Time: Behind Moscow by 8 hours.
Holidays and non-working days: January 1 (Liberation Day, 1959), May 1 (International Workers’ Day), July 26 (National Uprising Day, 1953), October 10 (the beginning of the struggle for the independence of Cuba from Spain, 1868).
Climate: According to Programingplease.com, Cuba is located in the tropical zone of the globe. The average air temperature from October to March is 28*-32*C and from April to September 35*-37*C. The water temperature is respectively from October to March – 24*-25*C and from April to September 27*-29*C. The rainy season in Cuba falls on the period March-April and October-November, although tropical rain falls for 5-10 minutes, and after two hours under the scorching sun it is still dry.
Language: The official language is Spanish. English, German, Italian are widely used in resort areas.
Currency: Currency – Cuban peso, equal to 100 centavos (Exchange rate on October 28, 2002: 1.0000 CUP = 1 USD ). Tourists must pay only in US dollars, so it is advisable to have more small bills with you. When you change, you may be given a so-called convertible peso. This type of peso is equal to the dollar: 1:1. This is a new Cuban banknote that has nothing to do with the “wooden” Cuban peso. In order not to get into trouble – the convertible peso should be written “convertible” (convertible). As a rule, they are given in small denominations of 1, 5, 10 pesos. The exchange rate of the old Cuban peso to the dollar is approximately 1:25. A convertible Cuban metal coin circulates on a par with American cents. Often they give change to both. Cuba accepts the main international cards VISA, MASTER, DINNER’s CLUB. Credit cards issued by any US bank are not accepted.
Currency Exchange: US dollars are accepted everywhere in Cuba.
Visa: For Russians and citizens of Belarus, Yugoslavia, who come to Cuba for tourism purposes, for a period of less than 30 days, with a tourist voucher, a visa is not required. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure. Upon departure, you must pay an airport tax of $ 20.
Features of customs control: Duty-free importation of cigarettes – 200 pieces, or tobacco – 250 g, perfumes, medicines, household items – within the limits of personal needs, audio, video and photographic equipment – one item of each item per person is allowed. It is forbidden to import: cars, motorcycles and spare parts for them, pornography, medicines without indicating the brand of the manufacturer. It is forbidden to export: singing and exotic birds, valuable species of bark and wood, skin and feathers of exotic animals and birds, cultural values. When leaving the country, a customs fee is charged.
Car rental. It is very difficult for a foreigner to do without a car while in Cuba. There are several car rental companies in Cuba. In general, car rental is quite expensive (from $60). There are no particular problems with gasoline, although gas stations are much less common than we are used to. Outside of Havana, you can easily find gasoline for $0.5 per liter, but here you have to be careful not to fill it with donkey urine. In addition, before taking the car, you need to carefully examine it for defects, which should be noted in the contract. If the trip route involves trips to roads with poor coverage (trips along the coast, going to the beach), then you need to take only a jeep.
Number plates on cars in Cuba have different colors, indicating the affiliation of the a/b: yellow – private, black – diplomatic, brown – rent-a-car. There are also red ones and blue ones. There are many police in Havana, but they do not touch cars with black and brown (tourist) numbers. If you clearly violate the rules in the presence of a policeman, he has to turn away or lower his eyes – “he did not see anything, therefore he did not whistle.” In addition, cars with such numbers enjoy certain benefits, such as passage through tunnels that are closed for repairs, connecting parts of Havana, parking in unauthorized places, etc.
Bicycle. Many people move around the city on bicycles. You can rent a bike from Capri and Riviera hotels ($1 per hour) or from a local for $1 per day. You cannot leave your bike on the street. It is better to do this at a bike stand for 1-2 pesos. For all problems with the bike (flat tire, puncture, out of adjustment seat, etc.), contact Pocheria small workshops.
Electricity: Mains voltage 110/120 V, 60 Hz. Requires adapters for flat sockets.
Communication: Code of Cuba – 53, Havana – 7, Varadero – 5. The cost of one minute when calling from Cuba is $ 6, but in hotels it is much more expensive.
The shops: As souvenirs from Cuba, you can bring black coral and jewelry made from it, items made from tortoise shell (especially bracelets and hairpins). Don’t forget to buy one or two bottles of unique Cuban rum and real Cuban cigars. When buying products made of crocodile skin, ask the seller for an export license, otherwise this souvenir will be confiscated during customs control.
A good gift from Cuba would also be tumbadora or bongos – percussion musical instruments used in African melodies. Another gift is the guayabera, a shirt worn by officials in the tropics. And, of course, you can not ignore cigars and rum. To buy good cigars or learn about their production, you can contact the Real Fabrica de Tobacco Partagas (c.Industria, 524). The shop on the ground floor of the factory sells all kinds of Cuban cigars. The most expensive are Cohiba Lanceros ($230 for 5 pieces). Food is better to buy in stores or supermarkets. In INTUR tiendas stores, you can buy food, clothes, medicines, electronics and souvenirs for foreign currency.
Accommodation: Tourists usually stay in hotels, but there is also a cheaper accommodation option: these are private houses or “particular”. But, firstly, you need to know where and how to do it, and secondly, how to negotiate (you need at least primitive Spanish, because only a few people know English and Russian). Those. you can find a “particular” in the city center for 20 dollars a day with all amenities, and the issue of food can be resolved with the owners additionally and it will cost 3 – 5 dollars for breakfast and 8 – 12 for dinner. In a hotel, meals and accommodation will be approximately 1.5 – 3 times more expensive.
Tipping: In Cuba, it is customary to pay a tip in the amount of 5-15% of the cost of services. Porter
Embassy of Cuba in Moscow: 103009, Leontievsky per. 9, vol. 290 – 2882, f. 202 – 5392.
Mode of stay and movement: There are no restrictions on movement around the country for Russian citizens.