FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - Americans and Cuba Travel - the Facts, Resources, Related Experiences [only]
Old Nov 23, 14, 9:13 pm
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: BER HAV
Programs: lh sen spg plat ra plat hyatt dia
Posts: 363
Originally Posted by Buenosairesportena View Post
Thank you JDiver for all the great info on Cuba travel. I'm going on a photography tour next February. The tour company is acquiring the visas so I am assuming our trip will be legit and there will be no problems, however, I am going with an open mind and sense of adventure...

On your visit did you have any problems with customs? I'm only bringing Nikon 1 camera but will have my iPhone with me. Should I be worried about theft from searches?

How about cash? Do you have to convert all that you bring in immediately or can you convert as you need it? Is it okay to give dollars or coins to folks for tips?

If I want to bring anything to donate to kids or people-colored pencils, crayons, clothing, guitar strings, etc, is there a website that has guidelines?

I've traveled quite a bit to Argentina, Ecuador, and have been through Chile and also I was in Montevideo, Uruguay so I am aware of keeping things near and being aware of my surroundings and not wearing flashy clothes, jewelry and standing out in the crowd.

It seems like a fascinating place despite the history... I'm especially interested in the culture and listening to the music. Of course seeing the cars and iconic sights will be a bucket list check off.

In your opinion would it be worth it to take Euros and convert instead of USD?

Did you know Spanish? I'm sure it can't hurt to know it.
Thank you for any input from you or others who may have been!

In Havanna you will find plenty of atm for receiving cash with a visa card issued by any non-US bank. To change US $ in the hotel is not advisable better take € with you and change in Cadeca which is a sort of official money changer. You find branches of Cadeca at many places in Havana (opposite of Yara cinema at Coppelia which is an ice cream parlour named after the famous ballet).

Most of the cubans speak excellent english as they are watching more or less day and night US soap operas and they learn of course english in school.

I had never any problems at the customs but you should not bring more then one or two laptops, one or two ipads, one or two smartphones. Somebody carrying ten or more iphones will be suspicious.

Cuba is one of the safest places for tourists. But as everywhere in the world you should not forget your purse with 500 € in a bus or in a cab. But even you do so the possibility you will get back your purse in Havana with all your money is higher then in Manhattan.

Do not tip coins - in US you are supposed to tip 18 or 22 % so give at least one US $ or more as a tip.

A last comment: I am traveling quite often to HAV and I met lots of US citizens on my flights who where strict anticommunist republicans while travelling to HAV. Two weeks later I met the same people outbound HAV wearing t-shirts with Fidel Castro on it and cuban flags in their hands and singing "Comandante Che Guevara".

My advice please do not buy t-shirts with Che Guevara, Fidel Castro or "socialismo y muerte" on it. And do not sing this song.

Last edited by carpetbagger; Nov 23, 14 at 9:29 pm
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