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Cuba Travel Information

Cuba Travel InformationCuba sets the boundaries for all except Cuban citizens and foreigners with residence permits. For more on coronavirus and entry/exit, see Health.

Safety

Cuba is a relatively safe destination compared to other Latin American countries. Violent crime affects foreigners to a small extent. However, there is good reason to take regular precautions.

Make a copy of the passport and leave the original in the hotel. Do not bring more valuables than necessary to the street. Take good care of bags, digital cameras, etc. If you have access to a hotel safe, it is advisable to store your valuables there.

In central areas of Havana and on the way to and from the airport, care should be taken with regard to bag hangers, pickpockets and other types of theft.

In the evening it is a good rule to stick to illuminated streets. If you go to nightclubs at night, it makes sense to take a taxi from the nightclub to the hotel afterwards.

NB! In case of robbery, theft, loss of money, passports and other valuables, this must immediately be reported to the police. To issue a new passport at the embassy a copy of the lost passport notification is required.

The risk of terrorist danger in Cuba is considered low.

  • Countryaah: Havana is the capital of Cuba. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

There is a risk of earthquakes in the Caribbean. Before an earthquake, you may want to take precautions and be prepared for how best to respond.

Hurricanes: In the case of hurricanes, Norwegians staying in affected areas are encouraged to follow the advice and directions of local authorities. In addition, the National Hurricane Center as well as local media is a useful source of up-to-date information.

It is imperative to make preparations in advance of notified hurricanes. You should ensure that you have access to what you need to do in the immediate aftermath of hurricanes. During and after hurricanes, periods of degraded infrastructure, electricity loss and damage to building masses often occur. Restaurants and shops may be closed. Floating water, food and cash can be challenging.

Insurance: All travelers to Cuba must have travel insurance that covers all medical expenses. The insurance should be purchased before departure. If you arrive in Cuba without travel insurance, you will be asked to take out insurance with a Cuban insurance company at the airport.

If you need help contacting an insurance company or bank in Norway, the Cuban insurance company Asistur can help with this. The alarm center is open 24 hours a day throughout the year. One must attend in person except in cases where one is hospitalized. In such a case, the hospital will provide contact. The staff is fluent in English. The company can also help with private money transfers.

Asistur SA
Paseo del Prado No. 208, e/Col¨®n y Trocadero
La Habana Vieja
Tel: (53 7) 866 4499
Alarm Center: (53 7) 866 8527/8339/8920
Fax No.: (53 7) 866 8087
Email: [email protected]

Entry

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Tourist visas are obtained at the embassy, ​​cost NOK 475 and permit a stay of 30 days with the possibility of renewal for another 30 days. An extension is being sought in Cuba at one of the many immigration offices. The price for a visa extension is approx. 25 CUC. The Cuban embassy in Oslo can be contacted for further information.

Address for Immigration Office in Havana's Old Town:
Edificio MetropolitanoO'reilly y Aguacate
Habana Vieja

Travelers to Cuba are advised that passengers traveling from, just arrived, or who have traveled through countries in West Africa where the Ebola outbreak is taking place can be quarantined for 21 days or refused entry.

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): Cuba closes the borders for all except Cuban citizens and foreigners with residence permits.

Cuban authorities announced on Friday, March 20, that they will close the borders for visitors from March 24, for 30 days in the first place. The exception is Cuban citizens and foreigners with residence permits. In the same announcement, all tourists are expected to leave Cuba as soon as possible.

As of March 24, tourists in the country will in practice have a curfew, and will not be allowed to leave the hotels they live in. Those staying in so-called "casas particulares", privately-owned accommodations/Bed and Breakfast places (B & Bs), will be moved from these to hotels, gradually, with the exception of those living in Trinidad, Viñales and Baracoa. These will be transferred to hotels nearer airports, immediately, without much details as to how this will happen. Others who, for the time being, stay at the B&B will have a curfew in line with those staying at hotels.

There will be 32,000 tourists left in the country in total and there are currently 9400 tourists in the country living in B & Bs, of which approx. 6500 in Havana. The transfer from B & Bs to hotels will be free of charge for tourists, and the price for hotel rooms will be roughly the same as what you pay for a B&B.

In addition to the curfew, there is a prohibition on offering tourist activities, so that no one who runs private businesses associated with tourism should try to offer such services. All excursions are canceled. All pools and gyms, both public (in the hotels) and private, must be closed.

Domestic transport between provinces ceases, but exceptions will be made for those who have legitimate and necessary travel between provinces.

Other measures:

  • Public schools close until April 20.
  • No Cuban citizens are allowed to travel out of the country.
  • Anyone who enters the country must be in quarantine for 14 days regardless of nationality, every few days this means transfer from the airport directly to quarantine centers.
  • Advice to the general population about staying home if they have no important business to do.
  • Kitchen culture, especially at grocery stores, with at least one meter distance between persons must be observed. Public transport system intercity is maintained, but the population is encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Increased police in the streets to enforce the new measures, and the police will follow up the transport measures.

You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.

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Before traveling to Cuba, one should vaccinate against hepatitis A, diphtheria/tetanus and for longer stays: typhoid fever. Check with your doctor and take vaccines well in advance of departure.

When staying in Cuba, drinking tap water is not recommended. Bottling water can sometimes be difficult to find, but this is often unproblematic in the most popular tourist areas. The food hygiene is generally good, but as a traveler you are always exposed to changes in the bacterial flora. Preventive stomach stabilizers, such as Idoform can be a good tip. It is recommended to protect against mosquitoes, as diseases such as dengue and zika occur.

For official health travel advice and health professional guidance for Norwegians when traveling abroad, please refer to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

In the summer of 2012, cholera outbreaks were reported in Cuba for the first time in over 150 years. The outbreak flared up in the winter and summer of 2013. The risk of travelers to Cuba being infected by cholera is considered small. No cases have been reported in Norwegian travelers, and there are no grounds for discouraging travel to Cuba.

For more information, see the Institute of Public Health's website: The Colera situation in Cuba

Practical information

Currency Units: There are two valid currency units in Cuba - convertible pesos (CUC) and Cuban pesos ("moneda nacional"/MN).

1 CUC = approx. 24 Cuban pesos

Cubans have to deal with both currency units as wages are paid in Cuban pesos while many goods are sold only in CUC. As a visitor, you generally relate only to the CUC and hardly ever need Cuban pesos. Most goods can be paid with CUC.

The value of the CUC is basically the same as $ 1, but due to the fee deducted by exchange from other currencies, it becomes a bit more expensive in practice.

Money exchange and withdrawals: The US dollar exchange rate is higher than in other currencies, so you may want to bring cash in euros.

Visa is the only card that works in ATMs. When withdrawing at an ATM, a (regular) fee is charged. American Express, Diners and other credit cards affiliated with a US bank are not accepted (cf. US Trade Blockade). Similarly, similar traveler's checks are not accepted.

Credit card loss: Havana's main credit card office is in Hotel Habana Libre. Here you report loss of credit card and card and account lockout.

Oficina Fincime
Hotel Habana Libre
Calle L esquina 23
Vedado
Tel: (53 7) 835 - 6444 (24 h)/835 - 6466/835 - 6422/835 - 6405 (opening hours: 8.30-16.30), fax: (53 7) 834 6365

Money transfer from Norway: All transfers must be in Norwegian kroner and not in US dollars. You can make a private transfer of money to a Cuban bank by requesting your own bank to send a certain amount. Most larger hotels have internet with the possibility of scanning and sending e-mails. Relatives in Norway can also transfer to a Cuban bank in your name.

It is also possible to transfer money via Asistur:

Asistur SA
Paseo del Prado No. 208, e/Col¨®n y Trocadero
La Habana Vieja
Tel: (53 7) 866 4499
Alarm Center: (53 7) 866 8527/8339/8920
Fax No.: (53 7) 866 8087
Email: [email protected]

List of Banks in Havana:

Banco Financiero Internacional
5ta Ave. # 9009, esquina 92
Miramar
Tel: (53 7) 267 5000
Fax: (53 7) 267 5001/02

Banco Metropolitano
5ta Ave. y calle 112
Miramar
Tel: (53 7) 204 9188/89, 204 3869/70
Fax: (53 7) 204 9193/86

Bicsa (Banco Internacional de Comercio SA)
20 de Mayo y Ayestar¨˘n, Apartado 6113, La Habana Vieja
Tel: (53 7) 55 5482
Fax: (53 7) 66 6028

Normal opening hours: The working week is from Monday to Friday.

Office Hours: 08: 30-16: 30, with one hour lunch break; Some offices are also open on Saturdays from 8am to 5pm.

Banks: 08: 30-16: 00 Monday to Friday; 08: 30-12: 00 on Saturdays.

National Holidays: January 1, January 2, May 1, 25-27. July, October 10, December 25 and December 31.

Lack of goods and fuel: Cuba is characterized by lack of goods. Private restaurants, and especially the more expensive ones, will largely maintain their offerings regardless of this. The same goes for private rental places with food service. State restaurants and bars will have somewhat more varied offerings. It is generally challenging to find ordinary foods in stores, so any dietary needs should be brought from Norway if Cuban import rules allow. Fruits and vegetables can be found in their own markets.

There is sometimes a shortage of fuel in Cuba, and reduced public transport must be expected. Rental cars are available, especially if they are booked from abroad in advance. The cars are taken over with full tank, while the next refill is the tourist's responsibility. You have to be prepared to spend a few hours queuing at the gas station.

Telephone: Telecommunications are often difficult and expensive to and from Cuba. If you are going to use Norwegian mobile in Cuba, check in advance that your mobile provider has an agreement with the country. This is probably the best solution for calling. It may be necessary to manually ask the mobile to search the web after arriving in Cuba. If you try to call Cuban telephone numbers (for example to the hotel) from Norway, it is often difficult to get line and often poor connection.

Calls to Cuba: + 53 + No.
Calls from Cuba: 119 + Country Code + No.
Calls from Cuban Landline to Cuban Mobile: 05 + No.
Conversations from Cuban Mobile to Cuban Landline: 07 + No.
Conversations from Norwegian Mobile to Cuban Mobile: +53 + 5 + no.

Emergency telephones: Ambulance 104, fire 105, police 106

Car accidents: If there is an accident in which a Cuban citizen is killed, in the first instance it often means imprisonment for the foreign citizen, regardless of guilt issues. In connection with accidents involving minor personal injury or damage to another vehicle, irrespective of guilt issues, one must consider hiring a lawyer and having to provide compensation to the injured party.

Time difference: Norway is six hours ahead of Cuba (GMT -5).

Power: The power connectors in the hotels are 110 volts. In the bathrooms they usually have 220 volts. In Norway, 220 volts are used, but laptop and mobile chargers generally take 100-240 volts. The 110 volt sockets are of American type with two flat pins. The hotel has loan transfers at times but this cannot be guaranteed. It is therefore advisable to include transfers in your luggage.

Temperature and clothing: The climate in Cuba is tropical, but the temperature is influenced by winds blowing over the island. The temperature in Havana can be over 30 degrees during the day and about 20 degrees at night. Humidity varies between 79-81 percent. Although the hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, there may also be large amounts of rain at other times of the year. One should bring a sweater or a light summer jacket to be out at night or in air-conditioned places.

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