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From lush forests to a dynamic music scene, Cuba is a country of indefinable magic. Puff on Cuban cigars or cruise down the Havana streets in a classic car for a true taste of the good life.

Best Time to Visit

Best places to visit, attractions, must-see attractions.

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Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón

Havana's main cemetery (a national monument), one of the largest in the Americas, is renowned for its striking religious iconography and elaborate marble…

Cuba, Santiago de Cuba Province, Santiago de Cuba, Lighthouse at Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro

Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro

Santiago de Cuba

A Unesco World Heritage site since 1997, the San Pedro fort sits impregnably atop a 60m-high promontory at the entrance to Santiago harbor, 10km southwest…

Vintage car passing modern bar nestled between dilapidated Art Nouveau buildings along the Av de Malecon.

The Malecón, Havana's evocative 7km-long sea drive, is one of the city's most soulful and quintessentially Cuban thoroughfares, and long a favored meeting…

Capitolio Nacional

Capitolio Nacional

The incomparable Capitolio Nacional is Havana's most ambitious and grandiose building, constructed after the post-WWI boom ('Dance of the Millions')…

Plaza de la Catedral

Plaza de la Catedral

Habana Vieja

Habana Vieja's most uniform square is a museum to Cuban baroque, with all the surrounding buildings, including the city's beguiling asymmetrical cathedral…

Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes Magnos del Morro

Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes Magnos del Morro

Regla, Guanabacoa & the Forts

This wave-lashed fort with its emblematic lighthouse was erected between 1589 and 1630 to protect the entrance to Havana harbor from pirates and foreign…

Fusterlandia

Fusterlandia

Where does art go after Antoni Gaudí? For a hint, head west from central Havana to the seemingly low-key district of Jaimanitas, where artist José Fuster…

Museo Conjunto Histórico de Birán

Museo Conjunto Histórico de Birán

Holguín Province

Fidel Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926, at the Finca Las Manacas near the village of Birán, south of Cueto. The sprawling ranch, bought by Fidel's…

Top picks from our travel experts

Music, magic and mojitos: the 17 best things to do in cuba.

Fábrica de Arte Cubano

Fábrica de Arte Cubano

If only every city had a cultural venue as wide-ranging, inclusive and downright revolutionary as Havana’s unique art factory. The brainchild of Cuban…

In the courtyard area of the Museum of the Revolution in Old Havana, Cuba...Cuba, February 2015 before changes in U.S.-Cuba relations began. Trip via UCLA Alumni Travel

Museo de la Revolución

This emblematic museum is set in the former Presidential Palace, constructed between 1913 and 1920 and used by a string of Cuban presidents, culminating…

Comandancia de la Plata

Comandancia de la Plata

Granma Province

Topping a crenelated mountain ridge amid thick cloud forest, this pioneering camp was established by Fidel Castro in 1958 after a year on the run in the…

Cuartel Moncada

Cuartel Moncada

Santiago's famous Moncada Barracks, a crenelated art deco building completed in 1938, is now synonymous with one of history's greatest failed putsches…

Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra

Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra

Comprising a sublime mountainscape of verdant peaks and humid cloud forest, and home to honest, hardworking campesinos (country folk), Gran Parque…

Planning Tools

Expert guidance to help you plan your trip.

Best Things to Do

Get ready to uncover the buoyant and sophisticated magic of Cuba. Here are the top things to do on your visit.

Things to Know

Cuba can confuse even hardened travelers. Here's everything you need to know before you go.

Transportation

Want to travel around in Cuba? See the best of the island with our guide to transportation.

Visa Requirements

Travelers often have questions about the visa process for Cuba and whether US citizens can even visit. Here’s our guide to Cuba’s visa requirements.

Money and Costs

You can still see the best of Cuba even without a huge budget. Here are our tips on getting the most out of your money.

Traveling with Kids

If you’re looking to travel to Cuba with kids, you’ll find music, carnivals, watersports, horse riding, classic American car rides and much more.

Best Road Trips

From beaches to mountains to historic cities and more, these road trips around Cuba offer access to the best of this enchanting island.

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Ultimate Guide to Travel to Cuba (2024 Update)

Cuba is well known for its white sand beaches, delicious rum, and world-famous cigars… but you might be surprised learn just how much Cuba has to offer travelers. From incredible hiking destinations and wildlife preserves to fascinating historical sites and modern art galleries, Cuba is so much more than most visitors expect.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about who can travel to Cuba (hint: yes, Americans can travel to Cuba ! ) and how to travel to Cuba. Thankfully, Cuba travel is easy for just about anyone.

In this ultimate guide to travel to Cuba, we’re covering a ll the details about how to travel to Cuba, the best things to do in Cuba, and why you need to add Cuba to your travel bucket list .

Plus, keep reading for all the inside tips we’re sharing about what to pack for your trip, and what to leave at home.

travel to cuba guide

This post contains affiliate links that may reward me monetarily or otherwise when you use them to make qualifying purchases – at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, please read our  disclosure policy .

Cuba at a Glance

Who can travel to cuba.

Everyone can travel to Cuba! – even U.S. citizens or citizens of other countries traveling through the United States. U.S. citizens are required by the United States government to only spend money at private businesses (rather than government-run establishments) while there – which is quite easy to do.

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Travel to Cuba from the United States

Cuba uses the Cuban peso , valued at 24 pesos to $1 USD . However, since 2021 Cuba has been experiencing high inflation, and the official exchange rate is much lower than the one you’ll find if you exchange your money with a moneychanger.

Read More: Currency in Cuba: Ultimate Guide to Changing and Using the Cuban Peso

Spanish is the only language spoken in Cuba, with English occasionally spoken in the tourism industry . Download Google Translate before your trip to help. Check out our guide to the apps you’ll need for travel in Cuba for more recommendations.

Cuba is known for being an extremely safe country , much safer than most other places in Latin America or the Caribbean.

Take precautions that would generally when traveling – don’t be excessively flashy with jewelry, hold on to your stuff well in crowded areas, etc. You can find more Tips for Visiting Cuba like these from a fellow traveler here.

Electricity

Some areas of Cuba use 110V electricity while others use 220V electricity , and you’ll find a mix of plug types in different places around the island. We recommend bringing along a universal travel adapter and electrical converter so you can use your devices while there.

Internet in Cuba isn’t everywhere yet, but it is generally easy to access , although slower than you may be used to. We wrote a complete guide to using the internet in Cuba with all the details.

We recommend using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when using the internet in Cuba. Check out our complete guide to using a VPN in Cuba for more details.

Required Insurance for Travelers

Cuba requires that all travelers show proof of travel insurance coverage upon arrival. We recommend Visitors Coverage for American and Canadian citizens and World Nomads for those of other nationalities.

Read More : Ultimate Guide to Cuba’s Travel Insurance Requirements

Our Most Popular Cuba Guides

  • How to Legally Travel to Cuba from the United States (It’s Easy!)
  • Ultimate Guide to Havana, Cuba
  • Ultimate Guide to Varadero Beach, Cuba
  • How to Get the Tourist Visa to Cuba
  • Cuba’s Required Travel Insurance: What You Need and How to Get It

cuba trinidad

Weather in Cuba

A tropical country, Cuba has two seasons: the wet season and the dry season . The heat will generally dip slightly in the winter months (November through April) , but not much.

While the dry season generally attracts more tourists, the weather is perfect for a visit. May is a good time to visit as well, with the weather still nice and fewer tourists.

Dry Season: November – April

Wet Season: May – October

Don’t forget, Cuba occasionally experiences hurricanes . Peak hurricane season is from mid-August through mid-October.

Peak Tourist Season

Peak tourist season in Cuba lasts from early December through the end of March. Peak tourist season generally starts with a huge spike around the holiday season , when many Cubans living abroad come home to visit family.

Visiting around Christmas and New Year is when I’ve seen the greatest price increase in the price of flights and accommodations across the island – try to avoid these weeks if you can.

Best Things to Do in Cuba

Visit havana.

The craziest and most beautiful city in the world in our most humble opinion, Havana is like no other place on the planet.

Many say it’s stuck in the 1950s, but they couldn’t be more wrong – Havana holds on to its history beautifully while moving forward in a wholly modern way that will leave you enchanted.

Some of the best things to do in the city include exploring Old Havana , taking in the view over the city at the Cristo de la Habana , and ending the night with a drink and a show at the Fábrica de Arte Cubano .

Planning A Trip to Havana?

Check out our travel guides for insider information:

  • Ultimate Travel Guide to Havana, Cuba
  • Where to Stay in Havana
  • The Best Airbnbs and Casa Particular Rentals in Old Havana
  • The Best Airbnbs and Casa Particular Rentals in Vedado
  • The Best Cafes in Havana and The Best Brunch in Havana

Visit Cuba’s Beaches

Cuba is known for having some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Not only that, but many of them are as close to virgin, untouched beaches as you can still find in the Caribbean, which makes for an unmatched experience.

Check out our guide to the Top 10 Best Cuban Beaches to help you choose which to add to your itinerary.

The Beaches of Holguin

The province of Holguin is home to some of Cuba’s best beaches – Guardalavaca, Playa Pesquero, and Playa Esmeralda. Check out our ultimate guide to Holguin, Cuba for more details. 

Varadero is the best-known beach in Cuba due to its proximity to Havana – it’s the perfect getaway from Havana for those looking to spend time in both the city and at the beach. If you’re picturing crystal clear waters and white sand , you’re thinking of Varadero.

While Varadero has a built-up infrastructure so you’ll have everything you’d want at your fingertips, there are also areas of Varadero where you can still get a slice of the beach all to yourself.

Read More: Ultimate Guide to Varadero, Cuba  

Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo

This incredible pair of ‘cayos’ aka ‘keys’ located on the north shore of Cuba are served by their own international airport and have about a dozen large international hotel chains between them.

They’re some of the most underrated islands in the Caribbean .

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive beach experience, I recommend checking out these two keys and some of the incredible hotels they have to offer. The beaches here are truly pristine – some of the best beaches in Cuba .

Playa Ancón – Trinidad, Cuba

Playa Ancon is known as one of the most beautiful beaches on the southern part of the island, and is close to Trinidad, Cuba , an absolute colonial gem of a city that will take your breath away.

If you’re looking to get outside of Havana and Varadero track, which most travelers visit, we definitely recommend considering Trinidad and Playa Ancon!

Ride in A Classic American Car

The cars in Cuba are absolutely enchanting. While they’ve been kept on the road mostly out of necessity, it makes for a car-lover’s dream to see city streets packed with them.

A ride in a vintage convertible along Havana’s famous Malecón sea wall is a must while in Cuba.

Visit A Tobacco Farm in Viñales

Get up close and personal with one of Cuba’s most famous exports in Viñales , at the heart of the best tobacco-growing region in the country.

Here you can travel by horseback to beautiful tobacco farms where you’ll learn about how tobacco is grown, dried, and formed into world-famous cigars.

Viñales is also one of the most beautiful places in Cuba – this stunning valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Center . It’s an unforgettable way to see a stunning area of the country while this excursion!

What to Pack for Cuba

Check out our  Ultimate Cuba Packing List   to help you pack for your trip – we’re sharing exactly what to bring to Cuba and what we never travel without.

old havana cuba

Learn About the Cuban Revolution

Cuba is so much more than the Cuban Revolution! The evidence of the revolution is everywhere, certainly, but there is so much more you’ll see and learn here as you meet the people, try the food, and see the art here in Cuba.

Make sure to visit these sites if you’re interested in learning more about the Cuban Revolution:

  • Plaza de la Revolución in Havana
  • Comandancia de la Plata in the Sierra Maestra mountains , the mountain base where Fidel and his band of revolutionaries launched their attacks
  • Museo de la Revolución , a former presidential palace converted into the Museum of the Revolution in Havana. You’ll find American tanks captured in the attack on the Bay of Pigs behind the museum.

Learning more about the Revolution can be absolutely fascinating for visitors, and a great way to understand more of what you’re seeing and experiencing.

Make sure to check out this free walking tour in Havana focused on the Revolution as a fantastic way to learn more about what you’ll see in Cuba!

Want to learn more?

We made a list of a few books to read and movies to watch to inspire your travel and help you learn more about Cuba, past and present. Check them out before you go to learn more about the Cuban Revolution and much more.

  • Books to Read Before You Travel to Cuba
  • Movies to Watch Before You Travel to Cuba

Top Activities in Cuba

This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Cuba has to offer.

Make sure to check out our complete guide to the best travel experiences and activities in Cuba – totally travel-restriction compliant for travelers from the United States!

Where To Stay in Cuba

Casa particularles.

Casas Particulares – or, guest houses – are a fantastic option for staying in Cuba. You can find an amazing selection of rentals of all kinds, from luxury beach houses to staying with a family in a spare bedroom or renting a simple city apartment.

Not only do rentals usually get you a lot more for your money, but you’re supporting small business in Cuba and you’ll get a much richer cultural experience.

We’ve always had the best luck searching with, ironically, Hotels.com .

Despite their name, Hotels.com actually has a great selection of guest houses, private apartments, and Airbnbs for rent – with the best selection for Cuba!

Casa Particular Guides:

  • Best Casas Particulares in Old Havana
  • Best Casas Particulares in Vedado, Havana
  • Best Casas Particulares in Viñales, Cuba
  • Best Casas Particulares in Holguin, Cuba

Airbnb is one of the most popular platforms for finding rentals, but plenty of others exist as well and many people rent their listings across multiple platforms.

While we always recommend staying in a casa particular over a hotel, there are more and more amazing options in Cuba these days.

There are several new luxury hotels in Havana and in Cuba’s beach towns, but I recommend the boutique hotels like this one which can be just as luxurious and offer a more personalized stay.

All-Inclusive Resorts

There are many all inclusive resorts in Cuba, especially from companies like Iberostar and Melia , and they’re especially lovely ones located in Varadero and the Cayos – the Keys – on the northern coast of Cuba.

Cuba Accommodation Guides

  • Where to Stay in Viñales, Cuba
  • Where to Stay in Holguin, Cuba

havana cuba

Cuba can be a tough place to pack for – you’ll probably be combining time in the city, on the beach, or in the countryside.

Plus, there are a lot of things you just WON’T be able to find in Cuba no matter how hard you look, meaning you need to plan ahead!

We created an  ultimate packing list for Cuba  – so make sure to click through to this list to see all of our recommendations for packing (for men and women), plus important travel essentials!

Cuba Travel Essentials

  • CASH – if you’re a U.S. citizen, you won’t have access to debit or credit cards while in Cuba . Check out our guide to traveling with cash in Cuba for more details.
  • SteriPen – purify water from any source so you won’t get sick!
  • Water Bottle (with water filter!)
  • S-Biner locks for backpacks and purses while out and about
  • Luggage locks
  • Comfortable and lightweight basics – I love Los Angeles Apparel clothes for travel, especially to Cuba. These high-quality basics are perfect for layering, and mixing and matching for traveling light (PLUS they’re ethically produced in the United States).
  • Go Toobs are the BEST for bringing toiletries.
  • Make a mini first-aid kit with a few bandaids, aspirin, triple antibiotic, and alka seltzer just in case!
  • Reef-safe sunscreen
  • Light clothing that will keep you cool in the sun
  • Comfortable shoes – get ready for a lot of cobblestones and uneven sidewalks
  • Feminine Hygiene Products- I have NEVER been able to find tampons in Cuba – and the period products I have had to purchase there are incomparably bad. Absolutely come prepared, ladies!
  • A electrical plug adapter and converter
  • A tablet (we love the Amazon Fire !) pre-download some audiobooks and any TV shows or movies you’ll want to watch while you’re in Cuba… internet speeds in Cuba will make downloads slower than you’re used to or impossible.
  • A spare memory card for your camera – also something that can be extremely challenging to find in Cuba!
  • NordVPN or another Virtual Private Network service . Not a physical product, but something you shouldn’t travel without! Check out our guide to using a VPN in Cuba , and our guide to using a VPN for international travel .

Carley Rojas Avila

Carley Rojas Avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Home to Havana and Explorers Away. She is a serial expat and traveler, having visited 40+ countries and counting. Carley has written for publications like Travel + Leisure, MSN, Associated Press, Weather Channel, Wealth of Geeks, and more. Find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.

The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

Cuba Travel Guide

Your ultimate cuba travel guide, with tips, things to do, and best things to see in cuba. great for first-time and returning travelers..

Located on the largest island of the Caribbean, Cuba is a very popular tourist destination and for good reason.

Cuba is home to beautiful white-sand beaches, impressive rainforests and waterfalls, vibrant culture, and lively cities .

Due to various trade restrictions over the years, Cuba has many described by many as like walking into a time capsule and is now a unique blend of the past and present, where vintage cars roam around colorful historic buildings and towns.

The birthplace of salsa music, Cuba is also full of rhythm. Add in its sub-tropical climate, and it is a great place to vacation.

This Cuba travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.

Popular Guides

  • Things to do in Havana
  • Cuba Photos

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Table of contents

Table of Contents

Fast Facts about Havana

  • Power voltage is 110V-220V at 60 Hz. Type A, B, C, and L.
  • Cuba’s two currencies are the Cuban Peso and the Cuban Convertible Peso, mainly used for tourists.
  • 1 Cuban Convertible Peso is equal to 1 USD.
  • The best way to get around Cuba is by bus or taxi. If taking a taxi, make sure the taxi is licensed before riding.
  • You need a tourist card to enter Cuba, as well as a passport that is valid for two months after your trip ends. The tourist card allows you to stay in Cuba for up to 30 days.
  • The most popular cellular networks in Cuba are Cubacel and Digicel and both offer SIM cards. It should be noted the SIM cards can only be used on unlocked GMS phones. To rent a SIM card, you need a passport and your IMEI (phone ID) number.
  • Cuba has a sales tax rate of 2% on wholesale sales and a 10% rate on both retail sales and services.
  • SIM Cards : Cuba has very limited Internet and the best bet for visiting Cuba is to unplug, relax and if you have to, use your hotel’s limited WiFi for emergencies.
  • It is advisable to download offline maps and any apps offline that you use to travel.

Things to See and Do in Cuba

  • Hike Through Sierra Maestra:  Cuba’s largest mountain range and the start point of the Cuban Revolution. Take a tour to learn more about Cuba’s history and enjoy a beautiful hike and great mountain views.
  • Varadero Beach:  Visit this pristine and popular beach in Sol Palmeras. Walk through the sand, swim in the clear waters, get to know other tourists or locals, or simply relax and take in the beautiful views.
  • Old Havana:  Old Havana is the city center of Havana is considered a crucial part of any trip to Cuba. Stroll through one-of-a-kind historic streets and buildings to see the history of Cuba.
  • Tropicana Club:  Head to the famous Tropicana Club for some great nightlife entertainment. Get dinner and enjoy the thrilling cabaret show that’s been running since the 1930s, featuring lively song and dance numbers.  

Cuba Travel Guides

  • 36 Fantastic Things to do in Havana, Cuba

Accommodation

Budget:  Cuba offers family-run bed and breakfasts (or casas particulares) for around 15 to 25 pesos per night.  

Mid-Range:  For mid-range hotels, expect to pay roughly 70-130 pesos per night.

High-End:  Upscale hotels will cost about 150-250 pesos per night.

Check out our favorite booking platforms Booking.com , Tripadvisor and VRBO for the best deals on accommodation.

If you’re on a budget, you can find options for pizza or spaghetti at around 3-4 pesos each.

Coffee lovers can find delicious cups of coffee for around 0.10 pesos. Restaurants are a good way to learn more about Cuban cuisine.

Expect to pay around 10-15 pesos for a meal at a restaurant. 

The Best Ways to Get Around Cuba

Getting to cuba:.

Getting to Cuba:  While there are 10 international airports in Cuba, the Aeropuerto Internacional José Martí in Havana is the main one, with the Gualberto Gómez International Airport in Varadero being a close second.

Flights:  You can check for the best flights to Cuba on  Skyscanner .

Transportation:

Transportation:  Look for the Viazul buses, which are made especially for tourists and feature air-conditioning. Great for long distances, you can travel from Trinidad to Havana in six hours for just 25 pesos.

You will want to arrive at the station in advance to get a spot.

Trains : The train system in Cuba runs the length of the island and is a good way to meet the locals.

Go from Havana to Santa Clara for just 20 pesos, or from Santa Clara to Santiago de Cuba for 50 pesos. Be advised that the trains only run every few days, so planning ahead is key.

Taxis:   Taxis are an alternative way to get around Cuba.

Fares start at 1 peso as a flat rate and increase by 1 peso for each kilometer traveled.

To travel from Old Havana to Miramar, for example, costs 8 to 12 pesos.

Car Rental:   It is possible to rent a car in Cuba, but it is expensive and can be convoluted. Take care when you do. Check rates and availability here.

When to go To Cuba

Between November and April is the most popular time to go to Cuba, as temperatures range from 78 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and skies tend to be blue.

You can find higher temperatures (up to 90 degrees) and lower hotel rates in August but note that hurricane season is between August through October. 

Where to Stay in Cuba

Iberostar Grand Packard  – Located on the Malecon and walking distance to Old Havana, this is the premier place to stay in Cuba.

Hostal Las Palmas :One of the most highly rated bed and breakfasts in Trinidad. Explore Trinidad and the Playa Ancon beach, which are both close by.

Suite Florencia :  Built-in 1940, this colonial house turned hotel in Santa Clara is right in the middle of everything. Descend the white marble staircase into this romantic hotel.

Enjoy beautiful views of Santa Clara from your room, or roam about Santa Clara and visit the nearby restaurants and bars.

What to Pack for Cuba

Cuba has a tropical climate so you can count on it being hot and humid.

  • Swimsuit:  With Cuba”>
  • Sunscreen:  Protect your skin from the powerful sun with some sunscreen.  
  • Cash:  As you may not be able to withdraw money from your bank accounts while in Cuba, make sure to bring an appropriate amount of cash based on what you think you’ll spend.
  • We didn’t have a problem withdrawing from ATMs in Havana, but it is better to be safe

Cuba Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources

Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.

We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.

  • Booking.com : This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It usually has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
  • Trip Advisor :  What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
  • VRBO : is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
  • Hostelworld :  With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
  • Skyscanner : This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
  • Rome 2 Rio :  If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs.I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
  • Get Your Guide:  For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
  • World Nomads Insurance:  When traveling to Italy you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.

Cuba Travel Guide: Related Articles

To browse all our articles and guides about Cuba Click Here.

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Cuba Tours & Vacations

Vibrant architecture and vintage cars of Havana, Cuba

Behind the hum of vintage cars, pastel hues of 16th-century buildings and wafts of cigar smoke, the real Cuba shines bright.

A country caught in a cultural time warp,   Cuba   is a bright snapshot of the mid-20th century; a true feast for the senses. Watch as Cadillacs roll down the coastal boulevards, walk through traditional tobacco plantations in Vinales and see cigar production in full swing, laze on the shores of the   Caribbean   on some of the world’s whitest sands, and feel the sultry and spicy vibes of salsa as you dance the night away in Havana. With all of this on offer in one of the world’s best climates, what’s stopping you from checking out Cuba’s kaleidoscope of color and charisma?

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Cuba at a glance

Capital city.

Havana (population 2.1 million)

11.3 million

(GMT-05:00) Bogota, Lima, Quito, Rio Branco

CALLING CODE

Electricity.

Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)

Learn more about Cuba

Culture and customs.

With   Spanish ,   African   , and Creole influences, modern Cuba is home to so many cultural components – some of which don’t feel super ‘modern’ at all!

You won’t be surprised that Cubans love music and dancing – with everything from Afro-Cuban rhythms to classic melodies filling the air in clubs, bars, restaurants, and on street corners. The modern arts are also alive here, with ballet, contemporary dance, and film rising in popularity – so much so, Havana is now home to internationally recognized film, literature, and music festivals.

Living in a Communist country means Cubans sometimes go without the luxury items that many Westerners take for granted, with certain foods and consumer goods not available. Despite this, events like birthdays, holidays, and marriages are celebrated with gusto, with special meals, music, and dance featuring. This love of life is also evident in the street parties, festivals, and fiestas that are celebrated throughout the year. Coffee, cigars, and rum flow freely, and people dance to the sound of trumpets and guitars in city streets.

Life in the cities and life in rural areas can be quite different, but the pace of living is consistently Cuban – you’re on local time now, so go with the flow. Experience Cuban culture on our 8 day Beautiful Cuba trip.

History and government

Ancient history.

Before the arrival of the Spanish in 1492, Cuba was home to Mesoamerican cultures, including the indigenous Guanajatabey and Taino people. The Guanajatabey were hunter-gatherers and fishers, and Taino communities also harvested yuca, cotton, and tobacco. Spanish colonialist Bartolome de las Casas estimated that Taino populations in Cuba had reached 350,000 by the end of the 15th century.

By then, Christopher Columbus had landed in Cuba and claimed the land for   Spain, naming it Isla Juana. In 1511, Diego Velazquez de Cuellar founded Baracoa, the first Spanish settlement in Cuba, and three years later what’s now known as Havana was built.

20th century

In 1902, after periods under Spanish, British, and United States rule and involvement in the Spanish–American war, Cuba got its independence. Despite the economy booming, leaders at this time ruled through corruption and control. This was until revolutionary Fidel Castro led a 9000-strong guerrilla army into Havana in 1959, forcing military dictator Fulgencio Batista to flee. Castro became the leader and his brother, Raul, his deputy. What followed was an attempt by the United States to overthrow Castro’s communist rule at the Bay of Pigs, and tension and trade embargoes following the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Standing alongside Castro as an equally prominent political figure, Che Guevara (although Argentinean) holds a very important place in Cuban history. A revolutionary, author, doctor, and military leader, Guevara played a pivotal role in the guerrilla campaign leading up to the Cuban Revolution and the defense of the Bay of Pigs, as well as in diplomatic relations, up until his death in 1967. It’s impossible not to notice the reverence for Guevara when visiting Cuba, with street art, statues, and museums dedicated to the man Cubans simply call ‘El Che’ found all over the country.

In April 2011 Fidel Castro was succeeded as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba by his brother Raul Castro. Cuba’s political relationship with other countries, including its close neighbors, is ever-evolving, with the US recently beginning to ease restrictions on trade, tourism, and other industries. But a snapshot of 50 years of isolation remains in the cars, architecture, and culture that is a contemporary Cuban street. Learn about Cuba's fascinating past on our 15 day Best of Cuba adventure.

Eating and drinking

Cuba may not have culinary fame compared to some of its neighbors, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on some great food during your time here. Cuba typically doesn’t have access to a wide range of ingredients, so your dining experience may not be as varied as you’d expect from some other   nearby destinations. Regardless, there are some Central American favorites that are definitely worth trying. Try out the local cuisine on our 8 day Cuba Highlights tour.

What to eat in Cuba

Pastelitos These small pastries can be either sweet or savory. Cream cheese, guava, and beef are the most popular fillings and make for a cheap, tasty meal on the run. Think empanadas, Cuban style.

Cuban sandwich Otherwise known as a mixto, this sandwich is a simple snack that has made its way north into Florida and has become one of the quintessential images of Cuban food beyond its borders. Ham, pork, cheese, mustard, and sometimes salami layered between bread and grilled – what’s not to like?

Ropa vieja Not only is this one of the national dishes of Cuba, but it’s also found all over the Caribbean, in Spain, and even the Philippines! It may literally translate to ‘old clothes’, but that’s definitely not what it tastes like – slow-cooked pulled beef with vegetables, usually served with maduros (fried plantains), black beans, and rice.

Fritura de maiz These deep-fried cheese and cornmeal fritters are popular street food snacks in Cuba. A great choice for vegetarians; throw a couple of these back and you’ll be feeling the Cuban spirit.

Moros y cristianos

Rice and beans is ot just rice and beans. Black beans and white rice are added to a base of peppers, garlic, and onion and simmered with herbs, creating a flavorful addition to any meal and served up at virtually every Cuban restaurant you'll come across.

If you're a little bit peckish and are on the go, seek out some tostones. These twice-fried plantain chips are very popular in a lot of Latin America countries and are an easy (and often cheap) snack.

Although flan is known all around Central and South America as an essential dessert, Cuban flan has a slightly different spin. It's made with evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, giving it a thicker and creamier caramel custard finish than fresh milk varities. Get ready for a seriously delicious sugar high.

Coppelia ice cream Line up with locals to savor a sweet scoop from Coppelia ice cream parlor. This Cuban institution serves tried and true flavors like chocolate and vanilla as well as exotic favorites like mango and coconut.

What to drink in Cuba

Rum The tipple of choice in Cuba is rum, obviously. Savour some Havana Club straight up, have it mixed in a minty mojito, or sip on a Cuba Libre – rum, cola, and lime.

Coffee Cuban coffee is of legendary quality, so be sure to get your caffeine hit with a small but rich cup of liquid gold. Drink it like the locals do, as a cafecito or Cafe Cubano. This type of espresso-style coffee is usually sweetened with raw cane sugar and stirred in with the first drips of espresso to get the best result.

Geography and environment

This island nation sitting in the Caribbean Sea is home to a diverse range of environments: rolling hills to tobacco plantations, beaches, and coral reefs to tropical rainforests. With more than 20% of the island covered with natural parks, there's incredible biodiversity, making it a great place for eco-adventures, hiking, snorkeling, and diving.

Large cities like Havana evoke a time gone by. Grand buildings dating back to the 1950s exude a fading beauty, which makes for great photographs but can also make daily life quite difficult. Due to a lack of building materials, new housing, and infrastructure are rare, making living conditions quite cramped for Cuban city dwellers. Rural life offers more space and a quieter pace, but reduced access to services. Regardless of where you holiday in Cuba, the people are generally kind and hospitable in both the big cities and small towns. Wander the magnificent landscapes, both natural and manmade, on our 8 day One Week in Cuba adventure.

Cuba may not be known for its shopping, but look closely and you’ll find lots of unique souvenirs to take home as a reminder of your holiday. Before heading home, check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to import some items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand, for example, have strict quarantine laws. The United States also has restrictions on the amount of tobacco and alcohol that can be brought back from Cuba.

What to buy

Art Cuba has a keen appreciation of the fine arts, so it’s not hard to find unique artworks by up-and-coming local artists being sold at galleries and markets. It also makes for a meaningful memento of your time away.

Cigars The cliche is unsurprisingly true – cigars are everywhere in Cuba. Be sure to buy cigars from authorized sellers, as fakes are common. Purchasing straight from the factory is usually best.

Coffee Cuban coffee is top quality, so stock up before you leave to enjoy a taste of Cuba in the comfort of your own home. Do check, however, if your country of origin allows plant-based materials to pass through quarantine.

Music With such a rich musical heritage, Cuba is a great place to pick up a hand-crafted instrument or, if traveling light, a CD or a local artist’s info to add to your playlist.

Do some serious souvenir shopping on our 8 day Premium Cuba tour.

Festivals and events

Havana international jazz festival.

Local and international artists head to Havana every January to become a part of the happening jazz scene. From the impressive Teatro Nacional de Cuba to the city streets, the sweet sounds of jazz fill the air of Havana for the duration of the festival.

Habanos Cigar Festival

In February, cigar connoisseurs gather to celebrate their love of the best cigar in the world – the Habano. With tastings, visits to plantations and factories, master classes, and cigar-rolling contests on offer, this festival will intrigue curious travelers and delight cigar enthusiasts.

Santiago de Cuba Carnival

Watch this historic city come alive in July with street parades full of vibrant costumes, drums, and dancing. This epic public celebrations date back to at least the 17th century and are held all around the country, but Santiago de Cuba hosts the biggest, brightest, and most traditional of them all.

Public holidays that may impact travel include:

Liberation Day

Victory of the Armed Forces

Anniversary of Jose Marti’s birth

Bay of Pigs Victory

National Revolutionary Festival

Anniversary of Che Guevara’s death

Independence Day

Anniversary of Camila Cienfuegos’s death

Anniversary of Antonio Maceo’s death

Please note dates of Cuba's public holidays may vary.

Similar destinations

Thinking about a trip to Cuba but still browsing other destinations? Or, maybe you've already traveled to Central America and you're looking for somewhere similar? Check out tours to neighboring locations:

Further reading

For inspiring stories to prepare you for your holiday in Cuba, check out these books:

  • Our Man in Havana   – Graham Greene
  • Before Night Falls   – Reinaldo Arenas
  • Broken Paradise   – Cecilia Samartin
  • Take Me with You   – Carlos Frias
  • Adios, Havana   – Andrew J Rodriguez
  • Blessed by Thunder: Memoir of a Cuban Girlhood   – Flor Fernandez Barrios
  • Conversations with Cuba   – C Peter Ripley
  • Havana Fever   – Leonardo Padura
  • The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love   – Oscar Hijuelos

Cuba travel FAQs

Do i need a covid-19 vaccine to join an intrepid trip.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travelers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

When is the best time to visit Cuba?

Cuba's subtropical climate is ideal for exploration, with most places catching the cool trade winds that blow in from the coast, providing pleasant year-round temperatures. June, July and August are usually the hottest months – the dry season runs from November to April and the wet season from May to October. Even in the rainy season, downpours are short and shouldn't impede travel plans. Tropical storms and hurricanes are more prevalent in September and October but rarely cause problems for travelers.

Do I need a visa to travel to Cuba?

Tourists of most nationalities require a 'Tourist Card' which is similar to a tourist visa. These can be obtained through travel agents in your home country, or directly from Cuban embassies and consulates. Depending on the airline you are traveling with to Cuba, you may also be able to purchase the tourist card at the airport from the airline on the day of your departure – please check with your airline for more information. 

If you are a US citizen, American permanent resident, or hold any type of American Visa and are considering traveling to Cuba, please refer to the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website –  travel.state.gov  – for the latest advice.  

We recommend traveling to Cuba via Canada, Europe, and South or Central America. Travelers who have been to Cuba are ineligible to participate in the ESTA Visa Wavier Program and must apply for a tourist visa to enter or transit via the United States.  

Remember to check the entry requirements for any destinations you will travel or transit through both to and from Cuba. 

The page is for general information only and may be subject to change. It is your responsibility to obtain relevant visa and travel information required for entry, departure and travel to each country or region you visit on your trip. You should confirm these with the relevant embassies and/or consulates. 

Last updated: 14/11/2023

Is tipping customary in Cuba?

As most Cubans live modest lifestyles, leaving a tip for good service is a great idea and welcomed.

There is almost always free entertainment in bars and restaurants; the musicians and singers are usually not paid by the venue, so we encourage you to tip when you have enjoyed the performance. Tour leaders, restaurant workers, hotel porters, cleaning staff and taxi drivers will appreciate a small sum – but be sure to tip in Cuban pesos as foreign currency isn’t easily exchanged in Cuba.

It’s important to carry around small denominations of currency to leave tips during your holiday, so you can tip an amount you feel comfortable with.

What is the internet access like in Cuba?

Internet access isn't widespread throughout Cuba, but availability is improving. The internet can sometimes be accessed from government departments and larger hotels, and main squares in many cities now have wi-fi accessibility. You will need to purchase an internet card from certain hotels and outlets to gain access in any location, including in public areas.

Please note that although connectivity is improving, the connection may still be slow, some websites may be censored, and the cost is typically quite high.

Can I use my cell phone while in Cuba?

Your cell phone may or may not work while in Cuba, depending on what type of phone you have. Before leaving your home country, ensure roaming is activated with your provider, but be aware that your phone may not get reception due to Cuba having the lowest cell phone network penetration in Latin America.

If you intend to activate global roaming while in Cuba, be sure to check with your service provider to find out about any fees you may incur when using this option, as sometimes this can be expensive.

What are the toilets like in Cuba?

Public toilets are rare in Cuba, but western-style flushable toilets are available in hotels, bars, and restaurants. Bringing your own toilet paper and hand soap or hand sanitizer is recommended as often these are not provided. Due to import restrictions, toilet seats can be considered a luxury and may be missing from some facilities.

Can I drink the water in Cuba?

It's not advisable to drink water from the tap in Cuba. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable bottle or canteen with filtered water if you can – your group leader will provide larger and less disposable water containers for refills on private transport days when they have the resources available. It's also best to avoid ice in drinks and to peel fruit and vegetables rather than eating washed or unwashed produce.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Cuba?

Some credit cards are accepted in Cuba (Visa and Mastercard are usually more widely accepted), although some cards linked to US banking institutions won't be accepted. Debit cards (even Visa debit) generally have problems working. We recommend you bring multiple cards from different banks to be sure you have access to funds. Ensure you also have enough cash and other forms of payment, as credit card facilities may not always be available.

What is ATM access like in Cuba?

ATMs are accessible in large cities like Havana and Santiago de Cuba but are rare and almost non-existent in other parts of Cuba. Ensure you have other payment options available in case you cannot access an ATM while traveling.

What is the weather like in Cuba?

Cuba enjoys Caribbean vibes all year round, and sits below the Tropic of Cancer, so you’ll enjoy a tropical climate with north-easterly trade winds that blow year-round.

May to October is usually considered the wet season, with higher maximum temperatures each day (around 90°F) and more sunlight each day, averaging 10 hours. September and October is hurricane season in the region, and this time of year is usually hot and overcast, with a higher chance of rainfall.

November to April is usually the drier season in Cuba, with maximum temperatures sitting around 79°F and an average of 8 hours of sunlight each day. The winter months are clearer, slightly more humid, and more comfortable than summer.

Is Cuba safe for LGBTQIA+ travelers?

Cuba has made some significant steps in recent years to ensure LGBTQIA+ rights in the country. Homosexuality is legal and accepted in Cuba, and there are some anti-discrimination laws in place for employment, service provisions, and gender identity. However, same-sex marriage recognition is still pending, and stigma still remains in some parts of society, especially in rural areas.

The Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) works to support the LGBTQIA+ community in Cuba and hosts rallies to educate and advocate.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting   Equaldex   or   ILGA   before you travel.

If you are traveling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at the time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travelers who do not wish to share a room.

Last edited: 14/11/2023

Is Cuba accessible for travellers with disabilities?

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travelers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them toward the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

As Cuba has not had the same infrastructure development as other countries, you may find some mobility challenges when traveling. Havana’s streets are often crowded, and sidewalks can at times be rugged or even nonexistent. This is the same with other cities and towns around the country. Also, a lot of public transportation isn’t geared toward travelers who use a wheelchair, so private travel may be the only option to get around.

If you do live with a visual, hearing, or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you, and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before traveling?

Absolutely. All passengers traveling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

How do I stay safe and healthy while traveling?

From Australia?

Go to: Smart Traveller

From Canada?

Go to:  Canada Travel Information

From the UK?

Go to:  UK Foreign Travel Advice

From New Zealand?

Go to:  Safe Travel

From the US?

Go to:  US Department of State

The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.

Does my trip support The Intrepid Foundation?

Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partners, Eden Reforestation Projects and World Bicycle Relief. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Eden Reforestation Projects

Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe. Find out more or make a donation World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief provides people in low-income communities with bicycles to mobilize school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas – giving them access to vital education, healthcare, and income. Donations help provide Buffalo Bicycles – specifically designed to withstand the rugged terrain and harsh environment of rural regions – to those who need them most. Find out more or make a donation

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Cuba , Opinions

What i really thought of cuba – my honest views.

Colourful Houses Havana

Table of Contents

This post may contain affiliate links to things like tours, hotels, Amazon associates and products. These help me earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

In February 2020, I took the trip of a lifetime to Cuba. 

After my 10 days in Cuba , I can safely say it wasn’t what I expected. 

Was it the funnest, most relaxing or enjoyable trip of my life?

Was it one of the most interesting trips of my life?

Is it easy to travel solo in Cuba ?

Absolutely not! In this blog, I’ll tell you what Cuba is like so you can decide whether a trip is right for you…

cuba tourism reviews

Tricky things about Cuba

1. You can’t bring Cuban money in or out of Cuba.

2. Many ATMs are out of cash. 3. US bank cards don’t work and there’s a 10% fee added to exchange of US dollars.

4. Due to economic sanctions, you can’t buy many day-to-day products like shampoo. Pack everything you need! 5. The internet barely works. You need to pick up a scratch card from an ETECSA store then log in from hotspots in public spaces. And even then it doesn’t really work. 

All these things considered, I was kind of stressed the couple of days before my trip. Because I was flying hand luggage only from Mexico (it was £150 cheaper than checking bags), I had to find everything I needed in under 100ml bottles. This meant buying empty bottles and dispensing my suncream and moisturiser.

I was also worried about money as I’d just lost my Revolut card and my only other was a MasterCard. Even though it was UK-issued, I’d heard that these sometimes aren’t accepted in ATMs as MasterCard is American. Basically, I needed to work out my Cuba budget and bring all my cash in Mexican pesos to exchange when I arrived. 

cuba tourism reviews

Arriving in Cuba

When I landed in Cuba , my airport experience was unlike any other. Havana airport looked straight out of the 1950s and was a bit of a shambles. I was told I needed a certain form to exit the airport but the desk that issued them told me I didn’t need one. With a bunch of other confused travellers, I went between the two desks trying to get myself out of the airport (in broken Spanish). It took ages! Once I finally escaped, I was greeted with the next challenge: queuing up for currency exchange. Luckily, I was the fourth person in the queue but it still took an hour. There was just one window open with a guy counting bills as slowly as he could, it seemed. I felt awful for the people at the back of the queue. If it took me an hour to move four places, it must have been dawn before the 50th person got their Cuban currency. It was midnight already so I was grateful to jump in a cab and head to my hostel. My cab was $25 for a 20-minute ride, no bargaining. Being used to $5 rides in Mexico, the Cuban prices were already hurting my head.

First impressions

The next day, I stepped out onto my balcony and looked down over the streets of Havana. The stress of my arrival dissipated. Below, locals hung out their washing and chatted in doorways of four-storey buildings as retro cars cruised by. Yep, I was actually in Havana and, over the next few days, I was to discover what Cuba is really like to visit.

cuba tourism reviews

Of course we’ve all seen the Instagram photos of Havana. Those pink Cadillacs and colourful houses.

Is it all as it seems?

Well, partly. The colourful houses exist; so do the Cadillacs. There are indeed parts of Old Havana that are truly photo paradise. But there are also backstreets upon backstreets of rundown houses, construction and piles of trash. I even heard a rumour that there are houses totally derelict inside yet the exteriors have been licked up with a pretty coat of paint. I soon learnt that aesthetics are central to Havana yet it’s not all it seems.

cuba tourism reviews

More to the point? The people. Take your eyes off the Insta facade and you’ll notice what they’re doing. Not dining in swanky Old Havana restaurants, not riding in the passenger seat of Cadillacs. I’m aware there’s a divide between tourists and locals many places in the world but I’ve never felt it stronger than in Cuba. I wanted to know more and as a result, spent much of my time in Cuba trying to work out…

What’s life like for Cubans?

In many ways, it’s tough. Firstly, monthly wages are as little as $20 USD. This is because, under communism, the government own almost everything. Although it became communist 60 years ago, this is still what Cuba is like today. Instead of restaurant owners or taxi drivers keeping their profit, they’re required to give it to the government who then pay citizens equally. At best, it’s ‘fair’ that everyone gets the same. At worst, it’s a controlling, money-hungry system nearing on dictatorship. Because wages are so low, a ration system exists. Lines stretch around the corner as people queue for basic food items.

cuba tourism reviews

Due to the nature of communism, things like education and healthcare are free. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for those things being accessible to all. But when Cuban wages are considered, they have to be. People need basic freedoms and decent wages, not just freebies.

The two currency system

This baffled me at first. When you visit Cuba as a tourist, you’ll withdraw or exchange your money into Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) which can be used to pay for accommodation, transport and meals in touristic restaurants and cafes. However, the locals are paid in a different currency: Cuban pesos (CUP). As a tourist, you can switch some CUC to CUP in a bank and benefit from the much cheaper prices of local food sold in pesos. Meals cost 5-10 CUC ($5-10) in touristic restaurants but around 20 CUP ($1) in local restaurants. 2021 update – the CUP has now been scrapped! Originally, I assumed this two currency system was to keep tourists spending at higher costs. But as someone pointed out, it’s probably more sinister than this: to prevent locals from affording luxuries. When earning and spending in CUP, it would be impossible to afford Western-style food, luxury cosmetics or really, anything that goes against communism.

3 Cuban pesos

Connection to the rest of the world

Whatsmore, Cubans are rarely able to leave Cuba. An appointment at the visa office costs around $2,000 which equals about eight years’ salary. It also won’t necessarily be granted. The situation with the internet also impacts life for Cubans. The internet isn’t heavily censored like China’s but it’s simply hard to access. Cubans can purchase mobile data but it’s so expensive that it’s impossible for many. If the Cuban government want to cut their people off from the rest of the world, they’re succeeding.

How to help?

What frustrated me about visiting Cuba was my helplessness. Yes, I could take a local cab but the driver wouldn’t get my money. I could eat in a restaurant without it reaching the family who run it. I could stay in a hotel and my money would simply be passed onto the government. During my travels around Asia and Mexico, my spending has helped local people. Unfortunately, this is not what Cuba is like. For many years, the money hasn’t trickled down.

cuba tourism reviews

What’s changing?

Things are improving, slowly. Now Airbnb is allowed in Cuba, locals can rent out their spare rooms and host tours and activities. Sadly, 60% has to be given to the government but it’s something, right? If locals can lead a tour at $20 per head and attract 15 customers per time, there’s still close to $200 dollars coming their way after deductions. The last couple of years have changed everything in Cuba as this would have been a wild dream even 10 years ago.

Attitudes of men in Cuba

Aside from my frustration at seeing how people live under communism, there was one other BIG pet peeve from my time in Cuba: Harassment from the men. I’ve travelled to many places with questionable safety reputations such as India and South Africa. People have been quick to warn me but I’ve never experienced anything but kindness and generosity from the locals. Yet, the one place where the men were actually inappropriate and creepy, no one warned me about? Before I go any further, I’ll mention that Cuba is a very safe country. The men aren’t going to hurt you (perhaps they’re too scared of their communist government). It’s all talk and bravado. That doesn’t make it right but it does mean you’re safe as a solo female traveller. Still, I felt uncomfortable and harassed during my trip to Cuba. To my fellow women travellers wondering ‘what is Cuba like for a holiday?’ I feel it my duty to warn you. Men catcalled, beeped their horns and trailed beside me seeking my attention however many times I told them to get lost. It was relentless. They weren’t aggressive or threatening. It was old-fashioned, toxic chivalry; the idea that if you compliment a woman, she should be grateful. Her tiny sense of self-worth could be based on little else, surely? She may be acting coy but you simply need to wear her down. Much as I wanted to stay out of whatever 1950s ego trip they were on, it was impossible. I fell out with a taxi driver who insisted I was being oversensitive and should feel flattered. He even managed to point out a woman being harassed on the streets, saying ‘she doesn’t mind! She knows it’s a compliment!’

Getting to know the locals

It’s shame when a few people ruin it because, aside from the creeps, I met so many lovely and friendly Cubans, both male and female. A highlight of my time in Cuba was taking a bar crawl in Havana with a 25-year old Cuban, Andito, and his buddies. Since Airbnb Experiences are now legal, they take tourists to their favourite bars and show them a vibrant, non-touristy side to Havana. Hanging out with Andito, his brother and a few of their guy and girl mates was so much fun. Really, they were just regular 25-year-olds and it was so interesting to hear about Cuba from their perspective.

cuba tourism reviews

Cubans may not live under the best government but that doesn’t stop them enjoying life. Cubans love to drink, dance and socialise. Many are loud, passionate and infectious. Perhaps the Cuban spirit is stronger for everything they’ve had to overcome.

A learning curve

I can’t deny things about Cuba were challenging but there was a lot I really enjoyed. One of the main things was the learning curve: truly seeing how life works under a completely different model of society. Aside from that, I loved Havana. I spent days wandering around, chatting to friendly locals in parks, sharing my peso pizzas with street cats and marvelling at the architecture and retro cars. And riding in one!

Classic car ride Havana

Foodies wondering what Cuba is like may be disappointed! While there were plenty of things I liked about Cuba, I wasn’t blown away by the food. Of course, that could be partly because I was coming from Mexico! There were a few dishes I enjoyed like ropa veija, a dish of pulled steak with rice, black beans and fried plantain. But for the most part, the nicer dishes with fresh ingredients were served in more touristic and pricey restaurants. Due to the ration system that many locals live with, ingredients are hard to come by. There’s a lot of preserved food like spam. During the evenings I wanted to grab something quick and affordable, I could only find limp hot dogs or ‘peso pizza’ topped with can-style meat or tuna. I hope for locals’ sake they’re able to cook better meals at home.

cuba tourism reviews

While the food wasn’t my favourite, the cocktails were! Cocktails in Cuba flow freely and are very affordable. I often drank pina coladas for $2 or less. Not only were they cheap but they were absolutely delicious.

cuba tourism reviews

Cuba is the home to the mojito and the daiquiri so I loved going to the Havana bars that invented them: La Bodeguita del Medio for mojitos and El Floridita for the original daiquiri, invented by the hotel bartender during US prohibition when many Americans would visit Cuba.

Life is not convenient

I learnt that life under Cuba’s version of communism can be hard. While it’s the least of many people’s problems, I couldn’t help but marvel at the lack of convenience. Booking a bus across the country was so complicated on a clunky website that needed your passport that I took taxis instead. There were no taxi apps since American companies are banned. You can’t get a takeaway or visit a supermarket. You can barely buy conditioner or toothpaste due to trade sanctions with the rest of the world. It made me realise how accustomed I am to convenience. Whether it’s dinner, a cab or a gift for a friend, usually when I want something, I reach for my phone and order it. In Cuba, there are no shortcuts.

I was also surprised by the cost of visiting Cuba . The worst bit was getting around. Including the return ride from the airport and a return trip to Trinidad (a smaller city in Cuba) from Havana, I spent $160 on government taxis, similar to what I’d live on in Mexico for a week! Unless you live on peso food, which isn’t tasty or nutritious, you can also spend a lot on food and drink in Cuba. I battled quite hard to find local dinners taking CUP rather than the tourist restaurants in Old Havana which only took CUC and weren’t overly different in price from eating out in the UK.

Street food Cuba

Leaving Cuba

As I left Cuba, I knew I wouldn’t forget my trip quickly. It wasn’t like anywhere I’d been before, probably because Cuba isn’t like anywhere else. For that alone, I’m so glad I got to visit and learn about Cuba first-hand, rather than from a book. But I can’t lie: I was happy on the flight from Havana to Mexico City. I was going to call an Uber and it would be a fifth of the price of a Havana taxi. Then, I would order takeaway food to my bed, browsing my options. I was going to have a feast and it would be cheap and there would be no canned ham. I was not going to be harassed on the streets. THERE WOULD BE CHEESE AND FRESH VEGGIES. THERE WOULD BE INTERNET. Leaving Cuba, I couldn’t wait for things to be available at my fingertips. Convenience. The freedom to browse and make a choice for myself. Communism is clearly not the life for me… But capitalism will destroy Planet Earth in even less time. What are we gunna do?

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I hope you have a better idea of what Cuba is like to visit and whether you should take a trip!

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Rose is a solo traveller from the UK who has been on the road since 2015. She wants to show other women that solo travel isn't scary and doesn't have to be expensive! Rose has lived in Mexico, Canada and all over Asia, seeking out food, bubble tea and street art wherever she goes!

8 thoughts on “ What I Really Thought of Cuba – My Honest Views ”

cuba tourism reviews

Dear Rose: Most of what you report is true. However, you have olly según the Cuban learning curve. You should have brought Euros to exchange. Next since you were traveling lite, you could have taken the bus like the cubans do from the airport to the main road Boyeros and take a machina(shared)and arrive at central Park in the Habana vieja by the Capital building for less than $2-. Taxis are to be avoided or share at the airport with luggage. Also of you don’t want all the attention from the cuban male, die your hair! Most latinos give “Rubios ” todo much attention!

cuba tourism reviews

Hi Jim. I considered Euros but thought I would might lose out in the exchange of Mexican Pesos – Euros – Cuban Pesos. Thanks for the bus tips, I’ll have to use them if I ever go back 🙂 However I won’t be dying my hair to appease men on a 10 day trip haha

cuba tourism reviews

Rosa, I’m a Canadian man in my 60s. I live in Havana in the winter because I love the people here, but you’re absolutely right, Cuba is not friendly to budget travel. The government wants to keep tourists in respets where they can squeeze them for foreign currency and not meet locals who will soon disillusion you about communism. Convenience is unhesrd of here. And the culture is,quite macho although recently the government has made efforts to encouage more respect for LGBTQ+ people, but that’s a,work in progress. As another commenter pointed out you are blonde and foreign making you a very attractive potential partner. If you’ve watched cuban music videos you’ll catch the pervasive gender stereotypes right away, but if you tell someone ‘no moleste me’/don’t bug me, they’ll back off. Because you were travelling on a budget you saw real Cuba and Cubans on your first outing. Good for you..Life here is not pleasant for Cubans and yet they persist in their joie de vivre with the charscteristic courage I love. But as you say Mexico is equally beautiful has more conveniences, and better food. I do find it more dangerous.

Hey Giles, thanks for your comment. You’re right: it isn’t budget-friendly, nor convenient and there aren’t great attitudes towards women due to the macho culture. I am glad to hear they are making efforts for LGBTQ+ people, however, and hope this continues! Saying all this, I am so glad I did get to see the real Cuba like you say… It’s truly a unique place and I’m glad I got to visit in Feb 2020 before the world went crazy. Ohh, Mexico is wonderful isn’t it. The food!!

cuba tourism reviews

Hi there, This is by far the best and most honest review I’ve read regarding Cuba. I’m due to travel out there for 2 weeks for my honeymoon (initially in Havana) May I ask 1) Who did you do the bar crawl with? 2) In your experience, are women harrassed less if they’re with a male? I have zero tolerance for this and fear I may lose my temper. 3) Any recommendations or things you wish you had avoided or done in Havana? Thank you.

Hi Matt glad you found my review & hope it can prepare you for your trip. The bar crawl was with Cuba Bar Hop; you can find them on Airbnb Experiences. Regarding harassment of women, I couldn’t say for sure as I was only by myself however I would presume it’s less if she’s with a man. Nothing major comes to mind for Havana, my favourite thing was just relaxing and wandering around soaking up the atmosphere so I’d say leave as much time for that as possible. Enjoy!

cuba tourism reviews

A really good and honest review – I’m currently here after cutting my 2 week trip down to just 1 week. As a group of 3 males we honestly didn’t find the people particularly friendly or helpful. Most the times many of the Cuban people didn’t seem to like us tourists for whatever reason. Often they seemed quite rude – some were ok but I wouldn’t say too friendly. They try to over charge us for everything they can possibly get away with and overall it was quite a disappointing trip. Sure there were some nice sights – cars, buildings and scenery etc but after a week we had, had enough. Varadero beach was ok but I wouldn’t say the best in the world like some people would have you believe. I certainly wouldn’t be rushing back here. Much better and more enjoyable places to visit.

Yeah I feel you! Hope you enjoy your next trip more 🙂

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Cuba Tour & Trip Reviews

29 reviews Average rating 4.7 9 trips

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Cuba Libre!

The Cuba Libra trip was not as described in the brochure. Far too much time tra...

Out of all the major UK adventure travel companies, the Explore Cuba Libre! trip gave the widest scope to experience the island in one trip. I took the opportunity t...

Too many hours, day after day, was spent trapped on the bus. Spent 2 nights at an all inclusive resort, which was very noisy and filled with drunk Canadians. What we...

Trusted Customer

An excellent trip, pretty full on but well worth it - highlights included walking in the mountains, exploring Havana and soaking up the amazing scenery. Well worth i...

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My only problem on this trip was caused by Explore. Your change of advice on taking money to Cuba meant I ran out of cash and was unable to use ATM's as they were no...

Overall trip was fine , tourleader could have explained how difficult the first walk was.

Overall it was a good adventure, the home stay was disappointing, very little interaction.

Have used Explore holidays now on 5 occasions and am always happy with my experience. The itinerary for Cuba Libre was extensive and gave us a real opportunity to pa...

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Exploring Cuba's Culture, History, and Colonial Cities

Exploring Cuba's Culture, History, and Colonial Cities

The overall trip was great but the travelling in the bus needs to be reviewed

Vinales, Trinidad & Haciendas all great. Eastern Cuba not worth the amount of driving. Overall food very poor - food hygiene a problem. 80% of group had signific...

Some Highlights of trip excellent let down by poor food and Gene...

The second weeks' walks in the highlands, also visiting Trinidad.

I was not met at the airport despite booking the flight through E...

Badly designed tour run by Cuban government tourism ...

Was a great trip with good itinerary

Trinidad and the Casa Particular.. My rooftop accommodation was charming and our hosts were gracious. Having a free day to explore Havana at the end of the trip gav...

A varied set of experiences across different areas of Cuba.

Explore always delivers, a very full on Cuban experience, you need to be fit to enjoy the trekking up in the mountains and good walking boots and sticks are advised....

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Most trip reviews tend to focus on some or all of these 5 key areas, not all of which may be relevant to you: the tour guide, travel company, service level, country or countries traveled in, and the trip itinerary.

Remember, just because you see a 1 star review doesn’t necessarily mean that person disliked the country.

Reviews for Cuba travel are a pretty mixed bag. The tourism infrastructure in Cuba is still fragile and traveling in the country requires some flexibility and a true sense of adventure in order to get the most out of the experience.

Having an experienced tour leader in Cuba is essential, and this largely affects whether Cuba tours are rated highly or poorly. Most reviewers credit their tour guide and the company for opening doors to seeing what the Cuban culture is really like.

For American travelers, if your expectation is to travel to Cuba and sit under palm trees on the beach, you will be sorely disappointed. Some travel restrictions are still in place for US citizens, and you must satisfy one of 12 broad categories in order to visit. While a day on the beach may very well be included on your tour, you need to be ready for more cultural activities as well.

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Can Americans Travel to Cuba?

By Tony Perrottet

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Even in 2024, the question “can Americans travel to Cuba?” is still frequently asked among US travelers. Few destinations create such simultaneous longing and confusion as this crocodile-shaped island only 95 miles south of Key West . It has held a mythic status since the early 20th century for its vibrant mix of Latin and Caribbean cultures, its hundreds of miles of pristine beaches , its African-influenced music, and its vintage charm; today, Chevrolets and Buicks from the ’50s rattle down Spanish colonial streets in Old Havana that have hardly changed since Ernest Hemingway was knocking back mojitos there.

Yet Cuba has long been a metaphorical forbidden fruit due to political rifts. A web of travel restrictions imposed in the 1960s made it difficult for Americans to make the journey, an idea that still lingers today. And while the limits on tourism were largely lifted in 2016, many still find the prospect daunting.

For some insider knowledge, I spoke to Johnny Considine, founder of the travel agency Cuba Private Travel , a Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist , and a long-term resident of Havana. We discussed the steps American travelers need to take when visiting Cuba, as well as the best times to go, what to see, and more.

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Tony Perrottet

The writer of this article, Tony Perrottet, is a travel journalist and the author of six books, among them Cuba Libre!: Che, Fidel, and the Improbable Revolution That Changed World History . He has visited Cuba about twenty times.

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Commercial flights run daily from Miami to Havana, a must-visit city “for its vibrant energy, beautiful harbor, Spanish colonial city center, and Art Deco relics,” says Considine.

Can Americans travel to Cuba in 2024?

Yes, travelers with US passports can travel to Cuba. Considine says that it’s perfectly legal for US individuals to visit Cuba for one of twelve specific purposes defined by the United States Treasury Department, and to travel on one of the many daily commercial flights to Havana, which mostly depart from Miami . All you need to do is tick one motive from an online list that pops up when you purchase your air ticket, of which “support of the Cuban people” is the most appropriate catch-all. (Others like “family visits” and “religious activities” technically have limited application.)

The other important US government condition is that US travelers must spend their dollars supporting private businesses in Cuba, not companies that are government-owned or operated. This has become increasingly easy, Considine says, as the private sector has expanded through the travel industry in recent years, with casas particulares (family-run homes), Airbnbs, and paladares (private restaurants) proliferating. These are the types of enterprises that savvy travelers are more likely to enjoy anyway; they offer better food , more intimate and stylish experiences, and direct encounters with everyday Cubans. You can book directly, of course, but a travel specialist can help identify appropriate businesses—Considine’s company can tailor a trip that is “one-hundred-percent private.”

Why has it been historically difficult for Americans to visit Cuba?

Hungry for foreign exchange, the Cuban government has always welcomed foreign tourists whether they are from the United States, Germany , Australia , or Argentina . The roadblock for Americans has been the US government, which effectively banned US tourists from legally visiting under the trade embargo put in place after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. (If you’d like to learn more, my book Cuba Libre! recounts the parting of ways between the US and Cuba after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, and the ways relations soured as Cuba drifted into the Soviet sphere during the Cold War.)

These restrictions—first imposed in 1963 as part of the bluntly-named Trading with the Enemy Act—were loosened 53 years later by the Obama-Biden administration, allowing direct flights and travel from the US in 2016. To the disappointment of many Cubans, President Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric during his administration made many Americans believe that it had again become illegal to travel to the island, causing a drastic drop in US tourist numbers. However, Considine stresses that Trump only paused group and cruise ship travel , leaving intact the key allowances for individual trips that were put in place during the Obama years.

What kind of visas do Americans need to travel to Cuba?

The only document you need is a valid US passport . Cuban entry permits—in other words, a visa—can be purchased at the airport before boarding the flight for $85 ($50 plus $35 service fee; you can pay with cash, a debit card, or a credit card). They can also be obtained online through private services, although often with hefty extra charges. Airline staff will also ask you to use your phone and scan the barcode for a passenger locator form, necessary to go through Cuban customs.

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Viñales is the place to go in Cuba for nature—the small town is lush and surrounded by limestone formations.

When is the best time to visit the most popular destinations in Cuba?

The traditional high season in Cuba has always been winter, December to February , when days are cool and clear, rather like southern Florida. But sun-lovers should consider November and the period from March to May , when it is warm enough for swimming. If you’re traveling to Cuba any time between June and October , be warned: The summer heat is oppressive and hurricanes can hit.

If I am visiting Cuba for the first time, what destinations should I visit and why?

“My holy trinity is: Havana , Trinidad, and Viñales,” Considine says. Havana is a must-see for its vibrant energy, beautiful harbor, Spanish colonial city center, and Art Deco relics. There’s also Trinidad is a perfectly-preserved colonial town at the foot of the rugged Escambray Mountains where, Considine says, “farmers live very simply, raising livestock and cooking with carbon—a way of life that may be gone in five years.” It is also by the south coast, which has diving spots worth checking out.

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Meanwhile, Viñales is a nature trip. This small town is surrounded by spectacular rounded limestone formations known as mogotes in the heart of Cuba’s verdant tobacco country. “You can do anything there: horse-riding, e-biking, yoga, hiking, and climbing,” Considine says. It’s located only a two-hour drive from the capital’s airport; US travelers can rent a car with dollars, but in practice I suggest booking a transfer to Viñales—and a place to overnight, if you’d like—through a travel specialist like Considine for a smooth trip.

What else should Americans know before visiting Cuba?

“There has never been a better time to go to Cuba than right now,” Considine says. New laws passed in 2021 permit Cuban entrepreneurs to directly import foreign goods from Italian pasta to French soap, Chilean wine to Mexican designer furniture, which has transformed the country. Grocery stores have opened in peoples’ garages, do-it-yourself restaurants offer fine cuisine, and many small family-run casas and Airbnbs have expanded into boutique hotels, many of which are quite sumptuous. For travelers, this has also expanded opportunities to meet Cubans and learn about their lives; all over the island, people are warm, open. and eager to chat.

It’s also important to note that US credit and debit cards are still not valid in Cuba. Bring cash—more than you think you will need, so you don’t run out. These days, US dollars are accepted in most places in Cuba.

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What You Need To Be Aware Of As A Tourist Visiting Cuba

B eaches with white sand as fine as sugar, vintage American cars cruising down streets lined by colorful aging buildings, and the chance to puff on a fine cigar while watching people dance the salsa in the warm night air: It's not hard to understand the picture-postcard allure of Cuba. It's a country in the throes of rapid change as it emerges back onto the world stage after decades of stagnation following the 1959 revolution. So now is a wonderful time to pack your dancing shoes and visit the Caribbean's largest island.

However, Cuba isn't an uncomplicated tropical paradise and there are several things you need to be aware of before you visit as a tourist. Like, as an American, is it even legal for you to visit Cuba as a tourist? What's with the money situation? And can you access the internet or are you going back to the Stone Age (also known as the early 1990s)?

Can Americans Visit Cuba?

Cuba is just 103 miles from the tip of Florida making it the ideal winter getaway for sun-seeking Americans. However, the U.S. imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba in 1963 and while the level of restrictions has varied over the years, as of July 2023, Americans can't visit Cuba purely for tourism purposes.

That said, there are 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba, and the one that most Americans visiting the island use is the "support for the Cuban people" category. You'll need a passport with six months validity at the time of entry and two blank pages. You also need a Cuban Tourist Card, which you can usually get from your airline for as little as $50.

Speaking of airlines, you can fly direct to Cuba from several U.S. cities, including Miami, Tampa, New York City , and Houston. Most direct flights from the U.S. land in the Cuban capital of Havana, though there are several nonstop flights from Miami to other destinations in the country, including Santiago de Cuba and the popular beach resort of Varadero.

Cuban Currency

There's good news and, let's say, tricky news when it comes to paying for things in Cuba. The good news is that there is now one currency used by residents and visitors alike in the country: the Cuban peso (CUP). The Cuban convertible peso (CUC), which used to be the currency used by tourists, was eliminated in 2021.

The only official place you can exchange currency in Cuba is at Cadeca exchange houses. You cannot get CUP outside of Cuba, nor should you take the currency home with you. Spend or exchange anything you have left over before you go to the airport (after security, you should pay in foreign currency).

What about credit cards? U.S. credit and debit cards won't work in Cuba. Credit cards from major financial institutions like Visa and Mastercard from other countries should be accepted by certain businesses and ATMs. However, cash is king in the country and it's always a good idea to keep some with you for tips to service workers.

The Internet In Cuba

Cuba is the perfect place to go on a digital detox. We're going to be honest: Getting online isn't as easy as in the U.S. and internet speeds can be sluggish. However, if you need to connect to the internet, you can. The most common way to access the internet in Cuba is via hotspots in places like public parks and on the Malécon in Havana. (They are also perfect for people-watching, so embrace the experience!) Many hotels and some other businesses also have Wi-Fi.

To access the internet in most places you're going to need a NAUTA card, which you can purchase from ETECSA offices around Cuba. Be prepared to stand in line to buy the card and take your passport along with you. Our advice? Be patient and make the most of your offline moments to fully immerse yourself in the Cuban experience. And plan to latergram your posts on Insta.

Sleeping And Eating

When it comes to accommodation in Cuba, you'll find a range of options. From all-inclusive beach resorts to cozy casas particulares, you'll find somewhere to suit your preferences and budget. Our pick for independent travelers is a casa particular, a privately owned guesthouse which offers a fantastic opportunity to experience Cuban hospitality firsthand. Many places offer breakfast and an evening meal, so you can taste home-cooked Cuban food. It's also an excellent way to support the Cuban people (this is likely the stated purpose of your visit, after all) as the money you pay goes directly to the guesthouse owners. In contrast, the Cuban government holds at least a 51% share in all hotels in Cuba. Hotel star ratings are often on the generous side, so be discerning.

As far as food goes in Cuba, your best bet is to go to a paladar, a privately run restaurant that serves excellent versions of classic Cuban dishes like roast pork, shredded beef, and suckling pig (the cuisine is pretty meat-forward). A note on cultural sensitivity: Many products that are widely available in the U.S. might not be in Cuba and even basic products often disappear from Cuban shops at short notice. Savor what's put on your plate and enjoy the often simple but tasty food.

How To Support And Respect The Cuban People

Staying in casas particulares and eating at paladares are just two ways that you can support the Cuban people on your trip. Consider taking a salsa class run by a local, buying locally made handicrafts, and whiling away the steamy nights sipping rum and listening to musicians put on a fabulous show. By patronizing local businesses, not only are you financially supporting the Cuban people, but you're also going to have an authentic Cuban experience.

We touched on the unavailability of some food items earlier, but shortages extend to many consumer products in Cuba. Bring everything you think you'll need for your trip, including medications. You may also want to bring a roll of toilet paper (glamorous, we know), as public bathrooms often don't have it. Power cuts are common; while they might be frustrating, remember that you're only there for a short time and, for Cubans, power cuts are infuriating, so keep your complaints to yourself. This goes for everything, really; if you're not prepared for some minor inconveniences, don't visit Cuba. If you want to take a memorable trip to a country steeped in history with a vibrant culture, stunning urban architecture, and beautiful natural landscapes, it'll all be worth it.

Read this next: The World's Best Places To Put On Your Travel Bucket List

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A water salute greeted some 116 passengers at Havana’s José Martí International Airport aboard an Air China flight on Friday. It marked the restart of the regular route between Beijing and Havana as part of a Cuban government strategy to attract visitors from non-traditional markets for its ailing tourism sector and fight against the country’s economic crisis. (AP Video by Osvaldo Angulo and Milexsy Durán)

Cuba lifts tourist visas for Chinese visitors, aiming to attract non-traditional markets

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  • Introduction to InsureMyTrip

Features of InsureMyTrip Platform

  • Purchasing and Managing Your Policy
  • How to File a Claim
  • Customer Service Experience and Usability
  • Why You Should Trust Us

InsureMyTrip Travel Insurance Review 2024

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate insurance products to write unbiased product reviews.

Founded in 2000, InsureMyTrip is the first major travel insurance comparison site to hit the market. The company has served over 4 million customers and works with some of the best travel insurance companies to help travelers find the right coverage. Here's a closer look at what you need to know before using its comparison tools.

InsureMyTrip InsureMyTrip.com

  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Connects customers to a range of the most popular travel insurance providers
  • Check mark icon A check mark. It indicates a confirmation of your intended interaction. Site prioritizes travel insurance providers by customer reviews
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Site does not facilitate claims filing
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. InsureMyTrip customer service is limited
  • con icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. Company does not provide its own travel insurance packages

Introduction to InsureMyTrip 

InsureMyTrip is a travel insurance broker, which means it doesn't offer its own travel insurance. Instead, InsureMyTrip lets you compare policies from 25 of the industry's best travel insurance companies to select the best coverage for your needs. You can also buy, manage, and cancel your insurance policy through InsureMyTrip.

InsureMyTrip also has a customer service team called Anytime Advocates, which can help you file or facilitate a claim. Having an extra set of eyes on your claim may help you receive a response faster than if you were to take on your travel insurance claims office on your own.

Even if you prefer to purchase an insurance policy directly from your provider, InsureMyTrip is worth a visit solely for their customer reviews. You can read reviews by specific plan and whether a claim was filed. This is a great feature in a travel insurance marketplace, getting honest insight into how well a company works.

When you InsureMyTrip, you'll be able to see all the plans that apply to your travel details and personal information. You can opt to only see the following policy types: 

  • Comprehensive
  • International Medical
  • Medical Evacuation
  • Embassy Visa
  • Accidental Death

Once you obtain your list of quotes, you can opt to see limits and terms for specific coverages, such as trip cancellation, emergency medical, evacuation, and pre-existing condition coverage . You can also receive quotes on annual travel insurance policies, if you intend to go on more than one trip this year.

Here are some more terms that InsureMyTrip offers with its quotes.

Best Plans Guarantee

First, InsureMyTrip's Best Plans Guarantee ensures that only plans with multiple positive ratings and reviews are shown to its consumers. The company provides a forum to allow past customers to share their experiences with specific providers. The insurance providers get a grace period to collect enough reviews. After the grace period expires, the site's offerings are filtered based on the feedback received, with the highest-rated plans receiving the highest ratings.

In short, you're free to choose your travel insurance, but InsureMyTrip's site prioritizes the companies consistently performing well, making it easier to find travel insurance companies you'll love.

Price Guarantee

All travel insurance is regulated state by state. So as InsureMyTrip points out on its website, offering discounts on these products is illegal. With that in mind, the company promises to show you the lowest prices while remaining legally compliant, meaning you won't find a (legal) lower price anywhere else.

Money Back Guarantee

You can cancel your InsureMyTrip travel insurance plan during your review period and get your money back if you're unhappy. However, there are a few caveats to this one. First, the company clearly states that each cancellation and refund policy differs by the provider, and you'll likely be subject to those terms. In addition, some providers may charge an administrative fee, which is typically not eligible for a refund.

InsureMyTrip Travel Insurance Cost

The cost of travel insurance can vary widely depending on several factors, including the trip destination, trip duration, trip cost, the age of the travelers, the provider, the plan chosen, and any additional coverage options selected.

The average travel insurance plan costs 4-8% of your total trip cost. Like your flight tickets, hotels, etc., prices fluctuate depending on your location, time of year, and more. The best way to compare the average cost of travel insurance for your plans is by comparing quotes online.

Purchasing and Managing a Policy With InsureMyTrip

You can get a quote from InsureMyTrip's website by inputting the following information:

  • Destination
  • Travel Dates
  • Citizenship and Residence
  • Number of travelers and their ages
  • Trip details (taking a flight, cruise, renting a vacation home)

Once you're taken to the quotes page, you can compare policies and sort your search by price, popularity, and rating. 

How to File a Claim with InsureMyTrip

You'll need to work directly with your insurance provider if you have to file a claim. However, InsureMyTrip makes it easy to access the correct contact information and claims forms.

You can find your provider's information by navigating to the "File a Claim" page on InsureMyTrip.com . Then, select your insurance provider and policy from the drop-down menu. Typically, InsureMyTrip will provide each insurer's phone number, emergency contact line, and mailing address. When available, it also lists email addresses and URLs for claims forms.

If you encounter any issues with your provider's claims process, you can email InsureMyTrip's Anytime Advocates at [email protected].

InsureMyTrip Customer Service Experience and Usability

InsureMyTrip received an average rating of 4.3 stars out of five from Google Maps reviews of its headquarters in Rhode Island. Most of the negative reviews of InsureMyTrip talk about a claims issue with their providers, which InsureMyTrip doesn't directly control.

InsureMyTrip regularly responds to negative reviews, offering phone numbers and emails that customers can call for help with their policies. 

How InsureMyTrip Compares

Insuremytrip vs. squaremouth.

Squaremouth is one of the leading travel insurance aggregators, listing policies from 32 companies compared to InsureMyTrip's 25 companies. Squaremouth also lists options online for group travel insurance policies, which InsureMyTrip only quotes for when you call their customer service line.

Both InsureMyTrip and Squaremouth allow you to purchase, manage, and cancel a policy on their platforms. You'll have to file claims directly with your insurer, but both companies offer ways to facilitate customer claims. InsureMyTrip has an Anytime Advocates team, which can help customers with filing claims or facilitate an existing claim. Squaremouth has a Zero Complaint Guarantee, which promises that they'll act as a mediator if a customer feels that a claim was denied unfairly. 

InsureMyTrip vs. VisitorsCoverage

InsureMyTrip's offerings are more comprehensive than VisitorsCoverage's, which offers policies from 15 travel insurance companies.

VisitorsCoverage does a better job summarizing policy terms, offering eligibility details like max trip length and age limits, which InsureMyTrip lacks. It also offers more search filters, allowing travelers to select search options for students studying abroad, business travelers, and U.S. green card holders. That said, VisitorsCoverage does not field customer reviews.

Read our VisistorsCoverage review here.

InsureMyTrip FAQs

Yes, InsureMyTrip offers travel protection insurance from 25 travel insurance companies, with search customizations like medical-only, Schengen Visa insurance, and AD&D insurance.

InsureMyTrip is very user-friendly, streamlining the insurance purchasing process and allowing travelers to compare all plans available for their trip. 

While InsureMyTrip offers some search refinements, they do not offer a filter for adventure sports.

Yes, customer reviews often highlight InsureMyTrip's customer service as helpful and efficient in addressing questions and assisting with policy selection. Negative customer reviews often receive responses from InsureMyTrip's team, which will try to resolve lingering issues.

InsurInsureMyTripMyTrip offers the advantage of comparing multiple insurance plans from different providers in one place, simplifying the process of finding the best coverage for specific travel needs.

Why You Should Trust Us: How We Reviewed InsureMyTrip

When reviewing InsureMyTrip, we looked at its insurance partners and ran comparisons against other broker sites within the industry. We looked at the providers listed on its website, the assurances it offers, and customer reviews.

You can read more about how we rate travel insurance products here .

cuba tourism reviews

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Read our editorial standards .

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

**Enrollment required.

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IMAGES

  1. The Top 10 Things to Do in Havana, Cuba

    cuba tourism reviews

  2. Best Cuba Tours, Vacations & Travel Packages 2021-2022

    cuba tourism reviews

  3. 20 Must-Visit Attractions in Havana, Cuba

    cuba tourism reviews

  4. The Best Tourist Attractions in Cuba

    cuba tourism reviews

  5. The Top 10 Things to Do in Havana, Cuba

    cuba tourism reviews

  6. THE 10 BEST Cuba Tours & Excursions for 2023 (with Prices)

    cuba tourism reviews

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  1. Auténtica Cuba II

  2. ¿QUÉ OPINAN REALMENTE DE CUBA? 🇨🇺 😕

  3. cuba que es Linda Cuba

  4. Trip advisor is killing Cuba!!

  5. Visiting Cuba

  6. What Cubans REALLY crave

COMMENTS

  1. Cuba: All You Must Know Before You Go (2024)

    Cuba. U.S. citizens still need to jump through a few hoops to visit Cuba, but as visitors from around the world know, this island offers some amazing opportunities for cultural exchange. Havana is a mix of old-world architecture and of-the-moment culture. Head out of the capital city to the small town of Trinidad to see more Spanish colonial ...

  2. 20 things to know before going to Cuba

    2. Fill out your passenger information in advance. Cuba uses an online form called D'Viajeros to gather traveler information, including immigration and health data, in advance of travel. Fill out the form digitally up to 72 hours before your arrival in Cuba. 3.

  3. Cuba travel

    If you're looking to travel to Cuba with kids, you'll find music, carnivals, watersports, horse riding, classic American car rides and much more. Read article. Best Road Trips. From beaches to mountains to historic cities and more, these road trips around Cuba offer access to the best of this enchanting island.

  4. 10 Best Cuba Tours & Trips 2024/2025 (with 226 Reviews)

    Cuba Tour. 5 - Excellent. Based on 226 customer reviews. Our first to Cuba. 5 - Excellent. Richard Owens. "The accommodations were great. The owner and his family did not live there, but came by each morning to have breakfast for us and help us get started each day. Nicer than the pictures online.

  5. Cuba: All You Need to Know Before You Go (2024)

    Cuba. U.S. citizens still need to jump through a few hoops to visit Cuba, but as visitors from around the world know, this island offers some amazing opportunities for cultural exchange. Havana is a mix of old-world architecture and of-the-moment culture. Head out of the capital city to the small town of Trinidad to see more Spanish colonial ...

  6. Ultimate Guide to Travel to Cuba (2024 Update)

    The heat will generally dip slightly in the winter months (November through April), but not much. While the dry season generally attracts more tourists, the weather is perfect for a visit. May is a good time to visit as well, with the weather still nice and fewer tourists. Dry Season: November - April.

  7. The Ultimate Cuba Travel Guide (Updated 2021)

    Your ultimate Cuba travel guide, with tips, things to do, and best things to see in Cuba. Great for first-time and returning travelers. Located on the largest island of the Caribbean, Cuba is a very popular tourist destination and for good reason. Cuba is home to beautiful white-sand beaches, impressive rainforests and waterfalls, vibrant ...

  8. The Ultimate Cuba Travel Guide • The Blonde Abroad

    Highlight. Because Cuba is a warm tropical climate, there's not necessarily a right or wrong time to visit. However, the country does experience two distinct dry and wet seasons. The dry season runs from December to May, where you can expect sunny days with no trace of clouds in the sky, while the wet season runs from June through November.

  9. Best Cuba Tours & Vacations 2024/2025

    Hola Cuba. robert · Traveled April 2024. Excellent introduction to Havana and western Cuba. Our tour leader Yanet was well-organized, passionate about his country, and thoroughly knowledgeable about the island and its history. Jorge, our driver, carried our group of 10 safely and comfortably to each destination in a new small bus that had ...

  10. 45+ Things To Know Before Going To Cuba in 2024 ...

    You must go through it to live the richness of the culture and, up to a certain extent, the hassles of their daily life. 45. Reconsider traveling to Cuba with a drone. You can travel to Cuba with a drone, but odds are it will be confiscated at customs - or you will be exposed to HOURS of questioning.

  11. THE 10 BEST Cuba Tours & Excursions for 2024 (with Prices)

    14. Taxi Drivers Cuba. 533. Taxis & Shuttles • Sightseeing Tours. By fadym505. ... car and Edouardo our chauffeur everything was perfect from the scenarios to the horse ride and the farmers visit . 2023. 15. Taxi TurismoPorCuba.

  12. 119 independent reviews for Cuba tours

    The motorways are empty and fueling stations are few and far between. Bring comfortable shoes for the guided tours and treks. An extra battery pack for electronic charging during long road trips i.e. GPS. Homestays are way better, more economical than hotels and the food is much tastier and delicious there. 3.

  13. Cuba Tourism: All You Need to Know Before You Go (2024)

    Cuba. U.S. citizens still need to jump through a few hoops to visit Cuba, but as visitors from around the world know, this island offers some amazing opportunities for cultural exchange. Havana is a mix of old-world architecture and of-the-moment culture. Head out of the capital city to the small town of Trinidad to see more Spanish colonial ...

  14. Top Cuba Tours & Vacations 2024/2025 [reviews & photos]

    Cuba Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025. Our 10 most popular Cuba trips. Compare tour itineraries from 80 tour companies. 26 reviews. 4.7/5 avg rating. Choose your trip style:

  15. What I Really Thought of Cuba

    Tricky things about Cuba. 1. You can't bring Cuban money in or out of Cuba. 2. Many ATMs are out of cash. 3. US bank cards don't work and there's a 10% fee added to exchange of US dollars. 4. Due to economic sanctions, you can't buy many day-to-day products like shampoo.

  16. The Official Travel Guide to Cuba · Visit Cuba

    Greatest Waterfalls in Cuba. Imagine finding yourself in Cuba, surrounded by an exuberant natural environment - where the vivacious green mountains stretch out into a splendid blue sky - while the fresh Caribbean seabreeze brightens your face. And on this tropical voyage, you discover a land of waterfalls on every corner of the island.

  17. Is Cuba a good place to vacation For the 2024 season ?

    Re: Is Cuba a good place to vacation For the 2024 season ? Jan 9, 2024, 9:02 a.m. Cuban beaches are the best. Chose a newer hotel for a better quality mattress and bedding because as one would expect, with shortages, maintenance and replacement of anything doesn't happen as quickly as North American standards.

  18. Tours & Travel to Cuba for Americans

    There is no better time to travel to Cuba… and see it for yourself. Join us, the leader in legal, small group Cuba travel, and experience firsthand this once-forbidden country in ways never before possible. Featured Cuba Tours (DRAFT) Scenic Cuba 2025. 7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS. Cuba creates legends. Discover it for yourself and learn why.

  19. Cuba Tour & Trip Reviews

    Reviews for Cuba travel are a pretty mixed bag. The tourism infrastructure in Cuba is still fragile and traveling in the country requires some flexibility and a true sense of adventure in order to get the most out of the experience. Having an experienced tour leader in Cuba is essential, and this largely affects whether Cuba tours are rated ...

  20. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Cuba (Updated 2024)

    The water is crystal clear with countless shades of blue, a lagoon surrounded by a long sandbar. 2023. 8. Plaza de la Catedral. 6,738. Points of Interest & Landmarks. By JimmyEco. This church was the first Catholic Church built in Cuba and dates to 1776, it's as old as the US constitution. 2023.

  21. Can Americans Travel to Cuba?

    Yet Cuba has long been a metaphorical forbidden fruit due to political rifts. A web of travel restrictions imposed in the 1960s made it difficult for Americans to make the journey, an idea that ...

  22. What You Need To Be Aware Of As A Tourist Visiting Cuba

    Cuba is just 103 miles from the tip of Florida making it the ideal winter getaway for sun-seeking Americans. However, the U.S. imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba in 1963 and while the level of ...

  23. Cuba lifts tourist visas for Chinese visitors, aiming to attract non

    It marked the restart of the regular route between Beijing and Havana as part of a Cuban government strategy to attract visitors from non-traditional markets for its ailing tourism sector and fight against the country's economic crisis. (AP Video by Osvaldo Angulo and Milexsy Durán) Published 11:28 AM PDT, May 18, 2024. The Associated Press ...

  24. InsureMyTrip Travel Insurance Review 2024

    The average travel insurance plan costs 4-8% of your total trip cost. Like your flight tickets, hotels, etc., prices fluctuate depending on your location, time of year, and more. The best way to ...