Frequently Asked Questions
100% LEGAL CUBA TRAVEL PROGRAMS
YES !! You can still travel to Cuba legally under the new regulations ” In support of the Cuban People”
Enjoy Cuba’s culture, history, cuisine and timeless allure through one of our best-selling Curated Xperiences in accordance with OFAC’s authorized category ”In support of the Cuban People” (OFAC travel CFR 515.574 license). The new restrictions do not affect people who travel with Licensed Tour operators such as The Cuban Guru under the category mentioned above.
We invite you to come and see for yourselves what others are talking about!
Cuba is Safe! And travel to Cuba is still legal!
What is the average age of participants in the group?
The average age you will find in your group depends on the Xperience you choose. Because many of our tours are unique, you will find people who are similar to you, in age, profession, and lifestyle. While our Discovery Xperience is a mere sampler for those who are indifferent to a specific itinerary, you will still find people who share the same ideas you do.
Who are our Cuban Guru guides?
Our Gurus are specifically chosen for their knowledge in the unique tours that we have to offer, as well as their ability to answer any questions that may arise about Cuban culture, history, or facts. Your local Guru strives to make sure that everybody has the most memorable Xperience possible. To achieve this, our Gurus will take you to the locations that most tourists never knew existed.
Is there air conditioning inside of the buses and hotels?
Yes, all of our coaches and hotels are fully air conditioned.
Is free time for non group activities going to be available?
Full participation by our guests is required by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). However, you will have free time to explore or entertain yourselves before the itinerary begins, or after the scheduled activities are over. Not to worry though, our Xperiences are packed with exciting and memorable adventures and activities that normal tourists did not know existed. View itineraries from any of our Xperiences.
How do I book an Xperience?
You can book your tour to Cuba clicking here and selecting the tour of your choice. If you want to build your own you can click here and build your own tour. You can also contact us at (Contact details)
Can I bring goods to donate?
Donations are a thoughtful gesture when visiting Cuba. While participants shouldn’t feel obligated to bring gifts down to Cuba, it’s important to keep in mind that anything you may want to bring will be very much appreciated. Goods are scarce in Cuba and while Cubans are incredibly resourceful, things like clothing, toiletries, school supplies, and toys will be gratefully accepted. You can choose to distribute donations at institutions visited during programming or even people you meet on the street. While unlikely, donations can be collected at Customs and re-distributed at the government’s discretion.
What are the suggested Items to bring to Cuba?
When travelling international, it is advised to bring prescription drugs in their original, pharmacy-issued bottles.
As Cuba is relatively close to the United States, the seasons relate to Florida. You will be walking throughout most of your trip, so make sure to pack comfortable sneakers. Some hotels feature pools so bring a bathing suit if you want to go swimming. It is advisable to pack light clothes and hats from May through September, as it gets very hot during the day. Long-sleeved shirts and light sweaters for the evening are more appropriate for October through April. You will not be moving as much during the evening, so you may want to bring a nicer outfit for evening activities.
It can be difficult to find specific items in a pinch because goods aren’t as readily available on the island. Therefore, if you are accustomed to living a specific lifestyle, you should bring all the comforts needed.
Suggested goods are:
Sunblock, Sunglasses, Insect repellent, Contact lens solution, Toilet paper or tissues for public restrooms, Toothpaste, Hand Sanitizer, Dental floss, Bandages Creams & ointments, Toothbrush, Reading materials, Cigarette lighters, Compact umbrella, Light rain jacket, Feminine hygiene products, Over-the-counter drugs, Hair dryer, Shaving cream, Razor.
Do the hotels offer laundry services or dry cleaning Cuba?
The higher rated hotels (4 stars and up) offer these services at a reasonable price. If this will be an issue for you, please make sure to observe the rating of the hotels for the tour when you decide to book your Xperience.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Flight to Cuba
* Upon arrival and exit from the terminal look for the Meet & Greet Agent holding a sign with your name on it. Expect a large crowd as you exit the doors into the terminal but look for your name or The Cuban Guru in some cases for larger groups.
* Bring a copy of the Itinerary with you on your trip in case customs requests to see upon your return. Keep a copy of your itinerary with you for 5 years after your trip. It’s a requirement by OFAC in the US and not in Cuba.
* Bring a pen as you will need to complete the health form and the declaration form on the airplane on your flight to Cuba. Make sure to have those ready when you arrive at the airport as you will need to provide them to the customs agents when asked for them.
* Make sure to bring your Visas with you. The airline will not let you fly without them and Cuba will not let you enter without them.
Internet & telephone service
* WIFI works only at hotels. The cost is minimal ( 5 CUC) and you will have to use a card to enter the access code on your regular phone. You will be able to use Whatsapp and many other applications as long as the connection is good.
* Check with your carrier but some offer a service where you can text and call. It can get expensive so I do not suggest phone calls.
* Gratuity/Tipping is not included on the program. It is at your discretion, where applicable.
We suggest the following:
- Driver 7 CUC / per guest/ per day)
- Guide 10 CUC / per guest/ per day)
- Cuba Team (The Team behind the scenes) 10 CUC /per day for the group (This applies when we handle your accommodations).
We suggest that you hand an envelope at the end of your stay to the guide, driver and one for The team separately.
Other gratuity suggestions:
- Restaurant-Lunch 3 CUC /per guest/ per day)
- Restaurant-Dinner 6 CUC /per guest/ per day)
- Hotel- porter 1 CUC / per bag
- Hotel- Maid 2 CUC / per room/ per night
The restaurants you should handle on your own. As always please do not feel obliged to Tip as it is not mandatory but strongly recommended.
* Most of your needs can be taken care of by your Guide but if you feel you have an emergency call us at 305-768-9991. We will respond 24/7. Once we connect with you we will call you back not to incur costs on your service.
* If all your meals are included in the program you purchased Bring $150 per person per day that you will be in Cuba in case you want to go for some shopping for Art and Souvenirs. If your meals are not included bring $200-$250 per person per day you will be in Cuba. You can bring dollars to Cuba and change money as you go ( $100= 87 cuc) We suggest you change at the hotel. Unless you purchase art you will most likely not spend all that money. Use a money belt to keep your Passports and money safe with you at all times.
* Your credit card will not work in Cuba. If you find yourself short of cash contact us and we will assist you.
* Have fun and enjoy the trip of a lifetime to Cuba.
FAQs Additional Valuable information
* Cuba is safe and people are very friendly. Take normal precautions when on your own.
If Breakfast is offered at your accommodations it will typically be a continental breakfast with toast, fruit, juice, and coffee. Each accommodation differs and may offer additional items. Lunches and dinners included are a la carte in Havana and include two drinks per person (soda, bottled water, coffee, tea, beer, or other domestic drinks). There are instances where restaurants may offer pre-fixed menus, especially outside of Havana. If you have special dietary requirements, please let us know prior to travel
* Evenings in Cuba
Each night while you are in Cuba there is live music happening somewhere, especially in Havana. From salsa to rumba to reggaeton, you can find incredible entertainment throughout this country. Your guide and our in-country concierge will be happy to assist finding options that suit your tastes.
* Driver & Guide while on tour
Your driver and guide are available until 9 PM each night unless otherwise noted in your itinerary. Special evenings during your tour will include the driver and guide for a longer than usual period and the itinerary will be noted accordingly. On these nights, your driver and guide will have to excuse themselves by 12 AM to ensure they are properly rested to provide top-quality service and keep you safe during your entire tour program.
* Visa (Tourist Card) requirements
Every visitor to Cuba requires a tourist card to enter the country. There is not a formal visa process requiring you to send in your passport to complete an application. If not included in your program we can provide the Visa at a cost of $75.00 pp or you can purchase your tourist card from the airline ahead of time, or at the check in counter/ departure gate on your way to Cuba from a US gateway. Each carrier handles this process differently, but they will provide you details on your tourist card once you’ve purchased your ticket.
* Credit cards in Cuba
US credit and debit cards are not yet allowed as a form of payment in Cuba. Other international credit cards are only accepted in very few government establishments. Please, plan to take cash for your purchases, drinks and meals not included in you program, and any extra activities you may have planned.
* Local Currency and conversion rate in Cuba
Cuba has two currencies: Cuban Peso (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC). The CUC is the currency that’s most widely used. The exchange rate is as follows: 1 CUC= 25 Cuban Pesos. Most transactions occur in CUC, especially by foreign travelers. The conversion rate between the USD and the CUC is as follows: 1 USD = 87 cents CUC approximately. You can exchange money at the airport, at a bank in Cuba, or at the CADECA kiosks found anywhere in the city. Most hotels also offer currency exchange services. We recommend exchanging money as needed, and not all at once. Note: You will not be able to purchase CUC’s from US banks prior to your arrival. With the current exchange rates there isn’t a considerable advantage to taking Euros or CAD over US Dollars to Cuba. Monitor exchange rates for fluctuations because this may change.
* Importing goods from Cuba
US citizens can return home with goods purchased in Cuba for their personal use. There is no dollar amount limit on local art purchases, rum, and cigars. Traditionally one bottle of rum, 100 cigars, and one cart of cigarettes are exempt from duty, but it is advisable to check US Customs regulations for most accurate information on what’s subject to payment of duty on arrival in the. Here’s a link: https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/cbp-public-notice-process-imports-cuba
* Buying cigars
If you are planning to buy cigars in Cuba, make sure you keep your receipt to present to the Cuban customs authorities if asked. Leaving Cuba, travelers can take up to 24 cigars without producing a receipt of payment.
* Buying Art
Is there anything I need to be aware of when buying art in Cuba? When purchasing art in Cuba, there are instances when a stamp is required by the Cuban authorities to export paintings. Works larger than 15.7 x 23.6 inches require this stamp. Please, consult with your guide and our in-country concierge in any specific situation.
* Water consumption in Cuba
Drink only bottled water. If you buy it in a kiosk or store it will be cheaper than if you buy it at a bar or a restaurant. Most restaurants use treated water for ice, but if you have a sensitive stomach we recommend staying away from cocktails with ice and uncooked vegetables.
* Voltage and adaptors
You may find 110V and 220V outlets, but some hotels will only have 220V. As a precaution, bring a small adaptor. The 2 prong plugs used in the US also work in Cuba.
We recommend that you bring your own toiletries. These are not consistently provided by hotels/private accommodations. Toilet paper and facial tissues are scarce in Cuba. Toilet paper is available in hotel rooms, private accommodations, and in private business washrooms (in a paladar, for example). It is recommended that you bring your own toilet paper to use in public washrooms while touring (no need to bring it all the way from home. You can get it from your hotel/casa room). In most public washrooms, they will not have toilet paper, or they will offer you some and expect a coin in return. A reasonable amount to pay for a public washroom is a 10-cent coin or a quarter. Also, if there’s a garbage bin in the washroom, please throw the used toilet paper and other sanitary items in it. Do not flush toilet paper, avoid it if you can.
* Dress code
Dress code is very flexible for the most part. A few exceptions: men are required to wear long pants and no flip flops in some restaurants and nightclubs such as Tropicana; women are not allowed in shorts at the Cathedral church in Havana and some other churches.
* Vaccinations before traveling to Cuba
Cuba has one of the world’s best healthcare systems, readily available and free for locals. The island is free of most diseases associated with tropical climates. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that travelers protect themselves from mosquito bites. The island is not considered a risk country for hepatitis B, malaria, typhoid or other tropical diseases. If you have concerns about travel vaccinations or immunizations, please discuss with your doctor or a travel clinic.
* Gifts for the Cuban people
Small gifts to locals are acceptable and welcome if you wish to bring any. But make sure to run it by your guide on what’s the most appropriate time and place to present them. Among the small things that are scarce and very welcome by Cubans are: deodorant, razors, shampoo, body lotion, sunscreen, bug spray, socks, hats, underwear, over the counter painkillers and cold medicine, vitamins, band aids, children toys, school materials, makeup for women, summer clothes, raincoats.
* Budgeting for meals not included in program
Please, allow $30 to $50 CUC per person for lunches/dinners not included in your itinerary, where applicable. Cuba is an island with a depressed agriculture and a 50+ year economic embargo so food is expensive.
* Safety in Cuba
Cuba is one of the safest destinations in the world. However, it is not exempt from pickpockets and petty crime, so please take precautions: do not walk around with all your money, do not wear expensive jewelry, have a photocopy of your passport with you but keep your actual passport in the safety deposit box in your room. Don’t go on dark alleys. When in doubt, please ask your guide for directions and guidance.
Drinks in Cuba
Cristal beer is a local favorite; Bucanero is another local favorite and is stronger than Cristal; Mayabe is a third, lighter option. All of them are produced in a factory in Holguin, in eastern Cuba, which is a joint venture between Cuba and Labatt Canada. Imported beer is also readily available, such as Heineken, Corona, Presidente. Beer price ranges from $2 CUC to $4 CUC depending on the type and where you get it. Cocktail prices also vary: from $3 to $7 CUC is average.
Do’s and Don’ts
When touring, if you are approached by people trying to give you a caricature or offering to get a picture taken with them, they are most likely expecting compensation in return. Please, do not accept if you do not want to pay. A simple: “No, gracias” usually does. Some places, namely museums and other institutions, charge a fee to use your camera. Cuban society is very open and there are very few don’ts. A few tips: bear in mind that Cubans, like Americans, are very patriotic, and although they admit and criticize what’s wrong in their society, they prefer not to be told what to do about their political system. Sharing your opinions in a respectful way is perfectly fine, just be aware that locals may have a different opinion on some subjects, mainly political. Cubans are open to discussing any topic.
Welcome to Cuba
The Cuban Guru