What should I pack?
If you are able to fit everything in a carry on, it will save you time at the airport (but let’s be honest, how many of us can pack for a week of vacation in a carry on!) Cuba is a tropical island and the weather is fairly consistent. Think hot and humid with occasional afternoon showers. We would suggest packing a balance between cool, casual and comfortable as well as a few “nicer” items to wear. Although the Cuban people may not always have a lot of resources to buy clothes, they pride themselves on looking put together before leaving the house, it is a sign of respect! With that being said, modesty is not an issue and very few places require formal wear. Things to consider bringing:
- Small umbrella or rain jacket
- Comfortable walking/exercise shoes/sandals
- Dancing shoes!
- Light jacket/long sleeve top/scarf
- Casual, breathable, fun clothing (pack with this mindset and you’ll be good to go!)
- Bug spray
- Reusable water bottle (water filter, if you have access to bring a portable one)
- Any medications you may need (not easy to find common items we are used to)
- Personal toiletries
Do I need an adapter?
Most places have both 110v and 220v. An adapter is usually not necessary but a power strip is a good idea to protect against power surges.
Is WIFI available?
WiFI cards can be purchased for 2-5 CUC (Cuban currency) for an hour. There are hotspots in hotels and some parks. In the past few months, WIFI has become available with cell service for the Cuban people. Some internet functions such as banking are blocked. WhatsAPP and Messenger should work if you are connected. *Plan to be disconnected more than you are used to!*
What number should I give my family to reach me in an emergency?
In case of emergency, family can call Retreat director, Shoshana 5497-2514 or Isabel 5275-0649. Calling from the US, dial 01153 followed by the above numbers. If phone service does not allow them to call, they can purchase a calling card from Cuballama. Your phone will probably work with roaming charges if you prefer this option. Please consult with your cell service.
How do I buy my entry visa?
When you book your flight the airline will ask you what category of the general license you are traveling under: You will sign an affidavit.
Your trip is under the category educational exchange: people to people. The airline will make the cuban visa available for purchase at the last departure airport before getting to Cuba. The range in price is $50-100 depending on the airline.
How much money should I bring? What is the official exchange rate?
Once you are in Cuba, IT IS CASH ONLY! We recommend a minimum of $750 a week. Some participants have brought more and been happy to have the cushion (typically to purchase things such as art.) You DO NOT have to change all of the cash that you bring and can just have it, just in case. For $100 USD you will get $87 CUC so you lose about 13%. Euros fluctuate on the exchange rate and sometimes are better but it depends on the rate you pay to buy Euros.
Suggested airlines to look into: *We have plenty of time to look into flights. May/June we suggest starting to look into your flights*