FAQ

What are the new rules/changes for Cuba travel from the United States?

As of November 2017, the US Department of Treasury has released the new regulations regarding Cuba travel. We are happy to report that these changes do not affect our trips; we still offer fully legal group tours to Cuba under the Educational/People-to-People category per Treasury Department regulations. Traveling under this category with an organization like Blue Note Travel is one of the only legal ways for US citizens to visit Cuba.

What you need to know:

1.Has the US Embargo against Cuba been lifted and if so, can we travel on our own to Cuba?

The US Embargo and travel restrictions are still in effect, and currently US citizens cannot travel to Cuba individually unless he/she qualifies for a general or specific license. Companies like Blue Note Travel, however, are authorized to send Americans to Cuba legally under current policy.

2. What is people-to-people travel?

People-to-People travel is the most common category under which US citizens travel to Cuba; it requires travelers to be engaged in a full cultural itinerary while in Cuba. We are one of the few organizations that the United States Treasury department’s Office of Foreign assets control has authorized to conduct this type of travel. People-to People travel gets you straight to the heart of Cuba-its people. We put you in touch with the everyday people of the island. We can make certain that you meet the best musicians, artists, dancers, and entrepreneurs in Cuba.

3. Can I travel by myself under a people-to-people license or can I apply for a people-to-people license?

President Trump announced on June 16th that he is ending the individual people to people travel category for travel to Cuba; in other words, going forward, US citizens and anyone traveling directly from the US must travel with a company that organizes people-to-people trips. It also states that the company and the travelers must fall within the requirements and rules of the license.

4. Can I book a flight without registering for a tour?

Commercial airlines are now operating regular flights to Cuba and you can book your own flights. However, you will be required by the airline to sign an affidavit stating your legal purpose for travel to Cuba. We provide this reason for you as a participant in our Educational/People to people group tour. You will need supporting documents which we provide as part of our packages.

5. Can I just book a beach vacation?

No, beach vacations are not considered people-to-people travel and are therefore not permitted. Cuba is a unique and culturally rich destination that has much to offer besides beaches.

6. Can I use my credit card or debit card in Cuba?

President Obama announced that U.S travelers will be permitted to use credit cards on the island, however it will take quite some time for U.S. Banks to establish themselves in Cuba. Also, credit cards are not widely accepted in Cuba at the moment. Currently you can only use cash in Cuba.

7. Has Cuba recovered from Hurricane Irma?

Yes, Cuba has fully recovered from Hurricane Irma and all of the locations and hotels that we use for our tours are fully operational.

Is it legal to Travel to Cuba?

How is BNT travel to Cuba legal?

Blue Note Travel designs custom itineraries that are fully compliant with OFAC guidelines such as music and dance performances, visits to Cuba’s entrepreneurs, artist visits and other activities that fall under the cultural travel guidelines. These tours are open to all Americans and no application process is necessary. People-to-people travel means you will have the chance to meet the local people of Cuba and experience their culture in depth. Cubans are very friendly and passionate and the memories of these interactions make a lasting impression on even the most seasoned travelers.

Why should I travel with BNT?

BNT is a division of Blue Note Entertainment Group (which owns and operates esteemed venues such as Blue Note Jazz Club, BB King Blues Club & Grill, Highline Ballroom, The Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C, among others). The company has over 35 years of experience providing first-class customer service around the world in the areas of live entertainment, hospitality, and beyond. For its Cuba trips, BNT is partnered with affiliates that have over 15 years of experience with Cuba and its culture. These affiliates represent musicians in Cuba and provide travelers a rare glimpse of the real Cuba.

What does People-to-People travel mean?

People-to-People travel, a subset of Educational travel, is the category under which every day Americans can legally visit Cuba. This category essentially means that you’re engaged in a full cultural itinerary every day and engaging with the Cuban people. We put you in touch with the everyday people of Cuba. BNT makes certain that you meet the best musicians, artists, and dancers in Cuba.

Why is this the best time to go to Cuba?

Over the last few years the culture in Havana has been flourishing – now is the best time to explore new creative spaces, new restaurants, and hear incredible music. Furthermore, Cuba remains one of the safest places you can travel in the world.

General Tour & Cuba Questions

Who would enjoy a Cuba trip?

Anyone who loves art, music, unique cultural experiences and great architecture. Cubans have so much passion and it really shows in the arts. Friendly faces are ready to welcome you. Cuba is also a highly educated population which makes it even more fascinating for Cubans and Americans to learn from each other.

Is there a minimum group size?

No, with Blue Note Travel there is no minimum group size. Groups tend to stay small, around eight people, and the maximum is 12 per group. If you have a group or organization we can discuss custom tour options that are appropriate for your budget and interests.

May I go to Cuba without a group tour?

We can arrange travel for small, custom groups but if you are joining one of scheduled tours they are typically group tours. The upside of this is that many clients make excellent friends with their group of like-minded travelers and these friendships last many years. We have had many passengers who want to return to Cuba with new friends they have made on previous tours.

How long in advance must we book a tour?

Due to Cuba recently being featured in the news and listed on several top 10 lists of best places to go some airline and hotel availability is limited. We have been able to book last minute tours through our wide network of contacts but hotels and B & B’s are in short supply. The high season in Cuba is November through June. If you need to go last minute or anytime in the next year please call us to start planning as soon as possible so that you have the best choices for flights and lodging available to you.

What age groups normally go to Cuba?

Typically the age range is 30’s to 60’s but we have had passengers from all other age groups as well.

Do Cuba tours sell out?

Some Cuba tours do sell out during peak season and festivals. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been visiting Cuba under the category of people to people travel in recent years.

Will I have any free time in Cuba?

Yes, free time is available generally in the early morning or in the late afternoon and evening. Our expert staff is very much in tune with the music scene and will research activities at night for those who are interested in jazz, salsa, ballet, cabaret such as the Tropicana or many of the hundreds of wonderful music and dance events that Cuba offers as part of its nightlife. We also leave some nights free for you to explore the wonderful private restaurants that Cuba has to offer. We always have lists of things to do or the best places to eat during your free time and would be happy to make reservations for you. During the day we will have a schedule of outstanding people-to-people cultural activities for you.

What is the price of a Cuba tour?

Each tour is priced differently depending on the length of the tour and the geographical areas covered. Prices also vary by date. Also, for custom tours we price them depending on the activities you are interested in. Please contact us for more information on current tour pricing and custom tours for your organization, family or friends.

Are Cubans friendly towards Americans?

The answer is a resounding YES! Cubans love to exchange ideas and conversation with Americans. Cubans are very friendly people and are well versed in many aspects of American culture!

What are the best cities in Cuba?

Here is a list of some of the most popular cities to discover on our tours:

Havana

Havana is one of the most unique, atmospheric places on the planet. The people, the architecture, the music, the history, the art— it’s an amazing place to visit. Many Cuban musicians have written songs as homage to Havana. No trip is complete without a visit to Havana.

Trinidad

Nestled between the ocean and the mountains, Trinidad is Cuba’s best example of a colonial town, and it has been wonderfully restored with funding due to its UNESCO status. Trinidad, Cuba is a photographer’s dream with many narrow cobbled streets to wander.

Santiago de Cuba

Set between the Sierra Maestra mountains and the coast, Santiago de Cuba is Cuba’s second biggest city. Santiago de Cuba has more of an Afro-Cuban feel than Havana and the passion for salsa and carnival are greater here. Its coastline is nothing short of spectacular. Stop off at Casa de La Trova for beautiful Buena Vista social Club music.

Piñar Del Rio

The Province of Pinar del Rio to the west of Havana offers a wonderfully different Cuba holiday. Pinar del Rio was founded by a Spanish general captain in 1774 and currently has 70 000 inhabitants. It is part of the quiet and lovely Cuban countryside where sugar and tobacco are grown. It boasts amazing natural caves as well.

How do I book a Cuba tour?

Call us at 646-380-9300 and we can book your trip by phone.

Immigration & Customs

Getting There

How does Cuban Customs & Immigration work?

When you arrive in Cuba please have your passport, Cuban visa and boarding pass ready for Cuban customs. The customs officer will take your visa and keep one part and then stamp the other part and give it back to you. Once you arrive at your hotel please leave the passport and visa in the safe. It is a good idea to take a copy of the passport but ID is generally not needed in Cuba unless it is to change money. You will also get a blue customs form to fill out. Please fill it out and hand it to the agent right before you leave the airport.

Will my passport be stamped?

At times customs will stamp your passport and at times they will only stamp your visa. If your passport is stamped do not be concerned. It is ok to have a Cuba stamp in your passport when you are traveling legally.

How long must I keep my Cuba paperwork?

The Office of Foreign Assets control requires that you keep your records on file for 5 years after your dates of travel to Cuba. This includes our itinerary, certificate of travel and your receipts.

What is the departure tax when leaving Cuba?

The mandatory departure tax for Cuba has been lumped into your airfare cost so you will not need to be concerned with it.

What is the procedure at the airport when leaving Cuba?

There is a two step process when leaving Cuba at the airport:

1. First, you will need to show your passport and confirmation number and check into your flight at the check in counter. There you will check any necessary bags and obtain your boarding pass.

2. You will go through customs with your passport, and customs will take your remaining half of your Cuban visa. Afterwards, you will enter the waiting area to wait for your flight.

What happens when I arrive back in the United States?

Once you arrive in the United States please have your passport ready to provide to your U.S. customs agent. From time to time an officer may ask what you did in Cuba. In that case you can tell them about your people-to-people activities and show your itinerary and certificate of travel if asked. In some airports there are now automated customs kiosks and you may not need to see an agent at all.

What do I write on my U.S. customs form?

Please write that you were in Cuba on your customs form and fill out the rest of the customs form as you normally would.

Flights to Cuba

How do we fly to Cuba?

You can book your own flights on any number of commercial airlines operating through major airports throughout the US. If you need assistance booking flights we offer flight concierge service.

Can I simply book a flight to Cuba on my own?

Yes you can but you will need to report your legal purpose for travel to Cuba, provide the necessary paperwork, and sign an affidavit.

Where do we fly from?

MIA still offers the most options per day for flights to Cuba but there are many other airports also offering daily flights to Havana. These include FLL, TPA, MCO, ATL, CLT, EWR, JFK and LAX.

What kind of plane will I fly on to Cuba?

Commercial airlines traveling to Cuba include American Airlines, United, Delta, Alaska and JetBlue. These airlines generally use Boeing 727 aircrafts.

May I use airline miles or frequent flyer points for my flights to Cuba?

Yes, if you enter your frequent flyer or membership number at booking or at check in, your Cuba flights will be applied to your miles balance. Please inquire with your airline for specific rules.

What should I pack for Cuba?

Should I bring my own medicines/sundries?

Yes, please remember to bring all of your prescription medications in their original bottles. You should also bring over the counter medicines such as Aspirin, Advil, Pepto Bismol, Immodium etc. in case you need them. These brands are not available in Cuba.

What else should I bring to Cuba?

  • Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses
  • A few nice outfits for dining or shows
  • A converter to charge your electronics for your hotel electricity outlet as many are 220 volts
  • Casual daytime clothes—there is a laundry service available at most hotels
  • Bathing suit—some hotels have pools
  • Insect repellant
  • Contact lens solution
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • All toiletries including toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss
  • Tissues and toilet paper as some public bathrooms may not have them
  • Bandages, creams and ointments
  • Any over the counter medicines you may need
  • A light jacket for rain or chilly weather—please check the weather forecast in Cuba before your trip!
  • Most hotel rooms have hair dryers but you may prefer to bring your own

What can I NOT bring to Cuba?

Cuban airport customs does not allow pornography, fresh fruit or meat into the country. They also restrict the import of household electrical items such as toasters and hotplates. Hair dryers are allowed. There are no restrictions on camera gear and you can bring a small video camera as long as it is not the larger professional variety used to make documentaries or films. Laptops, Ipads/tablets, and smartphones are all permitted.

Will my hair dryer/electronics work in the outlets?

Although the Cuban electrical outlets are the same as in the United States 110 volts, the hotels use 220 volts due to the high number of tourists from Europe. Please bring a converter to charge your electrical items.

Will my cell phone work in Cuba?

Most major US carriers now offer roaming service in Cuba. Please contact your carrier for details and rates. If you have a smartphone you can also use it to connect to Wi-Fi at major hotels. Viber works at times for making calls to the US when Wi-Fi signals are strong.

Will I have Wi-Fi access for my laptop?

Most major hotels do have Wi-Fi access in Havana. Wi-Fi may be harder to find in some of the other provinces in Cuba. You will have to purchase an Internet connection card from the hotel. The Wi-Fi access at hotels ranges from 2-7CUC per hour and you may use it with your smart phones, laptops or tablets. We suggest downloading your emails logging off and uploading the responses. You may log in and out as many times as you like.

Can I bring gifts for the Cuban people?

Cubans greatly appreciate basic gifts. Many people bring clothing and toiletries that they leave behind with Cubans. Some of our other suggestions include crayons, colored chalk and pencils, makeup, blank CD’s and DVD’s, guitar strings, any over the counter medicines, toiletries and any school supplies.
Lastly, pack a smile. Cubans are friendly and love to exchange ideas with Americans!

What can I buy in Cuba?

You may buy art, souvenirs, music, posters, books and other educational materials. You are now also permitted to bring coffee, rum, and cigars back from Cuba for personal use. If you buy a large or expensive piece of artwork you will need some special documentation from the artist that will be required at Cuban customs upon departure. This paperwork takes 1-2 days to prepare so please plan accordingly.

Is there shopping in Cuba?

There are souvenirs, T-shirts, CD’s, paintings and crafts available to buy in Cuba. It is not a major shopping culture and does not have many big stores for clothing or expensive jewelry as you may find on other Caribbean islands.

Currency, Tipping & Gifts

Is there more than one official currency in Cuba?

Yes, there is more than one official currency in the country of Cuba. While Cuban locals use the Cuban Peso (CUP)—tourists are given the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) and are unable to use the Cuban Peso. It is essential that you have the right currency. Please only change money at hotels and banks or a Cadeca (authorized change house). Your guide can assist you with suggesting the best place to exchange your currency. Never change money on the street.
An easy way to ensure that you have the correct currency is to make sure the word “convertible” appears on your bills. You can also look for pictures of monuments on the CUC bills, whereas the local currency has pictures of people.

Where can I change money in Cuba?

The only places you can change money in Cuba are: the airport, your hotel, a bank, or a Cadeca- these are the official money exchange houses in Cuba. Please always double check that you have the right currency (CUC).

How much money should I bring?

Please bring enough cash for your stay in Cuba. You will not be able to use credit cards or ATM cards and if you run out of funds you cannot replenish them. We have had experiences where travelers run out of money because they wanted to buy a piece of art or due to another unplanned expense. We suggest a minimum of 125-150 dollars per person per day. You may want to buy CD’s, souvenirs and pay for activities that are on your free time. Please bring extra money to cover these expenses. It is preferable to go home with extra money rather than run out of money in Cuba. Please remember to change all CUC’s back into U.S. Dollars before you leave Cuba. You cannot exchange them anywhere in the United States upon your return.

Will my Visa/Mastercard/Amex or traveler’s checks work in Cuba?

U.S. based credit cards or traveler’s checks will still not work in Cuba (with one exception, a small bank in Florida called Stonegate). Even still, most places do not accept cards of any kind so it’s best to plan on bringing all cash.

Can I use U.S. currency in Cuba?

When you arrive in Cuba you will convert your currency into the Cuban accepted currency called the CUC. There is a 10% tax on the US dollar in addition to the 3% exchange fee, so when converted into the CUC 1CUC = 1.13 USD. When you are departing at the airport please change your CUC’s back to US Dollars because you will not be able to change them once you get back to the United States.
If you’d like to avoid the 10% tax on the dollar then we advise bringing leftover Euros or Canadian dollars from a previous trip, as these currencies only face the 3% exchange fee and not the 10% tax.

Should I tip in Cuba?

Yes, tipping is expected in Cuba. Like many places in North America, it is a common and polite practice to tip your wait staff, tour guides, hotel staff, or bartenders for good service in Cuba by leaving a few Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUCs).

Here are some tipping guidelines:

-A tip for a for a meal 10-15%
-Taxi rides, bell hops, and bartenders 1 CUC
-Cleaning personnel for your room 1-2 CUC per day, please try and leave this each day as cleaning personnel may change daily.
-Musicians or community projects-If you enjoy a musician’s performance or want to support a community project we visit please feel free to tip according to your means.
-Bus Drivers: 3-5 CUC per day
-Guides: 10-12 CUC per day

Do I need to declare how much currency I have with Cuban or United States customs?

For Cuban customs you need to declare anything in excess of 5,000 dollars. That is a question that is asked on your blue Cuban customs form. For United States customs you are not allowed to have an excess of 10,000 dollars in cash when you enter the United States. In any event, we do not recommend bringing such large amounts of cash to Cuba unless you are planning on purchasing high-end art.

If I run out of money in Cuba can I receive a wire transfer from the United States?

Due to the embargo with Cuba only Cuban Americans are permitted to wire money through services such as Western Union to their immediate family members.

How much are international calls from Cuba?

Calls to the United States from Cuba run at about 2.50 CUC per minute and can be made from your hotel. This charge also applies to toll-free phone numbers. Viber works on occasion if there is a strong Wi-Fi connection and the other person must have it as well. Please be sure to download it before you leave for Cuba. Skype does not work from Cuba.

How much are taxis in Cuba?

Taxis run at about 5-15 dollars in Havana. Ask your guide for specific rates. It is important to agree on a fare before hiring a taxi because many taxis do not use meters in Cuba.

How much are CD’s in Cuba?

Cuban music is contagious. Many travelers want to bring CD’s home after hearing an amazing musician or band. The CD’s are commonly priced at 10 cuc’s with some ranging up to 20 cuc’s

How much it is to dine at a nice restaurant in Cuba?

We highly recommend paladares in Cuba. A Paladar is a privately owned restaurant as opposed to regular restaurants that are owned and operated by the Cuban government. Paladares compete with each other and some beautiful, creative and quality establishments are in operation. A paladar generally runs at about 15-40 cuc’s per person. We will provide a list of our staff favorites and are happy to make suggestions. Eating at paladares also helps encourage private enterprise in Cuba. We include as many paladares in our program as possible.

How much is it to go to the ballet, theater, music show or the Tropicana for a cabaret?

  • The Ballet and theater generally cost 20-30 cuc’s
  • Jazz clubs generally cost 10 cuc’s and sometimes include a drink
  • Salsa/timba clubs such as Casa de la Musica cost between 10-25 cuc’s per ticket
  • The Tropicana costs 75-95 cuc’s per person depending on your proximity to the stage and includes drinks. We recommend the middle range tickets (85CUCs) for their central view.
  • There are several Buena Vista Social Club type shows that cost 30 cuc’s per person.

Your guide will have all the information on local music and dance events for your Cuba trip and will be able to make necessary arrangements and reservations if necessary. We will do our best to ensure that you can experience Cuba’s vast array of incredible cultural events.

Documentation Needed to Travel

Do I need a passport to travel to Cuba and how long does it need to be valid?

Yes, every American that travels to Cuba will need a valid United States passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your trip dates. If you need a new passport please contact us and we can suggest expedited passport renewal services if necessary.

Do U.S citizens require a visa to travel to Cuba?

Yes, as soon as you book your tour, Blue Note Travel will set aside your visa for you and will mail it to you prior to your departure. Your Cuban visa or tourist card consists of two parts. One half will be taken from you when you arrive in Cuba at Cuban customs and the other part will be taken upon departure. Please make sure to keep the second part of your Cuban visa safe as it will be necessary upon departure from Cuba.

What are all of the documents that I need for my legal Cuba trip?

You will need the following documents in order to travel to Cuba:

  • A United States passport which needs to be valid for 6 months after your trip date.
  • A Cuban visa which will be provided by Blue Note Travel.
  • A Certificate of Travel stating your legal category for travel to Cuba.
  • A copy of our itinerary showing your activities which qualify you for a legal trip.
  • A blue customs form and white medical form will also be provided at the airport in Miami and these forms can be filled out on the plane on the way to Cuba and handed in after customs in Cuba.
  • Please also bring a photocopy of your passport to Cuba.

You do not need to send your original passport to us. We will ask for a copy to help us prepare your documentation.

Do I need a photocopy of my passport for travel to Cuba?

Yes, it is very important to bring a photocopy of your passport to Cuba. In Cuba, identification is not necessary for consumption of alcohol or entry into venues. We strongly recommend that you do not take your passport out of your hotel unless you are using it to change money. In the event that you do lose your passport, a passport copy is very useful for obtaining a new one at the American interest section.

What if I am a Cuban American traveler?

Cuban American travelers may require a special visa if they were born in Cuba. Please contact us if this applies to you and we can check into your particular situation.

Do I need a special visa if I am interested in visiting Cuba as press?

Yes, if you are going to Cuba for press related activities you must have a special journalistic visa. Please contact us if you are interested in traveling to Cuba for press purposes.

Do I need to apply for any other licenses to travel legally to Cuba?

You will be traveling under our People-to-People license for the duration of your trip. You will not need any additional licenses to travel to Cuba.

Safety, Insurance, Food & Water

Where can I purchase trip cancellation insurance?

Your Cuban medical insurance is included in your flight cost. This does not cover you for cancellation for any reason. We recommend Travel Guard trip insurance and can provide information and the necessary paperwork. Please inquire if you think you might need to cancel for any reason.

Will I be safe in Cuba?

Cuba is generally a very safe country. Basic common-sense precautions should be taken against petty crimes like pickpocketing as in any other country. Guns and drugs are not permitted in Cuba and therefore violent crimes are extremely rare. Please be aware of the cars as you are crossing the street. Many of the old cars also have old breaks and even if they want to stop quickly they cannot. Please use common sense and avoid wearing expensive jewelry and using expensive camera equipment while walking alone especially at night.

Am I safe as a woman in Cuba?

Cuba is a very safe country. It is practically unheard of that a woman would be assaulted in Cuba. Some men will catcall or try and compliment women. In this case when you ignore them they will generally leave you alone. Most Cubans are very respectful. We do suggest however that you do not walk alone on dark streets and try to have someone else with you if it is late at night.

What if I become ill or injured during my trip?

If you become ill or injured during your trip, your medical insurance covers the best clinics in Cuba and Cuba boasts the highest percentage of per capita doctor’s worldwide. In the case of sickness or injury you will be taken to a clinic or hospital immediately.

Do I need vaccinations to go to Cuba?

No, you do not need any special vaccinations to travel to Cuba.

What if someone on the street offers to sell me Cuban cigars?

It is not recommended to buy Cuban cigars on the street. They are almost certainly imitations or can also be stolen. Please ask your guide where you can purchase cigars.

Is the water safe to drink?

We recommend drinking only bottled water in Cuba. The Cuban drinking water is not recommended because our system is not accustomed to it. Most Cubans even boil their water before drinking it. Drinking Cuban tap water may cause digestive problems such as diarrhea and nausea.

What is the food like in Cuba?

We take our clients to many high end paladares (privately run) restaurants because they offer superior food and variety compared to the state run restaurants. These are top establishments that have been visited by the likes of President Obama and Mick Jagger. Restaurants are obligated to wash your food with filtered water. If you have a sensitive stomach, please refrain from eating salads and uncooked items if you venture out to eat on your own.

What is a Paladar?

A Paladar is a privately owned restaurant as opposed to regular restaurants that are owned and operated by the Cuban government. Paladares compete with each other and some beautiful, creative and quality establishments are in operation. A paladar generally runs at about 15-40 cuc’s per person. We will provide a list of our staff favorites and are happy to make suggestions. Eating at paladares also helps encourage private enterprise in Cuba. We include as many paladares in our program as possible.

How much it is to dine at a nice restaurant in Cuba?

We highly recommend paladares in Cuba. A Paladar is a privately owned restaurant as opposed to regular restaurants that are owned and operated by the Cuban government. Paladares compete with each other and some beautiful, creative and quality establishments are in operation. A paladar generally runs at about 15-40 cuc’s per person. We will provide a list of our staff favorites and are happy to make suggestions. Eating at paladares also helps encourage private enterprise in Cuba. We include as many paladares in our program as possible.

Photography, Video, and Electronics

Can I take photographs?

Yes! Cubans generally love to have their photos taken. Please ask first to be polite. Please do not photograph military personnel, police officers or government buildings. There are amazing photographic opportunities everywhere in Cuba! See our blog for some of our favorite Cuba photos. Small Video cameras are allowed. Large news cameras or movie cameras are not allowed without special permits. Electronics are expensive and there is a limited variety in Cuba. Please bring any cameras and electronics that you will need for your trip.

Will my hair dryer/electronics work in the outlets?

Although the Cuban electrical outlets are the same as in the United States 110 volts, the hotels use 220 volts due to the high number of tourists from Europe. Please bring a converter to charge your electrical items.

Language & Resources

Do I need to speak Spanish to go to Cuba?

Many Cubans that you will interact with speak some English. You will be accompanied by a bilingual guide who will be able to make any necessary translations. Most of our participants do not speak Spanish and it is not at all necessary for travel to Cuba.

What programs would you recommend in the event that I would like to learn some Spanish before my trip?

Here are some recommended options for learning some Spanish before your trip.

For more in depth courses please see the following resources:

The best way to learn is to practice with the locals. Come visit Cuba with us and learn some Spanish “A lo Cubano”-The Cuban way!

Culture: Music, dance and fine arts

Why do we believe that the Cuban arts are amazing?

In the United States most parents want their children to become doctors or lawyers. In Cuba doctors are respected but every parents dream is that their children become musicians. Music is the most respected profession in Cuba and one that many aspire to. At an early age Cubans can audition for music conservatories. Once selected, they go to the conservatories through 18 years of age and then if they choose to continue they go to a masters or doctorate program at a school such as ISA (Institute of Superior arts). ISA is comparable to the Juilliard School of music. All schooling is free in Cuba for Cubans. It is interesting to note that at ISA no salsa or jazz is taught. Students receive strict classical training and then learn these genres on their own. This really pays off and creates some of the best musicians worldwide. We have strong relationships with these musicians. We want to introduce you to them and show you their passion, talent and expertise. We work with young up and coming jazz artists like Jorge Luis Pacheco who sat in with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to seasoned musicians like Cesar Pedroso who co-founded arguably the best band in Cuba, Los Van Van over 40 years ago and now heads his own 15 piece salsa band. We also have in depth connections with the best dancers and fine artists in Cuba and they can’t wait to meet you!

What is the weather like in Cuba?

What is the weather like in Cuba?

The climate in Cuba is subtropical with cool trade winds providing some relief from the heat and humidity. The average year-round temperature is approximately 80 F and there’s plenty of sunshine. The climate in Cuba makes it a very pleasant holiday destination at almost any time in the year.
If you’re not sure when to travel to Cuba, you should know that the best time of year for a visit is during our winter when it’s dry and sunny in Cuba (from November through early May). During the spring and summer you can expect an occasional tropical rain shower. Sometimes they last an hour and blow over, other times they stay around all afternoon. July and August are the warmest months where the Cuba climate is at its sunniest and may reach 90 degrees. Also, the eastern cities of the island such as Santiago de Cuba are always hotter than Havana.

CALL US

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New York, NY 10012

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