[Fri 24 May, 07:53]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
havana - (9 replies)

Hello friends,

We (my g-friend and I) are going to Cuba about six weeks. We'll stay there about one month. Backpacking is our main reason of going to Cuba. We have heard from other people that you have to make a hotel reservation for at least the first two days of your arrivel. The question is: Is this true??

Thanks ahead

Hola amigos, amigas,

Nosotros vamos en Cuba dentro de seis semanas. Quedamos en Cuba por un mes. Andar o caminar son nos mejor causas/ motívo para ir a Cuba. Gente digame que: un hotel reservacion es nescesario para el proximo dos dias! Hay un otro cosa?


tierra de compostella

[Fri 24 May, 08:57]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
1. legally...

yes, by law you do. in reality, you don't. but immigration may stop you on the way in and ask to see proof of your reservation and if you don't have it they send you to a hotel and sometimes it is expensive. thing is I and no one else I know have had this happen to them. just make sure you get a tourist card and put a hotel on it. the most they ususally do is ask if you have made a reservation to which you just say you have and show them the name on your tourist card. then go to a CASA!


[Fri 24 May, 10:20]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
2. Depends???

Some Airports are strict and others lax. Best bet is to put in a campsite for your address. Such as Villa El Abra (Havana) Gordon Robinson <>


[Fri 24 May, 12:29]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
3. Casa en Habana

I had an e-mail message showing my reservation to a casa particular. I forgot to mention the address in my tourist card and the officer at the coustoms just worte "Hotel Vedado" and let me get in without any trouble, no even checked the booking I had made.
You can say you are staying at a legal casa without any trouble. There are many casas avaible thru the net. If you want to check the house where I stayed, take a look at : ; there is a section in this wesite with good links to Cuba that may help you to organize your trip.
have fun.


[Sat 25 May, 08:03]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
4. Casa de Elvia

try Casa de Elvia, this is a legal casa (Apartment) in Habana Vieja where you will enjoy the flavor of old Havana and be close to everything: Capitol, Chinatown, Catedral, Harbor. Very reasonable, excellent meals available, AC, TV, a view of the rooftoops of Old Havana. Casa de Elvia Olivares, very nice familiy, Telephone: 8675974 Address: Aguacate 509 between Sol and Muralla Apt. 402. Yo can email elviaoli at directly for reservations and details. Have a nice stay! You will enjoy it.


[Sat 25 May, 14:42]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
5. If you are American

they treat you with kit gloves. I know its ironic, but its true. They know you are taking a chance by even visiting Cuba so they make it as easy for you as possible. Atleast this was my experience.

The hotel reservation thing, they never asked me for one. Maybe because I am american. But I did memeorize the name and address of a hotel beforehand just so I would have something to tell customs(I recommend you do the same). And look as clean cut as possible. Hide tattoos, take out nosering, tuck in shirt etc.

PS - tell him (immigration officer) the name of a expensive or alteast midrange hotel.

My experience:

1. Walk down the ladder thing to get off my AirCubana(Habana?, cant remember) airplane.

2.As soon as I am in terminal, bags are there to be picked up.

3. Walk over to immigration officer. A bit nervous, dont know if I have to tell him Im here illegaly so dont stamp my passport. Will he understand my spanish? Will he order my bags be searched for Blue Jeans and Apple Pie? Maybe he thinks Im the advanvce force for the recapture of Havana by American forces and he will kill me!
Or maybe The Second Bay of Pigs!

He is dressed like a soldier in olive drab behind thick glass. Asks for my passport, I give it to him. He stares at me for ten seconds, stamps a piece of paper and puts that in my passport(takes it away from me when I leave the country, so there is no evidence that I was ever in Cuba)
presses a button. I walk away out into the stinking fumes of taxis.

From Departing the airplane to stepping into my taxi, the whole thing took maybe 10minutes. Then a nice 20minute ride to central Havana. Scenic in a post modern prehistoric way.

If you want any more info let me know,



[Sat 25 May, 16:10]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
6. Arriving in Cuba

Beau Geste must have been one of the first in line and had no checked luggage to make it through Immigration and Customs in 10 minutes after walking off the plane. Not that it really matters but it normally takes much longer than that, especially if you have checked luggage.


[Sat 25 May, 17:25]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
7. Slow Day Perhaps...

The Cubana planes are small to begin with(not one of those European super jets) and the bird was only about half full.

I did check my overloaded pack and I carried on a smaller day pack. I was really surprised how easy/quick it was. At worst I was expecting a hostile commi interrogation as to why a capitalist yanqui pig would want to come to Cuba in the first place. At best I expected a slow agonizing process that is thesgnature of all things communist.

I ran into neither. Maybe I was just lucky. Baggage handlers jsut had their morning coffee, soldier-man just got laid, who knows?

All i know is that for me it was a breeze!


[Sat 25 May, 18:23]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
8. Arrival in Habana

Did your Cubana flight arrive at the smaller terminal (Terminal 2) or the main international terminal? I have made it through Immigration and Customs fairly quickly in Terminal Two when my flight was the only one arriving.

Immigration seems to pass most foreigners through quickly. If you get stuck in a line with a few Cuban Americans though you are going to wait a while since they seem to take quite a bit more time with them.

I too was surprised on my first trip about how courteous the Immigration and Customs people were to me as an American. While I wasn't expecting quite as hostile a reception as you apparantly were, I was relieved that it was so easy.

At Jose Marti I have found the Immigration officers to be mostly indifferent and bored, but quite often friendly and talkative when it's appropriate. The Customs people though are a whole different breed, especially if you are bringing in excess luggage or something out of the ordinary that has shown up on the screening.


[Mon 27 May, 07:09]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
9. This happens!!!

I arrived to Havana from Cancun on the 29th of april this year. I was dressed nicely but did carry a big backpack. Both me and my boyfriend had to stay with the customs for over an hour. We had to show them all our stuff and they asked all kinds of stupid questions. We also had to show them proof of our reservation at a state owned hotel. Luckily we had done a reservation a couple of days earlier at the cheap Hotel Horizontes Lido in central Havana. I would recommend you to make a reservation. We paid 31 dollars for one night at Lido and could leave for a casa particular after just one night even if the reservation were for three nights.
Good luck /Emma

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