to take a public bus to another city. Where is the terminal?
Long distance buses
Terminal de Omnibus Interprovinciales, Av Rancho Boyeros (Independencia).
See Information for travellers for advance booking addresses.
Also Víazul, from Av 26 entre Av Zoológico y Ulloa, Nuevo Vedado,
T 811413, 811108, 815652, F 666092, buses or minibuses usually
every other day to Varadero, Trinidad, Viñales via Pinar del Río
I want to visit
Cuba but I want to get away from the tourist scene and cities
and into the countryside. Do I have any options?
Yes. There are many groups
now conducting travel with a focus on biking, hiking, scuba, caving,
etc. Or you could just book a trip with Last
Should I carry a
small pharmacy with me when I travel?
Yes, unless you want to pay outrageous
prices for medicines in Cuba at the International Clinic, even
if they had what you need. Always carry your own broad spectrum
Do I need shots before I go to
Can I drink the water there?
Some say yes: to be safe, no.
Can foreigners visiting Cuba
be invited into Cuban homes for social occasions (not to sleep)
and in general carry on some kind of social relationship with
In general, Cubans are very friendly
and it's customary to invite friends for coffee or dinner. Read
account by a Canadian traveler.
What is a good gift to take when
going to a home for a meal?
Wine or dessert if dinner, or cookies
if invited for coffee.
I want to donate a computer,
a year's supply of antibiotics, fifty children's books in Spanish,
and money for a Shabbat dinner. How can I do that?
Easy. Just go to this
page and contact any of the organizations listed. We personally
recommend all of these groups. Keep in mind that some items, such
as computers, are illegal for U.S. citizens to donate.
Is it appropriate to take a one-year-old
Yes. He will have a good time
having fun in the swimming pool in the hotel. But carry with
you every single thing you need for the baby, including diapers
and pediatric medicines. (The hotel pools are solar heated -
by the sun, not panels - and can be cold. Check to see if the
pool is too cold for a baby.) Some baby needs can be found in
dollar stores, but it is best to be prepared by bringing what
What kind of personal toiletry
items should I take?
Toilet paper, just in case. (This
applies to most countries outside the States.) Carry a couple
of face cloths with you if you like to use one when you bathe
What other items are useful?
Even if you are on a tour, it is
good to carry a beach towel. Always carry a sun hat, or an umbrella
for the sun or the extreme heat of the Oriente, sun guard, and
Where is a good place to buy
souvenirs, music CDs, rum, and cigars?
The duty free shop at the airport
is a very good value and saves you carrying these items while
you are in Cuba.
What's the electricity, 110 or
Most of Cuba is 110 but the hotels
that have been refurbished by European companies usually are
220. Bring your converter. Take a dual electricity hairdryer
although most of the newer hotels have hairdryers.
Where do I go for good traditional
There are Casas de la Trova around
the country, they are houses where traditional Cuban music can be
heard for free or for a minimal charge, thoroughly rec. de la Cultura
de Plaza, Calzada y 8, Vedado, concerts and shows, different artistes,
different times. For bolero Habana Libre hotel, T 32-9430).