Cuba has become another must-go-to destination for many Americans after President Barack Obama announced last year that the U.S. will bring back its diplomatic relations with Cuba. However, visiting this country isn’t easy. For one, the nation has already millions of annual visitors from Great Britain, Latin America and Canada, to name a few. All of which come to this place for its beaches, heritage sites and art scene.
To help you prepare for your Cuban escapade, here are some tips you need to know.
You need to secure a visa.
To gain legal entry to Cuba, you will a visa for the specific purpose of your travel, be it for religious or medical purposes, family visits or other. Once you enter Cuba, you will also need to ensure that anything you do there coincides with the type of visa you applied for. If you want to truly experience Cuba, you should apply for a people-to-people visa. With this travel document, you can engage in educational experiences, meet locals, attend concerts and the like.
You need cash.
Your credit card may not be applicable in Cuba because of the US embargo. You can have your dollars converted to Cuban peso at the airport or your hotel. Keep in mind though that there is a 10 percent fee when you exchange your dollar to peso. You should also make it a point to carry coins for tips to housekeeping staff, bellboys, drivers, etc.
You should book your hotel in advance.
This is because hotel rooms may be limited because the nation’s infrastructure may not be ready to accommodate an increase in demand yet. Don’t worry though, because you can easily book a hotel room online. Before you fly to the country, be sure to verify your reservation, as well.
Your local phone may not work there.
Your international calling and mobile data services won’t work in this country because of the trade ban. You can call loved ones back home using a landline in your hotel. You can also purchase a Cuban SIM card as soon as you arrive. There are also hotels that offer internet connection, but don’t expect the high-speed service you’re used to in your own country.
Photos by: paul bica, Bud Ellison, Artur Staszewski, Bud Ellison