FAQ – Cuba

by Nadine Dirksen - Thursday, March 9, 2017

I am a US Citizen - can I travel to Cuba?

Yes, you can! Read about applicable restrictions and requirements here.

What documents do I need to travel to Cuba? Do I need a Visa?

Refer to the list of documents here.

Do the changes in the US Administration’s Cuba Policy affect ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours to Cuba?

The changes in regulations for US citizens traveling to Cuba issued in November 2017 will not affect anyone on a group trip such as bicycle tours offered by ExperiencePlus!. The new regulations will restrict individuals traveling to Cuba. All of the itineraries created by ExperiencePlus! and managed by our in-country partners comply with the regulations and requirements to fulfill People-To-People educational travel guidelines under the general license for People-To-People Exchanges (Section 515.565(b)), which states that travelers under this license must “adhere to a full-time schedule of educational activities that will result in meaningful interaction with the Cuban people, supports civil society in Cuba, or promotes the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities”.  As our tours are designed with cultural connections as a central part of the itinerary, we haven’t found that needing to include more of these interactions to be a detriment to the itinerary – quite the opposite: by interacting more with the Cuban people the complex issues that face this fascinating country are more apparent than ever.
You can find the Treasury Department’s FAQ on the updated restrictions here.

What about the hotels that cannot be used by US citizens?

We are not staying in any of the restricted accommodations. You can find the complete list issued by the State Department here.

What paperwork will I need as a US citizen to have to travel to Cuba in light of the new regulations?

Your paperwork will be the same as before. We will be sending you a  general license or affidavit for you to carry that shows you were on an ExperiencePlus! trip that complies with any restrictions for travel. In addition, you will need to keep your Daysheets from your trip for at least 5 years in case you are asked for proof of the People-To-People interactions you had (and keeping images and journals would be a good idea as well). We will also have those Daysheets on file so in case you lose them you can always get copies from us.

Can ExperiencePlus! book extra hotel nights for me?

Unfortunately not. Due to the nature of organized and group travel in Cuba, ExperiencePlus! is not able to book extra hotel nights for travelers before and after your tour. There are a few websites that may allow you to book hotels for your pre- or post-tour hotel nights. If you are a U.S. Citizen, the General License provided by ExperiencePlus! allows you to legally travel in Cuba as part of the ExperiencePlus! tour group; however, it does not cover your independent non-tour travel time.  It can, however, cover any necessary additional time that is in relation with your bicycle trip and logistically necessary. For our tips on booking hotels and casa particulares, click here.

Do I need medical insurance?

Yes, medical travel insurance is mandatory for all travel to Cuba. Our recommended provider,  Arch Insurance, will cover medical (and much more). Learn more about Arch Insurance and the Premiere Plan here.

What currency will I need in Cuba? Can I use US Dollars?

You cannot use US Dollars but will have to exchange them for the local currency. Please refer to the information about the two legal tenders in Cuba and how to exchange currency here.

Will my debit or credit card work in Cuba?

It’s best to rely on cash. Read why here.

What's a Casa Particular?

In addition to hotels, Casa Particulares are commonly used, which are privately run B&B or vacation rental types of accommodations.

Will we shuttle on certain parts of the Cuba itineraries?

In order to cover the best cycling in Cuba, this tour has more shuttling than other tours of ours. Many of these shuttles are at the end of the ride, to reach the next hotel. Additionally, due to the nature of the People to People exchange, we do have events scheduled during the day that require we regroup during the ride.

As on all our tours, we will have daily briefings to discuss the next day’s ride and activities so you know what to expect and will have the chance to discuss details with Tour Leaders.

What's the food like in Cuba?

Island cuisine with an eclectic history. Read more here.

Should I bring my own snacks on tour?

As goes for all our tours, we will provide snacks and water on the van during your cycling adventure so you can refuel. If there is, for example, a particular type of energy bar that works well for you personally, then we recommend you bring it with you. Remember that markets in Cuba do not sell what we consider snack food.

Can I drink the tap water in Cuba?

We don’t recommend it. Cubans never use tap water without boiling and filtering it first, which means that water at restaurants that is used for food preparation has been treated the same way and is safe. We will provide bottled water during your trip that you can drink and also use for brushing teeth if you prefer.

I know the chalk arrows are all I need to navigate on tour and discover local secrets. Still, can I get GPS-tracks?

Yes, you can! Remember that you are not allowed to bring an actual GPS-device into Cuba but your smartphone is ok. Read more on GPS on our tours here.

What types of electric Outlets are used in Cuba?

Read more here.

Will there be hair driers?

If you’d like to use a hair dryer we recommend that you bring your own as we can’t promise every hotel and Casa Particular will be equipped with one. Make sure to bring adapters and converters as needed.

Will my phone work?

Unlikely. Find details here.

What should I pack?

View and download our handy packing list for our Cuba bicycle tours here.

Can I bring my own bike?

Yes, you can. Remember that you must be able to assemble and disassemble your bike and have the tools and any spare parts necessary to maintain its operation. We invite you to peruse the details of our bike fleet in Cuba to help you decide.

Will there be pharmacies in Cuba?

No, you won’t easily find pharmacies along our route in Cuba. Make sure to bring your prescription medicine that you require and make sure to pack it in your hand-luggage.

Nadine Dirksen - A German native, Nadine is a happy Colorado transplant who moved from lush Bavaria when she married. She left the land of pretzels in 2012 and has been enjoying a fun life full of cycling, mountain biking, CrossFit, hiking, running and any other outdoor activity that involves her little black Dachshund-mix. When not having fun outside or at work, she tries her hand at different craft projects with varying success. She helps our travelers by answering all their questions before their tours and she can't wait to help you bring your dream trip to reality!

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