North America

Traveling in Cuba

Cuba climate

According to Bridgat, there are no big temperature differences between the seasons in Cuba, the tropical one climate is shaped by the northeast trade wind. The wet summer season is between May and October, the drier winter season between November and April. The average temperature reaches 27 ° C in July and August and 22 ° C in February. The average humidity is 80%, in the rainy season even a little more. Evenings are cooler between December and March. A light rain jacket is a sensible precaution at any time of the year.

Best travel time for Cuba

The best time to travel to Cuba is between December and April, the hurricane season and before the hot summer months. However, this is also the main tourist season when plane loads arrive from Canadians and Europeans and room rates rise up to 20%. Cubans take their vacations in July and August, so local beaches are very busy during this time. Accommodation is often fully booked around Christmas, Easter, and around July 26th when Cubans celebrate the anniversary of the revolution. August through November is the time for hurricanes, while the winter months can bring cold fronts that can drop temperatures in the north and west of the island below 15ºC.

Apart from the weather, there are other things to keep in mind when traveling to Cuba: Culture lovers should keep an eye on the timing of festivals and events; Baseball fans will certainly not want to miss the post-season from April to May, and those interested in politics may want to attend important socialist holidays, especially Día de los Trabajadores (Labor Day, May 1st) and National Rebellion Day (July 26th) .

Cuba transporation

Airplane: National flights are offered by the national airline Cubana de Aviación and Aerocaribbean. Both fly between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa and Nueva Gerona on Isla de la Juventud. Advance bookings are recommended.

Bus: The Viazul bus company operates punctual and air-conditioned buses, the routes offered run throughout the country. Tickets must be paid for in CUC $.

Unfortunately it is not possible for foreigners to use Astro buses (Asociaciones de Transportes por Omnibus), which serve many more destinations in Cuba. To get to places off the main roads, you usually have to rent a car or bike. Reservations are recommended during the main travel season (June to August, Christmas and Easter) and on popular routes (Havana – Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba – Baracoa and Trinidad – Santa Clara).

Train: Passenger trains are operated by Ferrocarriles de Cuba. There are connections to all provincial capitals and, with enough time and patience, is a great way to experience Cuba! Tickets are usually not a problem – tourists pay in CUC $, although Spanish-speaking travelers can often pay in local pesos as well. The main routes for travelers are Havana – Santiago de Cuba (with stops in Santa Clara and Camagüey) and Havana – Santa Clara. Take care of your luggage and bring groceries for your train journey. Some trains are also air-conditioned.

Car: The road network in Cuba has a length of about 50,000 km. About 14,000 km of it are paved. Petrol stations can be found all over the country, and there is usually enough gasoline.

Renting a car in Cuba is pretty easy, but often the vehicles are in poor condition. Passport, driver’s license and a CUC $ 200 security deposit (in cash or with a non-US credit card) are required. You can rent a car in one city and return it to another for a fee.
Reservations for rental cars usually do not work because the need for cars cannot be met, especially in Havana and Santiago. Usually you ask the providers by phone, if a car is available, it will be taken. In Havana you can find car rental companies mainly around Parque Central.
Drivers under the age of 25 pay a CUC $ 5 fee; additional drivers cost CUC $ 15.

Check the car carefully before signing the rental agreement, otherwise you will be held responsible for any existing damage. Some cars are in very bad shape so try to change vehicles. It is recommended to take out insurance for the rental car (around CUC $ 10 per day).
Speaking Spanish is definitely an asset in the rental car business. This can solve numerous problems.

Local means of transport: In the city traffic of larger cities there are numerous inexpensive buses (guagua), minibuses and shared taxis. The main bus station in Havana is on Avenida 26 y Zoologico. Local buses are always crowded but can be useful in city traffic. However, take care of your luggage as well.

A typical means of transport for Cuba (especially common in Havana and rural areas) are camellos. Originally low loaders, they were converted into people carriers during the economic crisis. The middle section of the trailer is lower than the front and rear sections, hence the nickname “Camel”.

Taxis: There are tourist taxis in front of important hotels. Usually they have a taximeter, if not you should definitely agree on the price with the driver before starting your journey.

Bicycle: Cuba is very popular among cyclists. Unfortunately, the conditions are not as good as they were in the 1990s, when there were hardly any vehicles on the roads. Cars are becoming affordable for many Cubans and the streets are getting busier.
Spare parts for bicycles are difficult to find in Cuba. Bring your own tools and a secure lock as well, as bike thefts are common. Driving at night is not recommended, Viazul buses also transport bicycles.

Traveling in Cuba