Travel Guide

Telecommunication for Travelers in Cuba

Some U.S. carriers have or are beginning to make agreements with ETECSA (the Cuban national telecommunications company) to provide roaming services in Cuba. Sprint and Verizon, for example, currently offer roaming...

Packing Your Bike

Some CanBiCuba riders take their own bike to our rides in Cuba. To transport your bike on an airplane it is best to have packed in a box. Bicycle touring is becoming a popular pastime and global travel to do this touring is very common...

Donations

The CanBiCuba Cycling Club supports youth programs throughout Cuba. We are involved with both the national cycling federation and master racing in the Havana area. There are no bike shops as we know them in the developed world and our youth groups depend on you...

Various Tips

  1. Credit cards that draw on American Banks. Please note that Canadian Credit Unions often are associated with American major banks and will categorized as American. Hopefully this silly game will come to an end soon.
  2. GPS  Cuba forbids the import of GPS units, they could be confiscated at the airport.

It is common to tip for service while traveling. From bell boy to barman, they make a living by serving you well. The tour staff; driver, mechanic and ride director are all part of the tourist trade and you will be well taken care of by this team. It is not mandatory that any tourist tip any worker but people are always asking for guide lines and this is what I do myself while travelling. If my room is clean and tidy with towels etc. In place, Then I will leave $1 on the bed in the morning, this is travel etiquette shall we say. As for the ride staff a gratuity of around $30/$40 is common for a two week ride or $2 to $3 /day. We prefer you tip directly and individually to each employee.

There is ride bottled water supplied on the bus. We have to hunt for these bottles so please just use for ride time. Do not drink from roadside juice stands but rather buy the bottled stuff.

To travel to Cuba you require medical insurance. You can buy this from the various banks and credit unions. If you are young  ie 20’s 30’s the price is very modest $20-30 for two weeks. However as you pass retirement age the cost rises significantly and one can be looking for as much as $200 or more in late 60’s earl;y 70s. for two weeks coverage.  Cuba recently introduced compulsory medical insurance for those who arrive in Cuba without coverage, this is not regularly checked but be warned they could ask.  The It is quite cheap but coverage is limited ($10,000). This is sold within the airport and close to our office in Havana.

Probably the best medical coverage available in Canada is President’s Choice which actually has coverage specially for Cuba! It undercuts the banks rates and is in fact underwritten by one of the better insurers The Co-operators. For older travellers they offer no medical question coverage but may require you to respond if you are over 75 or are staying more than two weeks. If you are in good health I suggest you insist on doing the questionnaire as it will likely reduce the premium. One of our visitors age 73 was quoted $175 for two weeks without the questions  but discovered when he did the questionnaire the premium fell to $90.
 
You should be aware that Canadian insurers generally reimburse so if you did run into hospitalization etc you should  have access to credit cards etc to pay the bill up front. One advantage of the Cuban provided insurance is that  it is accepted  everywhere in Cuba.
 
Health insurance is now part of your plane fare and you must keep your boarding pass throughout the tour as proof of insurance. We don’t have to purchase it separately anymore. If you are an American citizen or resident, Please make sure to purchase your ticket to Cuba with our agent in Fort Lauderdale. You no longer need to come to Cuba via Canada or Mexico and there are daily flights from a number of US airports

This is not easy to answer. If on a tour with the club my standard reply is $50 a day and that you have a credit card as back-up. You can use the credit card at a CADECA (bank) to get cash. You will be charged in USD at the exchange rate of the day. This will not be a great rate so keep to a minimum. Before leaving your home country inform your credit card company that you will be in Cuba, this will let them know the transaction is legitimate. It is very important to make sure your card is not from an American bank. A lot of Canadian Credit Union Credit Cards are connected to American banking systems and will not work here in Cuba

The exchange rates at the CADECA and at the bank are set daily by the Cuban government, there is very little difference between the exchange rates found at either the CADECA or the bank in Cuba.  Therefore, there is no real point in spending the day shopping around for the best rate.  I tend to use the CADECA more, as for me it is fast and fairly pain free and more conveniently located.   However, make sure you get a receipt for each transaction, take your time before leaving the teller and check that the teller has given you the correct amount back, as they count the money really fast in front of you and I have been short changed in the past!

The CADECA in Cuba can also give you a cash advance on your credit card (credit cards accepted in Cuba).  They usually charge a one-off transaction fee, you will then need to speak to your credit card company to see what interest charges they will apply on top of the transaction fee.  One way to avoid accumulating interest charges is to put money onto your credit card, this way you can use it as a debit card.

Either bring Canadian money, Euros or Sterling. Make sure you have NEW bills. From past years experience, cuban banks won’t take it if it’s ripped, torn, defaced , written on, or has any type of ink stamp on it. The bills can be folded but that’s about it !!!!
Medical Insurance.(see note below)
Bug repellant.
Sun block. (you can buy in Cuba but it generaly cheaper at home)
Imodium and Florastor Probiotics are good for upset tummies.
Camera. Do not forget the charger
Energy bars, gels and electrolyte powder for your ride water, are all a great idea. These are not available in Cuba and if we happen upon a closed or out of food cafe (it happens), you will be glad to have these along.
Money & Passport. Make sure passport will not expire while here in Cuba. Bring a photo copy of passport just in case you loose said document
A small backpack and walking shoes.

Most of you have a flashlight on your cell phones but if not bring a small light

Cycling Shorts (3) Do not wear the same shorts two days in a row, the body salt in the liner will bring on saddle sores. Wash in sink every night.

Cycling shoes.
Cycling jerseys.

Raincoat.
Helmet. (Not mandatory but we like to participants to use one)
Cycling gloves.
Sun Glasses.
Pump, bike mounted.
Spare tube.
Repair kit.
2  water bottles. (New & clean)
Powder Sport Drink: “eload Electrolyte Loader”.
or make your own: 3 tbls sugar, 2 pinches salt + flavouring per sport bottle.

At least three pairs of cycling shorts. You need to have a clean pair every morning. Two or three pairs of “Coolmax.” Socks. Swim gear and beach towel. Sun hat for the beach Walking boots. If you plan on doing any walking. A light jacket might be handy for a chilly mountain night