Cuba holidays 2020 & 2021
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For even if this communist nation is slowly sliding to the West, on a holiday to Cuba you’ll see how Havana still lives in the past. It’s a place of rusting Cadillacs, fruit carts, Sovietesque monuments to revolutionary heroes, and locals chatting on the seafront wall. There’s a Cuba beyond the capital, too: valleys of tobacco fields and limestone outcrops. The sleepy, white-sand islets of the northern cayes. And music — the country’s lifeblood. Everywhere pulses with salsa and son.
Suggested tours for Cuba
These tours give you a starting point for what your trip to Cuba could entail. Treat them as inspiration, as each trip is created uniquely for you.
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- 100% tailor-made tours
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Best time to visit
Our specialists advise on the best months to visit Cuba, including information about climate, events and festivals.
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Our detailed brochures feature trip ideas and travel experiences recommended by our specialists.
Useful information for planning your holiday in Cuba
7 hours 30 upwards dependent on airline (Dublin to Havana)
Cuba's official language is Spanish. English is only widely spoken within the tourist industry so having a few choice phrases of Spanish is always useful, especially in more rural areas.
Dining in Cuba is an experience that is enjoyed for the atmosphere and ambience, not necessarily for the quality of the food. This is due to continuing food shortages and restrictions on private enterprise. Most of the restaurants in the country are state owned and offer wholesome but not gastronomic cuisine. Dining in a 'paladar', however, is a much more entertaining experience. Paladares are small, private, family run restaurants often found in a family home, giving them a unique atmosphere. The cooks at paladares are usually more imaginative with the food available and the best meal you have in Cuba will often be in a paladar.
Vegetarians and vegans are increasingly well catered for as the tourism industry develops in Cuba, especially in more highly visited areas such as Havana and Trinidad, but you may find that in more rural areas restaurants do not accommodate for dietary requirements quite as readily. Rice, black beans, fried plantains and roast pork is the type of dish that you are likely to find as typical fare in Cuba, reflective of the simple but hearty cuisine on the island.
In Cuba there is a dual monetary system where two closed currencies operate; the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) and the Cuban Peso (CUP). In general, as a visitor, you would be using Cuban Convertible Pesos, as Cuban Pesos are almost exclusively used by locals. Since 2004 US Dollars have no longer been accepted, and an additional 10% tax is applied when changing them in Cuba, so you are much better off taking Sterling or Euros to exchange for Cuban Convertible Pesos. You can find ATMs quite extensively in the country’s cities and towns, but unfortunately they often do not function, so it is advisable to take a cash float into the country.
It is generally recommended that tourists tip a small amount, though not necessarily a percentage. At times, taxi drivers, hotel porters, waiters and ubiquitous musicians will expect (or even demand) a tip. Cubans earn an average of £30 a month so it is no surprise that many Cubans have turned to tourism as a good tip can easily exceed their salaries. However, many Cubans, especially in more rural areas, are proud people, and offering a tip to someone giving you directions or inviting you into their home for a coffee can be an insult.
Cuba in pictures
Our expert guides to travelling in Cuba
Written by our specialists from the viewpoint of their own travels, these guides will help you decide on the shape of your own trip to Cuba. Aiming to inspire and inform, we share our recommendations for how to appreciate Cuba at its best.
Cuba remains a communist country with many of its own struggles. However, with an open mind, a sense of humour and an adventurous spirit, if you choose to visit you will be rewarded with a cultural experience unlike any other.
Country specialist, Anna, picks some of her top things to see and do in Cuba. Her highlights include wandering through Havana’s old town, listening to live music in Trinidad and hiking in the in Viñales Valley, Sierra del Rosario and Tope de Collantes.
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