BUILDING RELATIONS WITH CUBAN LABOR
CUBA TRAVEL TIPS #1: FLIGHTS, VISAS, MONEY
TIPS FOR BUYING FLIGHTS - if you haven't done so already - now is the time!
• Prices fluctuate – ordinarily, the best time to buy for the best prices is Tues - Weds
• Some of us have opted to travel on US-owned airlines to promote US-Cuba travel. (Alaska Air discontinued direct flights to Cuba because of the lack of demand.)
• Flying on non-US airlines (Copa, Mexicana) –cheaper and easier to get a visa.
• When you purchase a ticket to Cuba, you may be asked the purpose of your trip. You should check the box, or choose from a pull-down menu or tell the reservationist "Professional research and meetings" or "educational activities", or both.
• All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity).
• Despite changing travel restrictions, we will have the proper authorizations/licenses to travel to Cuba
• Prior to departure, we will provide you with the travel affidavit, invitation and itinerary. Sometimes the airlines/visa people ask for this, sometimes they don't, but you should make an extra copy and keep this with your travel documents
• This is the information I received from Copa Air, which is standard for all US travelers to Cuba:
o If you are a US citizen or resident of the United States and are traveling to Cuba, according to the new regulations of the government of the United States, you must complete the affidavit for travel and deliver it on the counters of Copa Airlines when you start your journey.
• You can pre-purchase a visa, but it is not necessary and will cost extra for processing and express mail charges ($30-$40 extra on top of the cost of the visa).
• The cost for the visa varies, depending on your airline. Be prepared to pay in cash, US Dollars.
o For US-owned airlines, the cost has been $50 - $85. Check with your airline. They contract out this service to a third party, but you will be able to purchase the visa at the airport, before boarding the flight to Cuba. If you have a connecting flight(s), you will purchase the visa on the last leg to Cuba (Charlotte, Miami, etc.)
o For non-US airlines, the cost is $20 - $25.
• Upon arrival to Cuba, keep your visa (Also referred to as a Tourist Card) in a safe place. You will be asked for it upon departure from Cuba.
• The currency in Cuba is the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC).
• The US Dollar is not accepted. You can change money upon arrival at the Havana airport
• US Credit and debit cards are NOT accepted in Cuba. (Blame the embargo!)
o The CUC is similar in value to the US Dollar, and can be acquired at any currency exchange or bank. Please note that any transaction involving the US Dollar in Cuba automatically incurs a 14-18% fee.
o Additional money can be exchanged at hotel reception
• Canadian dollars (CAD), Euros (EUR), British Pounds (GBP), or Mexican pesos can be easily converted into Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at the 8% conversion fee. (More about this option in a following email.)
• Slightly torn notes, notes that are marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in good condition, in denominations lower than 100 USD (or equivalent).
• Cuban Pesos (CUC) are extremely difficult to convert outside of Cuba –be sure to convert any remaining CUC before departing Cuba.
More tips and information on money to follow in our next email . . .
And more travel tips to follow . . .
Also – once our delegation is confirmed, we are planning to host a meeting for any questions – in person and via telephone/video – stay tuned.
BRWCL Travel tips #1 (20180924