So, you’re already planning a trip to the other side of the world. You’ve got your plans laid out to travel to Canada, Mexico, the United States or a combination of the above. Why not consider taking a side trip to Cuba, to top off your trip?
As most people know, Cuba is a bit off the beaten track, as the United States has had a trade and travel embargo for over 50 years. The resulting effect is that when you go to Cuba, it is like walking in to a time machine!
The relics of the communist revolution, which occurred in the 50’s and 60’s can still be seen in plain sight, with vintage cars, and architecture which has been carefully restored, right alongside others in ruins. If you are an amateur photographer, this country will give you more than enough photo opportunities.
The night life is also great, which is of course centred on drinks made with local Caribbean rum, and plenty of local dancing and music, which has to be experienced personally to be enjoyed to the fullest.
How to get there?
As there are no commercial flights operating directly from the U.S.*, the best way to get there is via Canada or Mexico. There are direct flights from Toronto, Mexico City and even Cancun, so it as mentioned earlier, it works perfectly as an add-on or side-trip, where you can top off a great trip with a 3 or 4 nights in this iconic destination. Flight arrangements should be made on a separate flight itinerary, if you are traveling through the U.S, before or after your trip to Cuba.
Although this makes for a relatively minor inconvenience along the way, the benefits of being able to enjoy an unspoiled, ‘non-americanized’ tourism experience will for certain outweigh it.
*edit 31 Aug, 2016. Direct flights are now available from the USA to Cuba, making it even easier to add on to your trip!
Visa requirements and Travel Insurance
Australian nationals must obtain a tourist card (which is essentially a visa that is not actually stamped in to your passport) before leaving Australia, through your nearest Cuban consulate or embassy. Since it is not stamped in your passport, it allows for freedom of travel through the U.S., without hassle.
Note that for entry in to Cuba, proof of Comprehensive Travel Insurance must be presented. Of course, it is advisable by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to never leave Australia without it. Click here for more information in regards to Travel Insurance. A small departure tax of 25 Cuban pesos (payable only in that currency) is payable at the airport, on exit.
It can be worth dealing with a visa professional, to take the stress out of getting this all sorted for your trip. Make sure that your Travel Insurance includes comprehensive coverage, and has not excluded Cuba from the list of countries covered.