10 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU TAKE OFF
A glorious combination of unspoiled beaches, lively dance clubs, and cultural history await the fortunate travelers to Cuba’s sunny shores. However, before packing your suitcase and jetting off to this lovely island country, here are ten things you need to know before you go...
1. POWER CONVERSION
All of the outlets on the island of Cuba, including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts use 2 pronged 220V outlets. That means your typical North American plug (with three prongs) will not fit into most Cuban outlets. You can, however, purchase a plug adapter. Just be careful to check the power outage before plugging in as appliances—such as hair dryers or laptops—may fry the 220V outlets and your laptop.
2. LACK OF CONDIMENTS
Many tourists return from Cuba with the idea that everything was great—except for the food! That’s because the flavor can be a bit lacking if you’re used to condiments like ketchup, hot sauce, pepper, jams, cinnamon, and peanut butter. Many of these just aren’t available in Cuba, but you can bring your own.
3. BRINGING DONATIONS
The majority of locals in Cuba working at your hotel—such as your housekeeper, bartender, waiter, and hotel desk staff—make very little money for hygienic or personal care items. That’s why many tourists bring along extra toothbrushes, mouthwashes, toothpastes, floss, panty hose, etc., to leave for them as gifts. Believe me; locals are incredibly grateful for these items.
Yes, there is more than one official currency in the country of Cuba. While Cuban locals use the Cuban Peso—tourists are given the Cuban Convertible Peso. So it’s essential that you have the right currency.
5. TIPPING IS SOCIALLY ACCEPTED
Like many places in North America, it’s common and polite practice to tip your wait staff, tour guides, hotel staff, or bartenders for good service in Cuba by leaving a few Cuban Convertible Pesos. 10% is the norm.
6. INTERNET REGULATIONS
If you plan to use the internet in Cuba, you may be disappointed as it is slow and expensive (1.5 CUC/hour).
7. CUBAN TIME
In Cuba, it’s common that things are a little bit slower pace. After all, you’re on vacation!