TOP 5 THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU TRAVEL ON YOUR OWN TO CUBA

  1. Get your Visa through your airline. Know which of the 12 OFAC rules you are traveling under.  This information changes often, you can find the latest at https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_new.pdf
  2. Plan ahead on lodging.  Due to a dramatic increase in visitors, sometimes people end up sleeping in taxi cabs because there is no place to stay.  Hotels have doubled or tripled in price int he last 12 months.Casa Particulares (Cuban B & Bs) can be the best places to stay.  A bedroom and private bath and more contact with Cuban locals that pride themselves in hospitality. This is a good alternative to staying in hotels (which are owned by Cuban government).
  3. Transportation can be tricky.  If you are planning to use the public bus system “Viazul” you might have to wait three days for a seat on your bus.  Many local buses won’t allow tourists on.You might rent a car online and discover the car rental does not have one for you when you arrive.Negotiate with the taxi driver BEFORE you get in!  Some people have paid $40 for a 5 minute ride.
  4. Don’t rely on the internet.  Internet cards are becoming less available with the increase in tourism. Currently, it is cost-prohibitive to use your cell WiFi in Cuba.Your best friend will be your guidebook with good maps inside!
  5. Spanish.  Very few things will be written in English, aside from menus.  When you go to museums, monuments, etc., expect that only some will have translations in English.Hiring a Cuban guide, even for a one-day walking tour, can make your life so much easier!