Is it ok for US citizens to travel to Cuba via Toronto?
Yes, as long as you fly from Toronto to Havana and back to Toronto, US customs officials will only have to be informed of your visit to Canada. The Cubans will not put any type of stamp in your passport because of your US citizenship.
As a US citizen, what can I expect upon arrival in Havana?
After disembarkation, you will proceed to customs where you will show your passport and visitors visa (included in your flight package). The customs officer will stamp your visitors visa, check your return flight ticket, hotel reservation, and welcome you to Cuba. Simple and smooth and frequently done.
How do I get to my hotel?
After picking up your bags from the carousel, you will exit and look for a guide holding a sign saying "havanatravels.com"... he will check off your name on his list and show you to your waiting taxi which will take you straight to the hotel.
Can you help me get to Havana?
Escape Travel is available to arrange all components of your visit to Havana. We can arrange for flights to get you to Toronto, into Havana and assist you to organize your stay in one of our 3 comfortable hotels. If, however, you prefer to arrange your own flight to Havana, just let us know what dates you would like to stay with us. We'll see you at the airport.
Do I have to take Spanish or dance lessons?
No, your stay in Havana and your activities there are completely up to you. Also, if you feel that 2 hours of dance or Spanish is not sufficient, we can arrange for more. Flexibility is our strongpoint.
Is Havana safe?
Yes, very... Cuba is predominantly dependant upon tourism for its survival. It caters to and protects its tourists. The Cuban people are welcoming, respectful and thankful for the presence of tourists. This being said, a healthy dose of common travel sense is always needed. However, a business like ours can only survive because of the extent to which Habaneros are open to sharing with foreigners. Inevitably, you will feel much more secure in Havana than in any large North American city.
What does the guide offer and what costs are associated with his services?
The strength of our services are our flexibility and connectedness. We know Havana. Whatever it is that you want to do, don't be shy. Just let us know. Havana didn't become famous for nothing. Our guides are there to assist you in accessing the city (or the entire country if you want). Cubans are most at home assisting others. There hospitable natures are naturally linked to this type of work. So, if you want to be led on a city tour by day, club crawl by night, discover hidden jazz clubs, find great music, contemporary dance, ballet, or whatever it happens to be, our guides are there to assist you. If you only want their services for one day the whole week, or not at all, it is completely up to you. Their service is included in your package price but admission to locations, transportation, meals, etc. are not.
What is the best way to access money in Cuba?
The most efficient and economical method of accessing money is to draw cash advances on a credit card from a Canadian bank. Credit cards from US banks cannot be used. In this case, cash or travellers cheques are best. These can be purchased at the airport in Toronto.
How is the food in Cuba?
There is a common saying among frequent travellers to Cuba... ie. "you don't go to Cuba for the food."... If you are expecting an abundance of good quality food with lots of variety, please look elsewhere. There are decent restaurants and plenty of good food, however, they can be hit or miss and often far apart. There is a lot of repetition everywhere you go on the island. Chicken, pizza, ham and cheese sandwiches abound. However, coffee, fruits, rice, beans, are all excellent and in abundance.
Are there any other costs I should know about that are not included in my package?
You will need to cover your own entertainment and transportation costs while in Havana. Also, please do not forget that all visitors are subject to a $20 departure tax.