Tourist Visas for Cuba

HAVANA TIMES - Question: I will be travelling to Cuba in the coming months; however my country does not have a Cuban embassy. How can we get a visa?

Answer: The best advice is to make contact with Cuban embassy nearest to your country and ask if they can be of assistance. Here is a listing of Cuban embassies and consulates with phone numbers and email addresses.

If your country doesn’t have a Cuban embassy or consulate, try contacting the embassy in a neighboring country.

You can also try procuring a Cuban visa at the airport in Cancun, Mexico or even when you arrive to the Jose Marti airport in Havana. Use the last option with caution, as many airlines will not let you board unless you have a valid Cuban tourist visa on hand.

Can I use my cell phone, buy a sim card, & also use Skype while in Cuba?

Question: If I bring a tri-band phone to Cuba and buy a sim card in Cuba, can I call outside Cuba, receive calls from outside Cuba and is it possible to use skype?

Answer: Yes and no. Yes, you can RENT a sim card via Cubacel. However you cannot use Skype, even over a wifi internet connection in a Cuban hotel.

In a telephone consultation with Cubacel, the business arm of ETECSA which offers mobile telephone services in the country, they said that for your tri-band phone to be activated for use in Cuba, it must be GSM working in the 900 MHz band width. It must also be decodified (that is, free of any commercial company). If it meets these two criteria, it will be able to make and receive international calls while you are in Cuba.

SIM cards (pre-paid with a certain amount of time on it) are available from all Cubacel offices and can be purchased for 10, 20 or 40 CUC each. The sim card itself cost 3 CUC a day to rent and must be turned in when you leave the country.

You will find Cubacel offices in both Terminals #2 and #3 at the José Martí International Airport in Havana.

Cubacel’s website is

There are also various ETECSA “telepuntos” located elsewhere, including in some hotels, where you can get SIM cards.

If you would like to buy a sim card as a foreigner in Cuba you must have at least Temporary Residency or you can try your luck on which is an online classifieds service where you can sometimes find Cubans wanting to sell their sim cards.

  • Carissa

    Are Americans allowed to travel to Cuba? I thought we needed special permission from our government.

    • Frank

      It is legal if you go on a people to people tour

  • StellaMarie

    Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba if they’re with a group traveling as part of a “cultural exchange.” And that’s the U.S.’s rule, not Cuba’s. I went to Cuba in May with about 45 other Americans – the trip was arranged through a travel agency – and it was very interesting. (A lot of Americans leave the country and travel to Cuba from another country such as Canada or Mexico.)

  • juan Carlos

    The center for Cuban Studies offers people to people trips to Cuba.

  • mainemcq6

    Please, I was refused entry i9nto Cuba a few years ago and would like to know if there is anyway that can be remedied? Coming to Cuba changed my life and would really like the opportunity to return. It was the resolver attitude, sense of community and hospitality and genuine faith in God.

  • linda pocket

    can I bring beef products into Cuba?? If I freeze the beef, can I bring it to Cuba…I’m staying there for two weeks in a rental house…