Frequently asked questions
Is a visa necessary to travel to Cuba? If so, what do I need to get it?
Yes it is. A visa is necessary to travel to Cuba. A tourist visa (sometimes called a tourist card) is a small card which is placed in the passport. It is composed of two parts. One of them is taken away by an immigration officer when entering Cuba, the other when leaving the country. It is possible to get a visa at the Cuban embassy (750 CZK), or our company will arrange it on request via correspondence (800 CZK including the postage within the ČR). A tourist visa is valid for 30 days (possible to be prolonged directly in Cuba), and the travel must be made within 180 days of its issue. In order to arrange the visa at the embassy, you need a passport valid at least 6 months after the intended end of your holiday. If our company arranges it, we only need a scan of two identification pages of your passport (i.e. the pages showing your name and photograph). It is not possible to make business or journalist trips with a tourist visa. The on-line visa application form is available HERE
What currency is used in Cuba?
Two currencies are used in Cuba: the Cuban peso (CUP) and Cuban peso convertible (CUC). This is something like crowns and vouchers in former CSSR in the past. With ordinary pesos (CUP) it is only possible to do shopping, diplomatically said, in a very modest way; a person not used to socialist standards probably wouldn’t cope with it. You will only get the basic range of products, moreover not everywhere, not always, and not just of high quality. With the convertible pesos (CUC) you will buy almost everything. We recommend exchanging CUCs immediately at the airport. Payment with any foreign currency (USD, EUR) is not possible. Exchange offices accept the euro without a problem, sometimes problems with the dollar occur, and moreover, in case of exchanging the dollar you will pay a special 10% charge. It is possible to exchange the unused CUCs back to the euro at the airport before the departure. The current exchange rates are following:
Is it possible to use payment cards in Cuba?
In large cities, it is possible to use cards for payment at hotels and withdrawal from ATM. The ATMs function mostly but not always. Attention - it is not possible to use cards issued by American banks or their foreign subsidiaries (e.g. CITIBANK, MONETA or ING) as they are blocked by the American side for using in Cuba. Sometimes a trouble with MASTERCARD / EUROCARD occurs, VISA cards are usually without a problem. Although the situation regarding cards is constantly getting better, cash is still cash... One of a few areas where cards function (except American ones) without a problem, so we recommend using them as much as possible, is represented by Cuban car hire companies.
Do mobile phones function in Cuba?
Yes, they do. All Czech providers have there a roaming partner. A signal is, except secluded places, everywhere. However, it often happens that the local GSM translators wrongly transfer the calling person’s identification, so the display of your telephone shows a funny message, for instance "142 is calling". That is why it is better to communicate with you home country via SMS, where such a problem doesn’t occur.
Does the mobile internet function in Cuba?
No, it doesn’t. The mobile internet (data network) hasn’t yet existed in Cuba. Among other things, it also means that you can’t download e-mails in your telephone, you can’t send MMS, and on-line navigation won’t function. Surprisingly one finds out that it is possible to survive without these achievements of civilization - and even enjoy the time better. Access to the internet in Cuba is easiest at hotels where they usually have one or two computers with dial-up (always paid) access. Good hotels, and sometimes centres of the local telecommunication company ETECSA, provide Wi-Fi access (always paid).
Is English sufficient for a visit to Cuba or will I need Spanish?
All staff working in the tourist industry (hotels, tourist guides, etc.) speak English. If you intend to move around Cuba "on your own", you can get into a situation where English is not sufficient. Those who speak Spanish have no problem.
Is Cuba a safe country?
Up to the present, it is. Similarly to other states with authoritative regimes, everywhere in the public, there are a great number of policemen, both wearing and not wearing uniforms; hotels mostly have their own functional security guards. If a person doesn’t move in a risky zone (e.g. prostitution zone), the risk of crime is minimum.
In case of any other questions don’t hesitate to contact us - see below, we’ll be glad to help you.