CUBA

Fun Facts From Globus Tours

Group Voyagers, Inc.* is an organization licensed by the United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), CFR 515.565(b) and authorized to provide those who register as participants in our programs to visit Cuba legally for educational people-to-people interactions. Our itineraries provide a full-time schedule of people-to-people educational exchange activities designed to result in meaningful interactions between our travelers and individuals in Cuba. United States law requires that all participants in our programs adhere to the full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.

Welcome to Cuba!
The door has opened to a select few! Shrouded in mystery for the past 50 years, the island nation of Cuba is waiting to be rediscovered. Be among the first American travelers in five decades to visit Cuba, as the Globus family of brands presents this rare opportunity to experience the colorful history and lively culture of this captivating country. From its beautifully adorned churches and vintage cars to its world-renowned cigars and lush tropical climate, Cuba will transport you to a bygone era. You’ll discover a place filled with friendly people, eager to share their heritage and culture with you…and equally curious to hear about the customs and traditions in the neighboring United States. The Globus family of brands invites you to join us on these special people-to-people educational exchange programs designed around daily interactions with local residents that deliver insight into past, present, and future. Through open-minded conversations and a respectful exchange of ideas with the Cuban people, you’ll experience the trip of a lifetime during the educational, cultural, and personal encounters that await you.

Under the requirements set forth by OFAC, you must participate in a full-time schedule of people-to-people activities. These activities will provide a rewarding cultural and educational exchange and give you the opportunity to engage directly with the Cuban people. Our experience has found that Cubans are interested and well-informed about world events and open to discussing the pros and cons of their country.

People-to-people interactions allow you to share your culture and ideas with the Cuban people while learning about them at the same time. These interactions rely on you getting involved in conversations and interactions with local Cubans. You will travel with a Globus or Cosmos Group Leader as well as a Cuban National Tour Director who will help facilitate these interactions.

Due to the fact that travel to Cuba involves a great deal of specialty coordination. It is imperative that you read and understand the materials sent to you, the participant, once you book your Cuba program with the Globus family of brands.

*Group Voyagers, Inc. is the company that markets and sells the Globus family of brands.

VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Your airline will help you obtain the visa and advise cost. If you hold a passport from another country, please check with your local consulate about visa requirements for travel to Cuba. While on your program in Cuba, please carry proper identification (your passport) on you; do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room unless secured in a safe.

Once you book one of our Cuba programs, you will receive a packet containing further instructions, required forms for travel to Cuba, and a complete list of documentation needed.

COUNTRY CODES

The country code for Cuba is 53. When calling to Cuba from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the US/Canada), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Cuba are 6-8 digits in length. Dialing from the US/Canada: 011 53#### ####.

CURRENCY

Cuba employs a dual-economy system that features one currency for foreign visitors (Cuban Convertible Pesos – CUC), and another for Cubans (Cuban Pesos – CUP). Foreign visitors must use CUC for any purchases made in Cuba, and are not permitted to change CUC into CUP. US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, or Euros can be exchanged for Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at the airport, exchange bureaus, banks, or hotels.

1 Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) = $1 USD (value)

  • Banknote denominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100
  • Coin denominations: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c

The Cuban government typically charges a 13% exchange fee for US dollars, so you could expect to receive 87 CUCs in exchange for 100 USD. As your program includes most meals and activities, you should not need a great deal of cash. Do not exchange money with anyone who approaches you on the street, such activity is illegal and may subject you to an all-too-common scam that exploits travelers unfamiliar with the foreign currency. Credit cards and debit cards issued by US banks are not usable in Cuba.

It is advisable to bring cash in order to make purchases in Cuba, as you will not be able to use credit cards or debit cards. Plan to travel with enough cash to cover your needs for the trip.

BUDGETING AND SHOPPING

The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.

The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is 1-3 CUC.

An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately 4-6 CUC. Average cost of dinner at restaurant or a local paladar (private owned restaurant) is about 20-30 CUC per person.

Average cost of a beer is about 2-3 CUC As your program includes most meals and activities, you should not need a great deal of cash. You should plan to bring as much cash as you would normally spend on incidentals while traveling elsewhere.

Shopping
In open street markets, try not to touch items unless you are interested in purchasing them. If you would like to take photos, please ask permission. Most vendors are happy to have their picture taken with the item you have just purchased. If you are being confronted by vendors, smile, say nothing and then shake your hand low to say no. This is polite and they understand. To many people, saying “No” means I want it at a lower price, and they will follow you in attempt to bargain.

In many areas of Cuba, bargaining for purchases is normal. First, ask for a price. Offer an amount slightly below what you wish to pay. It is important to be polite and smile while bargaining. In most cases, bargaining will not save you a lot of money. Keep different value bills folded and separated in different pockets, that way you can pull out the exact money you need, and sometimes this can close the deal. Opening a wallet or purse to pull a roll of bills out can lead to negotiation problems. Always finish the transaction with thank you and a smile.

Average cost to attend an evening show, i.e. Tropicana Nightclub in Havana is about 50-80 CUC per person. Average cost for a cigar, 5-25 CUC per cigar depending on brand and size. A box of cigars normally is 130-180 CUC depending on brand and cigar size.

Average costs for art and crafts range from 15 CYC up to 1,000 CUC, depending on size, quality, artist, etc.

TIPPING

The majority of tips are included in your program, but we recommend leaving 1 CUC per night for hotel housekeeping staff. A 10% tip is appreciated by taxi drivers, and a small amount for any service personnel.

ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS

Outlets

Voltage for outlets is 220V. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, you will need a converter for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet, but these may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary. Cuba uses a round, 2-prong plug that looks like:

TEMPERATURES

Cuba enjoys consistent tropical temperatures almost year-round, being so close to the Tropic of Cancer. In general (with local variations), there is a drier season from November to April, and a rainier season from May to October.

To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Havana, Cuba. Temperatures in Santiago de Cuba, Varadero, Pinar del Rio, Camaguey and Trinidad will average 5-10 degrees warmer.

FOOD SPECIALTIES

Cuban cuisine is loaded with flavor and variety, fusing together Spanish, African, and Caribbean styles. Heavy citrus flavors, tomato, onion, garlic, and peppers are strong influences, as well as raisins and capers. Cubans also specialize in slow-roasted meats like chicken and pork, with fresh produce

 

Drinking Water
Tap water should not be consumed. Bottled water is available and is advised. On Globus Cuba programs, two bottles of water per person is included each day on the motorcoach. Additional bottles of water can be purchased for 1-2 CUC and are available at hotels, restaurants, and convenience stores.

CUSTOMS AND CULTURE

Greeting and Interaction

      • Spanish is Cuba’s official language, although English is frequently spoken in areas popular with visitors. Learning a few simple words and phrases in Spanish will help you communicate mor  effectively, and will enhance your interaction with the Cuban people.
      • Visitors to Cuba should address Cuban men as señor and women as señora (younger, un-wed women would be addressed as señorita).
      • Cubans tend to be warm and welcoming toward foreign visitors. They are just as curious about our culture as we are about theirs. We encourage you to be open-minded and respectful of the customs and culture of the Cuban people. Also be open to the fun and spontaneity of the educational, cultural, and personal exchanges that await you. It is a common misconception that Americans should shy away from political or social topics when speaking to Cubans. Cubans, in general, are well-informed and enjoy discussing such matters with visitors, as long as it is done in an open, civil, and respectful exchange of ideas. Amenities at Hotels and/or Casa Particulars

Amenities at Hotels and/or Casa Particulars
Not all hotels in Cuba supply guests with hairdryers, washcloths or toiletries (shampoo, lotion, etc.). Because of this, you should plan to bring these items with you when traveling to Cuba.

Public Restrooms
When traveling in Cuba, you should always travel with tissue. If public restrooms have toilet paper, it is sometimes rationed. We recommend bringing hand sanitizer with you as some bathrooms may not have hot water and soap. In some public restrooms you are required to pay a small fee. Please have small change available for this.

FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE

Spanish: CONVERSATION

¡Hola! Hi!, ¡Buenos Dias! Good morning!, ¡Buenas Noches! Good evening!, Me llamo _______. My name is _______., ¿Cómo se llama usted? What is your name?, Mucho gusto. Pleased to meet you., ¿Cómo está usted? How are you?, Bien, gracias. ¿Y usted? Fine, thanks. And you?, Mas o menos So-so, ¡Hasta luego! See you later!, Adiós. Good-bye., Por favor. Please., Vivo en ________I live in _____________, (Muchas) gracias. (Muy amable.) (Many) thanks. (Very kind.), De nada. You’re welcome., Lo siento. I’m sorry., ¿Me permite? May I?, Disculpe. Excuse me. (To get someone’s attention.), Con permiso. Excuse me. (For leaving or passing through.), Perdón. Excuse me. (For sneezing, arriving late, etc.), ¡Salud! Gesundheit! (When someone sneezes.) Cheers! (For toasting with drinks.), ¿Me pasa _______ por favor? Could you please pass me _______?, Sí. Yes., No. No., Gracias Thank you, No entiendoI don’t understand, No hablo español I don’t speak Spanish,¿Habla inglés? Do you speak English?, ¿Dónde está el baño? Where is the bathroom?, Está cerca? Is it near?, Está lejos? Is it far?, Siga recto. Go straight ahead., Gire a la derecha. Turn right., Gire a la izquierda. Turn left., Nescito esto. I would like this., Una mesa para dos, por favor. A table for two, please., La carta, por favor. The menu, please., La lista de vinos, por favor. The wine list, please., primer plato appetizers, plato principal main course, postre dessert, Quisiera algo para beber. I would like something to drink., Un vaso de agua, por favor. A glass of water, please., Una Cerveza. Beer, Una Copa de vino tinto/blanco Glass of red/white wine, La cuenta, por favor. The check, please., Incluye la propina? Is the tip included?, Desayuno Breakfast., Comida lunch, Cena dinner, ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy the meal!, ¡Salud! To your health!, Está riquísima! It’s delicious!, Plato. plate, Tenedor. fork, Cuchillo. knife, Cuchara. spoon, Servilleta. napkin, Hielo. ice, Sal. salt, Pimiento. pepper, Azúcar. sugar, Sopa. soup, Ensalada. salad, Pan. bread, Mantequilla. butter, Pollo. Chicken, Carne. Beef, Cerdo. Pork, Quisiera la carne poco cocida. I like my steak rare., Quisiera la carne a medio cocer. I like my steak medium., Quisiera la carne bien cocida. I like my steak well done.

NUMBERS
Cero. Zero, Uno. 1, Dos. 2, Tres. 3, Cuatro. 4, Cinco. 5, Seis. 6, Siete. 7, Ocho. 8, Nueve. 9, Diez. 10, Once. 11, Doce. 12, Trece 13, Catorce 14, Quince 15, Dieciseis 16, Diecisiete. 17, Dieciocho. 18, Diecinueve. 19, Veinte. 20, Cien. 100, Mil. 1000.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COUNTRY INFORMATION

Additional country-specific information for US citizens can be found on the US Government’s website www.travel.state.gov. Here, you can find the most up-to-date information about destination descriptions, passports/visas, safety and security, transportation, travel local laws, alerts/warnings, vaccinations, and more. For citizens of other nations, we recommend you consult your local consulate for travel information, regulations, and requirements.

Travel Leaders IATA CLIA ASTA