Cuba Travel FAQ

Cuba Travel FAQ

Got questions about Cuba travel? Get answers from our Cuba Travel FAQ:


Do you have any reviews or references?

We’re proud to call our hundreds of satisfied clients lifelong friends.  Check out our their reviews on our Facebook page.

What do you mean by “private tours” and “independent trips”?

We mean that your trip will be just you and your friends, family, co-workers, or whoever you want to travel to Cuba with. The guides we provide you will be your private guide, personal translator, and concierge.

Can I bring back Cuban rum and cigars?

Yes! Under the latest U.S. Customs regulations, U.S. citizens and permanent may import Cuban rum and cigars to the United States for personal (non-commercial re-sale) use. Typically US Customs officials allow one box of 25 cigars and one liter of bottled alcohol per adult traveler. Non-U.S. persons should check with their home country’s customs authorities for rules regarding importing Cuban goods.

Are the tours physically demanding?

Most of our tours require moderate physical ability. However we are able to make some accommodations for persons of limited mobility. Generally speaking you should be in good physical health and able to climb a flight or two of stairs, and be able to walk about an hour on cobblestone streets without requiring a rest break. However we’ve had clients well into 80 years of age who’ve had no problems with the walking, but alternative routing and even wheeled transport can also be arranged.

If you or a member of your traveling party has mobility impairment issues, or any other health concerns please let us know when you sign-up. Special accommodations for mobility impaired travelers to Cuba require extensive advance preparation. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply outside of the United States.

How much spending money should I bring?

Cash is king in Cuba. Credit or debit cards issued by banks with any kind or relationship to a financial institution in the United States are still not working in Cuba. Better to be safe than sorry: Bring plenty of cash.

Havana VIP recommends that you bring at least $100.00 per person per day in spending money.

If you’re interested in buying any art from the artists you’ll be visiting be aware that their offerings usually cost from $2,500.00 and up.

What gifts should I bring give away?

We recommend against bringing gifts and trinkets to give away randomly.

If you wish to make a targeted charitable donation to a cause, please advise us in advance and we’ll happily connect you with a deserving cause. Thanks to the generosity of our clients, Havana VIP has made a long-term commitment to support Cáritas Habana’s programming serving Single Moms and their kids, and Special Needs Kids.  Your donations are gratefully accepted.

Still, because our clients often ask about appropriate gifts here’s a list of popular items:

  • Candy bars, packs of gum;
  • Pens & pocket notebooks;
  • Womens’ cosmetics (nail polish, mascara, lip gloss);
  • Any kind of Hollywood movie or pro sports swag;
  • $2 Dollar Bills – Cubans LOVE them;
  • USB flash drive of 8GB or higher;
  • A bottle of Jack Daniels or other scotch whiskey;

And the number one giveaway:

If you have any used GSM cell phones lying around (the kind that take a SIM card – any phone other than from Verizon), bring them all!!! (with chargers if possible).

What if I want to do something that’s not on my itinerary?

If you have a special interest or request, just let us know in advance and we’ll do our best to accommodate you. We pride ourselves on being flexible and being able to arrange anything that our clients may require (within reason).

For U.S. persons traveling under OFAC license, restrictions apply. Under the terms of the OFAC license, Americans must agree to strictly adhere to a full-time hosted itinerary consitent with one of the 12 categories permitted for travel to Cuba. That’s why we make sure our itinerary is the best there is.

How long have you been in business?

Havana VIP has been operating since 2011. We’ve had hundreds of happy clients. Actually we prefer to think of our clients as friends, so we’re proud to say that we’ve got hundreds of happy friends around the world.


What Payment Methods Do You Accept?

Havana VIP accepts two methods of payment:

  1. Credit Cards very securely online.  We accept most Credit Cards including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express.  Subject to an additional 3% fee our credit card service charges us.
  2. Via Check. This is for payments at least 30 days prior to your date of departure.  Less than 30 days out, you’ll have to pay by credit card including the 3% fee.

Please let us know which method of payment you prefer so that we can invoice you accordingly.

What do you mean by double occupancy? Do you offer single occupancy?

Double occupancy means two travelers sharing one room with one or two beds.

Single occupancy is available for a supplemental fee. Two people traveling together but requiring separate rooms, may pay one single traveler supplement fee. Please inform us upon making your booking to request single occupancy.

Do you offer any guarantee?

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of any trip, tour, or travel planning provided by Havana VIP, immediately contact us and we’ll make every reasonable effort at corrections or changes to satisfy you. However, certain common occurrences in Cuba are beyond our control, like weather, flight and baggage delays, car trouble, and water or electricity service outages. Havana VIP accepts no responsibility for inconveniences or other complications that may result from such occurrences. Of course we’ll always do everything possible to keep you safe, comfortable, and happy.

Also, we’re so confident that our services are 100% compliant with OFAC rules that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee:  If you travel to Cuba with Havana VIP, and while in Cuba follow your itinerary closely, and do not violate any of our Terms & Conditions for Travel, Havana VIP will refund you 100% our fees in the unlikely event that you were to be fined by OFAC.

When is full payment due?

Final payment for your travel is due no less than 30 days prior to your date of departure. If final payment is not received by the due date, your reservation may be canceled and your full deposit, including any airfare deposits (including applicable fees), may be retained by Havana VIP. Havana VIP is not responsible for cancelled land and/or air reservations in the event payment is not received by the final payment date. Payment in full is required at time of booking for reservations made within 45 days of departure.

Is a deposit required?

Yes. All services offered by Havana VIP require an initial deposit. While we try to be as flexible and accommodating as possible, much of our work is up-front and in advance, so we need to secure a deposit from our clients in order to cover these expenses in advance.

Your booking is not confirmed and payment is not deemed made until the deposit is received by Havana VIP and you receive a confirmation invoice.


What’s the minimum I need to do to comply with US regulations?

The United States requires that all US Citizens and Permanent residents who travel to Cuba engage in a “full time itinerary” related to their stated purpose for travel to Cuba.  You can read more about this on our blog.

Do Your Trips Comply with U.S. Rules for Travel to Cuba?

Yes! All of our itineraries are fully compliant with all US OFAC regulations governing travel to Cuba.

In fact, we’re so confident that our services are 100% compliant with OFAC rules that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee:  If you travel to Cuba with Havana VIP, and while in Cuba follow your itinerary closely, and do not violate any of our Terms & Conditions for Travel, Havana VIP will refund you 100% our fees in the unlikely event that you were to be fined by OFAC.

Do I need a passport and visa?


A valid passport at least 6 months prior to expiration is required by all travelers to Cuba. A Cuban Tourist Visa is also required. After booking travel with Havana VIP can obtain your Cuban Tourist Visa on your behalf. The cost of your Cuban Tourist Visa is not included in your Havana VIP travel.

What should I bring?

What to Pack:

Pack to be as self-sufficient and prepared as possible.  In Cuba there are no mega camera or electronic stores, and pharmacies often face shortages.  If there’s something you might urgently need while in Cuba – don’t risk it, bring it!

Clothes – Think lightweight summer casual for daytime. Nighttime can sometimes be breezy and while coat and tie are not required for men, we suggest that both male and female clients bring some “going out” clothes for nighttime. Include a lightweight windbreaker/raincoat.

Sun Protection – sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat.

Comfortable Walking Shoes.

Umbrella in case of rain, and for use as a parasol if desired.

A swim suit – just in case.

A beach towel can come in handy (but you don’t need to worry about bath towels).

Prescription medications.

Eyeglasses/contact lenses and solutions.

Hand sanitizer.

Pocket-sized packets of kleenex or other facial tissue (sometimes needed as toilet paper in public restrooms).

Toiletries – soap, perfume, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, etc…

Camera and accessories.

Reading material.

USB Flash drive (comes in handy)

Do I need special insurance?

Cuba requires all tourists to have a special traveler’s health insurance policy issued by a Cuban insurance provider. If you travel with us directly from the United States the cost of this insurance is embedded in your airline ticket.  If you make your own air arrangements via a third country, you must purchase this insurance directly.  For full details read our post about Travel Insurance in Cuba.

Do I sign a waiver?

By booking tours or travel services with HavanaVIP  you accept HavanaVIP’s Travel Terms and Conditions which waive HavanaVIP’s liability. Please read the Travel Terms and Conditions before booking travel with us.

Havana VIP Custom Independent Cuba Travel

No Strangers, No Tour Buses
Exclusive Immersive Experiences
100% Legal Travel for US Persons
Luxury Trips at Affordable Prices