Before You Depart

Captivating Cuba

NOTE ON TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE

Please note that the tourism infrastructure in Cuba is more limited than what you might be accustomed to. You can expect slightly lower standards at the hotel properties with fewer amenities. On occasion, it may be necessary to make changes to the itinerary while the tour is in progress due to circumstances beyond the control of smarTours and our local partner. Please keep this perspective in mind in advance of and during your tour to this very special country.

Wifi availability is limited and not always reliable in Cuba, and you will also be unable to use any US cell phone data networks while in the country. If you wish to remain connected to friends/family back home, we recommend the use of the mobile app WhatsApp, a free messaging service that is accessible while in Cuba.

Cuba continues to face challenges related to the supply of certain products, including toilet paper. While you can typically rely on hotels to be well stocked, some locations that you travel to during the day may not be adequately supplied. It is a good idea to bring a roll along with you in a small plastic bag, and bring some with you on day trips.

FLIGHT INFORMATION

Your flights from Havana and back are on the following airlines with the corresponding schedules. We recommend that you arrive at the airport at least 3½ hours before the scheduled departure.

Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting flight. We recommend at least 3½ hours. Please keep in mind that flight schedules are always subject to change.

Departure Date Airline Airport Depart Return
2024: Feb. 4 American Airlines Miami (MIA) 3:35 PM 3:51 PM
2024: Mar. 10 American Airlines Miami (MIA) 3:35 PM 6:01 PM
2024: Apr. 7 American Airlines Miami (MIA) 4:10 PM 5:10 PM
2024: Oct. 13 American Airlines Miami (MIA) 3:45 PM 4:57 PM

 

ADVANCE SEAT ASSIGNMENT

The above airlines do not assign seats in advance for group fares – seat assignments are arranged upon check-in at the airport. smarTours is not involved with seat assignments. If you require a specific seat due to a medical condition, please obtain a doctor’s note you can present to the airline at check-in.

LAND-ONLY TRAVELERS

International flights to/from the U.S. are not included. Land-only travelers are responsible for arranging the entry and exit flights, as well as their arrival and departure transfers. smarTours cannot be held responsible for any damage caused by air schedule changes and delays. Unused land services are non-refundable.

Generally, check-in at hotels is not before 4:00 PM and check-out is prior to 12:00 PM. If arriving early or departing late, hotels usually allow travelers to store their luggage in the luggage room.

Land-Only services end after the Finca Vigía tour in Havana at approx. 12 PM.

MANDATORY HEALTH INSURANCE FOR CUBA

Cuba also requires the purchase of mandatory health insurance. For travelers who purchase the air-inclusive package, this mandatory health insurance is included as a part of this air ticket. For travelers purchasing their own flights to Cuba, most air tickets from the U.S. to Cuba include this mandatory health insurance. If you are traveling from another country, you can typically purchase the mandatory health insurance on arrival.

CATEGORY FOR TRAVEL UNDER OFAC REGULATIONS

This program qualifies under the Support for the Cuban People category. Click for more information on the categories that qualify for the general license for travel. Travelers must keep records of their trip for five years after travel. smarTours will also keep these records for five years. Prior to travel, smarTours will email a Travel Certification form that all travelers must complete and return by email acknowledging that travelers must keep records of their trip and that they have read the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 515 (enclosed in the certification form).

PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION

You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. U.S. passport holders require a visa for travel to Cuba unless they were born in Cuba. For non-Cuban-born U.S. citizens flying to Cuba with American Airlines, an AA Visa Card can be purchased either online in advance of the tour or on the day of departure at the Miami International Airport at the Cuba Ready Desk serviced by Cuba Travel Services. For non-Cuban-born U.S. citizens flying to Cuba with another airline, a tourist visa card may be purchased in advance of the trip online through the Cuba Travel Services website (see their page for pricing and timing). When purchasing your visa, please select “Support for the Cuban People” as the OFAC category and select “Havana” as the Cuba Province.

Purchasing an AA Visa Card: If flying with American Airlines, you can purchase a visa either in advance of departure online on the Cuba Travel Services website or on the day of departure at the airport at the “Cuba Ready” kiosk serviced by Cuba Travel Services. The “Cuba Ready” kiosk is located in the ticketing area of the Miami International Airport adjacent to both the AA check-in counters and the Cuba AA departure gates for connecting passengers. Please visit the Cuba Travel Services AA Visa Card page for pricing and note that prices may vary depending on if you choose to purchase in advance online or on the day of departure at the Miami airport. When purchasing your visa, please select “Support for the Cuban People” as the OFAC category and select “Havana” as the Cuba Province.

For Cuban-Born U.S. Citizens: Cuban-born U.S. citizens require the following documents depending on when they departed Cuba. 1) Those who departed Cuba prior to Dec. 31, 1970 require a HE-11 Visa (please allow at least 8 weeks to process) or a Cuban passport (please allow at least 4 months) or 2) Those who departed Cuba after January 1, 1971 require a Cuba passport (allow 6-12 months for new requests or at least 4 months for renewals).

For Non-U.S. Citizens: Travelers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or visa agency to determine what personal identification is required.

Before your trip, review travel requirements and restrictions by country to review passport and visa requirements. You can also learn more about passport and visa services. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.

DAILY JOURNAL REQUIREMENTS

OFAC requires that travelers to Cuba maintain a daily travel journal during their trip. This journal will serve as documentation that your trip to Cuba was consistent with the requirements of the Support of the Cuban People travel license. We recommend that you keep your journal for a minimum of five years after the trip.

TICKETS AND FINAL DOCUMENTS

Final instructions, documents, and travel tips will be emailed to you 10–14 days before the scheduled start of your tour. If you have not received your final documents, please check your spam folder or contact smarTours.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Immunizations are not currently required, however, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local health authorities for their suggestions. The CDC recommends you stay up to date on routine vaccinations, and consult your physician at least one month prior to travel. Learn more about the CDC’s destination-specific recommendations.

CREDIT CARDS AND LOCAL CURRENCY

Since January 1, 2021, the Cuban Peso (CUP) is the sole currency in Cuba. You can exchange your money to Cuban pesos at airports, hotels, banks, and exchange offices. Due to sanctions, travelers will not have access to accounts with U.S. banks and cannot use credit cards issued in the United States while in Cuba. We recommend you bring as much cash as you need for the entire trip. While how much cash to bring can vary from person to person, a suggested amount will be included in the final documents.

U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER CONTROL

Please note that effective September 24, 2020, travelers may no longer return to the U.S. with tobacco and/or alcohol products acquired in Cuba. For more details, please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

ELECTRICITY

Cuba operates on a 110/220V supply voltage and 60Hz. Cuba uses several plugs including A and B (common in the U.S.), as well as C and L. We recommend that you bring an adapter and converter along with you as not all locations will have A and B plugs.

BAGGAGE

Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage and one carry-on piece. Please check with the airline for the maximum weight and size for luggage. We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

Please note that there is a checked bag fee imposed by the airlines that must be paid directly by you at the airport in Miami. Please reach out to American Airlines directly for details.