Updated: Oct 29, 2022
Americans have been able to enter Cuba since travel restrictions were eased in 2014. US tourist entry is still prohibited, but 12 other categories of travel qualify for entry. It takes some extra planning to navigate the walls of communism, so consider these logistics when planning a trip to Cuba.
Obtaining a visa to get into Cuba from the US is simple. The most straight forward process can be initiated at the airport before departure and it takes about 15 minutes. The alternative option involves visiting the embassy ahead of time. The visa cost is about $15 USD and a receipt is provided to show upon return.
US credit cards and ATMs do not work. Exchanging currency at a bank should be the first planned activity. There are two very similar currencies that are used in Cuba. CUPs is a currency for the locals so that they can afford their needs. CUCs are for the tourists who will be charged more for purchases. Be mindful not to receive the wrong currency as change.
Expect to feel back in time hopping into the old American cars to taxi across town. Negotiate the cab price before getting in to ensure an agreed upon price before the trip.
Limited licenses have allowed some citizens to list property on vacation rental sites like Airbnb for a true local experience. Hotel Nacional de Cuba is a popular historic accommodation in Havana for those looking to stay in a hotel.
Paladars are non-government-owned restaurants. Having privately owned restaurants encourages competition. Increased competition leads to an increase in quality. There are a limited number of paladars, but seek them out as their food is some of the best.
Find more information about traveling to Cuba on the Embassy website.
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