Cuba Travel Guide

It’s time to scratch below the surface of Cuba where salsa dancing, vintage cars, rum and cigars and sun-kissed beaches capture the attention of travellers from around the world. In a country where you should expect the unexpected, Cuba will leave you pleasantly surprised by its cultural experiences on offer, and despite the increase in visitors annually, it still retains its charismatic charm. 

The Highlights

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    November to March; July to August

    Typically, the peak season runs from November through March, and again for a second peak from July to August and you can expect dry, sunny days and plenty of blue skies. Of course, if the crowds bother you, skip these months. If you’re bound by the months that you can travel, and you’re only able to visit Cuba in the peak season it is best to book your accommodation in advance. As for Christmas, if you find yourself in Cuba over this time don’t expect big festive celebrations, as this is quite a low-key affair and the emphasis is on intimate family celebrations instead. As for New Year’s Eve, this is much more eventful and is also the eve for the anniversary of the Revolution. 

  2. Low Season

    May to June; September

    While Cuba is the epitome of ‘paradise’, the downside is the risk of hurricanes that might occur through June and sometimes later in the year along with heavy downpours. Some resorts will offer reduced rates, and others will close completely. The hurricane season runs from June to November, with the most troublesome months being September to October. That being said, compared to the other Caribbean islands, Cuba experiences far fewer hurricanes, but the risk should always be kept in mind when planning your travels if this concerns you. 

Cuba Tours

FAQs about Cuba

  • Do you tip in Cuba?

    Absolutely! Most people in Cuba rely on tips, and leaving a small gratuity can make a large difference. For restaurants, it is best to leave 10-15% of your total bill, and for taxis, 10% would be recommended and make sure you carry a few small notes for musicians busking or in restaurants. 
  • What is the internet access like?

    As you may be aware, internet access is limited in Cuba, but it is accessible. In most of the larger towns, you can buy one-hour user cards for use at public Wi-Fi hotspots. Just don’t expect to be able to spend hours powering through emails or updating your social feeds.
  • Is the tape water safe to drink?

    No. Buy bottled water, or you can boil the tap water or use water purification pills. 
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    No US-based credit cards or debit cards can be used in Cuba, and it is best to withdraw cash before you travel. As a general rule, even if you aren't American, do not rely on credit cards.
  • What are the public holidays?

    The official public holidays of Cuba include Liberation Day on January 1, Victory of the Armed Forces on January 2, International Workers Day on May 1, Commemoration of the Moncada Attack July 25-27, Independence Day October 10 and Christmas Day December 25. 
  • What are the toilets like?

    Most importantly, you must carry your own toilet paper or be prepared to pay for it at every toilet stop. Sometimes though, even if you do have your own toilet paper it’s likely you have to pay using the toilet anyway. 
  • Can Americans travel to Cuba?

    For American travellers, there are 12 categories of authorized travel that will allow you to visit Cuba including, journalistic activity and family projects. However, depending on the current administration, regulations can change without notice but a people-to-people tour remains the safest option.
  • What is a casa particular?

    In Spanish, casa particular literally means “private home”, and exists as a unique accommodation style where visitors can stay with a local family. Many times, there is an entirely separate home, or at least section of the home, for visitors to stay in and each will vary slightly.