Flights to Havana and using credit cards in Cuba are still not easy for Americans traveling to the country.
Americans are visiting Cuba in record numbers--up 77% in 2015, to over 160,000, not even including hundreds of thousands of Cuban Americans.
The U.S. Government recently announced changes to Cuba travel regulations that make it easier, and likely cheaper, for Americans to travel to Cuba. The announcement was made just ahead of President Obama's ongoing geoundbreaking trip to Cuba.
Today's news of the imminent agreement between the United States and Cuba to resume regular commercial flights between the two countries means tens of thousands of more Americans will be coming to the island.
I was in Havana last week and a number of thoughts came to me while visiting various hotels, restaurants and bars in the capital.
U.S.-Cuba relations will mark their biggest step towards normalisation yet as Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Havana to raise U.S. flag.
Cuba has long been one of the least digitally connected countries in the world, but that is slowly changing. The island country recently opened up 35 public WiFi access points nationwide.
Lately we have seen a lot of travel articles on Cuba, in major media outlets, that just get the story wrong.
Recent changes in U.S. regulations regarding Cuba travel related transactions have made it much easier for United States citizens to visit Cuba legally. The number doing so is increasing notably, as are the number of direct flights from the U.S. to Cuba. The U.S. has also recently licensed ferry and cruise ship service to Cuba, but the timing of the start of this service is still unclear.
Beginning March 1, 2015, MasterCard officially began handling credit card transactions by its American cardholders in Cuba, the first US credit card company to do so. However, the range of establishmnets accepting credit cards is limited, and many travelers have reported difficulty using U.S. Mastercards.
U.S. - Cuba ties are improving. Travel by Americans is easier under specific categories covered by a general U.S. Treasury license.
I don't think the person who wrote the caption has ever stepped foot in Havana or Cuba. One key reason why Cuba is so safe is that the government’s security is extremely strong and its police force innumerable. However, more importantly, the Cuban people are friendly and do welcome visitors. They also understand how important tourism is to their economy and are looking forward to more Americans visiting following the recent change in U.S.-Cuban relations.
For Americans, traveling to Cuba can still be complicated. U.S. credit cards still don't work. These are the essentials to know for your Cuban trip.
Cuba has two currencies: Pesos Cubanos, or National Currency (CUP), and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC).
Accommodations and restaurant rates vary considerably, as anywhere. Here is a detailed break-down of travel budget to Cuba.
Tipping is always a nice way to show your appreciation for good service. You can tip in both CUP and CUC.
Cuba has a very sound health care system. Cubans citizens receive free medical care through a national health service.
There is a network of SERVIMED pharmacies, which require payment in CUC. Here's a list of SERVIMED pharmacies we compiled for tourists in case of emergency.
Cuba does not present any unusual health risks to travelers, but visitors should take routine precautions, such as drinking only bottled liquids.
There is a network of SERVIMED clinics in Havana for tourists in case of emergency. Here is a useful list.
Visitors to Cuba (including Cubans living abroad) are required to have medical insurance adequate to cover medical expenses that may arise while in the country. Travelers may be asked to show proof of such upon arrival, and should check with their insurance companies beforehand to confirm coverage.
Statistically speaking, Cuba is very safe, with the lowest crime rate in Latin America.
No. Mobile phones on U.S. contracts don't have roaming access because of restrictions relating to the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba.
Shopping is not Havana's draw, and travelers should bring an adequate supply, even of such personal staples as toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo.
Most of Old Havana is eminently walkable - the best way to experience it. Traffic city-wide tends to be light by most urban standards, as few Cubans own private cars.
You'll be happier if you focus on Havana's charms instead of your iPhone. Connectivity is limited, slow, and expensive - but improving. Rent a Cuban SIM.
Now. If you mean weather,high season is also dry season, and Havana's limited hotels can quickly fill up in this November-April window, when daytime temperatures average in the low 80s.
Mobile service in Cuba is provided by state carrier Cubacel, which sells SIM cards at their offices in Havana and at its Jose Marti International Airport. International calls are expensive.
Internet in Cuba is expensive and slow, and only a small percentage of the population enjoys regular internet access. Some options are available to visitors, but don't expect easy or fast connectivity.