Practical advice and information

Formalities and Visa

  • Passport valid at the time of travel and with an expiration date of more than 3 months after the return date.
  • A tourist card that you can apply for at the Cuban Consulate in your country of residence or on the internet at the site
  • A certificate of health insurance. In the event you have a VISA card, you can request it at (in English or French) and in the event you have a MASTERCARD, contact the telephone number on the back of your card.
  • A return ticket to your country.
  • The address of the hotel or authorized rental house where you are staying.

What to take with me to Cuba?

  • Universal power adapters. The electric current in Cuba works at 110V although more and more hotels and resorts are adapting to 220V. In Cuba the plugs are of the American type with two flat legs (Type A).
  • Cash.
  • Security pockets to better carry documents and money during your trip.
  • A photocopy of your paper passport. It is better to have the photocopy during your walks around and leave your passport secured in the safe of your hotel or house to avoid any misfortune.
  • Fresh and comfortable clothes in cotton, bathing suits and comfortable shoes.
  • Medications: Analgesics / anti-inflammatories (Paracetamol, Ibuprofen), antibiotic ointment (Aureomycin), antidiarrheals (Fortasec) and rehydration salts, eye drops
  • Mosquito repellent and antihistamine ointment to relieve bites …
  • First aid material, thermometer, gauze, tape…
  • Sunscreen index 50 or more. Sunglasses, caps or sun hats.

Currency in Cuba

One of the most perplexing aspects of the country for tourists is the currency used in Cuba. The island used a dual currency system from 1994 to 2021. Currently, the only physical currency is the CUP (Cuban peso) but there is also a virtual currency called MLC (convertible free currency).

In reality, the CUP serves no purpose outside of Cuba and has very little value on the island. For this reason, people who are engaged in tourism prefer to accept payments in euros. But we recommend you have CUP to make day-to-day payments: restaurants, buses or taxis within the cities, street food stalls, ice cream parlors or basic stores that only accept CUP.

Free convertible currency (MLC) is a virtual currency equivalent to 1 USD. Paradoxically, dollars in cash are not accepted on the island. Therefore, to better illustrate the conversion, 1MLC = 1 EUR. There are also equivalencies with the following international currencies: British pounds, Canadian dollars, Swiss francs, Japanese yen and Mexican pesos.

Cubans who want to use this virtual currency must obtain a wallet card that they recharge with accepted foreign currencies plus a commission that the government keeps (a good mess!). In short, the MLC was invented so that Cubans pay in the most “exclusive” stores that only accept this currency. Do not think that they sell luxury items, rather the opposite. They sell food and basic necessities but are usually better stocked than stores where you can only pay in CUP.

The MLC has also become the main currency in private homes and most tourist services (except restaurants). It is a way for their owners to have foreign currencies to be able to re stock the virtual cards and have access to the stores that work with MLC.

There are no MLC coins or banknotes. In establishments where they accept MLC, tourists can pay in cash with euros or with foreign credit or debit cards (as long as they are not from a US bank).

Visitors will still be able to easily change their money (Canadian dollars, euros, Swiss francs or others) in CADECAS or banks to receive only Cubanos CUP pesos including at the airport

Is it better to take euros or dollars to Cuba?

If you travel from Europe, take euros directly. We recommend having €5, €10 and €20 bills to pay day-to-day expenses in places where MLC is accepted. In many establishments they do not have change for large bills.

In case you travel from any American country, where the use of the dollar is more common, things get complicated. Since August 2022, state exchange houses accept dollars in cash or U.S. credit cards to obtain Cuban pesos. Your cash dollars won’t do you any good, just to get CUP. As we mentioned above, the CUP is very devalued and the use of the MLC is spreading in places focused on tourism. Therefore, it is advisable that you get euros in cash before arriving to Cuba to pay in the places where they work with MLC

Doesn’t speak Spanish! This tip is for you !

Download the Google Translate application on your phone, it will be very useful for communication once in Cuba. Download the dictionaries in your language and Spanish to be able to use the application without an internet connection.

For your trips around the island

Download the application on your phone together with the map of Cuba to be able to use the application without an internet connection. You can also add the points of interest you want to visit during your stay in Cuba.

Tips for your safety

In general, Cuba is a safe country where the safety of tourists is a priority of the State and the people who work around tourism. Thanks to the friendliness of its people, travelers always receive a warm welcome and are very well cared for throughout their stay. However, we recommend taking the following precautions:

  • Avoid walking around with your passport, carry a photocopy and leave your passport at home or hotel.
  • N’utilisez votre passeport que lorsqu’il est obligatoire de le présenter, pour s’identifier (Banque, police, consulat, location et conduite de voiture).
  • Avoid walking around with all the money you carry for your trip, take only what you know you will consume.
  • Do not travel with expensive jewelry.
  • If you are traveling with a rental car, leave it in a guarded parking lot near the house or hotel and do not leave any belongings in the car.
  • Leave valuables in the safe at home or hotel.
  • Pay attention to your camera and your phone. Avoid using them in unfrequented streets at night.
  • Pay attention to your wallet or backpack when strolling through crowded places or in restaurants.
  • If you become a victim of a robbery, keep this address with you: Hotel Habana Libre Calle 23 and L Vedado La Habana, there is an office to cancel stolen bank letters.
  • Be wary of people who approach you by proposing some services in exchange for money. Respond politely, say for example “No, thank you very much”.
  • To best take care of your health and that the trip is spent in the best way, drink only bottle water. If this is not possible, you should drink boiled and filtered water.
  • Use mosquito repellents on the beach in the morning and at nightfall.

Casa AnaIsa

Animas 162 (bajos) entre Industria y Consulado, CP 10200 Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba.