Flights to Cuba are hard to come by for US travelers, but thanks to pending legislation there might be more airline tickets available for flights leaving the US soon.
Winston Churchill described Cuba as a "...large, rich, beautiful island..." and despite the political turmoil that sometimes gets in the way of flights to Cuba, the country remains one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Cuba is the most populous country in the Caribbean, and also the most diverse.
Cuba is usually hot, but summer can be the wettest season. Visitors arriving between May and October will encounter a lot of rain and 80 percent humidity. Late October and early November can have hurricanes and other coastal storms. The drier season starts at the end of November and lasts until April. In winter months, from December to March, the weather is more comfortable, with sunny days, little rain and cooler evenings.
Best Time to Fly to Cuba
Depending on what you’re looking to experience, you can book a cheap flight to Cuba anytime of the year (except for hurricane season) and surely be satisfied with what the culture has to offer. Baseball fans cater towards the post season months of April and May, while political followers gather around the socialist holidays, like Labor Day (May 1), and Day of the National Rebellion (July 26). As of September 7, 2008, the US Department of State as issued a travel restriction (in addition to economic tensions) between US and Cuba due to the damage of Hurricane Ike, urging US citizens “to carefully consider the risks of travel to Cuba due to the threat posed by Hurricane Ike.” More restrictions surrounding the embargo can be found at fpc.state.gov.
Peak Season: As soon as hurricane season ends, tourists pour into Cuba’s most popular destinations – specifically the beaches. Book your flight to Cuba during the months between December and April, which are never too hot, and humidity is fortunately at its lowest point of the year. Unlike summer in Cuba, planning Cuba flights during the winter may be up to 20 percent more expensive, since the weather is more mild and enjoyable.
Off-peak Season: Booking a flight to Cuba during hurricane season can not only put a damper on your vacation, but can also be dangerous for you and your travel companions. November is the worst month to go, since treacherous hurricanes and other storms combine with the winter cold front, and temperatures drop well below 60F. Due to Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, a travel warning has been announced, because 250,000 people were evacuated, and widespread flooding damaged some of the country’s infrastructure. For the safest way to travel, watch the news and pay attention to your local authorities for advice.
Getting around Cuba
Before your flight to Cuba touches down, consider booking transfer Cuba flights on the Cuban Airlines to get from one end of the country to the other. The network includes all regional centers, and remains relatively inexpensive, despite the fact that prices are on the rise. Domestic flights are smaller though, and oftentimes in a propeller air craft instead of a bigger carrier.
Other modes of transportation are easily maneuvered as well. Viazul, a bus company utilized by most tourists, runs air conditioned buses, and allows you to pay in US dollars once you board. They remain relatively spacious, and are safe bets for seeing the sights.
You may see privately owned taxi-trucks, known as Camiones Particulares, which are more popular modes of eastern Cuban travel. Because meters are not always present, establish communication with the driver before you enter to make sure both your fare and destination are concrete. Trains, while inexpensive and comfortable, are less popular, and the service has supposedly deteriorated in recent years, making car rentals and buses the safest and most reliable choices for transport.
By and large, renting a car is the best (and sometimes the cheapest) method of road travel in Cuba. Pay special attention though, because driving rules are not always consistent, and traffic signs can be noticeably absent.
The amount of hitch-hiking that occurs daily in Cuba may surprise you, but it’s actually quite regulated. Referred to as hacer botella, hitch hikers are guaranteed rides from government vehicles that have the space, and you may even see hitch-hiking organizers at major intersections and highway exits.
The following chart gives approximate travel times fromHavana
(in hours and minutes) to other major cities and towns in Cuba.
|Santiago de Cuba||1.15||17.00|
|Pinar del Rio||0.15||2.00|
Cuba Travel Information
Cueva Punta del Este: Discovered in 1910, and situated near a beautiful sun-drenched beach, the tiny cave known as Cueva Punta del Este is thought to have existed long before the Spanish Conquest, specifically around 800 AD. Inside the natural grotto, the ceiling is covered in what seems to be a solar calendar, elaborate with red and black painted circles symbolizing the earth’s movement around the sun. More than 235 representations of natural elements are painted on the walls and ceilings of the cave, creating a historic collection of Caribbean Indian art. If you’re planning your flight to Cuba for love of culture and exploration, Cueva Punta del Esta is certainly a spot worth discovering.
La Jungla De Jones: Take a deep breath while you meander through the elegance and natural grace of La Jungla De Jones botanical gardens, where more than 80 varieties of trees line the walkways and span the estate. One of the most remarkable portions of your visit lies in the Bamboo Cathedral, where continuous rows of leaves and stems arch to meet each other above, creating a shady and distinctive footpath. Surrounded my colorful blossoms, exotic mangoes and wild yamagua, every curling trail can bring you some where new and outstanding.
Baseball: As Americans, it’s easy to understand the appeal and passion for the national sport of baseball. If you’re a sports junkie who spent your flight to Cuba anxiously awaiting the first opportunity to check scores, you’re in the right place. Rigorous training, long seasons, and admirable athletic skill gather together only the best competitors in the country to hit and run. Some Cuban amateurs are even considered the best in the world, and are habitually snatched by the MLB to play in the United States. Cuba’s regular season spans from November to March, and playoffs (as well as the championship) usually flow into May. Most major towns and cities have teams, some of the best being Pinar Del Rico, Sancti Spiritus, and Santa Clara. If you’re serious about rounding the diamond and willing to train, bring extra equipment to leverage your way into a pickup game. Locals are more than happy to help the determined and the willing.
Fiesta del Fuego: When it comes to parties, there’s no stopping Cuba. If you’re ready for a good time, book flights to Cuba in July to experience the best of the best. The weeklong celebration of Fiesta del Fuego vibrates the eastern city of Santiago with talented dancing, Cuban rum, and copious amounts of eating – all infused with Caribbean culture. Covering the Santiago de Cuba (known as the first city of the Revolution) the party rocks on with traditional Caribbean bands, decorated vehicles that parade the streets, and as much food and drink as your stomach desires. Bring your own cup though, because some beer vendors don’t provide them. If you’re bringing the kids, be sure to let them try goat-cart rides for a thrill.
Economic Tension: The United States and Cuba have experienced economic tensions since the 1960’s, and since then, travel restrictions have grown around the situation. In recent years United States administration has restricted family and education travel, as well as fully hosted travel, restricted remittances, and religious travel. Licensing guidelines are susceptible to change, and the most recent warnings, alerts, and updates can be found through the department of state at fpc.state.gov. If you feel that for some reason, it’s necessary to book flights to Cuba, you may submit an application for a specific license, and it will be reviewed and granted on a case by case basis. As of now, according to the US Department of Treasury, these measures apply to “all US citizens and permanent residents wherever they are located, all people and organizations physically in the United States, and all branches and subsidiaries of US organizations throughout the world.”
Hotels: Cuba hotels vary based on lifestyle preference - you can find budget-friendly Havana hotels near the center of the city, Santiago hotels closer to the airport, or Varadero hotels near tourist attractions and restaurants.