Unique Caribbean experience with its vibrant culture and great bird watching
Here is a little practical information about the destination to help with your planning, but please do contact us with any questions that you might have.
Havana is the capital of Cuba and the official language is Spanish. English is only widely spoken within the tourist industry so having a few choice phrases in Spanish is always useful, especially in more rural areas.
Dining in Cuba is an experience that is enjoyed for the atmosphere and ambience, not for the quality of the food. This is due to food shortages and the restrictions on private enterprise. Most of the restaurants in the country are state owned and offer wholesome but not gastronomic cuisine. Dining in a 'Paladar' is a much more entertaining experience. Paladares are small, private, family run restaurants often found in a family home, giving them a unique atmosphere. The cooks at Paladares are usually more imaginative with the food available and the best meal you have in Cuba will often be in a Paladar. Vegetarians are not well catered for in Cuba as vegetables are often cooked in fat.
Cuba has a dual currency, the Cuban Peso (CUP) and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) which was introduced to offer an alternative to the US dollar. Some places only accept Cuban pesos and others only Convertible Pesos (usually tourist related establishments). Since 2004 US Dollars are no longer accepted and an 18% commission is charged to exchange them, so you are better off taking Euros and Sterling to exchange for Cuban Convertibles. You can find ATM's in the main cities such as Trinidad and Havana but outside of these it can be difficult and even here they often do not function.
Tipping customs have recently changed and now it is recommended that tourists tip a small amount, not necessarily a percentage. At times taxi drivers, hotel porters, waiters and ubiquitous musicians will expect (or even demand) a tip. Most Cubans earn an average of £13 to £15 per month so it is no surprise that many Cubans have turned to tourism as a good tip can easily triple they salaries. However many Cuban's, especially in more rural areas, are proud people and offering a tip to someone giving you directions or inviting you into their homes for a coffee can be an insult.
Please ask permission before taking photographs.
UK passport holders require a Cuban Tourist card to visor Cuba; we can arrange this on your behalf.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.