A simples guide

Cuba travel insurance

True or false – Coke is banned in Cuba, it’s home to the world’s smallest bird,  it has one of the highest literacy rates in the world and privately owned cars all predate 1959. You might be surprised to know; these are all true.

 

Since the American trade ban introduced in the 1960s (which has recently started to relax), Cuba has remained non commercialised and true to its Communist history. With an exhilarating combination of music, dance and a melting pot of cultural heritage Cuba is an enticing holiday destination. So what do you need to know about travel insurance to Cuba from the UK?


 

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Do I need travel insurance to Cuba?

Absolutely – travel and medical insurance is a must. Tourists are often spot checked on entry and if you don’t have any you’ll be expected to buy cover at the airport, so it’s worth buying your travel insurance for Cuba before you leave the UK.

Cuba has a two tier system of healthcare and if you’re not a local, you’ll be charged for it – making it very expensive. You’ll need to be absolutely sure that your travel policy specifically covers you for medical care in Cuba. Your insurance should also cover any emergency care and treatment you may need if you’re taken elsewhere (such as the US) as specialist medical equipment and resources aren’t plentiful.

Also think about what activities you might be doing once you get there. If you’re trekking, cycling or doing any other physical activity you might want to make sure that you’re covered for any eventuality. If you’re planning on taking part in any extreme sports, then these will need to be included on your policy, or you might not be covered.

Cuban church
Cuban flag in Trinidad

Will I need any vaccines before going to Cuba?

It’s worth seeing your doctor at least one month before you’re planning to go. You should also check the small print of your travel insurance, certain vaccines might be needed for your policy to be valid. Depending on what you need you might have to roll up your sleeve for a vaccine against Hepatitis A or cholera, but on the upside these are usually free.

What other areas will I need to think about before going to Cuba?

There are a few things about Cuba that us Brits might find a little peculiar but that’s what makes holidays so much fun – such as, did you know that it’s considered extremely rude to blow your nose in public? But to make life a little easier (and to save you from some serious cultural no-nos) here’s a list of Cuban must dos.

Visa: If you’re going on holiday to Cuba, you’ll need a visa called a Tourist Card (there are different visas for other types of visit so always check what you need). A Tourist Card is valid for 30 days but you can extend it for another 30 once you’re there. Children will also need a Tourist Card (even if they share a responsible grown-up’s passport).

Currency: Something else to bear in mind is that there are two currencies in Cuba. There’s the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC$) which is the only currency you’ll need to worry about. But just so you know – Cubans are paid in and use the Cuban Peso. You won’t be able to buy CUC$ in the UK – you can only exchange your British pounds once you get there.

Just also be aware that although credit cards are accepted, they might not be if they are issued by or have links with an American bank (such as an American Express). Using your debit card might also prove a bit patchy, cashpoints aren’t easily found and you might be charged for withdrawing your money. Hard cash is the simplest and easiest payment method by far. Make sure your Cuba travel insurance also covers the amount of cash you’re taking and any extra you might need to take out when you get there.

Language: Spanish is the official language but English will usually be spoken at reports and large hotels. The further away from the main tourist spots you go, the more you’ll need to brush up on your Español.

Tips: Tipping is much appreciated in Cuba and it’s worth having small notes ready to hand. Standard tipping is 10% in restaurants (15% if you’re feeling particularly kind). Taxis are also 10% if you’ve not already agreed a full fare. Good service from hotel staff should also be tipped. The preferred tipping currency is the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC$). 

Travelling with children: Cuba is very child friendly but not necessarily practical – for example don’t expect high chairs in restaurants, buggy ramps or nappy changing stations. That said, Cuba is a great place to explore, there’s plenty to keep kids occupied and the larger resorts will usually have a wide range of child friendly activities.  

Driving in Cuba: You can drive in Cuba if you have a valid UK driving licence but always make sure you’re insured for local third party cover.

Anything else?

Enjoy yourself – which we’re sure you don’t need us to tell you. Just make sure you’ve compared your travel insurance for Cuba to make sure you’ve got enough cover at the right price. Get a quote now; Cuba – here we come.

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