Traveling to Cuba: A 2023 Guide

April 27, 2023

Are you looking for an exciting and inspiring destination to travel to in 2023? Look no further than Cuba!

This Caribbean country is home to diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities. From its lush tropical forests, white-sand beaches, and colonial architecture of its capital Havana, the island of Cuba is a picturesque location full of color and life.

In this guide, we'll explore all that this charismatic nation has to offer – from where to stay while visiting things you won't want to miss out on during your trip. So get ready for an incredible adventure as we delve into what it's like traveling through Cuba in 2023!

Prepare Your Travel Documents

First things first - make sure your travel documents are in order. Check if your passport is nearing its expiration date, and if so, take steps to renew it before scheduling any trips or booking any flights. You don’t want to end up paying for your flights and booking a hotel, and then find yourself turned back by the border authorities.

Check Cuba’s Travel Requirements

Relations between Cuba and the United States are not exactly stellar. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t travel there. But it needs to be said that there are sometimes unique restrictions placed on US citizens when traveling to Cuba.

For example, the USA doesn’t permit American citizens to travel to Cuba for tourism purposes. But there are ways to get around that, such as declaring your visit to be for other purposes, such as journalism, engaging in state business, visiting family there, or even for religious reasons. If you’re unclear on how to proceed, please contact the US authorities or the nearest Cuban embassy or consulate for more information.

If you happen to be a citizen of any other country other than the United States though, you may have an easier time traveling to Cuba. But as we said above, your best bet is to contact the nearest Cuban embassy and inquire about the most up-to-date information on travel requirements.

Plan Your Transportation

For most people, this is a rather moot question, since taking a flight to Cuba would be their preferred choice. However, if you’re afraid of flying, or you’re planning a more scenic way to reach Cuba, you can always plan trips by car, train, or boat. Cuba is the closest country to Florida, and the shortest (air line) distance from Florida to Cuba is just over 400 miles. Whichever method of transportation you choose, make sure you always have enough cash on you and that all your documents are in order.

Best Places to See In Cuba

Of course, it’s always a good idea to also think about the places in Cuba you’d like to visit during your stay there! While personal tastes vary, we recommend that you check any of the following Cuban highlights:

Havana

Known for its colonial, but colorful and charming architecture, the vibrant capital of Cuba should be on your map. You’ll be greeted by a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, lively music and tasteful restaurants, and lots of vintage American cars.

Varadero

Varadero is a stunning beach town located on a narrow peninsula in the north of Cuba. It’s the ideal destination for anyone looking to visit Cuba for a summer vacation because the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters make for an unforgettable tropical paradise experience.

Trinidad

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its charming, colorful buildings and rustic cobblestone streets. Trinidad is packed with art galleries, museums, and other cultural venues where any visitor can get a rewarding look into Cuba’s history and impressive culture.

Viñales Valley

But what about Cuba’s charming, rustic countryside? Well, Viñales Valley is waiting for you. Located in the western part of the island, this valley is known for its endless tobacco plantations, beautiful limestone cliffs, and dramatic natural landscape.

Cienfuegos

Those looking to have some fun should visit Cienfuegos - a charming coastal city on the southern coast of Cuba, known for its dance culture and vibrant street music. The amazing neoclassical architecture, along with beautiful plazas and lush parks make this the perfect place for relaxation too.

Research and Respect Local Customs During Your Stay In Cuba

Every culture is different, and simply visiting a country doesn’t guarantee a pleasant stay there. Here are some things you need to know about Cuba before you decide to visit.

Make Sure You’re Fully Vaccinated

Over 90% of Cubans are fully vaccinated (yes, from 5 years old and upwards) and most Cubans find the idea of refusing a Covid vaccination inexplicable.

Bring a Face Mask

Covid is sort of behind us, but many Cubans still expect you to wear a mask in many places, especially in enclosed areas. It’s also a good idea to bring hand sanitizer as well.

Use the D’Viajeros App

This is an app introduced by Cuban border authorities to regulate your stay in Cuba better. Upon filling in your travel information, the app generates a QR code which you are supposed to show to Cuban authorities, ensuring you a hassle-free stay in Cuba.

Don’t Rely on US Dollars; Bring Euros

The money situation in Cuba is complex, to say the least. The dollar has sort of fallen out of favor, and now Cubans prefer being paid in Euros, or exchanging the Cuban Pesos (CUP) for Euros. Your wisest course of action is to bring cash in Euros, denominated in 5, 10, or 20 banknotes.

Bring Important Medications With You

Cuba isn’t exactly the land of plenty, but while most basic items can be easily procured, less-known medicine isn’t so easy to find. If you have specific medical conditions that require particular medical therapy, bring an extra supply of them with you to ensure you won’t run out of it and endanger your health.

Learn How to Use the Internet In Cuba

While Cuba is now allowing 4G and WiFi connections almost everywhere, the required data infrastructure has been slow to catch up. You can find decent internet in the urban areas but expect to have no connection anywhere outside a city, such as a countryside.

Enjoy Cuba and Its Tastes

Finally, there is only one thing that remains - for you to visit beautiful Cuba and enjoy its charming culture, and vivacious music, but also try the unforgettable cuisine! Cuban cuisine is colorful and tasteful, being a mixture of African, Spanish, and Caribbean flavors.

Some of the most popular dishes include Arroz con Pollo, a rice dish complemented by flavorful chicken; Ropa Vieja, a slow-cooked dish with soft shredded beef; the exquisitely roasted pork called Lechón Asado, or the plain but charming twice-fried plantain slices called Tostones. Don’t miss out on trying the commonly enjoyed black bean soup or the unique Cuban sandwiches too, and you’ll have a fully authentic Cuban experience!

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David Sunnyside
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter, I merge my engineering expertise with digital marketing savvy to offer fresh perspectives on architecture and design. My technical background ensures our content's precision, while my dedication to meditation brings a mindful approach to our bustling digital presence. Join me in exploring the artistry and analytics of building spaces at Urban Splatter.

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