Frequently Asked Questions
+ Is luxury travel to Cuba really possible?
In short, yes. There are now 5-star European brand hotels in Havana. Exclusively Cuba has discounted rates at hotels and exclusive private rental villas across the island. We also have a full-time concierge staff resident in Cuba who will ensure every detail has been considered. That said, Cuba is an imperfect destination and expectations should always be adjusted.
+ Is travel to Cuba legal?
Travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens - when organized by an Authorized Sponsoring Agency (such as Exclusively Cuba) - is fully legal! However, travel for the sole purpose of tourism is prohibited. Your travel must fall into one of twelve (12) categories authorized by the US Treasury Department. Exclusively Cuba will create an unforgettable itinerary that meets the requirements of an approved category of travel. We take care of everything for you. When you travel with Exclusively Cuba, you don’t have to worry about any of the legal details. Exclusively Cuba is licensed to provide legal travel to Cuba! We provide every client with all necessary compliance documentation which should be kept for 5-years after your travel to Cuba.
+ Is it safe to visit Cuba?
While common sense should prevail anytime you're traveling, Cuba is perhaps one of the safest destinations in the world. In fact, at the 2018 International Tourism Fair in Madrid, Cuba was the winner of the Excelencias Award for being the 'WORLD'S SAFEST TRAVEL DESTINAION.' We have been organizing travel to Cuba since 1990 without a single client experiencing even a petty crime.
+ Can I organize my own trip to Cuba?
Since regulations changed in 2017, U.S. travelers to Cuba are now required to use an Authorized Sponsoring Agency such as Exclusively Cuba to organize your licesnsed travel to Cuba. Engaging in certain direct bookings in Cuba can put a traveler at risk of noncompliance with regulations, and at risk of possible enforcement action by the U.S. Treasury Department such as fines. Trust the experts at Exclusively Cuba to ensure your trip is both amazing and legal. We provide every client with all necessary compliance documentation which must be kept for 5-years after your travel to Cuba.
+ How do I travel to Cuba?
You can travel to Cuba on most airlines from virtually any city in the U.S. or around the world. Other options include cruises, private aircraft and by boat or yacht. If you are planning to travel to Cuba by private aircraft or by boat or yacht, please visit our sister company Cuba Handling for more information.
+ Do I need a visa to visit Cuba?
Most travelers to Cuba will require a simple Cuban entry visa which must be issued prior to departing for Cuba. Exclusively Cuba is authroized to issue standard entry visas to our clients. Noteworthy: Your passport must be valid for at least 6-months after your scheduled return from Cuba in order to receive an entry visa. If you were born in Cuba or if you are traveling to Cuba for journalism or for other business purposes, a different type of visa may be required with longer lead time - please contact us for details.
+ What will my online connectivity be like in Cuba?
A few US cell carriers offer roaming service in Cuba, but costs are high (over $2/min for calls, $2 per text and over $2/MB of data). Check with your carrier for details. Wifi is available and free in most hotels. There are public Wifi hotspots all around Cuba that require purchase of a WiFi access card ($3 per hour). Cellular data and Wifi speeds in Cuba are much slwoer than in the U.S. Video calls (such as FaceTime, Skype, etc.) are not typically possible from Cuba and most VPN's will not work while in Cuba. In short, you can be connected but you'll need to adjust your expectations.
+ Can I get a local SIM card or cellphone in Cuba?
Exclusivley Cuba offers local Cuban cell phones for rent. A local phone while in Cuba can make communication in Cuba much easier, allowing both local calls and messaging (but no internet), as well as allowing calls to and from your home country at reasonable rates. Please contact us for more information and pricing.
+ What can I bring home from Cuba?
Since changes in U.S. regulations in 2016, previous restrictions on U.S. citizens returning from Cuba were removed. Cuban cigars and rum may now be brought back to the US with the limitation that they must be in quantities for 'personal consumption' and not intended for resale. While Cuba is not a shopping paradise, Cuba is a truly great place to buy art. There are no restrictions and no duties on the importation of art - regardless of cost or origin. As with all international travel, the importation into the U.S. of fruits, vegetables or meats from abroad are strictly prohibited.
+ How does money work in Cuba?
The Cuban economy is essentially all-cash. Visitors should bring more than enough U.S. dollars, Euros or Canadian dollars to met all of your potential spending needs in Cuba. Access to additional funds is virtually impossible. Once in Cuba you can excahnge your moeny at any time for Cuban Convertible Pesos, called 'C.U.C.' or 'kooks' for short. You can change money upon arrival at the airport, at any hotel, or at money exchange offices called 'CADECA.' Note that there is a 13% surcharge when exchanging U.S. dollars to kooks, and there are no surcharges on other currencies. Any unused kooks can be exchanged back to your home currency at the airport before you leave Cuba - with no fees. We recommend bringing U.S. Dollars, unless you already have Euros. The cost of purchasing Euros in the U.S. can be high, which eliminates any savings in Cuba.
+ Can I use my debit or credit card in Cuba?
95% of merchants in Cuba accept only cash and they prefer Cuban kooks. A few government-owned business and hotels may accept credit or debit cards, but only cards from non-U.S. banks will work. To be clear: U.S. based credit and debit cards WILL NOT WORK in Cuba. American Express will not work in Cuba. Please plan to bring enough cash to last for your entire trip - plus a little extra for 'just in case.' There are safes avaialble in every hotel room and in every private villa.
+ Are there any restrictions on what I bring to Cuba?
Cuba does have a few restrictions. Visitors are not permitted to bring satellite phones, drones or any kind of 2-way radios. You can certainly bring all of your personal technology - laptop, tablet, phone, camera, etc. Please contact us if you have any more specific quesetions.
+ Is Cuba family friendly?
Absolutely! Our clients have ranged from infants to grandparents and everyone in-between. While Cuba is not as universally accessable as other destinations, guests of all ages and any level of mobility will find Cuba a warm and welcoming destination.
+ Can I rent a car in Cuba?
While possible, renting a car in Cuba is expensive and strongly discouraged. Cuban laws related to traffic accidents are complicated, and the U.S. Embassy in Cuba advises visitors to rely only on hired cars with drivers. Exclusively Cuba maintains a network of licensed drivers and vehicles in every category from standard to luxury, all for hire daily or weekly and for either local or across-the-island journeys.
+ I've got more questions - who should I ask?
Call Exclusively Cuba at 1-844-ONE-CUBA, or send us an e-mail at Info@ExclusivelyCuba.com. We'll be happy to answer all of your questions about travel to Cuba!