WHAT LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN IN CUBA?
The principal language of Cuba is Spanish and is spoken throughout the island. It is wise to learn a few basic Spanish phrases, however Cubans will make every effort to understand what you need in English to ensure your trip to their country is a good one. Keep in mind, most Cubans do not speak English, or very little. You will always be accompanied by a Spanish-speaking representative and will not have any language problems.
IS CUBA A SAFE PLACE TO VISIT?
Actually, Cuba has the lowest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere! If you see a police presence in Cuba, know they are there specifically to protect and help tourists. As foreign currency and/or convertible pesos (CUC) are vital to their economy, they bend over backwards to make sure everyone has a safe and pleasant stay. Always be aware of your belongings however, especially in the metropolis of Havana, just as you would in any big city.
Our hotel provides a safe in the guest rooms. It is always advisable to leave your passport, visa and valuables in the safe. Make copies of your passport and visa before leaving home and carry them with you as you walk around the city, instead of your original documents.
Like anywhere, be aware of pickpockets and purse-snatchers. If you’d like to bring small items to give away they will be appreciated.
WHAT ARE CUBAN PEOPLE LIKE?
Cubans are passionate and welcoming people who have a deep-rooted love of music, food, and sports. They are resilient and patient as they wait for the Revolution to give them the many basics of life that are missing on the island. They are very educated and people working in the most commonplace jobs have higher educations as university schooling in Cuba is free to everyone. Cubans are incredibly creative and resourceful, making do with very little. The streets in Cuba are surprisingly free of litter, but if you ask where the trash is, Cubans will smile and tell you they have nothing to throw away. They especially enjoy spirited conversation, and though they prefer to avoid discussing politics with tourists, our tour guides will give you honest answers to any questions you may have. They suffer from the embargo, yet they welcome American citizens and have a great fondness for all things made in the U.S.
As music is ingrained in the society, you'll find in every town a "casa de musica" where the locals gather in the evening (and in some places, all day long too) to play and listen to music, sing, dance, and socialize.
For the most part, people will reach out and help you wherever you are on the island. If you speak Spanish, it'll be amazingly easy for you to engage in conversations with people you've just met in a plaza, over a coffee, or on the street. If you don't speak Spanish, Cubans will do their best to understand you and make themselves understood. They are intensely proud of their heritage, but they aren't blind to their circumstances. More than anything, you'll discover that the Cuban people love having a good time, and it will be impossible for you to avoid having a good time with them.
DO CUBANS LIKE AMERICANS?
Cubans love Americans. Many say we are their favorite tourists visiting their beautiful country. WHY? The biggest reason is that Americans tend to spend more money than other visitors and this of course is helpful to the Cuban economy.
Keep in mind that haggling over prices isn’t a part of their culture, and generally won’t save you much money because prices are set for retailers. Besides, why haggle over a couple of dollars when Cubans will benefit more from the full prices they charge for goods, than we will by bartering?
It truly is a country unlike any you’ve visited and if you can keep an open mind to the differences you will encounter, you will leave with the same warm feeling towards Cubans that they have for us.