Cuba travel advice
Cuba has a dual currency system, with visitors using the Cuban Convertible Peso, while the more valuable Cuban Peso is used by locals. You can’t exchange your money outside of the country as it is a closed economy, so you have to wait until you arrive. You should ensure that you have enough cash with you for your trip and that your debit and credit cards will work in Cuba. You should only exchange your money at banks or exchange bureaus (CADECA), which can often be found at hotels and airports
Spanish is the main language in Cuba, but you are likely to find English-speaking people in many of the main tourist areas.
There are various laws that travellers should be aware of before stepping on their flight. This includes regulations for exporting antiques and art, and you will often be asked to provide a receipt when departing with these sorts of goods, while some pieces will require a permit for you to be allowed to take it. The person selling the item might already have a relevant permit, so it is worth asking before purchase.
You might also need a permit to bring photography equipment into the country, and a relevant visa if you intend to take professional photographs during your visit. Meat and fruit are also prohibited from being imported into the country. If you want to take some Cuban cigars away with you, then it is worth checking the limits ahead of your trip as the restrictions can change regularly.
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Like most countries there are also strict laws that would see you face penalties if you are found with illegal drugs.
Homosexuality is legal in Cuba, but it remains a place where some LGBTQ+ people choose not to socialise publicly or show public displays of affection, despite some of the positive changes coming from the country. In 2019 the official annual gay pride parade was cancelled, which was met with disappointment by the LGBTQ+ community. However, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal, while there is also hope that same-sex marriage will soon be made legal.
Barack Obama had eased the ban preventing many U.S. flights from travelling to Cuba, but many of these changes have been rolled back under the Trump administration. Flights to Havana remain legal, but flights to other parts of the island are set to be banned. If you plan to travel to Cuba from the United States then it is advised that you check ahead of time that you are able to do so.
The British embassy is in Havana, and for urgent assistance you should call +537 214 2200. Emergency services and police can be reached on 106, while fire services can be called on 105.
When is hurricane season in Cuba and when is the best time to visit?
Some tourists avoid travelling to Cuba in August and September as this is usually when the island experiences the peak of its hurricane season. In September 2017 Hurricane Irma destroyed several parts of the Caribbean islands, and it hit Cuba as a category five storm. Hurricanes can still hit as early as June and as late as November, but the chances of experiencing one is usually slim. You can keep track of potential storms by using the National Hurricane Centre website.
Travellers can usually enjoy warm weather throughout the year, which makes it a popular destination even in January and February as you can enjoy temperatures of 25 degrees or higher. If you want to avoid the rainy weather, it is often wettest between May and October so travelling outside of these dates is often the best time to get some sun. Heavy rain can sometimes lead to landslides and flash floods, which could affect some parts of the island.
Cuba is also known to have earthquakes, although in many cases they are not large enough to be noticed, with strong earthquakes being a rare occurrence.GET A QUOTE