Cuba - Travel Information
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Cuba | Travel Information

General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.

Visitors entering Cuba are allowed to bring in duty free one carton of cigarettes, two bottles of liquor (if they are over 18 years old), up to 10kg of medicine, and articles and equipment relative to their purpose of visit. Gifts valued up to US$250 may be brought in, of which US$50 is duty free (the rest is 100% taxable).

Visitors leaving Cuba may take out 23 cigars. If you exceed this amount you must present an official receipt and the cigars must be in their original cases with all official seals, including the new holographic seal.

For more information call General Customs of the Republic of Cuba at 53-7/55-5466.

Also see the section in General Info: Illegal items.

Pets are permitted entry with the proper vaccinations and documentation. Contact your nearest Embassy of the Republic of Cuba for more information. In Canada call 613/563-0141 (Ottawa), and in the UK call 020/7240 2488 (London).

The majority of international flights arrive at the José Martí International Airport (airport code HAV; tel 07/33-5777), which is nine miles southwest of Havana. Other international airports include Juan Gualberto Gómez (airport code VRA; tel 045/61-3016) in Varadero/Matanzas, Antonio Maceo (airport code SCU; tel 0226/69-1014) in Santiago de Cuba, Mariana Grajales (airport code GAO; tel 021/34-816) in Guantánamo, Ignacio Agramonte (airport code CMW; tel 032/61-862) in Camagüey, Jaime González (airport code CFG; tel 043/45-1328) in Cienfuegos, Máximo Gómez (airport code AVI; tel 033/22-5717) in Ciego de Ávila, Vilo Acuña (airport code CYO; tel 045/24-8141) in Isla de la Juventud, Frank País (airport code HOG; tel 024/46-2512) in Holguín and Cayo Coco (airport code CCC) in Ciego de Ávila.

To Havana, flying time is approximately 4.5 hours from Toronto, a little over an hour from Miami and nine hours from London.

Airlines that service Cuba include Air Canada (tel 07/836-3226, Havana; 033/30-9161, Cayo Coco; 045/24-8142, Cayo Largo; 024/46-8111, Holguín; 05/61-3016, Veradero), Air Jamaica (tel 800/523-5585), Air Transat charters (tel 866/847-1112 or 514/636-3630, Montreal), British Airways, Condor Airways (tel 800/524-6975), Cubana (tel 07/266-4644 or 649-5777), Grupo TACA (tel 07/833 3114), Iberia (tel 07/204-3444 or 204-3445), KLM (tel 07/33-3730), Martinair (tel 07/833-3729), Mexicana (tel 07/33-3531 or 33-3532), Marazul Charters (tel 305/649-9025, Miami), Skyservice Airlines (tel 800/701-9448 or 416/679-5700, Toronto) and Virgin Atlantic (tel 07/204-0747).

Note: The phone numbers listed above are local access numbers unless otherwise stated.

Cruise ship facilities are located in Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. Cruise ships also dock at the Isle of Youth, Nuevitas Bay and the northern coast of Holguín province.

Due to the US trade embargo, no US cruise lines call on Cuba. Cruises are available through Riviera Holiday Cruises, Sunquest Vacations and West Indies Cruises.

If you are arriving by private boat, before entering Cuban waters contact the port authorities on VHF channels 16 or 68, or HF channels 2760 or 2790. Follow Port Authority instructions and remain on board until you have satisfied all legal formalities.

Authorized ports of entry for non-Cuban vessels are located in Havana (Marina Hemingway, tel 07/24-1150 to 6), Varadero (Marina Puerto Sol Darsena de Varadero and Marina Gaviota Varadero), Ciego de Ávila (Marina Gaviota Varadero), Holguín (Base Nautica Gaviota de Naranjo and Base Nautica Marlin Boca de Sama), Santiago de Cuba (Marina Marlin Punta Gorda), Cienfuegos (Marina Puertosol Jagua), Los Canarreos (Marina Puertosol and Cayo Largo, tel 045/248-212 or 248-213) and Pinar del Rio (Maria La Gorda Centro Internacional de Buceo Puertosol).

Cuba has an extensive network of highways and roads, however, driving is hazardous, particularly at night, as signage and lighting are poor. The national highway, Autopista Central, is generally in good condition while most other roads are generally not. Some roads have tolls. Watch for pedestrians, bicycles and horse-drawn carts in the middle of the road, especially in rural areas, where livestock can also be wandering on the road.

Reports suggest car accidents are the leading cause of accidental death in Cuba. Accidents are treated like crimes and the onus is on the driver to prove they are innocent. If you are found responsible for an accident resulting in serious death or injury you could face a prison term up to 10 years. Furthermore, if you are at fault the rental agency may nullify your insurance and seek damages to cover repair costs. After an accident Cuban authorities can prevent rental car drivers from leaving the country until the trial takes place and all claims are settled, which could take five months to one year. Drivers should not allow unauthorized persons to drive the rental car.

Driving is on the right and speed limits are strictly enforced. It is illegal to drink and drive, and the law requires that you stop at all railway crossings. Seat belts and helmets are not required as they are generally not available on the local market.

To rent a car you will need an international driver's license or your valid driver's license from home. You must be at least 21 years old and have at least one year's driving experience. Prior to leaving the lot, thoroughly inspect your rental car, including a test drive, to ensure it has been properly maintained and is road worthy. Servi Cupet gas stations are located around Cuba and many are open 24 hours.

Motorhomes are also available for rent from Cubamar Viajes (tel 53-7/833-2523, Havana).

CAR RENTALS (country code 53)
Camagüey (area code 32): Cubacar, 3-6284 or 36-5193; Havanautos, 36-5163 (airport) or 28-2701; Rex Rent a Car, 26-2444; Transtur, 26-6228

Ciego de Ávila (area code 33): Cubacar, 530-8197 or 530-8194; Havanautos, 26-6345; Rex Rent a Car, 30-2244

Cienfuegos (area code 432): Havanautos, 55-2309 (airport) or 55-1211; Rex Rent a Car, 55-2244

Havana (area code 7): Cubacar, 33-2277 or 33-7233; Gran Car, 33-5647; Havanautos, 649-5215 or 649-5197 (airport) and 833-3484; Panautos, 55-3286 or 55-3296; Rex Rent a Car, 642-6074 or 649-0306 (airport), 862-6343 (cruise terminal) and 273-9166; Transtur, 55-3991 or 24-3939; VIA Rent a Car, 33-9781 or 66-6777

Holguín (area code 24): Havanautos, 28-2701 (airport) and 46-8017; Rex Rent a Car, 46-4644 (airport); Transtur, 42-4187

Santiago de Cuba (area code 22): Havanautos, 68-6161 (airport); Rex Rent a Car, 68-6444 (airport) and 62-2911

Veradero (area code 45): Havanautos, 25-3630 (airport) and 61-4409; Rex Rent a Car, 66-7539 (airport) and 66-2121

Other destinations in Cuba: Havanautos, 46/32-4432 (Isla de la Juventud), 82/77- 8015 (Pinar del Río), 42/ 20-9118 (Santa Clara), 419/6301 (Trinidad), 45/98-4123 (Matanzas), 141/2-8403 (Sancti Spíritus); Rex Rent a Car (Villa Clara), 42/22-2244

Taxis serving tourists exclusively are modern, usually air conditioned and can usually be found around hotels and tourist attractions. Classic vintage cars also operate as official taxis. Unofficial taxis, which are older, well-worn vehicles with no meters, are also available, however, you should be knowledgeable about official fares or you will probably end up paying more.

Official taxis have meters and the government regulates fares, however, you should verify the fare with the driver prior to setting off. Fares usually increase at night. You can also hire taxis by the hour or for tours.

Water taxis and ferries also operate to offshore cays (pronounced keys).

Camagüey: Taxi OK, 30-8197 or 30-8194

Ciego de Ávila: Taxi OK, 3-6284 or 36-5193

Havana: Gran Car (vintage cars), 33-5647; Micar, 204-3457; Panataxi, 55-5555 or 55-5456; Taxi OK, 204-9518 or 204-9519; Taxi Transtur, 33-5515; Transgaviota, 33-9780 or 66-6777 ext 2303

Holguín: Taxi OK, 2-0243 or 2-0233

Santiago de Cuba: Taxi OK, 4-1787 or 4-2714; Transgaviota, 64-1465

Veradero: Taxi OK, 66-7092 or 66-7089; Transgaviota, 61-9762 or 61-9733

City buses are available but they are scarce, very crowded and often havens for pickpockets. Tour buses operate out of Havana and Veradero to major tourist sites. You can make bookings for them at your hotel service desk.

Ferrocuba (tel 07/861-8540, Havana), the state-run train service, stops at all major cities.

Airlines servicing destinations within Cuba include AeroCaribbean (tel 07/55-8751 or 55-8752), Aerogaviota (tel 07/203-0668), Aerotaxi (tel 07/33-4064 or 32-4348) and Cubana (tel 07/266-4644 or 649-5777).

All of the above phone numbers are in Havana.

Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.

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