Cuba time zone: GMT-5 (- 8 hours from Moscow).
Telephone calls within city limits are made in Cuba through pay phones. They work with coins (5 and 20 centavos) and phone cards.
Long-distance calls can be made through Telekorreos telephone exchanges. All major hotels have such stations. To make a call, you need to purchase a special phone card for 10 USD or 25 USD. Such cards are usually sold by hotel administrators. The cost of the call is displayed on the display of the station phone. The cost of one minute of a long-distance call with Russia is approximately 5-6.5 USD.
To make a call to Cuba, you need to dial: 8-10-53 – <area code> – <subscriber number>. Codes for major cities and resorts: Havana – 7, Varadero – 5, Santiago de Cuba – 226, Holguin – 24.
Internet telephony and cellular communications in Cuba are underdeveloped, but roaming is available to the main Russian operators.
Cuban emergency phone numbers:
Police: 116 and (7) 82-01-16
Fire Department: (7) 81-11-15
Ambulance: (7) 24-28-11
Airport Information: (7) 45-31-33
Embassy of Cuba in Moscow: st. B. Ordynka, 66. Phone: (495) 933-79-50
Embassy of Russia in Havana: Embajada de la Federacion de Rusia, 5-a Avenida, N 6402, entre 62 y 66, Miramar, La Habana, Cuba. Phone: (7) 331-085, 331-749
Opening hours of most Cuban shops on weekdays: 9:00-12:00, 15:00-18:00. In the middle of the day, during the siesta, which lasts several hours, the shops are closed. The opening hours of shops on weekends depend on their profile.
A welcome gift from Cuba will be cigars. When buying, you should beware of fakes. There should be a stamp on the cigar box. Cuban rum is no less popular among tourists’ purchases. Also, works of art and handicrafts are brought from Cuba: paintings, works made of wood, bamboo, seeds, shells and banana leaves. In addition, musical instruments are purchased in the country: bongos, maracas and tumbador drums. Tourists also buy CDs of local music groups, souvenirs and perfumes. See liuxers for Cuba customs and traditions.
When buying works of art, you may need a merchant’s export permit. To avoid problems, tourists should keep sales receipts.
Tipping in Cuba is accepted only in the tourism industry. As a rule, their amount is 5-15% of the cost of a particular service. A tip of 1 USD can be left for good service to the hotel staff, guide.
Bottled water is recommended for drinking in Cuba.
Tourists are more likely to get sunburned, so a high-protection sunscreen is essential. It is useful to take essential medicines with you to Cuba. Despite the fact that you do not need medical insurance to travel to the country, it is recommended to purchase it for a relaxing holiday.
In the country, emergency medical care and the first visit to the doctor are free.
During the holidays, tourists are advised to avoid encounters with some marine animals: sea urchins, tropical fish, jellyfish. Mosquitoes and malarial mosquitoes can also cause trouble.
Before traveling to Cuba, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the country’s monetary system. The national currency of the country is the non-convertible Cuban peso (CUP) and the convertible peso (CUC), dollars in circulation have been limited since 2004. The main difference between convertible and non-convertible pesos is the inscription “convertible”.
IMPORTANT: Tourist areas use Convertible Peso (CUC). The conversion rate of convertible pesos to dollars is 1:1. And the non-convertible peso exchanges with the dollar at a rate of 26:1.
1 convertible peso is equal to 100 centavos. The currency is common in banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 CUC and in coins of 1 CUC, 50, 25, 10, 5, 1 centavos. When exchanging dollars, a commission of 1 CUC -1.08 USD is withheld, and it is more profitable to exchange European currency.
Currency can be exchanged at banks, airports, hotels, at the city’s exchange offices – Casas de Cambios (CADECA). Almost all shops and restaurants accept Visa, MasterCard, Transcard, Cabal credit cards issued by non-US banks. Visa Electron, Maestro cards are accepted only in banks in Havana.
Opening hours of most Cuban banks on weekdays: 08:30-15:30 and until 12 on the last days of the month. Some exchange offices are open from 09:00 to 19:00 on weekdays and until 14:00 on Sunday.
Important: In street trading, you may encounter the fact that a “$” sign is placed near the price of a product. However, this sign does not always denote a dollar, often any price is indicated by such a sign, including the price in non-convertible pesos.
International airports in Cuba are located in the cities of Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Varadero, Holguin and on the island of Cayo Largo. For foreign citizens, local flights are more expensive, in Moscow bureaus they will cost much less. International flights are carried out by Aeroflot, British Airways, KLM, Air France and others.
Train tickets for foreigners are also more expensive (20 times) than for local residents. Trains are often late, there are no numbering on the cars.
The country’s sea traffic is concentrated in the ports of Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuetos, Mariel, Manzanillo, Nuevitas and Matanzas.
It is believed that Cuba ‘s municipal transport is underdeveloped. Intercity buses are often overcrowded and run infrequently, in the provinces a truck can be used as a means of transportation (travel by truck is 1-2 pesos).
City buses do not have a schedule, stops are every 4 quarters. Such a bus is called “gua-gua”, the fare in it costs 10 centavos. There are also large buses “camello” (“camel”). When choosing public transport, it is best to stay on seated buses with a limited number of passengers.
Taxis for locals (paying for pesos) are hard to come by. Taxis for city guests are many times more expensive, they have air conditioning and a radiotelephone. State taxis: “Cubanacan”, “Turistaxi”, “Panataxi”. Taxis are easy to hail from the hotel.
Well Cuba can rent a car and bike. Bicycle rental costs 1 USD per hour at the hotel and 1 USD per day from local residents. To rent a car, you must present a passport and an international driver’s license with experience of at least a year. The cost of renting together with insurance will be 50-75 USD per day.
In modern buildings, the mains voltage is 220 V, in old buildings – 110 V (an adapter is needed).