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13 Important Tips You Need to Know Before Traveling to Cuba

13 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Cuba | CosmosMariners.com

Cuba is one of those unusual destinations that's on everyone's bucket list but remains mysterious to most people who hope to visit. In truth, Cuba is very hard to define since it has so many influences from the Caribbean, South America and the United States.

Add in the travel restrictions that U.S. visitors have had to deal with until recently, the lore established by Ernest Hemingway's Cuban-centric novels, and the iconic snapshots of vintage cars driving the roads of Cuba, and you've got a mysterious, compelling place that has every travel lover intrigued.

Discover this amazing, sunny country with these 13 important tips you need to know before your tour to Cuba!

1. You'll come back tanned and relaxed.

13 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Cuba | CosmosMariners.com

Cuba is the biggest island in the Caribbean, and it's as sunny as it comes. With some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world, you're bound to enjoy a good, strong tan to make your holidays last even longer. Bring along a few good beach reads for the ultimate in relaxation. Jut don't forget to pack the sunscreen!

2. Spanish is the official language.

You might think it's so close to America that english has to be a common language, but Cuba is one of the few countries where English won't get you far. On the other hand, learn a few words of Spanish and locals will be delighted and much more willing to help you out!

3. There's a right season to visit.

Cuba has two main seasons, one dry and one humid. The best time to go is during the dry season between November and March. Although it starts being a little rainier, April and May are also good choices, especially if you want to see Cuba's extraordinary carnival!

4. You'll want to get a cab.

13 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Cuba | CosmosMariners.com

When you think of Cuba, you always long for a ride in one of those typical American cars from the fifties. As those cars are no longer in production, the only way to ride in one is to take a cab. Several of these beautiful cars are still used as cabs on predetermined routes. Sometimes they even goes from one city to another. It's not the most comfortable (thanks to a lot of bouncing from the decades-old springs and shocks), but it's really cool!

5. You need travel insurance.

Cuba is one of the few countries where travel insurance is mandatory. You'll need to buy it beforehand and carry proof with you. It's a good habit to take anyway, as travel insurance is always useful!

6. There are two currencies to consider.

Cuba has one really weird thing going on: it works with two different kinds of money. In general, tourists are using CUC (Cuban convertible pesos) and Cubans are using CUP (Cuban pesos). I recommend you change part of your cash into CUP when you find a bank, as carrying small notes is often useful. The dual pricing might seem strange to you as it often doesn't add up, but you just have to accept the fact that there's a local price and a tourist price.

7. It's all about cash.

Cuba works essentially on cash, so forget about your credit card and take enough cash with you for your entire trip! This might be where a money belt or travel clothing (like these leggings or this scarf) that allows you to keep a portion of your money stowed away and out of sight. Cuba is a safe destination, but it never hurts to divide your money when traveling.

8. Everything is negotiable.

As Cuba suffers from the trade restriction, it's totally acceptable to bring solid objects into your bargaining. Trading food or drinks for clothes or shampoo is one way of getting your meal!

9. You'll dance.

It doesn't matter if you're allergic to the dance floor or already have some serious moves, everyone dances in Cuba. Inside, outside, in cafés, alone or all together, there's always time for dancing. Even better, locals can be counted on to always be there to take your hand and introduce you to salsa or batchata, so don't be shy!

10. Buy tours before you arrive.

Tours are the most common way of traveling in Cuba, because of the complicated currency, language and transport situation. Once in Cuba, you might find it hard to find a good tour at a good price (or only after some bargaining). The best is to book your tour to Cuba before getting there so that you don't lose any time!

11. Find your home away from home with a Casa Particular.

A casa particular is a privately owned flat or room that locals rent to tourists. It can be a whole house to yourself or a room in someone else's apartment. In both cases, a Casa Particular is the right way to go. It's cheaper than a hotel, benefits to local businesses and will give you a unique insight into a real Cuban home!

12. Explore on foot.

13 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Cuba | CosmosMariners.com

The cities are all very walkable, even Havana, the capital, so explore them on foot! It's the best way to discover all the little hidden streets and secrets of those colorful towns! [Check out a self-guided walkable Havana tour here!]

13. Music is mandatory.

13 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Cuba | CosmosMariners.com

If you don't like music (but who doesn't like music?), don't go to Cuba. Music is everywhere, in every café and street, in a wonderful blend of Cuban culture and international hits. Let your ears guide you!

And this is just the beginning of what Cuba has in store for you.

Have you been to Cuba? Which of these tips for traveling to Cuba did you find the most helpful?


13 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Cuba | CosmosMariners.com

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