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ATM, Credit Cards & Traveler's Checks

You cannot use US money or checks in Cuba. While MasterCard and Amex have said that they will soon start to accept cards from U.S. banks, Cuba’s infrastructure is unreliable and the transactions may not go through. We recommend that you bring enough cash for your entire trip. When you arrive in Cuba, you can exchange U.S. dollars or other currency at the airport, hotel or bank for CUC’s. or Cuban Convertible Pesos. For Travelers Checks, you must go to the bank and sign the check in front of the teller. Your signature must exactly match what is on your passport or you will not be able to cash them. You can exchange your CUC’s back to dollars at the hotel before you leave.


You can use a personal computer or tablet in Cuba but wireless access costs more that renting one of their computers. Cuban-born citizens need to register their tablets and laptops when they enter Cuba. If they leave them behind for friends and relatives, they will have to pay taxes when they leave the country and the taxes exceed the cost of the devices.

Currency - There are two currencies in Cuba: Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC)

Travelers have a special currency called the Cuban Convertible Peso, and since November 8, 2004, the CUC must be used for all purchases of goods and services. While it is most convenient to exchange your money for CUCs at your hotel, you can also exchange dollars at the airport, bank and CADECA bureaus. As of November 14, 2004, all exchange between CUC and USD is subject to a 10% Cuban tax on top of all exchange rates. You can bring Canadian currency or Euros to exchange for CUC’s for a smaller exchange fee.

Cuban Pesos (Moneda Nacional)

This is the official national currency and the money that Cuban citizens are paid in for their work. The exchange rate is approximately 24 Cuban pesos for one CUC.

Departure Tax

Cuba requires a departure tax from each individual ($25 CUC, apx. $25). Effective April 1, 2015, this will be collected by the Charter companies and included in the cost of your airline ticket.


Cuba is very conscientious in their treatment of people with disabilities, however, the amenities have not caught up with their attitude. The streets are not easy to navigate and the transportation is not geared toward the disabled. There are a few hotels that are equipped for people with disabilities, and Marimar can help you locate the facility to fit your needs.


Cuba has a zero tolerance policy with regard to illegal drugs, and the penalties for possession, use, or trafficking are severe. Persons violating Cuba’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Travelers who have apparently brought in a personal amount of marijuana or other drugs have been in prison for years and have experienced long legal proceedings. Convicted offenders can expect a long jail sentence (as much as 30 years) and a heavy fine.


There are two types of electricity: 110V and 220V. The U.S. uses 110V, so you should bring a surge protector, a three-prong to two-prong adapter and a 110V/220V converter.

Emergency in Cuba

Please contact the U.S. Interests Section in Havana at (537) 839-4100 during business hours 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed on U.S. and Cuban Holidays). After hours, call the main switchboard at (537) 831-4100 and dial 1 to speak with the emergency operator.
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Cuba is a poor nation, and donations of clothes, toys and toiletries are very much appreciated. These items can be donated during your stay, however, you should not feel obligated to bring anything. Please be aware that Customs may confiscate these items.

Illegal Travel - Trading

It is illegal for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba without the proper license whether it is from the United States or from another country. Those traveling illegally are subject to a fine and do not have the option of seeking help from the U.S. Interests Section in times of emergency.

Trading with Cuba illegally receives a penalty of up to a $55,000 fine under provisions of the Helms-Burton Bill, plus up to $250,000 under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Individuals who choose to circumvent U.S. law do so at their own risk and have to accept responsibility for actions and suffer the consequences that may result from such travel.

If OFAC believes the law has been broken, a “pre-penalty notice” listing the amount of the proposed fine will be sent to you.


Licensed U.S. travelers to Cuba will be authorized to import up to $400 worth of goods acquired in Cuba for personal use, of which no more than $100 can consist of tobacco products and alcohol combined. There is no limit on the importation of art, books, magazines or informational materials, however quality art requires a special permit.


For the most part, Cubans don’t have internet access. If you have brought your own device, you can get wi-fi at some hotels or internet cafes for approximately $4.50 per hour. Most hotels have a few old computers for foreigners to rent, but their software is not up-to-date. For access, you will wither need to use an internet access ticket or you can pay when you are finished. The Cuban internet feels like dial-up.

Items to bring with you (expensive and/or hard-to-find in Cuba)

  • Batteries Bring extra batteries for any battery-operated items

  • Clothing Shorts and sandals or walking shoes are ok to wear during the day. Bring a sweater or jacket for air-conditioning, and you may want to dress up for fine dining.

  • Fold-up umbrella For those unexpected downpours during the rainy season

  • Iodine tablets and portable water filters Bring iodine tablets and portable water filters as a precaution in case bottled water is not available where you are going

  • Kleenex and Antibacterial hand wipes Tissues, hand wipes and anti-bacterial gel are excellent sanitary additions as public bathrooms often don’t have toilet paper or soap

  • Medicine Be sure to bring meds for diarrhea, heartburn, aspirin and any other over-the-counter meds you may need along with a first aid kit

  • Mosquito repellant We recommend a repellant with a high DEET content

  • Passport photocopy Keep it in a separate place in case you lose the original

  • Prescription medicines It is important that you have enough to last during your trip, and we suggest you bring a little extra. Be sure to keep them in your carry-on bag in the original prescription bottle and that you follow airline security regulations if they include liquids. If you bring your prescription medicine outside of the original bottle, please bring a copy of the prescription.

  • Sunblock and sunglasses The UV index is high and Cuba gets 6-9 hours/day of sunshine, basically 365 days a year

  • Vitamins You should be ok to bring vitamins outside of their bottles. You cannot bring huge quantities of vitamins (especially in bottles), so just bring what you need for your trip.


Spanish is the language spoken on the island.


The number of pounds you can take and the charge for your luggage will vary by carrier and can often change on a daily/weekly basis. It is not unusual for a change to occur before your trip, and your Marimar agent will inform you of the specific regulations for your flights, and will update you on any changes.

Medical Insurance

The Cuban government requires that all travelers carry Cuban medical insurance. This is included with your airplane ticket and additional coverage is available for you to buy when you get to Cuba.

Mobile Phones

U.S. phones don’t work in Cuba but you can rent one when you get there. If you are traveling with a group and not on a family visit, there is very little need for a cell phone.


There are basically no restrictions on photography, excepting that taking pictures of military and law-enforcement facilities is strictly prohibited. Museums and other places of interest may have other posted restrictions.

Public Restrooms

These are very hard to find, and the few that are working generally charge a fee. They often don’t have toilet paper or water to wash your hands with, so we recommend that you bring tissues, hand wipes and anti-bacterial soaps.

Room Safe

While these are in some hotel rooms, they are often broken. It’s safer to lock your valuables in your suitcase at all times.


Cuba is generally a very safe country, however normal safety precautions should be taken. As with any travel, it is best to keep your personal belongings in a secure location and do not leave your valuables unattended. When you leave your hotel room, be sure to lock your belongings in your room safe or suitcase and take your electronics with you. It is best to leave your expensive jewelry at home.


The kind you like are most likely not available so you may want to bring your favorites from home. No perishables are allowed, but you may bring items such as nuts, candy bars, gum and chocolate that are in wrappers.

Special Diet

If you require a vegetarian, protein, high-fiber, or gluten-free diet, or if you need a therapeutic/modified diet due to illness, generally many restaurants and hotels are willing to meet these and other dietary requests.

Telephone Calls

Prepaid phone cards issued by U.S. companies are not accepted, however you can purchase phone cards from the Cuban phone company ETECSA. You can find these cards in hotels, conference centers and ETECSA telephone offices, but note that these can only be purchased with CUC’s. All phone calls using the ETECSA card must be made from an ETECSA phone. Cuba is in the Eastern Time Zone (same as Miami and New York), and they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To call Cuba from the U.S.

011 + 53 + City Code + Phone Number

To call a mobile phone in Cuba from the U.S.

011 + 53 + 5 + City Code + Phone Number

To call a mobile phone in Cuba while in Cuba

5 + Phone Number

City Codes:

  • Bayamo 23
  • Camaguey 322
  • Ciego de Avila 33
  • Cienfuegos 432
  • Guantanamo 21
  • Guantanamo Bay 99
  • Havana 7
  • Holguin 24
  • Las Tunas 31
  • Manzanillo 23
  • Matanzas 45
  • Pinar del Rio 82
  • Sancti Spiritus 41
  • Santa Clara 42
  • Santiago de Cuba 226

To call the U.S. from Cuba

Dial one (1), followed by the area code and number. If you are unable to connect, try dialing 119-1 and then your area code and phone number. To place a call through an international operator to the U.S. dial 66-12-12. English-speaking international operators are available 24 hours.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

If desired, you must purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance within two weeks of making your deposit. This is purchased from an outside vendor and they will offer different levels of coverage with different refund conditions. You can find your own agent or visit Trip Insurance Store.


While there are no required vaccinations for Cuba, the need will vary by individual. We recommend that you consult a Travel Doctor to see what vaccinations (if any) you may need.


We suggest that you limit yourself to bottled water only. We recommend that you purchase the bottled water at the local store, as your hotel will be much more expensive. You can also bring iodine tablets and/or portable water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available.


Cuba enjoys beautiful weather all year and is blessed with pleasant tropical trade winds. The average temperature is around 75°F, and it rarely falls below 70°F or gets above 90°F. May to October is Cuba’s summer and is considered the rainy season. It is very humid (as much as 80%) and brief showers often occur in the afternoon. The hurricane season is officially from June to November and Cuba is well-prepared for this. The dry season is considered Cuba’s winter, and it runs from November to April.



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