There are many reasons why people travel to Cuba on their vacations. The country has many beautiful sites, is full of vintage cars, has a rich history, serves delicious cuisine, and the locals are friendly, among other reasons.
Taking a trip down to Cuba almost feels like going through a time machine and ending up back in the late ’50s. The entire country is fascinating, but people mostly love Havana as it is the capital and largest city.
To have a fantastic vacation in Havana, check out these eleven tips.
Exchange Your Currency
Before you head out to Havana, it might be useful to plan out your budget.
If you are traveling from the States, then you should convert all the money you’re planning on taking along to the Cuban currency. Since you won’t be able to use any of your credit or debit cards, it can be useful to take along extra cash for emergencies.
If you take US Dollars to Havana and try to convert them to the local currency, they will charge 10% extra on top of the exchange rate. That is why you should only take Euros or Cuban Pesos.
Look Into the Visa Requirements
Before you start booking, look at the visa requirements for Cuba. Depending on the passport you have, you will need some kind of document or card to enter the country.
You can read more about the Cuban tourist visa on visacuba-online.com. Make sure you apply in advance, as there can be complications with your visa. Otherwise, your money might be wasted if something does go wrong.
Confirm Your Flights
Other than the visa, you need to have a return flight ticket. Not only that, but it is a requirement to show the outbound flight ticket to be eligible for a visa from some countries.
You can compare the prices of several different airlines on many websites. You could also check if the airline offers transportation to, or nearby, your place of stay.
Get Travel Insurance
Traveler’s insurance is incredibly important and necessary for going abroad. A good insurance policy can be very advantageous on a trip. It can cover many things, such as hefty medical bills.
You might be randomly asked to show a copy of the insurance policy at the airport, which is why it would be good to have a printed copy.
Having a traveler’s insurance policy can also cover you before leaving on vacation. For example, you have to cancel the non-refundable bookings because of an emergency; your insurance company can reimburse you.
Prepare For Limited Internet
Living in the 21st century with the internet and all its glory, you might have a tough time in Havana if you’re planning on working remotely or keeping up with your TV shows. The reason is that there is limited internet in the country. You might only get lucky when you’re staying at the hotel. But even then, the hotel might charge you for internet access.
Make Advance Bookings
Since there is barely any internet in Havana, you need to make all the necessary bookings in advance. Not just because of the internet, but also because Havana is a tourist hotspot and all the places can get booked up very quickly. Especially around the holidays when people are more likely to visit.
Therefore, you can look up hotels, Airbnb, or browse local rentals around the time you get the ticket. You can also sign up for tours, get tickets, and book everything else needed.
Download Offline Maps
Since there is no internet, you won’t have access to Google, Apple, or any other popular map service you usually rely on. That is why you need to download offline maps to help you get around in Havana.
You can also purchase physical maps in stores at the airport, hotels, or any local tourist shop in Havana. But they can often be challenging to read. Alternatively, you can browse services on the internet that allow you to have complete access to offline maps. These will help you get to the tourist spots as well.
Hire Guides or Buy Guide Books
If you want to get a complete Cuban experience, then it might be useful to hire a guide. You can mostly hire a guide along with cars, and they can take you to places and give you an insider’s look into Havana. But make sure your guide is proficient in the English language.
If you want to get around on your own and learn a thing or two about Havana, then consider buying a guide book.
Download Spanish on Google Translate
Most locals won’t have a good knowledge of the English language, which is why you might need some help if your Spanish is weak.
The good thing is that there are plenty of solutions. Google translate is one of the popular ones you can use. You can download the Spanish translator since there is barely any internet in Havana. You can also brush up on Spanish if you like, but keep the translator handy for emergencies.
Avoid the Local Drinking Water
While you might be used to drinking tap water at home, doing the same in Havana is not the best idea.
The local water is full of impurities and bacteria, which can be very harmful to your body. Although the locals may drink it, you need to stay far from it.
You can purchase bottled water at your hotel if it’s urgent. However, you should stock up on water bottles from a local grocery store because they are much cheaper.
Think of How You’re Going to Get Around
To have a completely stress-free vacation, you need to figure out your transportation plans ahead of time. It can be imperative in setting a budget as well.
You can start by looking at the best way to get from the airport to your place of stay. Then, figure out how you will get around every day. You can easily walk around Havana without any trouble, which is why you should also consider public transport.