Visa extensions in Cuba.
Favorite thing: Here is a list of the Immigration Offices throughout Cuba if you are need of a visa extension. You need one after 30 days for most of us, Canadians being a notable exception. Very important, before going to the office of your choice you'll need stamps obtainable from a Banco de Credito y Comercio to the value of 25 CUC for each person. When you go to the Immigration do not forget these stamps, your passport with the original tourist card, also you travel insurance certificate or credit card. They don't need the credit card for anything, just for verification.
• Bayamo (Carretera Central au km 2 ; 9h-12h et 13h30–16h tue and thur/fri). Dans un grand complexe à 200 m au sud de l'Hotel Sierra Maestra.
• Camagüey (Calle 3 n°156 entre Calle 8 et Calle 10, Reparto Vista Hermosa ; 8h-11h30 et 13h-15h mon-fri except wed)
• Ciego de Ávila (angle Delgado et Independancia ; 8h-12h et 13h-17h mon-tues, 8h-12 wed-fri)
• Cienfuegos (43-52-10-17 ; Av. 46 entre Calle 29 et Calle 31)
• Guantánamo (Calle 1 Oeste entre 14 et 15 Norte ; 8h30–12 et 14h–16h mon-thurs). Juste derrière l'Hotel Guantánamo.
• Guardalavaca (24-43-02-26/7). Au poste de police, à l'entrée de la station. Adressez-vous ici pour les prorogations.
• La Havane (206-32-18 ; Desamparados n°110, entre Habana et Compostela ; 8h30–16h mon -wed, 8h30–11h thurs and sat)
• Holguín (angle de General Marrero et General Vázquez ; 8h-12h et 14h-16h mon-fri). Arrivez tôt, c'est souvent bondé.
• Las Tunas (Av. Camilo Cienfuegos, Reparto Buenavista). Au nord-est de la gare ferroviaire.
• Sancti Spíritus (41-32-47-29 ; Independencia Norte n°107 ; 8h30–12h et 13h30–15h30 mon-thurs)
• Santa Clara (angle Av. Sandino et Sexta ; 8h-12h et 13h-15h mon-thurs). 3 blocks to the east of the 'Estadio Sandino.
• Santiago de Cuba (22-69-36-07 ; Calle 13 n°6, entre Av. General Cebreco et Calle 4 ; 8h30–12h et 14h–16h, mon-fri except wed). Les timbres pour les prorogations de visas sont vendus au Banco de Crédito y Comercio au n°614, Felix Peña, sur le Parque Céspedes.
• Trinidad (Julio Cueva Díaz ; 8h-17h tues-thurs). Non loin du Paseo Agramonte.
• Varadero (angle Av. 1 et Calle 39 ; 8h-15h30 mon-fri)
To know more about visas - http://www.lonelyplanet.fr/destinations/amerique/cuba/visa#CKBhpryYqXbk6q3b.99
Favorite thing: again best to arrange transport there is your hotel
and these sites
here you can have the opportunity to see flamingos, and swim with dolphins as well as many beach.water activities.
Enjoy the trip
Fondest memory: fishing off the key = cayo before the tourist boomRelated to:
- Water Sports
drive to Varadero
Favorite thing: take a colectivo, cubataxi or personal arrangement but do drive a car to varadero its an adventure.
going over the bacunayagua bridge with the valley of Yumuri below you its great,there is a lookout area there to look down recommended
bridge done in September 26 1959
doing it on a Soviet build car lada, it has its inconveniences but cheap.
Fondest memory: driving to varadero beach with the familyRelated to:
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Extended time in Cuba
Favorite thing: You will be in time for the baseball playoffs, great fun and sport! thanks to bank cards Traveller's check are hard to find. You could look into getting a Canadian or Mexican bank account in those currencies or Euros and get one of their credit cards.
Pre pay the credit cards account to avoid the excessive interest rates and draw cash off your cards in the Cambios. I carry only enough cuc to get me thru the week.
Depending on how much travelling you do $50 cuc is a fair number, for $75 cuc you can live well. Average Casas range from $20 to $35 cuc and meals from $3 (breakfast)to $18 (lobster). You can go from Havana to Santiago de Cuba for $61cuc if you like a 15 bus hour ride. Two years ago it cost me $120 to fly. Bici taxis are expensive in Havana and Cienfugoes but not bad else where.
Ten years ago when I first went to Cuba I budgeted $100 cuc a day, my last trip befor Christmas averaged $75 cuc per day and I did some of my Christmas shopping there.
The more time you spent in Havana the more you will spent as taxis,casas, hotels and entertainment cost more.
If you speak Spanish if can even get cheaper, Last May I met a German fellow who spoke Spanish and he was riding the trucks and buses with the working people thru out the country and using the National peso. The only time I saw him use cuc was when we were buying beer! I think he blew his budget that night as he missed our ride to the baseball game the next day.
Be careful with volunteer guides and friends as they can get very expensive in several ways. I generally just ask directions.
Fondest memory: The people, climate, music, rum, cigars and safety!Related to:
- Budget Travel
Cuba: transportations, B&B, currency
Favorite thing: I just returned from Cuba and would like to share some advice:
1. CURRENCY not good exchange rate on dollars. If coming from Europe keep your euros.
2. Transportation with Viazul: few departures between destinations and very expensive. You can easily find other travelers to share taxis. If you are 3-4 pax, a taxi can turn up to be better than busses: less expensive, faster, and door to door service
3. GREAT TAXI DEAL! If you are in Trinidad, for long distance drives, contact Ulises (tel mobile 52447841- home 0141 995132 ). He is a taxi driver, goes beyond himself to make you happy and offers incredible deals. For US$ 80 he drove us from Trinidad to Santi Spiritu. Stop for 45 min to visit the old town, continued to Santa Clara ( 3hours visit of the city includingthe Mausoleum of the Che and museum + museum of Ferrocarrìl) and in the afternoon continued to Cayo Santa Maria. Transfers + visit of Santi Espiritu + Santa Clara + cayo santa maria all included in the US$80!!! He is honest, will take care of your luggage in the car while you are visiting the sites. We left at 8.00 am and arrived to Cayo Santa Maria at 5 pm. Great day, no bus changes and great price. If you manage to be 4 it's a fantastic deal
4. CASA PARTICULARES. COLONIAL HOUSES WITH 5* HOTEL ROOMS we stayed in many casa particulares (B&B). Would highly recommend Rafaela y Pepe: by far the best place to stay in La Havana (also highly recommended by lonely planet so BOOK IN ADVANCE). Trinidad: we visited about 20 different places: 3 are definitely fantastic: hostal sahilys on the main square: only one bedroom: absolutely lovely just in front of the Romantic museum tel home 0053 (41) 993514 or mobile 0053 052947152, another stunning room (perhaps the most beautiful we saw in Cuba) is in the Casa particular Hostal el Tayaba in Juan Manuel Marquez street, few minutes walk from main square. Ask for the first room on the left as you enter the house: room is stunning!!! A 5* hotel room.
5. MUST SEE MUSEUMS 3 museum that shouldn't be missed in Trinidad: romantic museum, architecture museum and history museum: The three museums occupy the most beautiful colonial houses in Trinidad.
6. A FANTASTIC GUIDE IN TRINIDAD: MADE SUCH A DIFFERENCE! her name is Osmara and she works as guide in the museum of architecture. She leads great tours of the sugar valley-has you visiting houses closed to the public. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We also did a tour of the old town of Trinidad with her. It was great!
7 BEACH Cayo Santa Maria is beautiful. We stayed in the wooden houses.
Can't remember the name of the hotel, the less expensive one but definitely charming. Food NOT GOOD AND VERY EXPENSIVE
8. NOT WORTH IT Guama not really worth it
9. MUSIC Buena vista social club concert in la Havana is worth every penny. Don't buy dinner. They have a good offer of the concert with a drink (no need to buy dinner). Also in La Havana loved la Bodeguita but go for lunch. We did both lunch and dinner. I think that for dinner they give what's left. Not as good as lunch. Lunch was fantastic!
Fondest memory: TRINIDADRelated to:
- Road Trip
- Museum Visits
Cuba Weather in October / November
Favorite thing: I was there in mid November last year and it was hot and sunny nearly the whole time. October is still the back end of the hurricane season but it is rare to get any extreme weather in that month and it should be hot as well with just the occasional shower.
Fondest memory: Walking in the Sierra Maestra. Beautifully tranquil after the hussle and bustle of the towns.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Take your time and use a flexible scedule
Favorite thing: Cuba is the biggest of the Caribbean Islands and has lots of culture and history.
Beautiful beaches, good food, pleasant people, tranquil with loads of passion.
Fondest memory: Trinidad,
The old colonial city with no car traffic in the centre of the city.
Beautiful UNESCO heritage. Probably the best kept Spanish colonial city in the world.
populated by 40.000 people and it still puts you 3 centuries back in time.Related to:
- Road Trip
All in one in Varadero
Favorite thing: Stay (for 1 or two nights) in those white sandy resorts in Varadero
If you feel like it do the aqua-gym as shown in this picture.
Basically not my cup of tea but I did enjoy watching it.
Fondest memory: Making fun of the aqua-gym-teacher and his class
travel from UK
Favorite thing: teh UK you should check with the Cuba tourism board there or the destination pages here.
plenty n Cuba on 4 or 5 stars accommodations. Havana, Trinidad, Camaguey, Santiago all have plenty of history and culture.
beaches you have the Varadero, then Santa Maria del Mar , Guardalava, and the various cays inlets around like cayo coco, cayo leyva, cayo guillermo etc etc
hope it helps
Fondest memory: too many to mention.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Travel To Cuba In 2012
Favorite thing: The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued over a hundred "people to people licenses" to both "specialized" and "maintream" organizations for related travel to Cuba. This means that there are LOTS of companies to choose from. Travel outfits like Austin-Lehman Adventures, Friendly Planet, National Geographic, National Audubon Society, among others, now have Cuba trips on their travel destinations. If you want to read and consider other outfits, here's a list posted on-line:
By the way, this is an EXPENSIVE way to travel to Cuba. I went on an academic sponsored visit many years ago, and although a bit pricey, it was not as costly as these tours. I hope to return again one day, but when all travel restrictions have been relaxed, so we can travel more freely in Cuba and for less money.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: One slightly confusing thing for visitors to Cuba is that the country operates two currencies side by side.
These two currencies are the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) and the Cuban Peso (CUP).
In theory, any visitor to Cuba need only be concerned with the Cuban Convertible Peso. This is the currency that most tourists will use during their stay. The Convertible Peso is pegged against the US Dollar at a rate of 1 for 1, although you will incur a 3% commission charge when converting from other currencies into Convertible Pesos. I believe that a further commission charge is incurred if you change US Dollars into Convertible Pesos.
At the time of our visit in November 2011, one GBP was equal to about 1.51 Convertible Pesos.
The Cuban Peso is worth much less than the Convertible Peso and is predominantly used only by locals. In fact, there are 25 Cuban Pesos to 1 Convertible Peso.
There is nothing to stop a foreign visitor from changing their Convertible Pesos into Cuban Pesos, but the general assumption is that most visitors wouldn't find anything worthwhile to purchase in Cuban Pesos. Cuban Pesos are accepted in "Peso stores" which are generally poorly stocked with inferior quality products and in some local bars and restaurants.
In some instances you can use Convertible Pesos to purchase items that are priced up in Cuban Pesos (at the fixed rate of 25 CUP = 1 CUC), but then you should expect to receive your change in Cuban Pesos which may be worthless to you. This is not always the case; for example when we tried to purchase coffee from a grocery store in Santiago de Cuba we were told that we couldn't pay in Convertible Pesos and would have to change them into Cuban Pesos. We didn't bother.
I guess the biggest risk that foreign visitors face is that they inadvertently end up with Cuban Pesos when they believe they are getting Convertible Pesos. This could either be when they receive change from a purchase or if they choose (against all official advice) to change money in the streets.
The key thing to remember: 1 Cuban Peso is worth just 1/25th of a Convertible Peso!
Going to Cuba IS legal just don't spend any money!
Favorite thing: Thank you TooTallFinn24 for the article you referred to in your reply;
It gave clear and concise information. I found this additional site extremely helpful:
http://www.cubatravelusa.com/FAQ.htm Basically it says the embargo is illegal and an outright lie. It is in direct conflict with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; section 13-2.
It says it i NOT illegal to travel to Cuba...just to spend any money there.
Bottom line is we are home. No hassle at customs in Nassau. The tourism is growing by leaps and bounds and the government is having a hard time keeping up. 77 people we booked and showed up for the Monday flight which holds 44 people. 5 of our group had to wait for the Wednesday flight.
Hotel bookings were canceled to make room for the new official American flights. We had to find a different place while the government set up tents to accommodate those kicked out.
Some people complain the workers were rude and non caring. Well you would be too if you had no incentives. The socialist doctrine is 8-8-8...8 hours work, 8 hours play, 8 hours sleep no reward for hard work or caring.
The people we met on the street and the children at the village school made the trip wonderful. It was an eye opening and very informative trip. I wouldn't go there for vacation though over 1 million Canadians and 2 million European/British/Russian tourist do. If you want to learn about a very old and stable socialist country then go.
Fondest memory: The people. They are proud and happy and very musical.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Looking for someone to take things to Cuba
Favorite thing: I have tons of clothes, jewelry , books, cosmetics given to me (stored in Miami) in the hope that one day I can transport them to Cuba. As Homaned said: you are allowed only 44 pounds and you are going to exceed each time (i carry usually 75 pounds including my computer) and the american company charges you two dollars a pound and if you are unlucky you can be charged on the other end as well. it is better to contact a humanitarian agency and send the stuff to them and hope that some Cuban would benefit. When you send stuff through humanitarian organizations you cannot designate who gets it.
The question you asked is a very common one. I have never met a foreigner who has not fallen in love with Cuba and Cubans and they want to do something for the Cubans but very soon they would realize that it is 1. very expensive 2. from the usa more difficult than from other countries . I like homaned's suggestion. the airfare to Havana has come down to 399 plus taxes.. save your money return with your 44 lb allowance and your cuban friends would appreciate more seeing you than your trinkets. I pray that this neurotic situation changes very soon!
Travel Tips for Varadero and Cuba
Favorite thing: TRAVEL INSURANCE - Since May 2010 it is an entry requirement that every Cuba visitor has adequate Medical & Repatriation Insurance cover. All visitors must carry proof of their Insurance to be disclosed on entering Cuba if requested by an Immigration Officer ~ Make sure that your Insurers do not have any American affiliation as they may not be able to settle any bills directly to the Cuban authority and therefore you may well have to pay your medical bill yourself before being allowed to leave Cuba.
You will be issued a tourist visa card either on the plane going down or with your tickets... Fill it out and try not to make any mistakes.
This is a two sided visa card, one for entry (the customs official will take this portion) and an exit half. Keep this safe with you passport and don’t lose it.
The convertible peso (CUC) is a closed currency, which means it cannot be purchased outside of Cuba. You can change your money at the Cadeca (money exchange bureau) at the Airport on landing in Cuba or at your hotel. This is located on the Departures side at most airports in Cuba. Do this with your travel partner as once you leave the arrival side you can not return.
Canadian Dollars CAD
Pound Sterling GBP
Mexican Pesos MXN
Danish Krone DKK
Norwegian Krone NOK
Swedish Krona SEK
Japanese Yen JPY
Swiss Francs CHF
US Dollars USD (additional 10% surcharge)
Always bring new(ish) bank notes, with no rips, tears or markings.
All foreign coins are (of course) useless. (Resort workers or any Cuban in contact with foreigners will accept them, but then you're burdening another tourist with the task of exchanging the coins into paper cash. In other words, Canadians, leave those Loonies and Toonies at home!)
Canadian Credit Cards: Any of the "Big Five" Canadian banks are fine. Royal Bank, TD/Canada Trust, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
No problems with PC Financial or Canadian Tire Mastercards as well. And for our friends in Quebec the National Bank Mastercard and Desjardins Visa also work too.
Until very recently all Canadian Debit Cards were useless in Cuba but this is finally starting to change very slowly. The CIBC Advantage Visa Debit Card now works in Cuban ATMs because it displays the Visa symbol on the card. Until this become common though do NOT assume your Debit Card will be of any use there. Any card without a Visa or Mastercard symbol is useless. ATMs are not readily available or have money in them anyway.
Credit Card verses Cash: There is no extra fee for using a credit card. This often repeated myth is due to the confusion surrounding how credit card charges are calculated. The CUC cost on the card is exchanged into USD (1 CUC = $1.08 USD) plus the exchange fee (about 3%) gives you the impression the credit card company charged a fee, but in actuality the exchange process is almost identical to exchanging cash. You will need your passport to withdraw off your credit card at a bank or Cadeca.
Check the bank rate before you go.
You require $25 CUC as an Exit Tax when leaving Cuba. Most people exchange money at the beginning of the trip and leave the cash (no coins) in their passport so they do not forget or over spend and not have it available at the end.
Take Sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, bug repellent and some antihistamine and afterbite. Beaches have sand fleas that affect some more than others. They hang around the accumulated vegetation that washes up on shore. Mozzies come out at dawn and dusk or hide in the shade during the day.
A hop on hop off bus (double decker) will take you the length of the peninsula for $5 CUC and you can hop on off all day long. Great way to get to town and markets.
Sit on the driver’s side if on top, but still watch out for trees.
The peninsula is 20 kms long. Cabs cost approximately $1 CUC per km so weigh the difference in distance. Sharing cabs at night going to clubs is cheaper and a way to meet people. Do the buddy system anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes other tourists are the ones to watch out for. Every resort has security so go to one if you need help.
Most popular clubs are (with cover charge) Rumba, Pirates Cave, Mambo Club, Havana Club, Mediteranio, Internacional, la Comparsita and Calle 62 (outdoor with no cover). Drinks are extra but cheap. Washrooms outside the resorts may charge for toilet paper so bring from the resort and even one from home as backup.
Resorts have a safe in the room which may cost some CUC.
There are some really excellent restaurants in the town if you get sick of the resort food. A place called Josone (pronounced Ho – sony) Park has four. Beautiful park as well.
Few of my favourites in the same area are. Barracuda, la Fondue, Antiquedades and el Rancho.
Be sure bring back some cigars. Cigars bought on the street (beach) are fake.
Booze, cigars and other items can be bought at the airport when leaving so not part of weight issues. Watch how heavy your bag is as there is a charge if over weight.
It is cool at night in the winter months so bring a fleece or light jacket. One pair of long pants too. Capri’s may not cut it.
Tip for service , not to get service. A CUC ($1) goes a long way for Cubans.
Hola (ola) = hello
Gracias = thank you
Havana to Santiago and back
Favorite thing: On your way back to Havana from Santiago stop at Bayamo, about a 4 hour ride from Santiago. It is a clean, very friendly city with few tourists. Go to the Info tourist office on the main plaza and ask for Allie, she will give you a tour walking and by horse carriage of the city, she is very knowledgable about the city and province.
Holquin is interesting with it's 3 plazas and viewpoint, you can get on a double decker bus in the main plaza for one cuc and tour the city. Ask for Rafael (bicitaxi)at the bus terminal, he speaks good English and is quite straight forward. I don't use Bicitaxis in Cienfugoes, Havana or Pinar del Rio as they really ramp the price up!
Hit Camaguay on a Saturday for their pig roast on the main street which they close off to traffic and see the Flamingo dancers perform in the new street show area. the Casa de la Trova is good also. Get a casa near downtown because finding your way home can be a problem with the street layout, especailly after a few wobbly pops!
Santa Clara is interesting with the Che Memorial and final battle site of the Revolution.
In the mid Island cities find out if you need to reserve a seat on the bus because each ciy has a different process and you want to be able to travel when you want to. There will be Jineteros at the bus depot that will want to arrange a private vehicle ride for you. Talk directly to the vehicle driver otherwise the ride could turn to be different then what you expected. It may work but compare what they are asking and what the bus fare is.
Fondest memory: The people!Related to:
- Budget Travel
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