Preparing For Your First Trip To Cuba: Things To Know Before You Go

By: Flashpacking Duo
Aerial view of Trinidad in the morning. Cuba Getty Images | Eloi_Omella

Preparing for your first trip to Cuba is exciting. But, there are few important things you need to know about Cuba travel to ensure you have a great trip, before jetting off into the sun.

Think of strolling through the bustling streets of Havana, listening to the salsa rhythms, and then relaxing sipping on a rum cocktail whilst watching the world go by in a cozy cabana.


The Power Supply

If you turn up to Cuba with standard travel adapters, 2 pronged 220 volts are the only plugs that work. You can buy these adapters out there but be warned the 220 voltage may mean that some of your appliances don’t work, particularly things like laptop chargers and hair straighteners which require a much larger voltage.

Condiments are a no-no

Ropa Vieja is a classic Cuban stew of shredded beef, served here with white rice and fried plantains.
Getty Images / Sarah Bossert

One of the biggest complaints people have about Cuba is that they didn’t enjoy the food. This is usually because in western cultures we’re very used to smothering our foods with lots of different condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise. As these are not commonly available in Cuba people can find the food quite bland, so bear this in mind before ordering certain dishes. 

Make sure you have the right currency

A dark leather wallet is open on a table surrounded by $10 & $5 Cuban Convertible Pesos. This is the currency used by tourists in Cuba.
Getty Images / Laura Reid Photography

There are several different types of currency in Cuba, so it’s important to be sure that you have the right one. Cuban locals are able to use the Cuban Peso but tourists must use the Cuban convertible Peso. The Cuban Convertible Peso is not universally available so you’ll probably have to convert your money on arrival.

Tight Internet Regulations

Using the internet in Cuba is much more difficult than you think. If you do need to use it be prepared that it will be quite expensive and it’s highly regulated.


Nothing runs on time

Getty Images / BPS

The Cuban lifestyle is very relaxed, so be aware that things may not exactly run on time. Often this is mostly with public transport but generally, the pace of life is slower and much more laid back.

 It’s customary to leave a tip

Many Cuban locals are very poor and when the Cuban convertible currency is converted into their local currency can be a lot more. As the Cuban hotel staff doesn’t earn very much they are very grateful for any tip, whether it’s a small amount of money or some leftover toiletries.