Is Havana a safe place to visit

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Current

The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.

Before unnecessary, tourist trips to Cuba is currently due to high numbers of infections warned.

Epidemiological situation

Cuba is affected by COVID-19. Nationwide, the incidence is more than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, which is why Cuba is classified as a risk area.

The Cuban government and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide current and detailed figures.

entry

Upon entry, a negative PCR test in paper form in English or Spanish from the home country must be presented, which must not be older than 72 hours on departure (start of the journey) and must be issued by a certified laboratory.

All travelers must undergo another mandatory PCR test at the airport upon arrival in Cuba. In addition, a declaration of health must be submitted at the airport.

Travelers who enter for tourist purposes and who have a reservation in a licensed hotel are then obliged to stay at the hotel until they receive the negative test result. For travelers who do not plan to stay in a hotel designed for package tours, but want to stay in a "casa particular" or any private accommodation, the following rules apply: Immediately after entry, there is an obligation to separate in a chargeable hotel assigned by the Cuban authorities until another negative test result is received. The new test usually takes place on the fifth day after entry. The test result should be available after one to two days. Delays in individual cases cannot be ruled out. Accommodation costs may vary depending on the hotel. The regulations also apply to people residing in Cuba.

In the event of a positive result, inpatient admission and isolation in a hospital or state hotel for at least eight days must be expected. The quarantine facilities are only designed to ensure medical necessities and are always chargeable. Payment must be made by credit card, payment in cash is not possible. Accompanying relatives of people who tested positive and who tested negative themselves must stay in the booked hotel room until a second negative test result is available. The second test is carried out on the seventh day after entry. The test result is available on the eighth day at the earliest.

Even those who have been vaccinated must do a PCR test before departure and upon arrival and must be quarantined upon arrival.

The Cuban authorities regularly adapt the entry requirements to the current epidemiological conditions. These can therefore be subject to changes at short notice.

Transit and onward travel

A transit through Cuba is possible within the framework of the current regulations and available flight connections.

Travel connections

The airports in all provinces (except Cayo Coco) are open for commercial, regular flights. There is currently no direct flight connection from Germany. It is advisable to inquire about the status of the flight with the airlines shortly before departure.

Restrictions in the country

The range of accommodation and tourist services as well as travel opportunities within the country are still limited. Excursions to Havana are not possible until further notice.

There is a general curfew in the Havana metropolitan area from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Restaurants are only allowed to serve or deliver food to take away. Bars, discos, cinemas, theaters, sports fields and other leisure facilities are closed. Local public transport is closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. It is forbidden to stay in parks and other public places after 7 p.m. Travel between Havana and other parts of the country is not possible using public transport. Checks and restrictions at the city limits can also be expected in private vehicles. There may be shortages of everyday items and medicines.

Hygiene rules

The general hygiene and distance rules apply. In all of Cuba, you are required to wear a mouth and nose cover at all times in public spaces, in all means of transport and in supermarkets / restaurants. Compliance with the rules is strictly controlled. If you violate this, you risk fines.

  • Make sure you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions from local authorities. Fines can be imposed for violations of the hygiene regulations.
  • Find out about detailed measures and additional information from the Cuban government.
  • In the event of COVID-19 symptoms or contact with infected people, contact the nearest health authorities or your hotel or the tour operator.
  • When you return to Germany, note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, test and quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the responsible company or your tour operator, if necessary, and contact the health department at your place of residence or residence if you are entering from a risk area . Further information is available in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.

security

terrorism

The risk of terrorist attacks in Cuba is rated as very low.

Domestic situation

Cuba is a socialist one-party state. Freedom of opinion and freedom of the press are not guaranteed.

  • Avoid political discussions, especially on questions of the recent Cuban past or the relationship with the USA.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large crowds.
  • Follow the instructions of local security guards.
  • Do not take photos of military installations, police officers or other uniformed people.

crime

In Cuba, too, travelers can be victims of property crimes, bodily harm and, in rare cases, violent crimes. Women traveling alone can in individual cases also become victims of sexual crimes. There have been isolated reports of exhibitionist acts and attempted rape.

Foreign persons must be able to identify themselves at any time (a copy of their passport is usually sufficient). Travelers who are found without ID and / or funds may be detained by the Cuban immigration authorities for several days in paid accommodation until their status is clarified and the financing of the stay is secured - even if travelers have been the victim of a crime.

  • Keep money, IDs, driver's license, flight tickets and other important documents as well as address lists safe and make copies.
  • Never leave bags and valuables unattended.
  • Just don't take any unnecessary valuables and only the cash you need for the day, spread out in several places on your body.
  • Be particularly vigilant in large crowds such as at airports, train stations and on the bus and watch out for your valuables.
  • Never leave drinks unattended.
  • Transport valuable items in hand luggage.
  • As a woman, clearly reject unwanted attempts at flirting and, as a rule, only go out with someone at night.
  • Avoid long-distance taxi journeys in the dark.
  • Be particularly careful with flat tires, at petrol stations and when bringing hitchhikers to your rental car.
  • Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, profit notifications, offers and requests for help from alleged acquaintances. Do not disclose any data about yourself; if necessary, make sure yourself personally or contact the police.

Nature and climate

There is a tropical, humid sea climate.
May through November is hurricane season. During this time, tropical storms and intense rainfall can be expected, which can lead to floods and landslides.

Cuba is in a seismically active zone, so earthquakes can occur.

Travel info

Infrastructure / traffic

Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.

On internal Cuban flights, there are often long delays or flights can be canceled, sometimes over several days.

For round trips in the country, buses (Viazul), organized bus tours and rental cars are primarily considered, although bus trips are less problematic in terms of road safety.

Cuba suffers from electricity shortages. In order to save electricity, electricity is occasionally switched off, especially outside the tourist centers, which can also impair the water supply and communication.

Cuban nationals require authorization from the authorities for any kind of private business. Before moving into a private household, you should ask for the necessary official approval, otherwise both parties (host and guest) will face difficulties with the police.

In road traffic, there is an increased risk of accidents due to poor road conditions, insufficient street lighting, animals on the road, unpredictable driving behavior and technical inadequacies (no lighting, brake failure, etc.). Cuban road users sometimes use a system of hand signals to communicate on the road, which are initially not understandable for foreigners. Particular caution is required here.

There is a ban on alcohol at the wheel. Furthermore, the consumption of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a car, including passengers, is prohibited. In addition, alcohol may not be carried in the passenger compartment of the car if the consumption is obvious.

In the event of accidents with personal injury involving foreign travelers, there may be a ban on leaving the country for several weeks, possibly also pre-trial detention. If people are injured or killed, foreign drivers are sentenced to sometimes draconian prison sentences.

Rental cars in Cuba are often not comparable to the German standard. Cases of travelers have become known who were confronted with apparently unjustified claims for damage when returning the vehicle. The statutory insurance coverage for rental cars offered in Cuba does not meet European standards. This applies in particular to the low amount insured for personal injury.

  • Plan enough time between domestic and international connecting flights. Take precautions in case you have to stay longer in Cuba because your flight is canceled or delayed.
  • Only stay in hotels and private pensions (so-called "casas particulares") that have a state permit.
  • Driving outside of the cities should only be done in daylight, avoid driving at night. Always drive defensively, be prepared for unexpected traffic situations.
  • Check and document the condition of your rental car in the event of previous damage (with photos if necessary). Make sure you have adequate insurance cover, especially in the event of personal injury. through supplementary insurance.

Driver's license

The German driving license is recognized for tourist stays. For stays of more than three months, the German driver's license must be converted into a Cuban driver's license.

LGBTIQ

Homosexuality is not a criminal offense. The tolerance in the population, especially in rural areas, is low.

Legal specifics

Even if small amounts of drugs are found for personal use, drastic penalties are to be expected. The possession of small quantities is also punished as drug smuggling for foreigners. The sentence for this is four to thirty years imprisonment, in particularly serious cases the death penalty is available. For criminal prosecution after traffic accidents see above under road traffic. Economic activities in Cuba are subject to a variety of regulations and restrictions. In particular, the acquisition of property is not possible for foreign persons with tourist status. Violations of these regulations are punished by the Cuban authorities with sometimes heavy prison sentences. This also includes the acquisition of property through Cuban intermediaries or family members. Foreign persons are not permitted to engage in political activity.

  • Pay close attention to local laws, particularly those relating to drugs and economic and / or political activity.

Money / credit cards

Since January 2021, as part of the currency reform, the CUC (Peso Convertible) has been gradually abolished and the CUP (Peso Cubano, often also called “Moneda Nacional”) is the only means of payment. In a transitional phase, the CUC will remain a valid means of payment for 6 months, but is now rarely accepted in shops / hotels etc.

It is advisable to bring cash in euros, which travelers can exchange for CUP at all Cuban banks and government exchange offices (CADECA), including at the ATM upon arrival at Havana Airport, at the current exchange rate. Paying with US dollars and euros is only possible in isolated cases. In the so-called foreign exchange shops, you can pay with a foreign credit card (see notes below) in addition to a previously obtained cash card (purchase for tourists not yet possible).

Unused CUPs can be exchanged in euros at the daily exchange rate at the airport before departure. It is advisable to present the receipt for the CUP purchase.

The import and export of pesos is prohibited.

Bank cards from German banking institutions (Debit, Girocard, Maestro, VPay) are not accepted in Cuba, and cash can not be obtained from ATMs and exchange offices (CADECA - "Casa de cambio") with these cards.

Credit cards from German banks are generally accepted for payment in all larger hotels, but not those issued by US banks (American Express, Diners Club). This includes the German subsidiaries of US institutes. An increasing number of stores are accepting payments in international currencies by credit card.

In the exchange offices (CADECA) of some large hotels, money can be withdrawn with VISA / Mastercard credit cards upon presentation of the passport. In the meantime, cash withdrawals with VISA / Mastercard credit cards are also possible in some bank branches (e.g. Banco Financiero Internacional or Banco Metropolitano) and at ATMs. However, this does not apply to the whole country and is not always guaranteed due to technical problems.

The fee for using credit cards is usually 3%. It should be noted that in addition to the fees incurred by the issuing institutions, the fees of the respective Cuban financial institution are also charged. The amount should be requested directly from the institute on site.

Entry and customs

Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.

Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without the Foreign Office being informed beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information that goes beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app, or you can inquire about them by telephone.

Travel documents

Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:

  • Passport: Yes
  • Temporary passport: Yes
  • Identity card: No
  • Provisional identity card: No
  • Children's passport: Yes

Comments / minimum remaining validity:
Travel documents must be valid for at least six months upon entry.

Measures to prevent Ebola continue to be implemented in Cuba.
When entering the country, questions are asked about the state of health and current travel activities. Travelers who have stayed in Guinea, Liberia, Mali or Sierra Leone or who have traveled through airports in these countries are quarantined for up to 21 days after leaving or passing through these countries.

visa

Entry into Cuba for tourist purposes with a stay of up to 30 days (one-time extension for a further 30 days possible) is only possible with a visa in the form of a so-called "tourist card", which is used together with the passport for entry.Tourist cards must be purchased before entry and are available from the Cuban embassy in Germany and from some airlines at the airport. Various tour operators also offer the sale of the tourist card, but only together with other tourist services. For intended longer stays or for non-tourist purposes, a visa is required, which must be applied for at the Cuban diplomatic mission in the country of origin. An invitation may be required for this. The processing time can amount to several weeks. Visas or tourist cards are generally not issued at the border; In addition, before departure from Germany, the airlines will check whether you have a visa or tourist card and may refuse to take you with you.

Minors

Problems with the entry and exit of foreign minors, if they are not accompanied by both legal guardians, have not been observed so far. Underage travelers who also have Cuban citizenship, on the other hand, require notarial approval to leave the country if they are not accompanied by both custodians on their trip.

Collection of biometric data

When entering Cuba, facial photographs of the person entering the country will be taken at the airport as part of the control of the visa or tourist card.

Compulsory health insurance

Every traveler to Cuba is obliged to provide evidence of health insurance coverage that is valid for Cuba for the intended length of stay when entering the country.

A guarantee for the actual acceptance by the Cuban authorities on entry cannot be given. Insurance policies from US insurance companies and German statutory insurance companies are not recognized.

As a rule, an insurance policy, insurance certificate or insurance card from the respective travel health insurance company is sufficient as proof. In cases of long-term insurance contracts (older policies), it is advisable to bring an additional current confirmation from the insurance company. Travelers should ask insurance companies to issue accompanying policies in Spanish. In case of doubt, it is recommended to contact the Embassy of Cuba before departure.

If insurance cannot be taken out in your home country or proof is not available, you must take out health insurance for the duration of your stay in Cuba at the Cuban airports and seaports at a price of 2-3 CUC per day of stay (depending on the scope of insurance) become. Surcharges are levied for previous illnesses, for people over the age of 70 and for people who practice a high-risk sport.

Asistur and CubaInfo provide details on the insurance offers.

Entry and exit via the USA

Tourist travel directly from the USA to Cuba is prohibited under current US regulations, this also applies to cruises from the USA to Cuba. This also applies to German travelers. Direct travel from the US to Cuba is only allowed if it falls under one of the 11 categories set by the US authorities, such as cultural, economic, scientific and religious activities. So far, no empirical values ​​are available for checking the purpose of the trip indicated by the travelers. Changes can occur at short notice.
According to American law, travelers to Cuba are obliged to keep accurate records of their trip, their activities, contacts, etc., and to collect the relevant documents, to keep them for five years and to present them to the US authorities on request so that they can verify compliance with the aforementioned provisions to enable.
In addition, the US authorities have published an extensive list of Cuban state companies active in the tourism sector, including hotels, with which travelers from the USA are not allowed to do business.
US airlines sometimes apply the above-mentioned obligations to provide evidence of the permitted purpose of travel when traveling from Cuba to the USA.

Only the responsible US authorities can provide more detailed information. Reference is made to the websites of the responsible US authorities Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of the Treasury - Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the US Embassy in Havana.
Some US airlines have also published information about this in the meantime. B. American Airlines.

  • Find out about the current US regulations for entering and leaving Cuba, these can also change at short notice.

Dual citizenship travelers

Travelers who have both German and Cuban citizenship must note that when they stay in Cuba they will only be treated as Cuban citizens by the authorities and that they may be subject to Cuban measures such as conscription and the drafting of reservists. The use of Cuban passports on entry and exit is mandatory for this group of people. Consular support from the German embassy in the event of detention is usually not possible.

Import regulations

There is no limit to the import of foreign currency, but must be declared for a value of 5,000 US dollars or more. The import and export of the local currency is prohibited.

You should only bring items for personal use with you. Excess quantities can be confiscated because they are considered illicit gifts.

Electrical devices may also only be imported to the extent that they are intended for personal use, not as gifts for Cuban nationals. For gifts (non-commercial imports) from an equivalent value of 50 CUC to 250 CUC, a duty of 100% is levied. The responsible Cuban diplomatic mission abroad can provide more information. The import of two-way radios, satellite telephones and GPS devices is not permitted or requires the prior approval of the relevant Cuban authorities. Laptops, cameras and cell phones with GPS functionality are not affected. The import of drones is prohibited.

The import of fresh food (e.g. fresh sausage, dairy products, vegetables, fruit) is prohibited for health reasons.

Up to twenty (20) loose cigars can be exported without having to provide proof of origin and purchase. Up to fifty (50) cigars can be exported on condition that they are in their original, sealed, officially holographed packaging. More than fifty (50) cigars can only be exported on presentation of an original invoice issued by the officially authorized state shops. This invoice must include the total amount of tobacco that is intended to be exported. In these cases, too, it is essential that the cigars are in closed, sealed original packaging with an official hologram.

Detailed information on Cuban import and export regulations is available on the Cuban Customs website.

  • Do not take any items with you from Cuba that could be Cuban cultural property. This can also apply to older coins. Information on this and export permits can be obtained from: Bienes Culturales, Calle 17 # 1009, entre10 y 12, Vedado, phone: 839658. The permit costs only a few pesos, but saves you any trouble when you leave the country.

health

Current

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.

measles

In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health. In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.

  • As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.

Vaccination protection

No compulsory vaccinations are required for direct entry from Germany.

  • Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the Robert Koch Institute's vaccination calendar up to date.
  • Vaccinations against hepatitis A are recommended as travel vaccinations, and in the case of long-term stays or special exposure also against hepatitis B, typhoid and rabies.
  • Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
  • The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.

Zika virus infection

The predominantly diurnal AedesMosquito-borne infection with Zika viruses can lead to malformations in children during pregnancy and neurological complications in adults.

Dengue fever

Dengue viruses are active year-round, but especially during the rainy season, by diurnal Aedes- Mosquitoes transmitted. The disease is usually associated with fever, skin rash and pronounced pain in the limbs and is increasingly affecting travelers as well. In rare cases, especially in children, serious complications, including possible death, occur. Overall, however, complications for travelers are rare. There is neither a vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy against dengue fever, see also information sheet on dengue fever.

  • To avoid dengue fever, protect yourself consistently against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day:

Chikungunya fever

Chikungunya viruses are diurnal Aedes- Mosquitoes transmitted. So far, only imported cases of Chikungunya virus infections have been reported in Cuba, originating from the Antilles island of St. Martin. The disease is characterized by a high fever and possibly prolonged joint and muscle pain. The symptoms can often not be clearly distinguished from other mosquito-borne diseases. Chikungunya fever does not always heal without consequences; long-term rheumatoid-like symptoms rarely occur. There is neither a vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy, see also the information sheet on Chikungunya fever.

  • To avoid chikungunya fever, protect yourself consistently against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day.

malaria

The island of Cuba is malaria free.

HIV / AIDS