Cuba is a very hot country in certain months and it is a country which culturally is quite different from what you might be used to. Just like travelling to any country also, it is best to be prepared. Below are 25 tips for you if you are visiting Cuba. Not all of these tips are bespoke to Cuba, i.e. they may also apply to other countries you visit. These tips though are ones I have picked up and which I thought I would share with you in case you are visiting us in Cuba any time soon! Here goes:
One of the very best ways to really get to know a country and its people and culture, in my opinion, is to go on a food tour. Cuba is especially interesting in this respect and even though I had trouble to find a guided tour, the foodie in Cuba post on whywasteannualleave on her Cuba food experience is well worth reading for a guide on what to try in Cuba for foodies.
You might have read my post about Cuba in 2025 and I am sure that you will agree that already the country is changing fast in some ways and yet in other ways, little has changed in the last few years. Do expect the island develop a lot over the coming years and the more interested you are in seeing the authentic Cuba, the sooner you should come and visit. This is still a wonderful time to visit the island and maintains much of its charm. Come over though before all of the KFCs and McDonalds go up!
Havana is a wonderful city with so much to see and I strongly recommend to make sure you try and allocate at least 3 or 4 days minimum to spend in Havana. I would though also strongly suggest that you allocate time for visiting one of the rural areas such as the Vinales Valley. Cuba is so much more than the beaches and Havana and one of the most impressive things in my view are these out of way places.
This is not for everyone because I certainly can understand the attraction of a nice luxury hotel with a swimming pool and all the trimmings. if you are looking though for a cultural experience then staying in a licensed private home (known locally as a Casa Particulare) it is quite cheap cost wise and you get to eat and live with a local family. I tried this for a week and it is a great way for staying, for example, in Havana.
Do not come to Cuba without proper travel insurance because you will be expected to have a policy when you arrive into Cuba. Do also decide before-hand if you plan to participate in any water sports or what are considered dangerous sports (going by the classifications on the policy you are planning to buy). There is a decent health system in Cuba but you absolutely do need to ensure you have full travel insurance.
The Malecon area of Havana is very popular with the locals in the evenings. Many locals are too poor to go out to a bar or nightclub so many often grab a bottle of rum and head down to the seafront wall in in the evening to enjoy the view and to relax with friends. This is a wonderful way to meet the locals if you are in Havana!
There is a limit in terms of accommodation and it can get real difficult to find somewhere to stay if you book late, so if you are going anytime between December and March, get booked up early!
Perhaps an obvious thing to say, yet so many people do not even learn a few words and yet a few basic sentences and your life might be a lot easier. In the touristy areas there are often some English speakers but do not overly rely on it. Spanish is the language here.
Whatever your expectations for hotels, lower them. If you are staying in a 4 star hotel for example, do not think in terms of a UK or U.S. 4 star hotel but expect a 2 or 3 star hotel at the most. Cuba is still a poor country so expect less choices in terms of food and just enjoy Cuba for what it is. If people approach you in the street, do not always assume that there are trying to do anything bad necessarily. Most Cubans never get to leave Cuba because of restrictions and/or poverty and so they are a naturally cuurious people sometimes. Take the chance to enjoy chatting with the locals if you can speak any Spanish or if they speak any English (or whatever your navive tongue).