Afro Cuban religion dance 

How to Get a Cuban Visa

By globedrifters Uncategorized

How to Get a Cuban Visa

Getting a Cuban visa (tourist card) is required for many travelers to Cuba, including US travelers. Most of you don’t need to fill out an application form or hand in your passport to a consulate or embassy. Where you’ll get a Cuban visa and how much it’ll cost depends on where you’re traveling from. In this blog, you’ll read all about how to get a Cuban visa as an US traveler.


What is a Cuban Visa (Tourist Card)?

A Cuban tourist card, also referred to as a visa, is a document needed by most travelers to enter Cuba. In addition to your passport, you’ll need to present this to Cuban Immigration officials when you arrive in Cuba. It is a slip of paper on which you’ll need to fill out your name, date of birth, passport number and citizenship. The slip has 2 identical sides with a perforation in the middle. Upon arrival, a Cuban immigration official will take one side and when you leave, an official will take the other side.

Cuban visa, tourist card

Example of a Cuban visa (or Cuban tourist card).

Do I Need a Cuban Visa?

Most travelers to Cuba will need a tourist card to enter and travel within the island. These are the countries that do not require visas to enter Cuba. If you do not see your country on this list, then you will need a tourist card to visit Cuba. Travelers from the US, Canada, UK and Australia all need tourist cards to travel to Cuba. Otherwise, we suggest contacting your nearest Cuban embassy or consulate to ask if you need a visa for Cuba.

Where can I Get a Cuban Visa?

Most US travelers to Cuba can get the Cuban tourist card with the airline they’re flying to Cuba with. If flying from the US, below are links with more information about obtaining tourist cards with a few US airlines that fly to Cuba:

You can usually purchase your Cuban tourist card either at check-in or at the departure gate of your flight to Cuba by credit/debit card only. If you have questions, it’s best to call your airline.

Alternatively, you can pre-purchase your Cuban tourist card online with Cuba Visa Services.

PRO TIP: Everyone on our 9-day trips will be traveling under the OFAC category “Support for the Cuban People”. This is probably the most common category for many travelers to Cuba.

How Much is a Cuban Visa?

The price of a Cuban tourist card will vary depending on where you’re flying from and the airline you’re flying with. The cost for most US travelers flying with US airlines will be anywhere from $50 – $85 USD payable by card with your airline.

How does the Cuban Visa Work?

Once you receive your Cuban tourist card, you will need to fill it out with a black pen neatly and completely. Some airlines might also fill it out for you. You will need to print your last name, first name, date of birth, passport number and nationality on both sides of your Cuban tourist card. Keep it in a safe place during your travels. When you arrive in Cuba, an immigration official will take one side. Be sure to keep the other side safe during your visit to Cuba because you will usually need to present it to immigration upon departure from Cuba.

PRO TIP: Make sure you fill out each side legibly and correctly. If you make a mistake, you will need to purchase a new tourist card.

Cuban visa in hand and you’re ready to visit Cuba!


There you have it… The ins and outs of the Cuban visa (or Cuban tourist card). Check out our other blogs about Cuba for more information on accommodation, tipping, currency, donations, food, etc. Happy travels!

Malecon at sunset in Havana Cuba 

Accommodation in Cuba

By globedrifters Uncategorized

Accommodation in Cuba

When it comes to accommodation in Cuba, there are a couple of options: hotels and casa particulares. Hotels are government-owned and -run while casa particulares are owned and operated by private Cuban citizens. This is your guide on how accommodation in Cuba works and information about each type.


Casa Particulares in Cuba

A casa particular is a type of accommodation in Cuba that is similar to a guesthouse or bed and breakfast. You can find casa particulares in most large to mid-sized cities and in some smaller, more well-traveled towns in Cuba. You can identify a casa particular by the mandatory sticker with a blue anchor on the door. This indicates that it is a legal place of accommodation for tourists.

They are generally very safe and most casas have a small safe inside each room where you can securely store your valuables. 

Casa particulares are owned and operated by private Cuban citizens who often live on the property. A casa may consist of up to 5 – 7 rooms or as little as 2 – 3 rooms. On our 9 day trip, we only stay at casa particulares. 

The families who own and work at the casas will try their best to make you feel at home. Most Cubans are very friendly and love to talk to guests. In some houses, the family members speak English well while in others, they are practiced at communicating with their non-Spanish speaking guests simply by gesturing and smiling. Most see overcoming these communication challenges as part of the fun!

Many of our travelers have said that the casa particular accommodation in Cuba was a highlight of their trip. The casas provide you with a great opportunity to interact with everyday Cubans. They also offer a different experience than staying in hotels.

It’s important to keep in mind that in Cuba, replacement parts for basic things such as TVs, air-conditioning units, beds, etc. are hard to come by. If a part is needed, Cubans have to improvise with whatever they have and cannot simply order it online. Please understand that things might break and there is almost never an ‘easy’ way to fix it in Cuba.

Accommodation in Cuba, Casa particular exterior

A casa particular is the home of a private Cuban citizen set up similarly to a B&B.

What are Casa Particulares in Cuba like?

In most casa particulares in Cuba, each room is air-conditioned and has 1 – 2 beds as well as its own en suite bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower. The rooms are comfortable and clean, but basic and will vary from casa to casa. Some provide shampoo, soap and a hair dryer while others do not. So you may consider bringing these things with you from home for your travels in Cuba. Check out our blog on what to pack for Cuba to find out more about what to bring for your trip.

Accommodation in Cuba, Casa particular room

Rooms in a casa particular are simple and will vary, but are comfortable with the basic amenities.

How Much Does a Casa Particular in Cuba Cost?

Casa particulares in Cuba are generally much more affordable than government-owned hotels. The cost per night of rooms can vary. There are some with very basic rooms for about $25 – $30 USD per night while others are private and much more high-end. These can cost $100 – $200 or more per night. The casas we select on our 9 day trips are on the nicer end, but are not the most luxurious ones out there.

Most casas will offer breakfast for an extra fee of anywhere from $5 – $10 USD per person. This is included every morning on our trips. The breakfast usually includes eggs and bread, seasonal fruit, fresh fruit juice (i.e. guava, papaya, mango, etc.), coffee and tea. Please keep in mind that there are shortages on the island so the quantity and what’s available will vary. Please also be mindful of the amount of food you waste.

PRO TIP: Bring a couple of sealable plastic baggies with you to take some breakfast “to go” or as a snack for the road during your travels in Cuba!

Breakfast at casa particular in Cuba

Fresh seasonal fruits… It’s what’s for breakfast at a casa particular in Cuba!

Can Americans stay in Casa Particulares in Cuba?

Yes! Travelers from the US visiting Cuba can stay in a casa particular. This is because they are owned by private citizens and not by the Cuban government/military which is prohibited by the US’ OFAC.

PRO TIP: If traveling independently to Cuba, you can easily find a casa particular on Airbnb.com. Note that we do not vouch for the quality or safety of any casas you may find on the internet.


Hotels in Cuba

Nearly all hotels in Cuba are operated in conjunction with the Cuban military or one of its affiliated entities. This means that travelers from the US to Cuba cannot legally stay at most hotels in Cuba. We do not stay at hotel accommodations on our trips, but rather in casa particulares. This is the list of prohibited entities according to the US Department of State.

We suggest all travelers stay at a casa particular in Cuba to support the Cuban people and local economy. It’s also a way to have more authentic interaction with local Cuban people.

Fusterlandia in Cuba

Cuba: Fall in love with Its architecture, culture, history and people.


Accommodation in Cuba is pretty straightforward and your best bet for a more affordable and authentic visit is to stay at a casa particular which we highly recommend. Happy travels!