Last updated: 29 Oct 2020

Cuba

About

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: A limited number of resorts in Cuba are open for tourism. Testing is required on arrival.

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
E-mail: consul@za.embacuba.cu
Web: http://misiones.minrex.gob.cu/es/sudafrica

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmbassyOfCubaInSouthAfrica/
Twitter: @EmbassyCubaZA

Visa Requirements

Visas are required by SA passport holders.

NOTE: 

  • If applicant is travelling to Cuba directly from the United States of America, they must purchase their tourist cards in the United States with the airlines or travel agencies that sell trips to Cuba. This only applies if applicants are travelling to Cuba from the United States. If they are arriving in Cuba from any other country, they can obtain the tourist visas from any Cuban embassy or consulate around the world.
  • You must apply a month before flying to Cuba.
  • Children, regardless of their age, also require a tourist card, even if they are registered on their parents' passports.
  • The Tourist Card is only applicable when you are staying at a hotel or at a legally rented private house in Cuba. If you want to stay at a friend’s place you should apply for a Personal Visa.

REQUIREMENTS: Tourist Card
• Valid passport (minimum 6 months validity before date of expiration)
• 1 Application form plus 1 passport size colour photo GLUED to the form (not unattached).
• Proof of accommodation . Name and/or address of accommodation in Cuba, whether hotel or rented house (confirmed hotel or rental booking) 
• Airline tickets (itinerary to and from Cuba). It may be electronic ticket or photocopy of the original.
• Proof of payment
• Bank statement (at least the last 3 months)
• An official letter from the bank certifying the applicant has sufficient funds.

Business: (above PLUS)
• Letter of invitation from the company, organization or institution in Cuba, addressed to the Cuban Embassy AND a letter from the company in SA stating applicants full name, purpose of the trip and length of stay, including entry and departure dates, also addressed to the Cuban Embassy.


Visa Processing Time

72 Hours - Processing of the service will start as soon as the payment is credited in the consular account.
For urgent visas, see additional visa fees below. 

Visa Validity

Tourist card: Valid for a single entry to the national territory on a 30-day trip and you can extend 30 days at the hotel desk where you are staying or before the immigration authorities.

Visa Cost

Tourist Card:

  • Tourist Card: R270.00 issued in 72 hours
  • To request the service through a third person or post mail or electronic mail, you will have an additional cost of R 450.00
  • If you wish to request an urgent processing in 24 hours, during weekends, or holidays, you should make a double payment for the service (R540)

For other types of visa (business, family, event, transit, etc.):

  • Non refundable submission fee: R 450.00.
  • Payment for the granting of the visa: R 990.00
  • To request the service through a third person or post mail or electronic mail, you will have an additional cost of R 450.00.
  • If you wish to request an urgent processing in 24 hours, during weekends, or holidays, you should make a double payment for the service (R1980).

NOTE: All payments are to be made directly into the Embassy bank account or transferred into their account. Photocopy of the transfer slip should be emailed to consul@za.embacuba.cu or faxed to (012) 346 2216. Applicants must deposit/transfer the EXACT visa fees.
Account Name: Embassy of Cuba
Bank: First National Bank
Branch Code: 251345
Branch: Brooklyn
Account Number: 62241028374
Ref: Applicants name

Cash deposits or bank transfers for payment of consular services have a validity period of 30 days from the date they were deposited into the consular account. After that period, the deposit or transfer shall be declared NON-REFUNDABLE.

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
E-mail: havana.dha@dirco.gov.za

Travel Health

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