Being well informed before you leave takes worry away of travelling, and helps your trip go smoothly.
Cuba is a wonderfully warm tropical island, so cotton and other light fabrics are ideal for outdoor activities. Keep in mind, that hotels, restaurants, buses and other public areas are generally air conditioned. During winter-time, which is cooler we recommend bringing a light overcoat. For rainy season May to October, rain gear and the umbrella will come in handy.
Casual is the order of the day in Cuba, however visitors who enjoy elegant dining, theatre and other sophisticated entertainment tend to dress more formally for those occasions.
Loose, light white cotton clothing, long shorts are acceptable for men and women, although women may find a skirt breezier and more comfortable.
• Electrical equipment
Electricity in Cuba is 110 volts / 60Hz, most hotels in Cayo Santa Maria has 220 volts / 50 Hz
110 volts outlet are available in the bathrooms in 5 stars hotels. Electrical outlets take flat plug prongs.
If you’re bringing an electrical equipment, check to see if you need an adaptor or converter.
• Time in Cuba
Cuba is on EST - Eastern Standard Time, from May through October, Cuba transfer into daylight savings time (one hour ahead). GMT - 5 hours, as US - EST in the winter and EDT during the summer.
Every tourist should have a valid passport issued on his or her name.It is important for you to know that your passport should be valid for at least two weeks after the return date.
• Cuban Tourist Card and Visa
The Cuban Tourist Card allows its holder to stay in Cuba for 30 days from the date of entry into the Country, and is valid for one entry into Cuba. For a stay of more than 30 days and only up to 90 days maximum. You require visiting Cuban immigrations office to extend your visit period, or you can request at any tourism office in Cuba.
Children regardless of their age, also require Tourist Card, even if they are registered on their parents passports.
Cuban Tourist Card is generally provided by tour operators or airlines with your ticket, or can be obtained from a Cuban government office. Check if you’re Cuban Tourist Card has a stamp at the back, from tour operators or airlines. Note: Cuban Tourist Card is not valid without stamp.
If you don’t have Cuban Tourist Card you can always purchase it at the airport in Cuba, from the emigration for $20
• Sufficient Funds
If you entering Cuba with just the air ticket, you may have to show that they have sufficient funds to meet their financial needs, for the duration of their stay. That is the equivalent to $50 per day. Your Credit Card is also valid to proof that you have a sufficient funds.
Is sufficient if you have all-inclusive hotel reservation voucher.
• Health Insurance
Travelers must carry Health Insurance that covers medical expenses in order to enter Cuba. Upon arrival, you may be required to present a proof of medical coverage valid for the entire period of your stay in Cuba. For Canadian tourist is sufficient to have Canadian Health Card.
If you have all-inclusive hotel reservation voucher that includes free transportation from airport to your hotel and back to the airport.
Cuba has good taxi services, as well cars and motorcycle rental is availble. Buses Tour cover all the major sites of interest, for transfers and excursions contact tourist desk in your hotel.
Driving is an excellent way to travel around Cuba, you can pick up your car in all airports and citie centres.
• Busline Viazul
Travel on buses is available through Viazul Busline, conecting Cayo Santa Maria with cities: Trinidad - Cienfuegos - Santa Clara - Remadios.
Departure to Cayo Santa Maria from Trinidad:
• Trinidad 7:30 am - price $20
• Cienfuegos 9:00 am - price $15
• Santa Clara 10:30 am - price $13
• Remadios 11:40 am - price $7
• Arrival to Cayo Santa Maria at 1:20 pm
The bus get you directly to your hotel in Cayo.
Departure from Cayo Santa Maria at 2:00 pm
Pick up from front of your hotel, bus takes passengers from all the hotels in Cayo:
• Remadios 3:30 pm - price $7
• Santa Clara 5:00 pm - price $13
• Cienfuegos 6:30 pm - price $15
• Arrival to Trinidad 8:00 pm - price $20
The official language is Spanish, but English and French is spoken in all the hotels and main tourist areas.
Health insurance, with provision for emergency repatriation, is compulsory for visitors to Cuba. Those travellers without adequate health insurance will be obliged to purchase Cuban health insurance on arrival.
No vaccinations are officially required, however visitors are advised to take precautions against typhoid if travelling to rural areas. Most of the more serious tropical diseases are rare in Cuba, but viral meningitis and dengue fever do occasionally break out, including in urban areas like Havana. Dengue fever is on the increase and the best prevention against it is mosquito repellent and suitable clothing to avoid being bitten.
Food is considered safe, bottled water is available although mains water is chlorinated. Cuban medical facilities are mediocre and many medicines are unavailable. Those requiring prescription drugs should bring them.
Cormorant on Salina beach, respect do not disturb Cayo Wildlife
Cuba is situated near the Tropic of Cancer and therefore enjoys a warm climate. Rainfall is high and relatively even, although there are two distinguishable seasons: the dry season is from November to April, and rainy season is from May to October. The average temperature during the day is 27 C / 81 F
while at night it is 20 C / 69 F July and August are the hottest months.
Tipping in Convertible Pesos CUC$ is welcomed but not necessary, as salaries in the service industry are low. A 10% tips are appreciated in restaurants and by taxi drivers. Small amounts of $1 or $2 are appreciated by all hotel staff, and in restaurants and bars.
Cuba is considered free from any threat of terrorism, but theft from baggage during handling is common, and valuables should not be packed in suitcases. Be wary of pickpockets and bag snatchers in tourist areas and on buses or trains. Visitors should be particularly careful after dark in Havana, tourists are advised to take taxis after dark rather than walk.
Beware of thefts from rooms in private homes - Casas particulares.
• Cuban Customs
Visitors should address Cuban men as senor, women as senora and girl as senorita. Cubans are engage in political discussion and debate, it is not advised to criticise Cuban government vocally, and one should be respectful of Cuban Revolutionary figures.
• Visitors - Tourists
Those who are well prepared and adhere to a few simple rules should have smooth trips through customs, both when entering and leaving Cuba. Airport Departure Tax now is included in your air ticket.
Important information to remember:
Cuban customs laws prohibits any imports of pornographic material, narcotics drugs, live animals and firearms, although these last ones can be authorized by the organization in charge of this tourist modality when these are for the sport of hunting. Any possession, consumption and traffic of narcotic drugs and other substances are penalized, except for those of personal use accompanied by the corresponding doctor prescription letter.
• Inbound travelers
Duty Free - Travellers to Cuba over 18 years do not need to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 3 bottles of alcoholic beverages; gifts to the value of US$ 50; and up to 10kg of medicine.
Seeds, fresh animal or vegetable products, narcotics and psychotropic substances; explosives, firearms and ammunition; pornographic material; publications directed against public order and morality and household electrical appliances are all prohibited.
Strict regulations govern the import or export of philatelic collections; precious stones and metals; artistic, historical or cultural artefacts.
In addition to their personal jewelry, cameras and other valuables, visitors are allowed to bring into Cuba, duty free, two bottles of liquor, one carton of cigarettes and up to 10 kilograms of medicine. Gifts up to a value of $250 US$ can also be brought in. Of that, $50 is duty-free; the rest is 100 per cent taxable.
• Outbound travelers
Visitors leaving Cuba can take out 23 cigars (no in the box) and 1.14 litres of liquor two regular-sized bottles of 750ml. To export other items, such as art and antiques, obtain a permit from the National Registry of Cultural Objects. Most legitimate vendors have such permits, and can officially stamp your receipt.
Shops in hotels, villas and airports sell Cuban cigars, rum and coffee, as well as snacks, arts and crafts, toiletries, books and souvenirs. Specialty stores in the main tourist regions also carry high-end European and other imports. All the hotels in Cayo Santa Maria has souvenir stores, as well the Pueblos offer souvenir shopping.
• Cuban Currency
Official currency is the Cuban Peso $CUP, 100 centavos, the Tourist currency is Convertible Peso CUC$, all goods and services in Cuba are priced in CUC$ pesos only, including transportation and tourist establishments like hotels, restaurants and shops.
Traveler's cheques issued from a US bank can not be used in Cuba. Credit Cards as Visa and Master Card, not from US banks can be used to pay, in hotels, restaurants and shops.
Currency accepted by Cuban Banks & Exchage rates:
Canadian Dollar CAD $ 1 = CUC$ 0.77
US Dollar US $ 1 = CUC$ 0.95 - cash
Mexican Peso MXP 1 = CUC$ 0.05
Euro EUR € 1 = CUC$ 1.14
British Pound GBP £ 1 = CUC$ 1.27
Swiss Franc CHF 1 = CUC$ 1.00
Danish Krone DKK 1 = CUC$ 0.15
Norway Krone NOK 1 = CUC$ 0.12
Sweden Krona SEK 1 = CUC$ 0.10
Japanese Yen JPY 1 = CUC$ 0.009
Telephone network provides direct communications inside the country and out with any part of the world.
The international access code for Cuba is 53, outgoing code is 119 followed by the relevant country code.
Cellular phone company Cubacell have roaming agreements with many international cell phone companies.
GSM network covers most main towns, and cell phones are available for rent, or you can activate your open cell phone in Cuba.
Public telephones are widely available for domestic and international calls, but international calls are expensive. All the public phones use only the Pre-paid phone card, no coins.
Internet cafes and Telephone Centers are located in all hotels.
• Internet - WiFi connection
All hotels in Cayo Santa Maria offer internet access, computer rooms are located in the lobby area. You need to purchase Internet Nauta Card for CUC$ 1 valid for 60 minutes.
On the card is usario - user ID and contresena - password, that you need to sign-in.
When you connect to WiFi access point your browser should open and prompt you to enter the user numbers and password.
Nauta Internet Card - 60 minutes
You can access the Nauta homepage using the Internet web browsers on your device, the Nauta authentication page opens up automatically when you start the browser. Make sure you allowed pop-ups and cookies in the browser.