Travel Tips

We are always thinking how to make our guests stay as nice as possible and that’s why we’ve prepared this page for them to list some travel tips and also some useful phone numbers & addresses as well how to visit Cuba if you’re an American citizen. We will do our best to keep this page updated but if someone find any information written on this page outdated please contact us.

  • How Americans can visit Cuba.

Americans can visit Cuba through travel educational organizations that offer group tours like Cuba Educational Travel, Center for Cuban Studies, and Smithsonian Journeys. Americans can also continue to book a cruise through cruise lines like Carnival, Ponant and Pearl Seal but once you’re on shore you will be with a guided group. I must say that those who have always dreamed to visit Cuba should do it because Cuba not only has a lot to offer it’s also one of the safest countries in the world!. Make a reservation with us, explore and enjoy the eastern side of Cuba with locals!. Festivals, street music bands, folklore dances, historical places, delicious plates, virgin beaches and much more are waiting for you in Santiago de Cuba!

Tips before travel to Santiago de Cuba.

  1. Travel documents

Most visitors to Cuba have to travel with their passports and a tourist visa before enter in the country. Most foreign embassies & consulates are in Havana and there is a shortage of domestic flights in the island so if travelers have in plan to visit multiple cities is better to booking all their domestic flights before arrive to Cuba. And if the plan is to travel by bus the best choice is Viazul bus service but again we suggest to booking the tickets online before arrive to Cuba to avoid long lines specially if are travelling from any province to Havana during Christmas time, carnivals, etc. To buy the Viazul tickets online travelers need to open an account in the site, have a credit card, their passport number and a printer to print the tickets. The site is secure. Here it’s the website address: http://www.viazul.com

     2. What to pack in your luggage

 As many people know Cuba is an island on the Caribbean sea and Santiago is situated on the eastern side of the country making it the most Caribbean city of Cuba so weather is not just hot, it’s also humid and temperature during summer season can rise to 37 or 38 Celsius degrees so we suggest to all our guests to pack:

  • Very fresh and light clothing, preferably make of cotton.
  • Sunglasses, hats and a pair of light & comfortable walking shoes or sandals.
  • Wet wipes. It’s rare to find them in the stores.
  • Sunscreen
  • If traveling with babies pack some extra diapers because sometimes there is lack of these items in the stores.
  • Plastic bags or disposable bags are in lack too in some stores.
  • A good insulated water bottle or a well insulated bag and ice packs if traveling with babies or little kids. Regular water bottles get hot very quick.
  • If traveling from one city to another by bus always pack toilet paper & wipes.
  • Mosquito repellent and if it’s possible also a mosquito net specially if traveling with babies or young kids.

     3. What not to bring to Cuba. Most of the following items are completely forbidden by law

  • Any firearm or explosives
  • Pornography materials, drugs, narcotics and psychotropics substances or hallucinogens.
  • Blood derivatives
  • Products of animal origin
  • Any kind of Drone or mini drones (they are subject to review and final decision, the General Customs of Cuba suggests and thanks the passengers to travel to the country to refrain from importing this type of device. (http://www.aduana.gob.cu)

     4. What tourists can bring to Cuba as personal belongings

      Tourists enjoy the provisions of the Convention on Customs Facilities for Tourism so they have the right to bring with them their personal belongings and other items for personal use while are on vacations. Check the list below.

  • Personal jewelry
  • A digital camera
  • A digital or analog video camera with a reasonable number of cassettes and their accessories.
  • A film camera of small millimeter with two film rolls
  • Binoculars
  • A portable musical instrument
  • A portable sound and video device (portable DVD) including CD’s burners, readers and dictating machines with tapes and discs.
  • A portable radio receiver
  • Cell phone
  • A portable TV
  • A portable typewriter
  • A personal computer (laptop) and accessories
  • A portable calculator
  • A baby stroller
  • A wheel chair for the disabled
  • A camping tent & accessories
  • Sports equipment: a canoe, a kayak, a bicycle, a tennis racket, a pair of skis
  • Personal portable devices that allow to extract or introduce information into personal computers, such as flash memory, MP3, MP4, IPOD, electronic book, PALM and other similar items

Source:  http://www.aduana.gob.cu

      5. What not to do while in Cuba

  • Buy pieces of artworks of great value, luxury jewelry, money or large quantities of tobacco on the street to a passerby
  • Leave your personal belongings unattended
  • Drink water from a water tap. Always buy drinking water bottles in the stores or if you stay in a casa particular (private rental homes) make sure that your host boil or filter the drinking water.
  • Change your currency with a passerby or with people you don’t know. To change your currency always go to the CADECAS (casas de cambio), to the bank or to a hotel.
  • Drive without driving license
  • Make child pornography or hang out with a girl or boy younger than 18 years old.
  • Conduct drugs or human trafficking
  • Carry firearms or any other weapon
  • Incite or participate in an anti-government demonstration

     6. Useful phone numbers & addresses in Santiago de Cuba

  • Fire Department: 105
  • Police: 106
  • International Clinic: Address: Ave. Raúl Puyol Esq. Calle10 S/N Santiago de Cuba
    Phone: 022 642589, 642589. Fax: 687001 9 (Also an Int Drug store at the clinic)

    • International Drug Stores: Hotel Meliá Santiago – Santiago de Cuba
      Hotel Meliá Santiago Calle M y Ave. de Las Américas, Santiago de Cuba
      Phone: 687070
  • Antonio Maceo International Airport: Address: Carretera del Morro, km 2½. Phone: (53 22) 69 1053/69 8612
  • Cubana Airlines: Address: Calle Enramada esq. a San Pedro. Phone: (53-226) 5 1577 to 79. E-mail: mmilan@cubanascu.co.cu
  • Cubacar Rental Offices:
  1. Hotel Meliá SantiagoAddress: Calle M / Ave de las Américas y Calle 4ta Rpto. Sueño, Santiago de Cuba Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
      2. Santiago de Cuba Airport. Address: Carretera del Morro, km 2½. Hours : 24 hrs
      3. Hotel Libertad. Address: Perez Carbo e/ Garzón y Enrramadas, Stgo de Cuba
          Hours Of Operation: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
      4. Hotel Casagranda.  Address: Heredia No. 201, e/ San Pedro y San Félix.
          Hours Of Operation: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • DHL Express Service: Hartmann & Aguilera St., Santiago de Cuba. Phone:  (53 22) 68 6323
  • Etecsa (Telecommunications Company in Cuba):

         International Call Center. Address: Calle Heredia at Felix Pena corner

  • Banks and Exchance Houses (Casas de Cambio, better known as CADECAS)
  1. International Financial Banks (BFI):
  • Address: Calle Las Américas, esquina I. Sueño, Santiago de Cuba. Opening hours: Monday – Friday 08:00-16:00
  • Address: Felix Pena #565. Hours : Mon & Fri 8am to 4pm. Tue & Thu 9am to 12am

     2. Bank of Credit and Commerce (BANDEC)

        Address: Felix Pena #614.Hours: Open   Mo/Fri 8am to 3pm. Sat 8 am to 1 pm

     3. International Bank of Commerce S.A.

Address: Calle Jose Antonio Saco #451.  Hours: Open Mo/Fri  8.30am to 3pm

  • Money Exchange Houses. (Casas de Cambio better known as CADECAS) 

– Address: Calle Aguilera #508. Hours: Open Mo/Sat 8am to 6pm

  • Post Office: Address: Aguilera #519

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