Guide for travelling to Cuba as an American

Posted: 19-Apr-16 17:48

Now that Cuba is open for visitors from the USA, it has been named "destination of the year" by Travel and Leisure and everyone is flocking there to experience this unique culture that has been off-limits for so long. Now travel blogger Carly Schwartz has offered some helpful hints on what visitors should do before they travel to Cuba.

Guide for travelling to Cuba as an American

Tourism in Cuba has undergone such a surge that the Caribbean island nation has actually started to run out of beer. Yet, even now as tourist ties between the USA and Cuba are coming back, it is still difficult to find out reliable travel information.

The government hasn't supplied a lot of clear and definitive information and the reports on message boards and travel blogs can be scarce and conflicting. But travel blogger Carly Schwartz has published a few helpful tips for travelers thinking of heading to the island.

In the guide, on Quartz, Carly said that it definitely helps when travelling to Cuba if you have some proficiency in Spanish. Here are some other helpful things Carly suggests American visitors need to before travelling to Cuba:

  • You can get your tourist visa at the airport. It will only take around three minutes and it will cost $25.
  • You can also take one of the direct charter flights from the USA and most of the airplanes will process your visa for you.
  • Bring at least double the amount of cash you think you will need. Your American credit card or debit card might not work in much of Cuba.
  • Bring a first aid kit, extra toothpaste and any other essentials. The embargo means that convenience stores are not very well stocked.
  • Bring items such as baseball caps, t-shirts and pens that you can give as gifts to locals along the way.
  • Only book one night in Havana when you arrive in advance. Once you have arrived, you can find a local family owned Casa Particular instead of a hotel – but these are very difficult to book online.
  • Leave yourself time during your trip to have your own itinerary and don't spend the entire visit on a packaged tour. Go slow and chat to the locals.
  • Be wary of the street hustlers who will approach you with a smile and offer a good place to stay or eat. They are likely to be selling a poor quality experience for a rip-off price.

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