Cuba can be full of questions. HEre are answers to some of the more common ones. If you don’t see what you are looking for, do not hesitate to email us.
What should I expect coming to Cuba? ⌄
Cuba is a beautiful, chaotic and inspiring place. We offer views into the culture and communities here that is rare. You will be staying in well designed comfortable homes and will be exploring parts of the culture that is vibrant and sometimes raw. We work to make your stay incredible, exciting and eye opening. This means that you will have great amenities, food and access. It also means that you will be exploring in areas that are rough around the edges and coming across topics and ideas that will challenge you to think and feel differently.
How do I book a flight? ⌄
There are direct commercial flights to Havana from many U.S. and international cities. All you have to do is buy a ticket. American, United, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest all fly to Havana from the U.S.
How do I get a visa and is it legal to travel to Cuba? ⌄
The Cuban travel visa is a simple document that you fill out with your name, nationality and passport number. With U.S. airlines, you can purchase a tourist visa ahead of time via your airlines or at the gate of your flight that is departing for Havana. If you are traveling from anywhere outside of the U.S., please check with your airline to confirm if they provide Cuban travel visas or if you need to get one from a Cuban consulate.
The legality of travel to Cuba for an American citizen or resident is in returning to the U.S. and having documentation that you traveled under one of the approved categories. OTROS OJOS provides this documentation to all of our travelers in Cuba. You do not need this documentation to depart the U.S. or to arrive in Cuba.
Can I add on travel before or after a trip with Otros Ojos? ⌄
Some of our travelers decide to arrive a day early to get grounded before the trip starts or stay after our trips to explore Havana or Cuba on their own a bit more. We cannot provide itineraries for the time you are not with us, but you can extend your time legally by staying in independently run B&Bs and spending your time visiting the private sector of Cuba. We recommend that you keep a log of your activities should you be asked for documentation.
Dependent on availability, we are happy to book you in the casa where you are staying for the night before the trip starts. Due to other trips that we run, we typically cannot offer to book more than one night, but you are welcome to check with us.
Is Cuba safe? ⌄
Cuba is safe and you should feel comfortable walking around day and night. There is little crime and there are no guns or drugs in Cuba. Traveling with OTROS OJOS you will be amongst good people and friends of ours, but please use common judgment when out dancing and meeting people we do not know. Not everyone is trustworthy. As always, we recommend you keep your passport and money safe, and be aware of your surroundings.
What is the money situation there? ⌄
Cuba is a 100% cash economy. Credit cards are not accepted. You will need to bring all the money you think you may need with you, and we recommend over budgeting.
You will not be able to get Cuban money from banks outside of Cuba before arriving. We recommend bringing Euros, as the U.S. Dollar incurs a 10% tax at the Cuban exchange houses. You can exchange money at the airport upon arrival (which we recommend), or at exchange houses throughout Havana.
What is the food like? ⌄
Cuban food is fantastic, if you know where to go. You will be eating in some of Havana's best restaurants that range from traditional to super contemporary. Pork, beans and rice feature heavily in more traditional meals but you will be exposed to everything from ceveche to black rice to intricate fish dishes. Cumin and lime are essential to the Cuban kitchen. Vegetables and salad come with many dishes, and it is your discretion whether to eat them. All restaurants we take you to will use filtered water to wash their vegetables, but raw food is always a bit riskier than cooked.
Can I drink the water? ⌄
It is essential that you do not drink the tap water in Cuba. We encourage all of our guests to bring reusable water bottles so that they can fill them up at our house, which has a double filtration system (UV followed by Carbon). This reduces the use of plastic bottles, which at times on the trip will be necessary. If you purchase bottled water on the street, it is important that you check that the screw top has not been tampered with. It is a common scam in Habana Vieja to refill water bottles with tap water. Please don’t fall for it.
What can I bring back with me? ⌄
Americans are allowed to bring $800 worth of goods back to the U.S. from Cuba duty free. In regards to rum and cigars, the law is a bit different—only the first liter of rum and the first 100 cigars are duty free, but you are welcome to bring any amount.