Some tips about your arrival in Cuba

Some tips about your arrival in Cuba

Transport

Arrival in the country, whether it is the first time or not, the approach to José Martí international airport on the reddish tobacco fields is in itself an unforgettable experience. Fortunately, the entry process is relatively simple, and with more than 3 million visitors a year, immigration authorities are accustomed to dealing with arrivals from abroad.
Outside Cuba, the capital is often called Havana, and this is how travel agents, airlines and other professionals refer to it. Inside Cuba, it is almost always called La Habana.

Airports:

Cuba has 10 international airports. The largest by far is José Martí, in Havana. As only important airport is the Juan Gualberto Gómez, in Varadero.
Airlines:
Cubana (www.cubana.cu), the national airline, has scheduled flights to Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Cancun, Caracas, Guatemala City, London, Madrid, Paris, Toronto, Montreal, San Jose, Costa Rica and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). Its modern fleet covers the main routes and its tickets are among the cheapest. However, overbooking and delays are recurring problems.
The airline has a zero tolerance policy with excess baggage, and severely penalizes every kilogram that exceeds 20kg of checked baggage.
Documents required at the entrance:
– Passport valid until at least one month after the date of departure
– Cuban tourist card filled in correctly
– Proof of travel medical insurance (mandatory since May 2010)
– Evidence that sufficient funds are available to cover the length of stay
– Return plane ticket.

Check-out:

At the airport everyone must pay an exit fee of 25 CUC. You can only pay in cash.

Bus:

It is a reliable way to get around, at least for the most frequented areas. Viazul (www.viasul.com), the only long-distance bus company that non-Cubans can use, offers occasional air-conditioned services (too) that go to places of interest for travelers. Viazul charges tickets in convertibles, and the traveler can be sure that he or she will arrive punctually at the indicated destination. Buses run regular stops for lunch / dinner and always carry two drivers.
Many successful tourist sites have bus routes that link the main points of interest of a particular area and charge 5cuc per ticket daily. The services are managed by the state transport agency Transtur (7-831-7333; www.transtur.cu). In Havana and Varadero the vehicles have two floors and an open roof. Similar minibuses are used in Viñales, Trinidad, Cayo Coco, Guardalavaca and Baracoa (in season).
To travel short Cuban distances, use provincial buses, which charge in pesos and are much less comfortable and reliable than Viazul. They leave the provincial bus stations of each city. Schedules and prices are usually written with chalk on a blackboard inside the bus station.



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