The contents of this article are from actual experience but I am indebted to two contributors who helped make better sense of the process, R. Field and Juan Carlos
I just returned from the Caribbean’s largest country otherwise known as CUBA. Unless you have a personality full of anxiety, skepticism, fear or other traits which lead to hesitant reactions, if going to Cuba is part of your upcoming plans, I would encourage you to pack your bags. If you are a citizen of the US, the assumption is you already are part of the twelve approved categories to travel as published by the United States Treasury.
Covid is real. From what I witnessed you must applaud the Cuban government for maintaining a disciplined approach to manage this pandemic.
My first recommendation is to check your air travel and see if the mandatory Cuba Covid insurance has been added? If not no worries because as you check-in air travel staff ask you for the $30 fee. It can only be paid with a credit card.
The process for entry into CUBA is fairly simple.
- Once you disembark from your air carrier you are directed to your respective terminal.
2. From there you will be directed to the line for your Covid screening.
3. Staff will hand you a questionnaire which should be completed as you snake your way through the line. It is pretty straight-forward and among other things ask where you will be staying.
4. As your turn nears, you will notice medical staff at the line who will inspect your form for completeness.
5. Once it is your turn, you will be directed to staff seated at tables. They will inspect your form and assuming it is correct you will be handed a form which spells out what you must do because as soon as you depart the airport you must go to your designed casa or place you have indicated for mandatory quarantine.
VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU READ AND UNDERSTAND
6. The next station will be the Covid PCR test. A technician will administer the test which includes both nasals being swabbed.
7. Your next stop will be going through immigration – having your documents reviewed and having any personal items you brought on your flight for screening.
8. From there and just before you go to retrieve your luggage, your last Covid station will be staff administering a temperature check.
9. From there you grab your luggage, exit that area (unless you are a returning Cuban national DO NOT STAND IN THE WRONG LINE. Typically, all you have is your luggage so you should be able to whisk through the exit.
10. Your final line is customs declaration and unless you have something bizarre you are passed for the official exit from the terminal.
AS YOU LOCATE YOUR RIDE, YOUR NEXT STOP MUST BE TO YOUR CASA.
Quarantine is communicated to last from 24 hours to five days.
If you are positive someone from the local clinic will usually contact you immediately. Do not be surprised if even after five days you have not been contacted. Should that be your reality you should request from your host to contact their clinic or authorized Doctor to administer the second PCR test. Once that test is completed, results are typically received within 24 hours. If you are NEGATIVE you have successfully completed your Covid quarantine.
Should you have any question or need tips please contact me separately because as simple as the process is you must prepare yourself with accurate information so that your ultimate trip meets your expectations and is successful.
Bienvenida a CUBA!!!!
As mentioned earlier, COVID is real and you will see the effects all over the country. But no fret as while there are some inconveniences you can still get around and enjoy your stay. Even before COVID the country was experiencing an economic downturn but you will not starve or otherwise be miserable. Like other parts of the world, many are out of work or seen their employment greatly modified. The key recommendation is to be smart and otherwise use commonsense.
One last tip to understand is due to economic hardships the government will be imposing targeted reforms. The biggest will be the elimination of the CUC starting January 1, 2021 (people will have a 180 window to purge themselves of this currency). My recommendation is TO NOT TRANSFER FUNDS AT THE AIRPORT or at your arrival. Find a legitimate source wherever you are heading and they will gladly assist you. In my case I traded US Dollars at a rate of 1.50:1 – what a deal!!!!! CUP’s will become the predominate currency and of course, like I, you can head to the local Cadeca and transfer CUC’s into CUP’s.
Bottom-line, the country is still bustling but not at the rate seen prior to COVID. And yes, as it relates to those from the United States the many people I ran into are encouraged of the upcoming change in the presidential administration.
Hope this helps!
Here are pics from the historic 2020 Trek
A couple of helpful links