Cuba – travel tips

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Climate

I visited Cuba in late June, the height of summer, when it’s very hot and humid – the temperature was in the mid-30s (°C) every day and the humidity was so high that every time I stepped outside the sweat began pouring. The heat and humidity was stifling, which is why it’s generally recommended that you visit from December-May. Hurricane season is between July and November.

What to take with you

Toilet roll – This is a definite must. In many places you’re given a few sheets of paper by an attendant in return for some change, but some toilets don’t have any loo roll at all.

Hand sanitiser – The majority of the public bathrooms I visited didn’t have soap, so this was a lifesaver.

Insect repellant – Make sure your repellant is tropical strength as there are a fair few blood sucking insects. Check the list of ingredients for DEET, which offers the strongest protection.

Diarrhoea tablets – Quite a few of my fellow travellers developed an upset stomach, so these came in very handy.

Currency

The money situation in Cuba can be confusing for first time visitors as it has two currencies. The Cuban Peso, which is mostly used by the locals, and the Cuban Convertible Peso (known as CUCs), which is mostly used by tourists. Cuban currency isn’t traded on the international market so you can only buy your CUCs in Cuba – there’s a kiosk at Havana Airport where you can trade your money, or you can buy them at the country’s banks and cadecas where the rates are set by the government. British Pound Sterling and Euros are both accepted.

Departure tax

Make sure you keep 25 CUC aside as you’ll need it to get out of the country – you have to pay a departure tax at the airport before you leave.

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