We know you have LOTS of questions about what to expect when traveling in Cuba. I~Dared Travels provides all our participants with a Travel “Cheat Sheet.” While you wait for your Tips for Traveling in Cuba information sheet to arrive, here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:
Q: Can I really travel to Cuba?
A: Absolutely. Regulations regarding travel to Cuba have been updated by the US Department of Treasury. It is no longer necessary to apply for a license to visit the island. However, unrestricted travel for tourism is prohibited. In compliance with the updated regulations I~Dared Travels has developed partnerships with Cuban Institutions and governing agencies allowing us to provide a unique opportunity to visit the island.
Q: I heard there are two currencies. Is that true?
A: Yes, there are. As a visitor to the island you will primarily use the foreigners’ currency: the Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC). The exchange rate is $.85 CUC to $1.00 USD. The rate is the same at the bank, airport, and hotels. You will not need to hunt around for a better rate. The national currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP). Once you exchange your dollars for CUC you can convert a few CUC to CUP. The exchange rate is 1:24. Don’t over do it. You will not have many opportunities to use the CUP. This is the currency for the farmers market, public transportation, and, unfortunately, the salary for nearly all Cubans.
Q: Is tipping a cultural norm? How much should I tip?
A: Of course tipping is a personal choice. I~Dared Travels will provide all its participants with some suggestions. Keep in mind, wages in Cuba are painfully low, yet even Cubans tip for service: restaurant staff and parking lot attendants. The need to improve salaries is a key issue impacting the country’s continued economic development; one that is discussed in the press regularly. Cubans are not shy with their opinions on this topic.
Q: Will I be safe traveling in Cuba?
A: Most definitely. Cubans are extremely friendly. If you wander off from the group–and you should, occasionally–someone will come to your rescue. You may not understand the directions completely, but walk a block and ask again. You will find your way back “home.” Police officers may look intimidating, but they are eager to help travelers. Women can walk alone at night without fear. Of course, keep an eye on your wallet. Petty theft is universal.
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