Cuba - The Basics

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Cuba - The Basics

1. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi everyone

Planning on travelling to Cuba around Jan/Feb 08. I havent really bothered to do any research on the forums ( I will later) I'm just really looking for any basic information you can give me on getting to Cuba? Is it possible to include a flight to Havana on a RTW ticket, for example?

Also, if anyone has any recommendations, experiences, anecdotes to share about their time there, I'd love to hear about them.

How much time is a comfortable amount of time to spend there in order to get a good flavour of the country?

Thanks for your help.

Evelyn :)

2. Posted by sirwhale (Full Member 84 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I too want to travel, or at least live in Cuba for some time, during my life. But it really hard to find any info on the net, so if anyone has anything, feel free to share...

3. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

hi Samsara and sirwhale,

I fly next saturday to Cuba via Jamaica

will be travelling around there for 22 days,so I should be able to give you the newest informationes about Cuba when I'm back in Aug.

I found some useful Infos at and

also from a TP member who was there I had asked by privat mail.
from the Travel Helpers for Cuba I got not any answers so far.

Post 4 was removed by a moderator
5. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Marlis. Ill check those out ;)

6. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I don't see why you couldn't include a Cuban leg on a round the world ticket. Air Canada flies there, so for sure if you were doing a Star Alliance RTW you could. There could be problems associate with a RTW with both a USA airline and Cuba on the same ticket, but an agent should be able to work that out for you.

Even without the RTW ticket, you should be able to get to Cuba from either Canada or Mexico relatively inexpensively. Flights out of Canada can be pricey, but if you combine it with a hotel, it becomes really affordable. Now, I know that backpackers don't like to go on "package" tours and all, but if you are planning on doing a few days on the beach, then it's not a bad deal to look at.

As for time - I did a week there, though mostly it was in Varadero lying on the beach. I'd say that probably you'd want to do 2 or 3 days in Havana, a few days at the beach relaxing, and try heading inland at some point to see the agricultural life in Cuba. I didn't go to any other cities, but I've heard good things about Santiago and Trinidad (UNESCOs World Heritage sites).

Other basics: The US dollar is no longer accepted. You will need to convert your money into CUC (Cuban convertible peso), which has a fixed exchange rate of $1.08. They will change money at the airport. My understanding is that the hose you (extra 10%) on exchanging US dollars (I haven't been since the US$ was scrapped and the CUC made the only tourist currency), so bring Euros, Mexican Pesos or CAN$.

Not that it would impact you, but in case anyone else is reading the thread - US based credit cards or ATM cards will not work. I didn't see any ATMs when I was there. My understanding from other posters is that there are ATMs and they do work, but take 6 digit codes.


7. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Greg - lots of helpful info there! :)