The Cuba factor
Cuba is a country where things do not always go according to plan. Sometimes a well-prepared plan simply does not follow through, but often you will be pleasantly surprised. Cubans are very easy to make contact with; they are very friendly, hospitable and helpful. You will quickly make friends. Sometimes they will ask you if you will pay for their food and drinks. They simply don't have the money to pay for it themselves. It will be up to you to decide whether or not you want to do this. It would only cost you a couple of euros. Cubans are very attracted to foreigners, and this applies to both men and women. They will dance closely and sensually, but always with a smile.
Usually it is an enjoyable game, but if it is not to your liking, then say so amicably and clearly.
Passport and visa
You will need a valid passport that is valid for at least six months after the date of arrival. For many European countries you will need a tourist card, which Dance4two can provide or can be obtained directly from the Cuban Consulate. If desired Dance4two can provide these (€30).
Always bring cash. You will not be able to use a debit card. You can take out money with a credit card (only Visa and MasterCard), but it will cost approximately 5% extra. It makes sense to exchange money at the airport upon arrival and to store it in different places. The hotel Melia Santiago also has a bureau de change.
Cuba has two currencies:
* the CUC (Peso convertible) convertible Peso. 1 euro is approximately 1.02 CUC. 1$ = 0.88 CUC
* Peso Nacional (non-convertible), with which you can pay for basic items. 1 CUC = 24 Peso Nacional.
You will end up using the CUC 99% of the time, but it can be useful to have some Peso Nacional.
A good meal does not have to cost more than 10 CUC (9 euros).
Soft drinks and beer cost 1.00 – 1.50 CUC. Count on spending at least 30-40CUC per day.
The hotel San Juan and all other luxury hotels have internet. About 6 CUC will allow you to use the internet for an hour. Wireless internet access is limited. There are WIFI spots on the big squares (2 CUC per hour).
You will be able to use your mobile phone. Making mobile phone calls is expensive in Cuba, however. Dependent on your provider, it can cost as much as five euros per minute, so ask your provider what your rate is. Sending a text message is often cheaper.
Although being vaccinated is not obligatory, the following inoculations are recommended: hepatitis A (yellow fever) and DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and polio). Contact your local travel clinic for information.
Electricity is 110 volts. Plugs have two flat pins (American system). We recommend bringing a world plug.
Bring light summer clothing, which can be worn in layers.
Santiago is one of the safest city in Central America - crime rate is low. Women and children go about the streets on their own, also at night. But like in many cities it is important to be aware of pickpockets. We recommend that you do not wear any conspicuous expensive jewellery. Make sure you have a copy of your passport and visa, and in the evening walk back to the hotel in the company of others.
It is best not to drink tap water. We provide tap water for the Cuban dance partners. The hotel sells water in bottles for the participants. We also do not recommend eating raw fish or meat. Ice and lemonade made in the street should be avoided. Traveller's diarrhoea does occur. Make sure that you bring ORS (Oral Rehydration Salt) and Immodium.
British embassy in Cuba
Calle 34 no. 702 e/ 7ma y 17, Miramar, Playa La Habana, Cuba, Telephone +53 7 204 1771
Average climate in Cuba August, September
Average air temperature 31C
Average water temperature 28C