What should everyone know before traveling to Cuba?
The coast of Cuba, many years ago, was appreciated by Christopher Columbus. Cuba is a lot of small islands that are washed by the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. They are located between the Americas. The prices here are very low, so more and more tourists go to these places in order to have a good rest and enjoy the beautiful nature and the burning sun. But there are things that every guest of the islands should know about. These rules came in handy for our family and I will tell about them so that future tourists are thoroughly prepared.
1. Vaccinations. Before flying to Cuba, almost everyone is offered vaccinations against hepatitis A, diphtheria and tetanus. This was done many decades ago and is practiced today, although infectious diseases are not common now and the chances of getting sick are minimal. I note – they offer vaccinations, but in some way do not insist on them! If you want to make them, take care of this a month before departure, so that the body has time to develop immunity. The reaction is different for everyone and I do not want to spend the whole vacation in bed with temperature. Before departure, it is better to arrange the simplest insurance. Medicine in Cuba is well developed, so do not worry and take a huge first-aid kit with you on the road. Only the most necessary – from temperature, headache, poisoning and diarrhea.
2. Money. Since 2004, dollars have not been going to Cuba, moreover, it is very difficult to exchange them even in banks, therefore it is better to take euros on a trip, exchanging them in advance for small bills. Otherwise, they will have to be sold at a very low rate.
3. The rainy season. In Cuba, it begins at the end of spring and ends in the fall, that is, from May to October it will not be very comfortable here. Constant humidity and high temperature make the air very heavy and stuffy. So it’s better to go to the island in winter. The temperature at this time is 25-30C, it is not very hot, but enough to warm the Caribbean Sea well.
4. Alcohol. The import of any foreign alcoholic beverages, even low alcohol and beer, is prohibited into Cuba. An exception may be only one bottle with a capacity of 0.5 liters, purchased in a duty free shop like Duty Free.
5. The sun. Take along more sun protection with you. It is scorching here and you can’t do without them simply. In stores, prices for such products are 5-6 (!) Times higher than ours, so it is better to bring creams and sprays with you. If you have forgotten – buy in a pharmacy, there is a more or less reasonable price.
6. Bathing. If a warning sign is installed on the coast, it is better to bypass this place. Sharks do not pose any danger to tourists, since the islands are fenced with reefs, but in some places the seabed is dotted with poisonous hedgehogs, corals, jellyfish or moray eels. Stepping on this can leave the whole vacation with fever and a rash. So – swim only in designated areas. For example, we swam only in the territory adjacent to the hotel, it is safe there, there are buoys and there are lifeguards who observe the behavior on the water. Anyone can enter the hotel’s beach for a nominal fee of 2-3 pesos.
7. Souvenirs. If you buy gifts for loved ones – remember that much here requires certificates or checks. For example, you must somehow confirm that you bought a souvenir from corals, and did not tear it from the bottom. The same rule applies to stuffed animals, leather goods, cigars (if there are more than 50), paintings and animals. The animals are even stricter – you need to have a certificate from the veterinarian, a pet passport, a receipt and certificate of purchase, and many more different signatures and seals.
8. Tipping. Locals treat tourists well, as they understand that this is their main type of income. But the vacationers themselves spoiled the Cubans with a tip. Now they are waiting for them constantly. The minimum fee is 10% of the total cost. Porters and concierges at the hotel make 1-2 pesos.
9. Roads. Of course, we have heard about the rules of the road here, but no one adheres to them. So do not even think that at the pedestrian crossing someone will give you the road. It is better to wait a bit and not risk your life and health. Also, do not rent a car – according to statistics, 85% of tourists get into accidents, and not through their own fault, but it is impossible to prove it, so you have to put it out of your pocket for damage. You can rent a moped or scooter, it costs such pleasure on average – 1 peso / hour, but you need to carefully monitor the transport, as they can steal or lower the wheel.
I’ll add on my own that Cuba is a real piece of paradise, there are other people, different nature, climate and even the sun shining brighter, so it’s a pleasure to relax here. Sightseeing, of course, is not enough, but here tourists just relax, sunbathe, swim and have fun. I advise everyone to visit and enjoy the Cuban life!