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South Africans require visas to travel to Cuba.
South African Passport Holders flying to Cuba via Europe, London or Turkey must apply for a Cuban Visa prior to departing South Africa.
Please also check your transit visa requirements – for example if flying via the UK you will require a UK visa.
IMPORTANT: Effective February 2017, for security reasons, South Africans travelling to Cuba via the USA can no longer apply for visas at a Cuban embassy in South Africa. They must apply for a visa at the airline desks in the USA, regardless of the airline they travel with. You should plan your flights carefully to allow time to apply for the visas at the airline desk. (Approximately two to three hours.) Please check with the Consulate about requirements.


• Valid Passport (minimum six month validity)
• 1 passport colour photo glued to the form
• Application form – fully completed
• Bank statement (at least three months)
• Airline E ticket (itinerary to/from Cuba)
• Proof of accommodation -name and/or address of accommodation in Cuba- regardless of whether it is a hotel or rental house booking.
• Travel Insurance – From 01 May 2010 all tourists entering Cuba will require “Medical Travel Insurance” that is on a Government approved list. We urge you to check with your insurance provider to ensure your policy is on the list of approved providers. If it is not, tourists will be forced to purchase a Government approved policy on arrival in Cuba-they do random spot checks on arrival. The cost of buying this insurance in Cuba will be in addition to any insurance already purchased, and it is likely the rates for these polices will be inflated compared to what you may purchase in advance from home.
• Copy of Visa Proof of Payment – (contact consulate for exact amount)(payments have a validity of 30 days from the date they were deposited, thereafter the payment will be declared non-refundable) Reference: VISA + YOUR NAME. Fax a copy of the proof of payment to (012) 346 2216 and attach a copy to your visa application.
• The Visa is not stamped in your passport but arrives back loose with your passport and resembles a bus ticket-it is perforated down the middle. On arrival in Cuba they will tear the one half and keep it and on departure they will take the other half so keep it safe while travelling.

The Tourist Visa or Tourist Card for Cuba is only for travel to Cuba for tourism purposes. It is valid for one single entry for a 30-day trip. A minimum of 3 days are required to process the Cuban Tourist Visa application.
The Embassy in Pretoria accepts direct couriers so you can courier your documents directly to them, give them at least three full days then call to check if your visa has been processed and send the courier to collect your passport and visa. You do not have to apply in person

A business visa is required for business travel to Cuba. The Consulate of Cuba requires applicants to apply for Cuban visas directly, and a personal appearance may be necessary at the nearest Cuban Consulate.

Standard processing time – this is the slowest processing time available on iVisa. Even so, it does not take weeks for your application to be processed. If you choose this option, your Cuba visa will arrive between 3 and 5 business days.

A tourist card is valid ONLY for leisure or recreational purposes. It is not valid for other travel purposes. A Tourist Card is valid only for one entry within 180 days after the date of issue. It is valid for a 30 day stay in Cuba, extendable in Cuba for a further 30 days maximum.


Tropical Climate

The best time to travel:
It has a subtropical climate ideal for travelling, most places catching the winds that blow from the coast, giving Cuba pleasant temperatures all year round. June through to August are the hottest months, the dry season from November through to April and the wet season from May through to October. In the rainy season, downpours are short and heavy and shouldn’t hinder travel plans. Tropical storms and hurricanes are more prevalent in September to October.


Country: Cuba
Capital City: Havana
International Airports: Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport
Area: 109 884 km²
Population: 11,48 million
Time Zone: GMT-5
Religion: Roman Catholic
Language: Spanish
Currency: Cuban Peso
Exchange Rate: Please consult your local bank as exchange rates fluctuate. NB: USD are not readily accepted in CUBA
Credit Card Payment Availability: Not readily available
ATM Accessibility: You will find ATM’s in the bigger cities, however check with your bank prior to leaving  to establish if  cards will work.
Dialling Code: +53


Electricity: Although the power supply in Cuba is mainly 110 volts, most of the modern hotels have dual voltage with all the sockets in the room being 220 volts. Usually in the bathroom there is an 110 volt socket suitable for shavers and charging batteries.
Water: Don’t drink the water, bottled water is readily available.
Business Hours: 08:00 – 17:00 during the week, although some factories may include Saturdays and start earlier in the day.
Banking Hours: Monday – Friday from 9:00 to 17:00.
Photography Restrictions: You can take a picture of almost anything with the exception of the airport, government buildings and personnel
Tipping: Tipping is expected, as a norm work on 10-15% in restaurants and 2-5 CUC / day for your tour guide. You will find the taxis also expect a tip, anything between 1-3 CUC will suffice
Vaccination Requirements: No vaccinations necessary, however if you have any doubts please consult with your medical practitioner or travel clinic
Dress Code Restrictions: No restrictions
Peculiar Customs to Observe: None known


Festival de la Trova Longina – January
Havana International Book Fair – February
Festival del Habano – February
Memorial Guillermo Barreto Festival – March
Santiago Álvarez Memorial International Documentary Festival – March
International Pepe Sanchez Trova Festival – March
Havana World Music Festival – March
International Electroacoustic Music Festival – Mid March
Caribbean Dance Biennial – March -every 2 years
Trinidad Cross Procession – Good Friday
Muestra Internacional de Nuevos Realizadores – April
Gibara Low Budget Film Festival – April
Old Havana: City in Movement – April
May Day Celebrations – 1st May
Romerias de Mayo – May
Cubadisco – May
Festival Internacional de Poesía – May
International Ernest Hemingway Needlefish Tournament – June
Festival Internacional Boleros de Oro – June
Trinidad Carnival (Fiestas San Juaneras) – June
Camaguey Carnival (San Juan Camagüeyano) – June
International Corhabana Choir Festival – June / July
Festival del Caribe (Festival of Fire) -July
Santiago de Cuba Carnival – July
26 July Celebrations
Festival Internacional de Rap – August
Havana Carnival – August
Matamoros Son Festival – Biennial
CDR Anniversary – September
Havana Ballet Festival
Havana Theatre Festival – November
The International Choir Festival – October – Novemeber
Marabana Marathon – Novemeber
Havana Jo Jazz – November
Habana Clasica Music Festival – November
Havana Film Festival – December
Havana Jazz Festival – December
Parrandas de Remedios – Decemebr
Charangas de Bejucal – Decemeber / January
New Years Eve in Havana – 31 December


“Cuba is such a beautiful country, and everywhere you go there is music and people dancing – expecially in Havana. “

– Julia Sawalha