Passports and Visas
UK & Ireland passport holders: It is your responsibility to make sure that you have a valid 10 year passport. This must be valid for a period of 6 months after the date of your return.
Please ensure that the name given for ticketing matches your name as it appears on your passport. A tourist card (visa) for all people including infants is required for entry into Cuba. They cost � and can be ordered from us at the time of booking.
They must be filled in prior to your departure and please be careful to complete them correctly and in black ink as incorrect cards must be replaced with a further � charge.
Non-UK or Ireland passport holders: If you are not travelling on a British or Irish passport, in most cases regulations are the same. It is, however, your responsibility to check this with the Cuban consulate. It is also your responsibility to ensure that you have right of re-entry into the UK or Ireland as Travelcoast Limited will not be held responsible for any repatriation costs should you fail to do so.
It is our responsibility as your tour operator to ensure that you are adequately insured when you travel. We offer very competitive insurance cover, details of which are in the flight and price insert. Alternatively please call us for a quote. If you decide to make your own insurance arrangments we will require details of your policy and confirmation that the levels of cover are adequate.
Spanish is the natural language in Cuba, and though you will find English reasonably well spoken and understood in the resort areas it is less so off the beaten track.
Safety and security
We would not send any clients to an area in which we did not feel it was safe to travel. If the Foreign Office advised against travelling to a country or area for any reason we would act on it. However it is important to remember that travelling in Cuba is very different to home and Europe and the environments include very different lifestyles and often aspects of poverty. We strongly recommend that you take this into account in your actions and do not be provocative in flaunting expensive jewellery or accessories such as watches and cameras.
From 8 November 2004 the US dollar will cease to be an accepted currency for tourists in Cuba, and will be replaced by the Cuban convertible peso. (The convertible peso has already been in use in Cuba but less widely used than the US dollar.) A 10% tax will be levied on any currency exchange where dollars are converted into convertible pesos. As the convertible peso can not be bought outside of Cuba we strongly recommend that people take Sterling or Euros to Cuba to exchange on arrival and this will avoid the extra 10% charge.
Credit cards will continue to be accepted in most hotels but not usually in shops and restaurants. Please note that in Cuba traveller’s cheques or credit cards issued by an American bank will not be accepted anywhere as a result of the US embargo. In these days of an increasing range of credit cards with highly individual and obscure names, please double check with the card issuer that your card has not been issued by an American bank, especially if you are relying on it as part of your budget.
You will be met by our representative or local agent on arrival at your destination airport (in their absence you may contact Cubanacan Representatives at the airport), and transferred to your hotel, except when staying in Havana where we do not pre-book transfers.
To save the inconvenience of changing currency into Cuban Pesos on arrival at Havana airport our Captivating Cuba representatives can arrange a taxi to Havana hotels for � per taxi. Each taxi comfortably fits 3 passengers with luggage. This service may only be arranged with our Captivating Cuba representatives and you must have exact change.
Captivating Cuba has it’s own office in Havana and representatives in most of the major resorts. Details of offices and telephone numbers will be supplied with your travel documents.
We strongly recommend that you arrange suitable travel insurance for your holiday. Please call your consultant if you would like us to provide a quote for travel insurance.
Should you require medical assistance whilst in Cuba many larger hotels have 24 hour medical staff on hand. Medical services in Cuba are probably the best in the Caribbean!
The Department of Health website offers information on any recommended immunization for any destination in the world. Please check www.dh.gov.uk for up to date information.
As Cuba has a tropical climate we recommend that you take insect repellent with you as mosquitos can be an occasional nuisance. We also recommend that you take sufficient supplies of any medications that you require and also basic first aid supplies. The ongoing US embargo does make it difficult and expensive to obtain many medical supplies that are easily available in the UK.
It is advisable to drink bottled water instead of tap water. Most hotel shops and bars will sell bottled water. Please note that while many hotels will supply free bottled water in your room not all hotels do.
The times given to you for transfers, both by road or air, are approximate and are subject to change closer to the time. Flight times do frequently change as a result of tropical weather conditions, and road transfers occasionally change to accommodate a number of clients on different itineraries all travelling in the same bus or coach.
We have endeavoured to describe the facilities and standards of the hotels featured accurately and honestly. We have to point out however, that hotels can and do occasionally withdraw or curtail facilities at certain times without informing us. This can be for reasons such as closure for refurbishment, adverse weather conditions, or lack of demand in low season.
The prices on the website are per person based on twin occupancy of a hotel room. This will normally be twin beds and if you want a double bed this should be requested at the time of booking. Some hotels allow for triple or quadruple occupancy of rooms though these may be in a smaller, temporary bed.
A single room is often single occupancy of a twin room, but some hotels have single rooms, which may be appreciably smaller and of an inferior standard and position. We make no distinction on the site descriptions between a balcony or terrace, or between a bath or a shower. The efficiency of air conditioning can vary between hotels; in general the higher the classification and the more modern the hotel, the better the air conditioning. On occasions in Cuba the government may require all hotels to switch off air conditioning to conserve energy. Satellite TV in Cuba will generally not receive US stations apart from CNN. In keeping with accepted international policy, hotel rooms should be vacated by mid-day on the date of departure.
The star ratings shown are given by us and reflect a combination of the hotel’s standards and also it’s ambience and location.
Many of the hotels featured are on an all inclusive basis. These types of holiday have grown enormously in popularity over the past 15 years or so and with good reason. Not only do they provide excellent value for money and allow you to budget in advance, they also make life so much easier – no more getting out of the pool with a pocket full of soggy banknotes!
The important thing to remember about these all inclusives is that there is no such thing as a standard norm and some family oriented hotels may include children’s clubs and child minding services while in others this may be extra. Under each hotel we have highlighted the facilities included as part of the all inclusive package.
Most of the hotels we feature offer a fair selection of international dishes. To savour the real influence and ethnic diversity of Cuba however, we recommend a foray into some smaller local restaurants.
Of course the best part of eating out comes with the washing it down! Needless to say in the Caribbean rum is the foundation for a great selection of cocktails. Cuba is the original home of Bacardi The Mojito, Cuba Libre, and the Daiquiri originated here and prevail today. Proceed, but proceed with caution! There is also a good range of beers and local wines. On a more sober note, it is recommended that you buy the bottled water.
Tipping, especially at all-inclusive hotels, will be greatly appreciated and (wrong though it may be) will probably result in a better service. If you are going to tip, we therefore recommend that you do it at the beginning of your holiday. In Cuba the state controlled monthly salary is very low, so even a small tip goes a long way.
Wherever you are travelling you will find a range of excursions available which are well worth going on to make the most out of your stay. These vary enormously depending on where you stay and they may involve just half-day tour, or full day, or an overnight jaunt further afield. We strongly advise that you discuss your choices with our local representative or agent.
Cuba has a tropical climate, which is hot all year round. Many people find the period from November to March most pleasant as there is often more of a cooling breeze. Between May and October there can be some quite spectacular tropical rainfall. This is heavy but short-lived, and most commonly at night. At certain times of the year the Caribbean can be subject to hurricane force winds.