On the whole, Cuba is a safe country. Late at night, you should avoid the 'working class' districts of Havana and Santiago. Muggings are frequent so don't go out dripping in jewellry or technology. Leave your valuables in a safe. Pickpockets are also very common.
If possible, it is recommended to leave travel documents, passports and money in the hotel safe. It is also advised that you make a copy of your passport to prove your identity in case of a passport control or at customs - you may be asked to show some ID when withdrawing money from a bank counter.
Be particularly cautious with bank cards because card payments do not necessitate a pin code, and are therefore open to fraud.
There are no dangerous animals on the island: no snakes, no spiders, no deadly scorpions. However, you must be cautious of jellyfish on some beaches at certain times of the year (ask when you get there).
A passport (valid for at least six months after the return date) is required. In addition, all British nationals require a visa to enter Cuba. This must be obtained before travel. You should contact the Cuban Embassy in London for further information on entry requirements well ahead of travel time if possible.
Make sure that you get the correct visa according to the purpose of your visit. As well as tourist visas, there are other visa categories for different types of visitors.
Dual nationals should contact the Cuban Embassy in London for advice on entry requirements before travelling.
Flights from the capital serve all of Buba's major cities. At 620 miles, the longest flight is the Havana-Santiago service. Tourists pay in Dollars, Cubans in Pesos, at a lower price.
Since 1997, there has been an exclusive service for tourists with special luxurious wagons, incomparable to those used by the Cubans, that are old and uncomfortable.
The transport company, Viazul, has a wide network across the island, and offers competitive prices for tourists ($20 for Havana-Cienfuegos) but the price remains out of range for Cubans.
The roads are in a fairly good state and travelling by car is not a problem. Road signs are not always legible, but there will always be hitch-hikers at crossroads that will be happy to guide foreigners! Car rental is extremely expensive ($65 per day minimum, plus a $10 insurance per day, which is useless in case of an accident). Rented cars are targets for car thieves (tyres, radios, side-mirrors, etc.). A European driving licence is sufficient. Cuban driving is hazardous, and accidents are frequent so always drive carefully.
No vaccine is required. Antimalarial treatment is not necessary. Avoid drinking tap water that has not been boiled. Also avoid eating frozen products at people's homes, the food hygeine rules are not always well followed. Apart from that, you can eat all fruit and vegetables without any problems.
Cuba poses a small risk of gall disease. Symptoms include strong itching on the body (but not on the face). You catch it by sleeping on old mattresses. Therefore, check your bed's condition when you are staying in a hostel or as a guest in someone's home.
In 2005, Cuba received 2,319,289 tourists.
167 High Holborn
Tel: (020) 72402488.
Cuba Tourist Board:
154 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JT.
Tel: (020) 7240 6655.
(in Spanish or English)
Calle 34 No. 702/4 entre 7ma Avenida y 17,
Tel: 00 (53) 7 201 31 31.
Cuba's official website: www.cubaweb.cu