Travel to Cuba has become increasingly popular. As the largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba enjoys a tropical climate along with stunning beaches.
It is easily accessible from the UK and Europe, and as the island welcomes over two million tourists every year, travel to Cuba is an insightful experience.
Not only is it home to a fantastic culture with delicious food, museums, galleries, spectacular dance, Cuban salsa and the lamenting sounds of son music. But it also boasts some of the world’s best beaches, historic cities to explore and stunning landscapes.
Follow our guide and travel to Cuba for an unforgettable experience.
Why travel to Cuba
Any travel to Cuba is incomplete without a trip to Havana. To visit the UNESCO World Heritage old town of Havana is akin to stepping back in time. Old 1950’s cars line the streets, baroque buildings take pride of place and candy coloured houses are everywhere you look.
Yet, a stroll along the Malecon it’s sure to bring you back into the 21st century. This lively promenade is full of street performers, delicious restaurants and most importantly Cuba’s famous jazz bars.
If you travel to Cuba, be sure to explore the island’s numerous national parks, museums and world heritage sites. Cuba is also famed for its cigars. As they are one of the islands biggest exports a trip to the Museum of Cigar is not to be missed. Visitors can learn the history of tobacco, be taught the art of cigar making and even view the islands largest collection of quality cigars. If cigars are not your thing then why not choose from one of the island’s national parks – full of flora, fauna and stunning views.
Cuba has a rich and exciting literary history, the island was once home to Ernest Hemingway. And literature lovers can visit his former home and see where some of his most popular works were written. Once you’ve explored the house, grab a drink at one of Hemingway’s favourite watering holes – La Floridita. As the home of the Daiquiri, it would be wrong not to sit back and enjoy the island’s most famous cocktails.
The island has an array of five-star hotels to choose from. With private beaches, stylish rooms and beautiful surroundings, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Why not try the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana? A national monument full of rich history, exciting culture and Cuban identity set in beautiful surroundings. If you’re looking for luxury for less, travel to Cuba out of season and book well in advance to bag yourself a luxury room at low prices.
How to get there
As airlines introduce direct flights, travel to Cuba from the UK and Europe is becoming increasingly simple.
Four airlines, Virgin Airlines, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Air Europa fly direct from the UK with the average flight time around nine hours. A direct return flight from the UK starts at around £218.
Visitors to Cuba need to obtain a tourist card before departure from the UK. This can be purchased for £15 online, from your tour operator or from the Cuban Consulate. It is valid for one single trip entrance into Cuba for a 30-day trip. To obtain a tourist card, you will need to show a valid passport and a plane ticket with entry and return dates. This visa can be extended for an additional 30 days at any Cuban immigration office for an additional fee.
Citizens of the US are not permitted to travel to Cuba for tourism purposes. To travel to Cuba you must obtain a licence from the Office of Foreign Assets Control or you could be prosecuted. However, there are ways to experience Cuba legally. US Citizens are able to book a tour with certain travel organisations which hold an official licence from the US State Department.
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- Vaccinations are not compulsory for travel to Cuba. However, it is recommended that you are vaccinated against Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and Cholera.
- Always tip for good service as many of Cuba’s workers are on extremely low salaries. Only leave Cuban coins as a tip, as foreign coins are unable to be converted into local currency.
- The best time to travel to Cuba is between January and May. The temperature will be warm and there is little threat of hurricanes during these months.
- Cuba has two official currencies – the peso and the Cuban Convertible Peso. The Convertible Peso was introduced as a tourist currency and is often called the Cuban Dollar but it is set to be phased out by 2015.