eit Raul Castro 2013 die Märkte für Kuba geöffnet hat, ist jedem Kubaner der Handel und Import von Neuwagen erlaubt. With Raul Castro opening the markets for Cuba in 2013, every Cuban is allowed to trade and import new cars. After over a 50-year ban! Even otherwise, trade in foreign goods has become easier for Cubans. Soon the authentic Cuban picture will change, foreign brands will enter the market, Americans will conquer the Caribbean holiday paradise on their doorstep. Who still wants to experience the traditional original Cuba with its vintage cars and its charm from bygone times, should now travel quickly to Cuba. I was fortunate enough to experience Cuba and its capital, Havana, as one would like to see it as a tourist: a bit morbid, a bit decrepit, a bit dusty and yet so full of joie de vivre it will be hard not to visit this island to like. For you, I have compiled my best Cuba travel tips for your holiday here compact and understandable. Here you will find everything you need to know for a Cuba trip.
Cuba Travel Tips: What You Should Know About Cuba Cuba - Country People
Should you travel to Cuba and if only as a package holiday to Varadero in an all inclusive hotel (which would be a pity), then you should not forget that Cuba is a communist country. The years of trade embargo led to a constant lack of consumption. Even though the country is opening up more and more, the embargo has left its mark on the lives of Cubans. Basically, you should be aware that all goods are scarce, Cuba and its people are still suffering from the crap of the Castro regime. Anyone who goes on holiday in Varadero and complains about tidy tiles in the bathroom in a luxury hotel and says "the food in the Dominican Republic is a thousand times more extensive" has not understood anything about this country and should perhaps travel somewhere else. Although people are poor, life for tourists is not necessarily cheap, as there are two different currencies - a common misconception among Cuba vacationers. In Cuba, pens and soaps are still hot items, the media are being censored, which is why there is still no Internet for the ordinary population and in hotels it is so slow and expensive that we do not want to use it. Living in Cuba is not a luxury holiday. Nevertheless, and perhaps because of this, this country is so incredibly diverse and exciting, it offers beautiful landscapes and beaches, but ultimately it is above all the people and their music that make a trip to Cuba so incredibly valuable and memorable. Cuba is a way of life!
Is a trip to Cuba dangerous and is it possible to travel individually through Cuba?
Cuba is considered a relatively safe destination, even for women. The crime is very low and pickpocketing is relatively low. Nevertheless, one should of course be careful, because here, too, it is increasing by more and more revealing tourists in the big cities. Of course, prostitution also occurs, but it is not so obviously flaunted, prostitutes are often disguised as holiday flirtations or friendly relationships, as this is officially prohibited.
For individual travelers Cuba is a perfect travel destination, as there are many Casa particulares , where you can spend good and cheap. Casa Particulares are private houses that rent private individuals well and cheaply to tourists. This gives a super identical insight into the real Cuba and the lives of the locals. In addition, you can easily with the Viazul - these are intercity buses - drive from A to B. The buses go to all touistic centers. For individual tourists, I recommend the travel guide by Stefan Loose, see below for the guidebook recommendations. If you prefer to travel on a flat rate, here are some package holidays with a voucher:
Cuba Travel Tips: The best travel time for Cuba
Cuba is a good destination year-round with tropical temperatures.
- October to February tend to be cooler months with temperatures around 25 degrees, but these months are also considered the least rainy days
- January is the coolest month and the best travel time for a holiday in Cuba
- May to September are the warmest months with temperatures of over 30 degrees
- From June to September hurricane time in Cuba, violent tropical storms are no exception
- June and July are the wettest months with an average of over 10 rainy days a month
- From September to October / November , heavy hurricanes and tornadoes can whiz across the Caribbean island. I experienced myself in November and was really not nice, as it rained for several days, stormed and was cold.
Cuba Travel Tips Entry: This is what you need in order to enter Cuba:
- Passport: check your passport, it must be valid for at least six months
- Visa or tourist card, see below
- International health insurance, see below
Where can I get the tourist tickets for Cuba or the visa for Cuba?
Make sure you get a tourist card before you leave. This is considered a visa for entry to Cuba. The tourist card is available at the Cuban embassy in Germany or at tour operators (iVm with other services), sometimes even with airlines at the airport (but I would not rely on that). The tourist card allows you to stay in Cuba for 30 days.
Important: Airlines check at check-in if you have a tourist card, otherwise you will be denied boarding.
Is the tourist card also available on arrival in Cuba (on-arrival)?
The tourist card is not available on-arrival, ie on arrival. You must acquire them in any case before your entry. Cost: about 21 euros
How is it when entering or traveling to the US?
difficult. Respectively. not allowed. Also for German travelers an entry from the USA to Cuba is complicated and probably only possible with transit in other countries. Inquire in this case with the Cuban Embassy and the Foreign Office.
Do I really need a foreign health insurance for entering Cuba?
Yes. For the entry into Cuba the proof of a valid foreign health insurance is absolutely obligatory. In the worst case you can be refused entry. Best completed before departure in Germany. Get confirmation from the insurance company in Spanish that all health, accident and transport costs will be covered by travel health insurance. The insurance companies are already prepared for such requests and you will receive confirmation within about 3-5 days. But take care of it early on. I recommend a foreign health insurance, which is valid throughout the year, this is worthwhile and it is already relatively cheap. For example, I have a foreign health insurance from Allianz, which is valid all year round. Cost: about 12 Euro / year. There is even one of the Hanse Merkur for 10 euros / year:
- Complete foreign health insurance *
Speaking of insurance: for the entry into Cuba, it is of course not a duty and certainly not absolutely necessary, but who books long before departure, can consider whether he also takes out a travel cancellation insurance . It is often offered as a package for international travel insurance and also applies, for example, in the case of pregnancy or sudden unemployment. Sometimes a foreign health insurance is included in your credit card. Here you should check your conditions (and also if this applies to Cuba).
My advice: make copies of your passport and tourist card before you travel to Cuba and save it in your e-mail inbox and / or keep it separate from the original! On vacation itself, I recommend to leave important documents in the hotel safe.
- Here are some tips on how to protect yourself against theft or loss of money, credit cards, mobile phones and documents before traveling.
Cuba Travel Tips: Travel to Cuba
Although the entry into Cuba sounds incredibly complicated, it was very fast with me. One has to go to the customs one by one in a cabin and it will take a picture of one, that's it. A stamp in the passport does not exist.
Cuba Travel Tips: What do I have to keep in mind when taking along Ipads, laptops and mobile phones to Cuba?
I did not have any problems with laptops, ipads and cell phones (I was worried because GPS devices were banned - but there was no internet and then it was so slow that you did not want to use it) I had a cell phone and a laptop with me). Lt. Foreign Office Ipad, laptop and mobile phones can be taken safely, they are not affected by this rule.
Cuba Travel Tips: Direct Flights from Germany to Cuba
I flew with Condor from Frankfurt to Varadero. Condor flies to Santa Clara, Havana, Varadero and Hologuin. Flights are already starting from 249.99 euros, for example, from Frankfurt or Munich to Varadero.
Direct flights with Condor to Cuba **
- Frankfurt - Varadero: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays
- Frankfurt - Havana: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
- Frankfurt - Hologuin: Sundays and Wednesdays
- Frankfurt - Santa Clara: Mondays
- Munich - Varadero: Saturdays, Tuesdays, Thursdays
- Munich - Havana: Mondays
- Munich - Hologuin: Wednesdays
- Munich - Santa Clara: Mondays
Condor's current flight plan is here: Cuba *
If you prefer to book a package holiday you will find here some providers for Cuba:
I booked a 1-week Cuba roundtrip with 1-week beach holiday with Neckermann Reisen * (the travel route and the itinerary can be found below.) With the selection of hotels and restaurants I was not so happy on this trip, with my But I had a good trip to Mexico with Neckermann and if I book again, I would choose a specialized Cuba tour operator that offers small group travel.
Here is another selection of travel providers with flat rate Cuba trips:
(I have not booked this myself, but have heard of other positive to these providers)
Cuba Travel Tips: Health and First Aid Kit for Cuba
Vaccinations for Cuba:
For Cuba, none are prescribed, but the usual vaccinations (tetanus, hepatitis A + B) can never hurt when traveling yes, best inform before and refresh vaccination: about 8 weeks before your trip (some health insurance companies reimburse the cost of travel vaccination !). Only those who arrive from Brazil to Cuba, must present a yellow fever vaccine.
- Cholera: According to the Foreign Office, some cases were also found among European travelers, so caution should be exercised with individual travel. Cuba is also malaria free.
Drinking water in Cuba:
To avoid diseases as much as possible, use water from bottles and no tap water to brush your teeth, this also applies to everything else.
Food in Cuba :
If you want to play it safe, avoid ice cubes, raw vegetables and fruits. The principle is: cook it, eat it or leave it (cook it, peel it or forget it). In the beginning I kept to this principle, but from day to day you become more careless. In 3 and 4 star hotels I took care what I eat, in the 5-star hotel I ate everything and the quality of the food was very good! For example, I also like to eat sea animals and if they seemed too raw, I did not eat them either. I think you should just be careful and then you can enjoy the holiday too!
Cuba travel tips: This belongs in the first aid kit for Cuba:
In Cuba there are extra hospitals for foreigners. Generally, health care is good. However, one should be aware that all goods are very scarce due to the economic embargo. In some areas there are even power bottlenecks. When it comes to medication, you should put the bare essentials in the first aid kit. That should definitely be in the first aid kit:
Sunscreen mosquito repellent for the first-aid kit in Cuba:
- Sunscreen cream and apres lotion eg Lavera Naturkosmetik sunscreen LSF30,
- Aprés Sun Lotion for cooling and moisturizing the skin: Lavera Apres Lotion *
- Mosquito repellent and insect spray with 50% DEET for tropical mosquitoes, proven in my case NOBITE skin spray, 1 pack (1 x 100 ml) *
Drugs for the first-aid kit for Cuba:
- Headache tablets eg Thomapyrin INTENSIVE, 20 pcs *
- against fever joint pain: Paracetamol ratiopharm 500 mg, 20 St
- For intestinal infections: Imodium acute lingual, 12 St (you can also take it without water)
- Cardiovascular tablets can be useful if you have circulatory problems, which can happen at high temperature fluctuations. Korodin cardiovascular drops *
- For itchy mosquito bites and sunburn: Fenistil: Fenistil Gel, 50 g *
- Wound and healing ointment: Bepanthen: Bepanthen wound and healing ointment, 50 g First Aid on Travel:
- Nail scissors: Twin Twinox nail scissors *
- Tweezers Stainless Steel Precision Tweezers *
- Plaster: Hansaplast Classic Plaster *
- Gauze bandages: gauze bandage bandage NOBAFIX gauze bandage *
- Disinfection spray for wounds: Wound disinfection Disinfection *
- Bandage (plaster) eg Hansaplast Classic Plaster 2m x 6cm *
Cuba Travel Tips: Currency and Finance in Cuba:
Withdrawing money in Cuba:
- mit der normalen Bankkarte/ EC-Karte Geld abheben. Attention: in Cuba one can not withdraw money with the normal bank card / debit card. There are also no ATMs for debit cards.
- Withdraw cash only with Visa card + PIN! Best in hotels, banks and state bureaux de change. The American Express is not accepted! Likewise it can come with German subsidiaries of American insititute to difficulties!
- Cash withdrawals worldwide by credit card from:
DKB-Cash Account - withdraw cash and pay for free *
Currency in Cuba:
- with US dollars can not be paid anymore! Who exchanges US dollars, also makes losses, it is converted 1: 1 in CUC and a commission is calculated. Better: take the euro, exchange at the airport! You get the daily updated price. If you have left CUC on your departure, you can dive back in euros at the airport. The import and export of the Cuban currency is prohibited! When swapping I had made a lot of lousy.
- Tip: the best thing is, you take enough cash with you, even if it is difficult to imagine carrying so much cash around with today's safety thinking. But there should actually have been people who ran out of money in Cuba, because they could not withdraw money with EC or credit card. Many think that Cuba is cheap, but it is not. The mistake I am also expire, Cuba is quite expensive, no matter if excursions, hotels or restaurants. The CUC is 1: 1 with the euro to compare. And from my own experience, I know that you need more money on the spot than you thought, you're on vacation: here is a souvenir, there is one more, here a trip that you do not want to miss, a cocktail more, etc ... You should not spoil the holiday because of the money. How much cash you should bring to Cuba depends on how long you stay and what you want to experience on the ground. Expect roughly with at least 50 euros per day (without hotel). I had 500 euros / dollars with me.
Cuba travel tips: find the right hotel for your dream vacation in Cuba:
Travel Tips Cuba: Hotels in Cuba in general
As mentioned above, as a luxury pampered traveler, sometimes you have to make a few compromises in hotels in Cuba. Depending on your personal lifestyle-feeling, the judgments about hotels are also missing. For my part, I like to like class in the upper sector. On my tour I stayed in 3 and 4 star hotels. The rooms were fine with one exception in Trinidad. The breakfast buffet was always very extensive. But the quality of the food was often lacking in these hotels. It really hurt to see what such hotels do with the food and that, even though in Cuba you can really eat in restaurants! Also, so-called "round-trip hotels" are mass processing companies that send hundreds of tourists a day. If I went to Cuba again, I would choose Casa Particulars . These are private hotels, rented by private individuals to individual tourists, they should offer good service and excellent food.
Travel Tips Cuba: Hotels in Varadero
The most famous resort in Cuba is Varadero with its dream Caribbean beaches. At the end of my tour we took a few days on the beach in a luxury hotel in Varadero. Here are the 50 all-inclusive luxury resorts. But here too there are differences. In our 5-star hotel Paradisus Varadero really everything was right: fantastic area, nice pool, high quality food with show cooking and the hotel was on the most beautiful beach section of Varadero. I can not understand the negative rating of this hotel and I am at least more often in hotels and therefore also critical, (my detailed hotel check to this hotel you can read in this review ). To find the right hotel for your dream holiday, you can, for example, on hotel review portals such as Tripadvisor reviews of other guests watch or even leave a review.
Travel Tips for Cuba: Oldtimer and Road Conditions in Cuba
With the car through Cuba
Honestly, I like to play it safe. Therefore, personally in Cuba, I would never drive around alone with a rental car. The problem is the trade embargo and the shortage of goods. You have to assume that the cars do not meet our safety standards. Especially with rental cars, I ask myself personally how safe they are and what happens when an accident happens (you have to pay cash, as some can not, they must remain in the country until the damage is corrected) or even an accident happens on purpose or provoked? I do not want to accuse you of anything wrong, but as I said, personally I am very careful because I have often heard that the cars are not so safe. Everyone has to decide for themselves, personally I prefer to organize organized tours and excursions than to hustle with a rental car through Cuba on my own. In addition, one must know that the road conditions are bad: potholes, no road signs and especially after dusk no street lighting.
- Comparison of rental cars *
With the classic car taxi through Cuba
Sure, vintage cars are just part of Cuba. But they are still to be treated with caution. Even though we accidentally did not get into a state taxi, but in a vintage taxi and I found that pretty cool, my travel companion almost died in fear: because the door has almost fallen out and the interior was pretty rusty. Not exactly a safe driving experience, with the taxi driver gusting across the Malecon while salsa music boomed from his radio. It's adventurous, but sometimes the brakes do not work as they should ....
Tours in Cuba
You can book excursions in hotels with the tour guide or book in advance online and book online, then just take the voucher with you. Often the excursions are cheaper with online booking than directly on site with the tour guide. However, I recommend to book before the holiday, since the internet in Cuba is very very bad even in good hotels. Get your Guide offers a great selection of interesting tours tours:
- my tip: Musical in the world famous Tropicana *
- a guided city tour by vintage car through Havana *
- in the footsteps of Ernest Hemmingway *
- Havana tour with a resident *
- Catamaran trip from Varadero to Cayo Blanco *
- Book Trips Tours in Cuba online *
Gifts for Cubans and souvenirs from Cuba?
If you want to take presents with you to give to Cubans, you are welcome to do so. The classics are pens and sweets for children. But also soaps and cosmetics make Cubans still happy because these products are often still in short supply. Small perfume buggies are easy to stow in your luggage.
Cuba rum from Cuba: How much is allowed?
Souvenirs are the Cuba classics: rum and cigars. I would buy both in specialty stores and not on the street. This guarantees the quality of the products. Cuban rum is considered the best in the world. The cheapest bottle is available from about 10 CUC. I bought it in a shop recommended by the tour guide. Also good is the Rummuseum in Havana, which is well worth a visit anyway. Pay attention to customs regulations, which can be found on the website of the Foreign Office or in the Customs app that you can download to your mobile phone.
For cigars the following export regulations apply:
- 20 cigars are allowed without proof of origin and purchase
- 50 cigars only sealed, sealed and with official hologram in the original packaging
- more than 50 cigars issued only on presentation of original invoice from officially approved state shops. The invoice must show the total amount of tobacco.
Travel Tips Cuba: That costs Cuba
Many think that Cuba is a cheap travel destination and underestimate the cost of a trip to Cuba. That is also the reason why many then have the cash shortage or the problem without credit card to get cash. Cuba is not a cheap travel destination although the population is very poor. This is partly because Cuba has the two currencies and most of it is paid for tourists in the more expensive currency CUC. On the other hand, it is also because foreign goods are simply expensive. Here is an overview:
a cocktail: 3 to 6 CUC (about 3 to 6 Euro)
a Cuban beer: 2 CUC
a simple lunch: 8-20 CUC
a taxi ride , about 10-15 km: 10-15 CUC
a bus trip by tourist bus: 5 CUC day ticket
Taxi ride from Havana to Varadero: approx. 100 CUC
Admission to the Parisien Show at Hotel National in Havana: 50 CUC
Whether you want to watch the show, everyone must know for yourself. I looked at her but did not find her that sensational. I think the Hotel National is better, because here are already international stars of the 20s and significant mafia descendants. In addition, you should in the garden in any case a mojito drink and look over the Malecon of Havana!
Useful for your Cuba trip:
- Sleep mask daydream premium sleeping mask with cooling pad (also usable as cooling mask) *,
- Inflatable neck support: Inflatable neck pillow with soft fleece cover *
- World Travel Plug / Adapter: Kopp SB World Travel Plug Adapter Travel Star, *
- Travel Document Case: Travel Wallet - for travel documents, credit cards *
- Passport Cover for Ladies: Picard Passport Passport Case Leather *
- transparent cosmetic bag for hand luggage: Cosmetic bag *
- Luggage strap with TSA lock: TSA luggage belt *
- Bumbag, eg bumbag RFID-Blocking and 2 hip straps - extra flat, tight fitting and water repellent *
- Neck pouch, eg premium neck pouch with RFID blocker for maximum security for smartphone travel documents *
- Belts with money stash , eg: Belt SECRET BELT WIDE *
- Packsafe for travel : Pacsafe 85 Bag Protector 55-85 liters volume - lockable steel net *
- My tips for comfortable long-haul flights
- My tips to protect yourself against loss and theft while traveling
- My travel essentials and tips for booking saving
Cuba Travel Tips: Travel Guide for Cuba
For individual travelers: Stefan Loose Travel Guide Cuba: with travel atlas *
For individual travelers and those interested in culture: DuMont Travel Guide Cuba Travel Guide: with extra travel card *
City Trip Havana: Travel Know-How CityTrip Havana: Travel guide with a map and a free web app *
For a quick overview: MARCO POLO Travel Guide Cuba: Travel with insider tips. Includes free touring app update service *
Cuba Travel Tips: Cuban music to get you started
To get you started on your trip to Cuba, I recommend the music of the unforgettable Buena Vista Social Club ! Here is a snapshot from the Bodega del Medio in Havana, which I recorded:
- otherwise the music of the Buena Vista Social Club is also available here *
Literature Tip: Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway spent many years in Cuba and had a finca near Havana. You can also follow in Havana. The old man and the sea are about the old fisherman Santiago, who is catching his life off the coast of Havana. The book moved me to tears, Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
Movie tip: 7 days in Havana
In the episodic film, 7 different directors show their view of Havana and its life there. Sometimes it is the American tourist who enters Cuba and immediately plunges into the pulsating, passionate metropolis. Sometimes it is the Cuban singer, who dreams of a career abroad, sometimes the episodes are full of melancholy silence, sometimes full of rhythmic snapshots and sometimes full of quirky rituals. In any case, the film gives a multi-layered impression of Havana and shows impressive images of this vibrant city.
What you should definitely look at in Cuba
Cuba is of course diverse. It enchants with great landscapes, beaches and of course the lively culture of the Cubans. Which emphasis you want to put on your trip to Cuba, of course, lies entirely with you. I personally visited the following travel destinations and I can recommend you. There is certainly much more to discover in Cuba, but here is my little personal itinerary as a source of inspiration for you:
Cuba travel route for 2 weeks Cuba:
2-3 days Havana is a must!
Havana's old town is just beautiful. Houses, churches and squares from the colonic period of the Spanish conquerors provide the very special charm. But also the famous Malécon (beach promenade) with the half-decayed colorful facades, the colorful vintage cars of the 50s still driving through Havana's streets or the revolutionary traces of Fidel Castro and Ché Guevera on the Republick Square are fascinating. Havana's Old Town is also a World Heritage Site.
1-2 days Valle de Vináles - Cuba's green west
The Valle de Vinalés in the west of Cuba is certainly one of the most scenic stretches of Cuba. Here you can see green valleys, high mojotes (mountains) and caves. On tobacco plantations farmers plow their fields with oxcart and you can take a look in a tobacco factory or take a nice bike ride. Read travelogue to Valle de Vinales
1-2 days Trinidad - colonial charm
Trinidad is located in the south of Cuba and is known for its colonial old town, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can walk in the footsteps of sugar cane barons. Read travelogue to Trinidad
1 week Varadero - beach days
Great beautiful beaches lined with palm trees. Beach holiday as it must be. Read Travel Report Varadero
At the time, I also booked this itinerary with Neckermann Reisen *. Today I would rather travel individually through Cuba.
Cuba Travel Tips: What You Should Experience in Cuba - Cuba Rice Reports:
Where Hemingway got drunk and other great locations in Havana. Do you want to drink with me through Havana?Read More >
As a sea and beach fan I let my days on Cuba on the beach of Varadero end. However, I got the island scooter, here you know why.Read More >
For a cup of farmer Benedito's tobacco fields and my encounter with bullheads.Read More >
From Rumräuschen, snippy receptionist and oh yes, there was still the colonial splendor and the colorful faces of Trinidad.Read More >
A stroll through Havana's Old Town from Cuban fashion trends and construction workers dancing the salsa.Read More >
Could I cruise the Malecon along Havana with the classic car?Read More >
Now travel quickly to Cuba, before the old flair disappears! Here are the most important tips!Read More >