KNOW BEFORE YOU GO – GLOBUS CUBA PROGRAMS
Welcome to Globus, where you are family and can expect to be treated like family. We know you have a choice when it comes to travel, and by choosing us you receive more than 90 years of experience managing travel to worldwide destinations. We do everything to ensure your vacation is worry and hassle free, so you can relax and enjoy the cultures, sights, and people you meet during your travels.
This Know Before You Go guide is designed with you in mind, with helpful hints to help you prepare for and enjoy your trip. It is your guide to getting ready and contains general information on travel documentation, customs, and the country/countries you will be visiting, including budgeting, transportation, climate, languages, and much more. With the Globusfamily of brands, you benefit from our experience. Group Voyagers, Inc.* is an organization licensed by the United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), CFR 515.56(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 fulltime 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.
*Group Voyagers, Inc. is the company that markets and sells the Globusfamily of brands.
It is important that you arrive at the airport at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights. This will allow you time to check your luggage and present your passport and ticket at the ticket counter, get seat assignments and boarding passes, and pass through security to the boarding area. You should be at the boarding gate at least 30 minutes prior to departure, in case there are any gate changes or late notifications. A current passport that is valid at least six months past the end of your trip is required for travel outside your home country.
For airline check-in, you will need the required government-issued photo ID (passport, driver’s license or Military ID) and final destination information. Airline representatives can look up your reservation with that information, although knowing your ticket number or reservation number is helpful. Many airlines now have computer check in, which requires a credit card or government issued ID to pull up your reservation (reading your personal data from the card/ID to find your reservation in the system). Computer check-in is usually self-explanatory, with a series of checks and questions to ensure you have what you need to board your flight, including checking in your luggage. If you have questions, ask the attendant on duty, who should be able to help you.
The ticketing agent at the counter will verify your ID and tag your luggage for you. They may also be able to help you with seat assignments or changes, if available. After check-in, keep your boarding pass and government issued photo ID handy, as you will need both to pass through security to your gate.
Traveling often requires a change of planes in major airports. Your airline, not Globus, determines the minimum connection time required to transfer from one gate to another for each specific airport. At times, these connection times can be tight and may require you to quickly move from one gate to another. At other times, the connections may be very long due to flight availability at time of booking. When booking air-inclusive with us, we do all we can to provide adequate connection times for our travelers. However, we are subject to the rules, regulations, and availability of the airlines while also working within the transfer times for our airport-to-hotel transfer schedules. If you feel a connection time is too short, we recommend you ask for other options before purchasing your ticket or putting down deposit in order to avoid change fees, which can be quite expensive.
We also recommend you review the airline flight magazine’s airport maps (when available) prior to landing, so you are familiar with the airport layout, which will assist in making your connections. Another tip is to carry the airline’s 800 number with you. If you miss a connection, and we hope you don’t, you may be in a long line at the service desk with other passengers who have also missed a connection. You may be able to get through to the airline on their direct number and reschedule yourself for another flight. Additional information will be available in your Important Travel Documents from Globus about how to contact us if you miss your flight and provide us the new details so we know when to expect your arrival.
Airport security is becoming more and more advanced, and also stricter for travelers. For information on what is allowed in carry-on luggage and what to expect at security in the U.S., visit tsa.gov/traveler-information.
A couple of simple things can help you move through airport security more swiftly.Check the TSA website for prohibited items…and leave them at home, or pack prohibited carry-on items in your checked luggage.
- Gifts should be left unwrapped so airport security can open them for inspection, if necessary.
- Undeveloped film should be carried in carry-on luggage, as checked bag screening may damage it.
- Avoid wearing anything with metal (necklaces, watches, etc.). Metal will set off security screeners and will require additional screening by TSA personnel.
- Be prepared to remove your shoes. Many airports require shoe removal and shoe X-rays during the screening process.
- Put identification (luggage tags) on your carry-on luggage and all your checked luggage.
- Any liquids in carry-on bags must be under the size stipulated by the TSA and placed in clear zip locked baggies for screening.
- Electronic devices must be removed from carry cases for inspection and may require placement in the X-ray machine individually. This especially applies to laptops, which require separation from your other items.
- Passengers are usually limited to one carry-on bag and one personal item (purse, laptop bag, etc.). Bag sizes are restricted to what can fit easily into overhead bins and underneath seats. Before leaving home, be sure to check with your airport and airlines to verify luggage requirements and restrictions, as these can vary based on airline, airport, and destination.
- Have your boarding pass and government-issued photo ID available for all TSA personnel. Only put these items way after you have passed through security.
E-tickets are now becoming the norm and paper airline tickets, when available, usually require a fee to obtain. When e-tickets are provided instead of actual paper airline tickets, all you need to check-in for your flight are your flight itinerary information (airline, flight code, and destination) and your passport (or driver’s license for domestic flights). Please check your e-tickets or paper tickets carefully. Many airlines have “code shares,” which is an agreement or alliance with another airline. Code shares allow passengers to travel from point to point using more than one carrier. If your ticket states “Flight operated by (airline),” you will need to check in with that airline, not the airline listed as the original carrier.
Airline Travel Apps
There are several Apps you can download to help monitor airline check-in times, security wait times, airport terminal information, and maps. Gateguru, flysmart, and gohow airport are just a few.
Avoiding Jet Lag & Comfortable Airline Travel
- To help get adjusted to new time zones, after take-off, set your watch to the time zone of destination.
- If your flight arrives in the morning, try to sleep on board the plane.
- If available, rub moisturizer on face and hands or spray your face with water from an atomizer to avoid dry skin and feel refreshed.
- If you feel pressure in your ears due to change in altitude, swallow, yawn, blow your nose, or chew gum.
- Loose-fitting clothing is recommended. Wear comfortable shoes and try not to take them off, as feet occasionally swell during long flights.
- When possible, walk up and down the aisle to stretch limbs, get blood circulating, and avoid having the seat press against the back of your legs for long.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks. Eat light meals while traveling.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses because cabin air tends to dry them out.
For your Cuba program, the transfer to your Cuba start hotel is included. Your specific, detailed transfer information will be available in your documents, which will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to your departure. Look for this information in the Arrival & Departure Transfer section of your travel documents, which will have specific details for your arrival and departure.
If your plane is delayed or you miss your connecting flight, we recommend you contact On Call International at 800-407-0801 and provide them with your name, tour reference, invoice number, and new flight arrival information. On Call will then notify us of your delayed arrival. If your delay causes you to miss your transfer, you will need to make your own way to your vacation hotel or embarkation point. Keep a copy of your receipt so you may file a claim with the airline for the transfer cost if necessary. All of this information will also be available in the Important Travel Documents for your vacation.
Calling home and being able to stay in touch with family is often an important part of your vacation. In your travel documents, which are sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure, you will receive a detailed hotel list that will include hotel names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of stay. We recommend you leave a copy of this hotel list with family and friends so they may contact you, if necessary.
Your US cell phone, including smart phones, may or may not work in Cuba. Please check with your carrier before departing the USA. It is suggested you leave any other electronic devices such as GPS systems, walkie-talkies, DVD players, etc. at home. GPS systems are not allowed in Cuba and will be confiscated by Cuban authorities.
If you need to call home, using your cell phone or texting is your best option. Upon arrival in Cuba, you can purchase a pre-paid phone card to call any number outside of Cuba. Ask your Cuban Tour Director or Globus Group Leader for assistance. You may also be able to use your hotel phone, but varies from hotel to hotel and it can be expensive. Be sure to inquire at the front desk about the rates before making an international call from a hotel phone. A connection or service fee is also applied to calling cards, though calling cards provide better rates once connected. If purchasing a calling card for use while on your trip, make sure the card will work in Cuba. A list of covered countries should be clearly displayed on the card itself or its packaging. We recommend you check these countries carefully before purchasing.
On Globus vacations, guests are considered children if they are 17 or under on the vacation start date. Age restrictions apply to Globus tours, and generally under the age of 8 are not permitted on tour. Globus offers many discounts to children traveling on our vacations. For full discounts and age restrictions when booking a Globus tour, please visit: https://www.GlobusJourneys.com/Travel-Globus/Tour-Savings/.
Many of our activities are suitable for children over the age of 8. Please be aware that Globus does not offer babysitting services.
Traveling with Children
Many countries have adopted practices to prevent abductions of children. Because of this, we recommend you secure a “Child Travel Consent” prior to departure if you will be traveling with a minor under the age of 18. A Child Travel Consent is a document that shows authorities and government officials that a minor (under age 18) has permission from his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) to travel. The document may be requested by authorities when a child is traveling:
- With one parent or guardian
- Without a parent
- With an adult who is not a parent or guardian
If the traveling parent has sole custody, he or she will need a notarized true copy of a court order or equivalent proving custody. If both parents have custody, or the non-traveling parent has custody, the traveling parent will need notarized consent from the non-traveling parent. If the other parent has legal rights of access (e.g. visitation rights), it is advisable to obtain his or her consent. If it is not possible to obtain consent or if the other parent has no legal rights, you should carry a notarized true copy of a court order or equivalent to prove that you have sole custody. You should also be prepared to prove your relationship to the child by producing government-issued certificates (e.g. certificates of birth, marriage, adoption, or change of name). We suggest you contact appropriate consulates and airlines for additional requirements.
Below is information on standard conversion tables, which you may find useful while traveling to international destinations.
Entry documents and passports will be required at all border crossings, so please carry proper identification on you at all times (not in your luggage). Generally, crossing borders while on tour is straightforward, and the process of going through immigrations and customs is facilitated by your Globus Group Leader. You must be prepared to open your luggage for inspection at any time, even though border crossing and customs formalities are not generally a problem.
Standard questions may be asked of you by a border guard, especially when arriving by airplane, such as “where are you from,” “where are you going,” “how long will you be there,” or “what is the purpose of your trip.” Answer honestly, directly, and politely. Though making jokes and wise-cracking may ease your apprehension, it can be seen as rude in other countries and may bring you under more scrutiny than necessary and cause delay. Turn off cell phones and other portable devices while passing through customs and remove sunglasses and hats. Be sure to declare any items you have purchased.
Most items you purchase internationally are suitable for bringing back home. However, we recommend you check with the embassies of the countries you are visiting for items that you can and cannot bring in or out. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State at: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/customs.html
If you are taking laptops, cameras, or other electrical equipment with you that has been purchased within six months of your departure, you may be required to register these with your local customs authority in order not to be charged duty on these items when you bring them back to your country. For information on how to register these items before leaving, visit www.cbp.gov/travel/clearing-cbp/certificate-registration
United States: When you return to the United States, you should be prepared to declare everything you purchased or acquired while traveling. You will be asked to complete a Customs and Border Protection Form, which will require a description and a value of the item(s). To assist with this process, we recommend you keep any sales receipts for items purchased and pack things you are declaring in a place that is easily accessible. Customs forms are usually handed out during your flight home so you can prepare them in advance of landing. You will need your flight number as well as itinerary information when completing this form.
There are no longer daily spending limits for Americans traveling in Cuba. Any items brought back to the United States, including alcohol and tobacco, must be imported for personal use, and limits on duty and tax exemptions will apply. For the most-up-to-date information, please visit: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/kbyg/customs-duty-info.
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE – COUNTRY INFORMATION
For US citizens, the US Department of State provides country-specific information for every country in the world at www.travel.state.gov. This is a good place to learn about the destinations you will be visiting, and includes quick facts for 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.
Special People-to-people activities are included as per your itinerary description. Activities generally involve walking. If you lead a sedentary life, enjoy walks to improve your physical condition before leaving home. Participation in the included activities is required for all participants on Cuba programs. Please also respect your Cuban National Tour Director and fellow traveling companions by being on time to the motorcoach for all activities. You will always be clearly informed of the departure time by your Cuban National Tour Director.
We know that some travelers may have specific dietary requests. Unfortunately, dietary requirements cannot be guaranteed on our vacations. We make our best effort to accommodate your requests, but not all hotels and restaurants are able to manage specific diet requirements. Please discuss any dietary requirements you may have with your Globus Group Leader on the first day of your tour. Please see the Meals & Beverages section for more information on included meals and menus while on vacation.
Experienced. Knowledgeable. Friendly. Efficient. These words describe the outstanding group of travel professionals whose mission is to make your vacation the best ever.
We set very high standards and dedicate a lot of time and effort to selecting just the right Cuban National Tour Directors and Globus Group Leaders for your tour. We eagerly use their first-hand experience to refine our product. Our tours are updated for each new season and, if necessary, even during the season to make your travel more rewarding. Our Tour Directors and Group Leaders have a major say in the process—and you benefit!
Your Cuban National Tour Director will help you make the most of each day and will deliver interesting commentary in English. We receive numerous letters from our travelers praising their Tour Director for the skills, energy, and special personalities they bring to the table—testimony that these professionals are the best in the business!
Your Cuban National Tour Director will advise you about daily itineraries and will be pleased to give you suggestions for your free time.
Globus includes the majority of gratuities for this program including those to your Cuban National Tour Director, Globus Group Leader, motorcoach driver(s), baggage porters, and wait staff at included meals. We recommend leaving a dollar or CUC per night in your hotel room for the housekeeping staff (this cannot be pre-paid by Globus). A 10% tip is appreciated by taxi drivers and small amounts are appreciated by other service staff you may encounter. If you have any questions or concerns regarding tipping, please ask your Globus Group Leader or Cuban National Tour Director.
In all instances, we recommend you carry some small change with you, as it is unusual to ask for change when tipping. You should also be prepared with small coins when using public facilities.
For the few meals not included in the program, tip servers 15% of the cost of the meal or CUC 1.00, whichever is greater.
More information on tipping can be found in your Important Travel Documents, which will be available 2-3 weeks
prior to your vacation.
One of the many interesting aspects of your vacation is the variety of hotel accommodations you will enjoy. Our hotel ratings follow standards set by the independent Hotel & Travel Index and by national tourist boards. The specific rating for each hotel is determined by our quality controllers.
At times we must substitute hotels listed in the itinerary. Rest assured, your hotel will be of equivalent standards, if not better than the original hotel. With your travel documents you will receive a list of hotel addresses, telephone numbers, and fax numbers for your vacation. At our chosen hotels, you’ll always feel well looked after because we know that relaxing in comfortable, clean, attractive accommodations at the end of a busy day is essential. The hotels we carefully select have mastered the fine art of handling group check-ins and luggage, and of balancing efficiency with the individual attention you deserve.
Globusfamily of brands offers the highest standards of hotels in Cuba. Since hotels are somewhat limited throughout Cuba, some locations may have limited services but they are of the highest comfort and standards available.
The specific hotels we have selected for you are listed separately for each tour. The majority of our hotels are rated superior first-class (SF), or first-class (F). In rare overnight places where there is no hotel in these categories, we choose the best available superior tourist-class (ST) or tourist-class (TC) hotels.
Your travel documents, which you will receive approximately 30 days before your departure, will have more details about your specific hotels.
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.
Official check-in and check-out times vary from hotel to hotel, but generally hotel rooms are not available before 3 pm. If your room is not available when you arrive, you may leave your luggage with the hotel staff, who will store it for you until your room is ready. This storage is usually free of charge. When checking into your first hotel, you simply need to check in at the main counter under your name. The staff will assist you from there. They will know you are traveling with a Globus tour and have your reservation available.
At other hotels throughout your vacation, your Cuban National Tour Director will assist you with check-in and advise you of the procedure and expectations prior to arrival. Often (but not always), when arriving at the hotel, you will have the opportunity to unwind in the hotel lounge or lobby while the Cuban National Tour Director checks you in, secures your keys, and handles luggage delivery to your room.
During your vacation, we suggest you pack your luggage and check your hotel room the night before each departure. Leave out only those items needed in the morning, so you start the day in a comfortable and relaxed manner, and the possibility of forgetting items is reduced. In the morning, make a last-minute check of safety boxes, wardrobes, tables, and drawers. Settle any incidental expenses (minibar, telephone, or restaurant bills) at Reception and return your room key. Your Cuban National Tour Director will advise the time to leave your luggage outside your room so hotel porters can carry it to the motorcoach for you. There is dedicated space in your Travel Documents to write down luggage timing.
Normal check-out times vary, but are usually between 9 am and noon. If you have a late-afternoon or evening flight, most hotels have luggage rooms where you can store your luggage.
Hotel room location (such as near the elevator or on the third floor) may be requested but are not guaranteed. Adjoining rooms are not as common in Central & South America and may be across the hall rather than connected. Even side by side, they may not be connected by an entry door. Adjoining rooms can be requested but are not guaranteed.
If you have not yet taken out travel protection, please contact us or your travel agent to inquire about travel protection before your trip. Damage or loss of baggage can occur while traveling. Globus has no responsibility or acceptance for damage, loss, or delay to personal belongings or baggage. For these reasons, travel protection and baggage insurance are highly recommended. Globus has Travel Protection you may purchase prior to your vacation. It includes a Cancel for any Reason policy, which will give you peace of mind. For more information on Globus family of brands’ Travel Protection, visit our website at www.GlobusJourneys.com/Travel-Globus/Vacation-Protection/.
Globus invites each traveling member to bring one suitcase and one carry-on bag. Due to limited capacity for luggage storage on motorcoaches, Globus does not accept more than one suitcase per person, in order to avoid motorcoach weight issues. Our luggage allowance and/or weight and size regulations may be different from airline requirements. We recommend you check with your airlines directly on luggage restrictions to avoid any additional or excess luggage fees. A wonderful website to use for updates on the latest allowances by airlines is iflybags.com.
Your Important Travel Documents will have specific luggage information and restrictions for your vacation.
Make sure you leave checked luggage unlocked or locked with a TSA-approved lock. Checked bags are often screened on flights and any locks will be cut off for inspections.
Luggage Porterage / Luggage Service
Hotel porterage (luggage or baggage service) for one suitcase per person is included in the vacation price. This includes transferring your luggage from the hotel lobby to and from your hotel room at time of check-in and checkout at each hotel throughout your vacation. Airport and/or train station luggage services are not included, unless otherwise specified in your Important Travel Documents. Please be prepared to carry your own luggage on and off airplanes and trains and through airports and train stations. For this reason, we recommend luggage be light enough for you to carry short distances.
Carry-on bags should be small and easy to carry. We recommend your hand luggage have a place for a water bottle and zipper pouches for easy storage. Bags that can be carried in front of you, and not on your back, are better options for traveling, and are less likely to be susceptible to a pesky pickpocket. Generally, wheeled carryon bags that may be suitable for air travel are not suitable as hand luggage on motorcoaches and mini-buses, since wheels can cause the luggage to move dangerously when stored under seats. It is unsafe to store luggage in the aisles or to have it protrude into your legroom (or the person’s next to you) while traveling. Therefore, carryon bags that do not fit fully under the seat in front of you may need to be stored in the luggage compartments under the motorcoach for the safety of all guests.
Should your luggage be delayed en route by your airline, please note that it is the responsibility of the airline to ensure that it is delivered to you while traveling. Claims for reimbursement for delayed luggage should be addressed to the airline company directly. To assist in this process, fill out a claim form at the appropriate airline desk upon arrival and provide the carrier with a copy of your hotel list, so delayed luggage may be forwarded correctly. Please complete any lost luggage forms and submit to your airline before exiting customs. Your travel protection/insurance provider may also be able to assist, but for security and privacy reasons, timings and method of luggage retrieval are solely in the hands of the airline involved. Your Globus Group Leader may be able to provide assistance contacting the airlines later for information regarding your delayed luggage during your trip, but they cannot submit the initial claim for you.
Luggage Size and Weight
Globus, and most airlines, restrict luggage to 62 linear inches, which is measured as length + width + height. We request you keep your suitcase to a maximum of 50 lbs for travel, unless otherwise noted in your travel documents. Test the weight of your packed suitcase. You should be able to lift and comfortably transport it for short distances. Drivers and hotel porters will be lifting and transporting your luggage during your vacation; on their behalf, we urge you to please keep the size and the weight within the above limits. For safety reasons, hotel porters may refuse to carry very heavy luggage.
With your Important Travel Documents we supply a luggage tag for you to fill out and attach to your luggage. We recommend you use these tags, as opposed to using your own tags, as it serves as an identifier throughout your vacation. In addition to your luggage tag, we recommend you put a label with your name, address, and telephone number on the inside of your suitcase and carry-on luggage, as well. In the event your luggage is lost in transit,
your contact information will still be available for airline staff. For security reasons, keep all unchecked luggage in your immediate possession. Luggage left unattended can be confiscated.
Important: Air carriers are becoming stricter about the size and weight of luggage. Please contact your air carrier or travel consultant for details prior to departure, as size and weight limitations vary from airline to airline and even according to destination, and may also be different from the limitations on your tour (for instance, most airlines allow two pieces of luggage when traveling internationally, whereas on Globus tours we have a restriction of one per person). We recommend iflybags.com to review airline luggage restrictions and fees for checked and overweight luggage. We are not responsible for additional bags, luggage weight, or luggage handling fees imposed by air carriers.
Included meals are noted on each itinerary at the end of each day. We plan included meals to provide you the best possible enjoyment while on tour. Please check your itinerary for what meals are included on your tour.
Coffee and tea are usually included with meals on Globus itineraries. However, other beverages are not. You may order alternate drinks, including bottled water, sodas, and alcohol beverages with any meal, and will be asked to pay for them upon completion of the meal. Hotel rooms are usually equipped with a minibar stocked with ice, soft drinks, and other beverages, but we recommend you check the prices before consuming, as they can be quite expensive. Many hotels also require a refundable deposit for the minibar key.
To start each day off right, breakfast is included. Each hotel provides a buffet of hot and cold breakfast items. Breakfast items may include whole-grain or white bread, croissants, cereals, eggs, bacon, fruit, yogurt, and rolls.
Included lunches will have a set menu to choose from and will include tea or coffee.
Included dinners consist of three courses (mostly local dishes, where appropriate), water, and tea or coffee after the meal. Other beverages cost extra and you will be asked to pay for them at the end of the meal. Some hotels and restaurants may be able to provide for a special diet, such as vegetarian or salt-free, but this cannot be guaranteed. When special diets can be accommodated on tour, it tends to be repetitive and usually costs extra. Please advise your Globus Group Leader at the beginning of the tour of any food allergies or special diets.
Tap water in Cuba should not be consumed. Bottled water is available and is advised. On Globus 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.
We recommend you pack an ample supply of any medications you may require while traveling and include copies of your prescriptions and the telephone/fax number of your doctor in case you need them during your travels. Drugs or medications you take on doctor’s orders should be carried in their original container showing the prescription label. As long as this conforms to airline regulations, keep medicines safely in your carry-on luggage, as your checked luggage may not be easily accessible while traveling and to avoid additional problems should your luggage get lost, damaged, or delayed.
Here are some additional items you may want to pack for your travels:
- An extra pair of eye-glasses and/or a copy of your prescription.
- Eye drops if you are traveling in a dry climate and for use while on airplanes. Cabin air can dry out your eyes.
- Spare batteries for hearing aids. It may be time consuming and difficult to find new batteries while traveling.
- A basic first aid kit including upset stomach medication (i.e. Imodium, Pepto-Bismol), aspirin, pain reliever, antihistamines, antacids, antibiotic ointment, bandages, and etc. Many of our guests have found powdered Gatorade to be helpful as well.
Please contact your doctor or healthcare provider before traveling to determine which vaccinations are recommended for your travels. Most countries where we travel do not require any special vaccinations; however, requirements can change at any time. Your healthcare provider can best guide you in selecting vaccinations based on your itinerary. If you would like to research health and safety topics for your travel, we recommend the Center for Disease Control & Prevention web site at http://www.cdc.gov.
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.
CUC notes are issued in the following dominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. 1 CUC (peso) is worth 100 centavos and coins are issued in the following denominations: 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50. Because CUC are not part of the international currency exchange, they cannot be bought, sold, or exchanged outside of Cuba.
US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, or Euros can be exchanged for Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) at the airport, exchange bureaus, banks, or hotels. Currently the USD is valued at $1 USD =1 CUC. You should anticipate paying an exchange fee or commission for converting any currency into CUC as you would in any country. For USD, you could expect to receive approximately 87 CUC for $100 USD.
Please note that if exchanging US Dollars to Canadian Dollars and then exchanging Canadian Dollars to Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) you will be paying two commissions. Very important: torn bills and those with writing on them are not accepted for exchange.
While in Cuba, never exchange currency with anyone who approaches you on the street. Such transactions are illegal, and may subject you to an all-too-common scam that exploits travelers unfamiliar with the foreign currency. These scams are prevalent in Cuba, where the dual currencies can cause visitors to be taken advantage of easily. Globus includes the majority of gratuities for Cuba programs including those to your Cuban National Tour Director, motorcoach driver(s), baggage porters, and wait staff at included meals. We recommend leaving a dollar or CUC per night in your hotel room for the housekeeping staff (this cannot be pre-paid by Globus). A 10% tip is appreciated by taxi drivers and small amounts are appreciated by other service staff you may encounter. If you have any questions or concerns regarding tipping, please ask your Globus Group Leader and Cuban National Tour Director.
ATMs are not commonly found in Cuba. We advise that you bring enough US currency (to exchange for CUC) for the duration of your trip for incidentals, shopping, and meals not included in the itinerary.
Checks, 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. For your convenience, very little cash is needed for this program, as the majority of meals, activities, and gratuities are included. You should plan to bring as much cash as you would normally spend on incidentals while traveling elsewhere.
Currency exchange rates vary by currency and change daily. You may find up-to-date exchange rates at www.GlobusJourneys.com/currency. If you are traveling with a laptop or other mobile device, you can also download exchange rates from the Internet, which will continually update you with information during your travels.
“How much money should I bring” is a common question. The answer is difficult, as each person is different and chooses to spend money on different things. The amount will vary, depending on if you are a “grab a sandwich and soda and walk the city” type of person, or a “sit down and enjoy a good meal” type of person. How much do you like to spend on gifts and mementos for yourself or others? All these things can alter the amount of money you should bring with you while traveling. As a general guideline, we recommend at least $20-30 per day while traveling. This is the guideline for incidental items such as bottled water, postcards, and a cup of coffee. More will be required for any major gifts you wish to purchase.
Although a secure means of carrying money, please be forewarned that traveler’s checks are rarely accepted and you will experience difficulties cashing them, even in banks. If you do bring traveler’s checks, follow the advice of the company issuing them. Keep your receipts and the list of checks already used in a place separate from the checks themselves. Never countersign a traveler’s check until the moment you use it. Banks cashing traveler’s checks, if they do so, will charge a processing fee.
On most Globus tours, the transportation between cities is by private motorcoach. The length and width of modern motorcoaches is standard, prescribed by law. All our motorcoaches have panoramic windows, air-conditioning, state-of-the-art sound systems, and reclining seats.
Distances between cities and destinations will vary, based on your itinerary. On some days, the time on the motorcoach will be short (30 minutes to 2 hours). Other days may be longer (up to 8 hours). For longer days, we make your ride comfortable by stopping every 2-3 hours for bathroom breaks, stretching, and/or lunch stops. Commentary is provided along the way, with your Cuban National Tour Director pointing out sites of interest.
Motorcoaches are equipped with an emergency restroom. We deliberately use the term “emergency restroom,” because this facility is not meant to be used regularly in lieu of the restrooms at our frequent comfort stops. The emergency restrooms are small, tight, and in some motorcoaches, located at the bottom of the motorcoach stairs. They are not easy to maneuver in and out of and for that reason we recommend its use only in emergencies.
Etiquette on the Motorcoach
Everyone wants to make the most of the time available and to see as much as possible while on vacation. Here are a few guidelines to ensure you and your traveling companions have the best experience possible.
- Be on time—all the time. Your Cuban National Tour Director will let you know at each stop how much time you have and when the group will be leaving. Please be on time.
- Your Cuban National Tour Director will review with you a daily seat rotation schedule, which will allow all guests to be in different seats throughout the vacation. We ask that you respect the daily seat rotation so everyone can enjoy the views.
- Avoid conversation while commentary is in process. This ensures everyone can hear what is being said.
- When reclining seats, please be conscious of the person behind you and recline slowly.
- When bringing on extra parcels, please place them in the overhead bins or under your seats. Items should never be left in the aisles or clutter the legroom areas.
- Please refrain from using a cell phone on the motorcoach, except in emergencies.
- Heavy perfume or strong aftershave can inconvenience other guests; please use sparingly.
- To avoid food odors and to keep the motorcoach as clean as possible, bring only dry foods and water on board, not perishable foods. Sodas, ice cream, alcohol, and hot drinks to-go should be consumed before re-boarding (strong-smelling items, such as peanuts or oranges, can cause allergic reactions in
- The motorcoach restroom should be reserved for true emergencies and should not be used in lieu of the restrooms at comfort stops.
- It is generally not permitted to operate air-conditioning when the motorcoach is stationary, as doing so emits additional gases into the environment. Therefore, air-conditioning is turned off while the motorcoach is parked.
Rest stops are often at roadside restaurants for your convenience, as all services are under one roof. This is a practical solution to avoid losing precious sightseeing time traveling between destinations. In some roadside restaurants, the amount paid for a meal may depend on the plate size you choose, the type of food selected, and/or the weight of the full plate. Please ask your Cuban National Tour Director or Globus Group Leader for clarification.
Ride in Comfort
Each Globus motorcoach has upholstered, reclining seats with headrests and individual air-conditioning vents. A high-fidelity sound system broadcasts your professional Cuban National Tour Director’s commentary to every seat, so you will be sure to hear about and enjoy the sights along the way. Our custom of daily seat rotation gives everyone a variety of vantage points to see the passing countryside and city scenes. All Globus family of brands touring motorcoaches are fully air-conditioned.
All of our Globus motorcoaches are smoke-free. There are plenty of opportunities to smoke during the frequent stops.
Throughout your trip, your Cuban National Tour Director will be discussing with you daily plans and activities. He or she may also post a daily schedule for you in the lobby of your hotel. We recommend you check this regularly for any changes or modifications. If you cannot locate the information in the lobby of the hotel, please ask Reception. The notice board will include timings of sightseeing and other important messages.
Sometimes, luggage is briefly delayed during air transport. Therefore, we recommend you take a change of clothing and essential toiletries in your carry-on luggage, or pack some of your clothing in your traveling companion’s luggage, so you don’t have to wear the clothes you have traveled in until your luggage is delivered. Do not leave essential medication in your checked luggage; always keep it in your carry-on luggage, as long as this conforms to airline regulations. We also recommend placing a copy of the hotel contacts inside each piece of luggage. If your luggage is lost, this will help the airline find you while you’re traveling.
Traveling light is recommended. Adopt a simple color coordination plan for your vacation to reduce the quantity of clothing required. For every week of travel, 5-7 tops or shirts and three skirts, shorts, or slacks that can be coordinated are enough. Pack jackets and slacks that have plenty of pockets, so you can carry documents and money in separate places on you, reducing theft and loss risk. Sportswear is fine during the day (there may be a restriction on shorts and bare shoulders for some religious sights, where men as well as women are required to cover their shoulders and legs or remove their shoes when entering temples and shrines). Wrinkle-resistant, easy-care cotton/polyester clothing is preferable for travel.
Tip: Put dryer sheets (fabric softener sheets) in your luggage. Your clothes will smell fresh and clean throughout your travels.
Below is a list of items to consider when packing for your trip.
- Passport, visa(s), travel protection/insurance, flight information, and other necessary documents
- ATM/debit/credit cards and their PIN codes; do not pack your passport or money in your checked luggage
- Jackets and slacks with plenty of pockets and inner pockets
- Light bag with a strap that can be worn crosswise over your body; purses/handbags are best avoided unless they can be carried close to your body in front of you
- Sportswear/casual wear for daytime
- Smart casual outfits for evenings
- Shorts, sneakers, or sweat suits may not be considered acceptable attire when dining at your hotel. Please check with your Cuban National Tour Director for any dress codes enforced by hotels.
- Enough underwear/socks to avoid frequent laundry; pack at least one pair of warm socks, even in summer, in case of an unusually cold day
- Warm sweater for evenings
- A dressier outfit for an evening at the theater, an elegant restaurant, or for the Captain’s reception (vacations with cruises included). Smart casual clothes are usually fine for cabarets/casinos
- Comfortable, sturdy, tried-and-tested walking shoes (rubber soles help grip slippery/uneven surfaces)
- Sandals and/or non-slip socks that double as slippers
- Warm jacket, socks, and cap
- Sun hat
- Insect repellent and balm
- Toothbrush/toothpaste and washcloths, preferably disposable (considered a personal item, so rarely supplied)
- Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap
- Razor and shaving cream
- Hair dryer, comb, brush, hair ties
- Female necessities
- Aspirin/Tylenol/Ibuprofen/cold medicines/Pepto Bismol
- Motion-sickness pills
- Chapstick or lip balm
- Antibacterial wipes/small bottle of hand sanitizer gel
- Travel pack of Kleenex
- Medicines (carried in their original container) and copy of prescriptions, phone/e-mail/fax number of your doctor
- Manicure & mending kits
- Travel alarm clock (to avoid relying on hotel automatic wake-up calls)
- Mini umbrella or fold-up poncho for the occasional shower
- Glasses plus extra pair and/or copy of prescription, eye drops for contact lenses
- Spare batteries for hearing aids
- Collapsible walking stick if you have mobility difficulties
- Small travel pillow
- Electrical converter(s)/adapter(s)
- Camera/video equipment with plenty of memory cards/extra film/spare batteries and label with your name and vacation code; should you lose them, there’s a better chance of their being returned
- Cell phone that works overseas, with international calling plan or international phone cards
A valid passport is required for international travel (including Canada). Your airline will help you obtain the visa and advise cost. If you are not a US citizen or a legal resident, you may still travel to Cuba with the Globus family of brands. However, any non-US citizen who chooses to travel on this program must comply with the same rules and paperwork required for US citizens.
No doubt, taking photographs is top of your list while on vacation. Capturing those special moments on film and being able to share them with family and friends—and retain them for your memories—is as important to us as it is to you. Throughout your tour, your Cuban National Tour Director will know the best places to stop and take pictures, and will ensure you have the opportunity to do so. If your camera uses film, we recommend you bring extra while on vacation. The same holds true for digital camera memory cards. Film and memory cards are not always compatible in different countries and it is not always easy to find these things quickly or at reasonable prices, so we recommend extras for your travels. You are allowed to bring one camera and one video recorder into Cuba. All cameras will be x-rayed upon your arrival in Cuba. Professional photo equipment is not allowed.
Photography and video filming may not always be allowed inside churches, museums, or shows, or there may be a fee to take pictures or videos. Always ask your Cuban National Tour Director if it is acceptable to take pictures before pulling out your camera. Please respect the privacy of others, including the Cuban National Tour Director, driver, Globus Group Leader, and other traveling companions by asking permission before filming or taking their photograph.
Pre-registration for your Globus proogram is available at www.GlobusJourneys.com/MyGlobus. Save time upon arrival and complete the registration information online prior to departure. Then you can start enjoying your vacation the moment you arrive rather than completing paperwork. When registering, you will also be asked to provide emergency contact details. The world of travel can bring along unexpected surprises. Having your emergency contact details and registration details allows us to easily contact you should anything about your vacation experience a change. Rest assured, though, that these details are only used in the event we need to contact you or an emergency contact, or provide your registration details to local agencies for travel purposes.
In addition to pre-registering with Globus, we also recommend you enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (S.T.E.P.) with the U.S. Government. When you sign up, you will receive the most up-to-date travel information for the country/countries where you are traveling. In addition, registration allows the U.S. government to assist U.S. citizens in emergencies, such as natural disasters. To learn more about this program, visit the U.S. Department of State website attravel.state.gov/travel/tips/registration/registration_4789.html.
Program drivers, who are among the finest professionals in the business, take pride in driving and in their vehicles, keeping them in great working order and spotlessly clean. Our travelers consistently lavish the highest praise on the person behind the wheel! Each driver is a certified, licensed, and experienced professional whose expertise is motorcoach handling. They are skilled in maneuvering through the tight allies and highly complex highway systems, getting you to your destination on time and safely.
- Carry all documents, money, passport, tickets, traveler’s checks, driver’s license, photocopy of your contact information, cash, and credit cards on your person, but not all in the same place to limit the inconvenience in case of loss.
- Never keep money or jewelry in your suitcase.
- Medicines should be kept in your hand luggage for easy access.
- Never leave your carry-on luggage unattended or out of sight in public areas.
- Be observant at all times, especially in crowded places.
- Avoid excessive displays of wealth (only carry sufficient cash for daily needs).
- Divide and carry cash, etc., between yourself and your traveling companion.
- Hide a couple of $50 bills on your person as emergency vacation funds.
- Be wary of strangers approaching you in the street asking for directions or wanting to lend assistance. Tricksters also pose as policemen—either plainclothes or in uniform. Do not hand over your wallet containing money unless you are sure of the person’s credentials.
- Use hotel safes or leave items with the front desk manager. Be sure to check them before checking out of your hotel or stateroom.
- Pay particular attention to bicycle lanes, which are often on the sidewalk
- Be wary of anyone offering unofficial taxi services. Always use official taxi desk or taxi lines, and
choose only those vehicles with a meter and taxi sign
Check fire exits at each hotel and familiarize yourself with the hotel layout upon arrival. Use door locks in your hotel and verify credentials before opening the door to strangers.
Watch stairs and overhead entrances when getting on and off the motorcoach. The doorway may be lower than you think. Always check for traffic when exiting and walking away from the motorcoach and when re-entering. Heavy items, bottles, and odd-sized objects, should not be stored overhead, as contents may shift while traveling and removing heavy items can be tricky. Hand luggage should be placed safely under your seat. Please keep aisles clear of bags to prevent tripping hazards.
We suggest you photocopy your airline tickets, credit cards, medical cards (front and back), and perhaps bring a copy of your driver’s license and/or birth certificates. These document copies can help speed up replacements in the event that the originals are lost. Keep the copies in a place separate from your originals. Another suggestion is to scan your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers and send them to yourself as attachments to your e-mail. In case of loss, you can access copies to assist in replacement.
Please remember to fill out the “Emergency Next of Kin” section in your passport. Make sure your passport does not expire within six months of your date of travel, since a majority of countries insist that your passport be valid for at least a 6-month time period.
Please be careful when crossing roads. In Central & South America, motorists drive on the right. Therefore, look left, look right, look left again!
Transportation – Train, Ferry & Air
Pay attention to onboard attendants and review safety information prior to departure or take-off. Take particular note of the location of emergency exits. Use special care when embarking/disembarking boats, as walkways may be wet or slippery.
We are sincerely interested in your detailed comments about your vacation. We strive to further improve our product in response to such comments. Near the end of your vacation, a Questionnaire & Customer Survey will be distributed to you. Please take a few minutes to complete and return to your Globus Group Leader. Your point of view is essential to us and, by advising us of your travel tastes and interests, you can help us develop trips and customer programs that meet your desires. Responses are not given to service inquiries made on questionnaires. Please refer to the section of the Terms & Conditions on our website for service inquires.
Compliments and Complaints
In the unlikely event you have a complaint on tour, please address it with your Tour Director. He or she will work to resolve your complaint while you are on vacation. Once you are back home, you may contact our Traveler Services department with any inquires. Please do so within 30 days of your return so we may expedite a response. Inquiries longer than 30 days after you return home hinder our ability to settle issues. Traveler Services can be reached at:
Group Voyagers Inc.
Attention Traveler Services
5301 South Federal Circle
Littleton, CO 80123.
Any disability requiring special attention should be reported to Globus prior to traveling. We will make reasonable attempts to accommodate the special needs of disabled travelers but may not always be able to do so. Access to some establishments may not be convenient for wheelchairs, and other facilities for disabled travelers may be limited. Most transportation services, including the touring motorcoach, are not equipped with wheelchair ramps. We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance to a vacation participant for walking, dining, getting on and off motorcoaches and other vehicles, or other personal needs. Please do not rely on the Tour Director or Driver to assist with walking or maneuvering through the sights, as he/she has other responsibilities to all the travelers within the group. We recommend a qualified and physically able companion accompany travelers who need such assistance. Please see the booking Terms & Conditions regarding travelers who need special assistance while on tour.
For maximum enjoyment of your trip, be prepared for daily walking (up to two hours) involving stairs, cobblestones, and uneven surfaces. Historic city centers are usually more accessible by foot than vehicle. Sometimes it is not possible for your motorcoach to drop you off right at entrances to hotels and sights. Comfortable, sturdy, triedand- tested walking shoes, those with rubber soles that help grip slippery/uneven surfaces, are recommended for daily sightseeing. You may want to consider bringing a collapsible walking stick if you have mobility difficulties.
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