Last updated: 4 May 2020



Try rolling cigars at one of Cuba's tobacco factories such as the Real Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás in Havana. Soak up some sun on Cuba's beaches: from Playas del Este near Havana, where the locals play, to exclusive island resorts like Cayo Coco where the only Cubans around are waiters and chambermaids. Varadero is a lively resort that combines beach life with nightlife, for locals and foreigners.

Explore the deep. There are 30 dive sites at Varadero alone. One of the world's biggest coral reefs is offshore at Cayo Coco, and there are more reefs around Isla de la Juventud, Stevenson's inspiration for Treasure Island.

See the country's best musicians and dancers at work in Santiago de Cuba. Visit the Museo Emilio Bacardí, which contains the rum magnate's collection of antiques and fine art.
Capital:  Havana (HAV)
Currency:  The official currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP) but the 'tourist' currency is the Peso Convertible (CUC).
Language:  Spanish (English is spoken in most tourist areas)
Dialling code from SA:  + 53
Time Zones: UTC / GMT -5 (7 hours behind South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: From second Monday in March until first Sunday in November: UTC / GMT -4 (6 hours behind South Africa)
Public Holidays 2020: 

Jan 1, 2; Apr 10; May 1; Jul 25-27; Oct 10; Dec 25, 31

Best Time to go: November to May
Best For: Beach Relaxation
Plugs: 110/220 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style flat two-pin plugs are generally used, except in certain large hotels where the European round two-pin plug may also be found.
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated.
Health: Health insurance is recommended for travel to Cuba. There are adequate medical facilities; however there may be drug shortages.
Customs: Normal social courtesies apply. Men generally do not wear shorts away from the beach. Smart-casual attire is worn in the evenings by most Cubans. Women should cover their arms and shoulders when visiting churches.
Duty Free: The following items may be imported into Cuba by travellers aged 18 years and over without incurring customs duty:
• 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 500g of tobacco
• 2.5L alcoholic beverages
• Gifts up to a value of CUC$50.99
• Medicines required for personal use
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited items include animal products, explosives, certain household appliances, and all pornographic material and drugs.  Restricted items requiring authorisation include firearms and ammunition, live animals and plants and their parts, certain foodstuffs, and works of art. Note that electrical items with heavy power consumption may be confiscated and returned upon departure.
Prohibited Exports: Drugs, explosives, pornography, items of cultural value, manuscripts dating from between 1440 and 1500, library books, books edited by Libros Cubanos under the 'R' imprint, foreign editions published between the 16th and 18th centuries, Cuban editions published in the 18th century, and lobster in any form or quantity. Note that if taking cigars out of Cuba, you may take up to 50 cigars. These must be unopened and sealed in their original packaging and you must be able to show a receipt proving you bought them in an authorised shop, otherwise they will be seized.

Travel Alerts

COVID-19 Travel Advisory: As of 1 April, all operations with the exception of cargo, medical or humanitarian flights are suspended until further notice

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

Cuban Embassy:
45 Mackenzie St, Brooklyn 
PO Box 11605 Hatfield 0028, Pretoria
Tel: +27 (0)12 346 2215 
Fax: +27 (0)12 346 2216
Office Hours: 08h30 - 12h30 Mon - Fri

Twitter: @EmbassyCubaZA

Visa Requirements

This is subscriber-only content. In order to have full access, please subscribe by clicking here.

Visa Processing Time

This is subscriber-only content. In order to have full access, please subscribe by clicking here.

Visa Validity

This is subscriber-only content. In order to have full access, please subscribe by clicking here.

Visa Cost

This is subscriber-only content. In order to have full access, please subscribe by clicking here.

SA Representative

SA Embassy Calle 42 No 4201 Esq.
5ta Ave, Miramar Playa, Ciudad de La Habana (Havana)
Tel: + 537 204 9671 / + 537 212 3505

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever (Dependant on Country of Origin/Stopover)
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, Tetanus, Polio