What to Expect




Currency Exchange

We can use U.S. dollars in Cuba (with a few exceptions).  They also accept the Euro.  We suggest bringing both.  Unfortunately, Cuba will not accept credit cards issued from U.S. banks so cash is the only way you have of spending money while in Havana.  At this time, we do not have to exchange Dollars or Euros into the Cuban Peso.


Passport, Forms and Documents

Your passport must be valid at least 6 months after your return date or you will not be allowed to enter Cuba.  You are responsible for ensuring your passport’s validity for this requirement. MSLC will obtain the necessary Visa and other paperwork such as Cuban Medical Insurance for you to enter Cuba.  We will be going over these documents before we get to Havana.  Only the passport book is accepted in Cuba.  They will not accept the passport card.


Arrival in Cuba via the yacht

When we arrive at the Hemingway Marina, several Cuban officials, at different times, will be boarding the yacht.  We ask that each traveler have their own paperwork ready to show upon request.  These officials are friendly and happy that we are visiting. They will be collecting the documents, stamping our passports and possibly asking some common questions. Some of the officials will be working only with the Captain and crew.  This may take a little time so please be patient with the process.  Once we are cleared, we will be assigned our slip and disembarking can commence shortly thereafter. MSLC has arranged for classic American cars to transfer your group to the hotel in Old Havana, approximately a 15 minute ride. At the hotel, we will gather in the lobby area and you will be given your room keys and a bellman will take your luggage to your room.  We will proceed to the rooftop bar for a welcome cocktail and a briefing about the hotel amenities and procedures.  


What to Pack

Most of the places on this tour you are visiting are casual.  Your wardrobe and footwear should be comfortable.  Bring good walking shoes of some sort like sneakers and sandals.  The typical weather in Cuba is tropical and humid, much like in Key West.  Lightweight or moisture-wicking clothing is suggested.  Most places you will want to wear shorts and t-shirts during the day.  In the evenings, ladies might want to wear a casual dress or capri pants with a nice blouse and the men might wear jeans or khaki pants or dress shorts with a collared shirt.  Just make sure you are comfortable and relaxed with what you are wearing.

In Cuba, it will be difficult to buy any toiletries or small items you may need so please be sure to bring the following items with you:  

  • Prescription drugs and other medicines such as Tylenol or Aspirin or Imodium
  • First Aid essentials like antibiotic cream and band-aids
  • High SPF sunscreen
  • After-sun lotion or aloe gel
  • Insect repellant and afterbite cream
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Deodorant & Hairstyling products 
  • Cigarettes, Pipe tobacco or lighters
  • Chewing gum or mints
  • Sunglasses & Umbrella
  • Small flashlight & Extra batteries for devices
  • Charging cords for all your devices
  • Universal power adapter 
  • Hat with a brim or ball cap

MSLC will have some items stocked on board but it’s best to bring your own to your liking.

MSLC will have bottled water on the excursions and for your hotel suite.


Gifts for The Cuban People

Many of our customers want to bring gifts for the Cuban people since they know that some basic, everyday items are hard for the people to get in Cuba. Most of the items will go to school children and their families.  If you are so inclined to bring some small gifts, please refer to the list below for the most needed items:

  • Crayons
  • Colored pencils
  • Washable markers
  • Mechanical pencils with erasers
  • Spiral or composition notebooks
  • Art supplies
  • Sports equipment (soccer balls, base balls, gloves, knee pads, etc…)
  • T-shirts (Childrens Small-Large)
  • Socks (All sizes)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Antibiotic cream
  • First-aid supplies
  • Aspirin or other analgesics
  • Cold medicine
  • Cough Drops
  • Allergy medicine
  • Bath soap, shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Coffee (bagged ground coffee, not instant or pod cups)
  • Chocolate candies, individually wrapped
  • Cookies or snacks (individual size bags are best)
  • Peanut butter

The Cuban people are very proud people so please refer to these items as gifts and not donations.  They are very grateful to receive these gifts from their new friends.


Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

We encourage all our participants to sign up for the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This will allow you to receive the latest travel updates and information about overseas travel.  This will also make it easier for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to contact you, in case of an emergency.  Please visit the website at https://step.state.gov/


Please keep all your receipts/documents pertaining to the trip for 5 yrs, as per law.


Communication & Technology

You will want to check with your cell phone provider to see how your plan will work in Cuba.

You may use the telephones at the hotel but you will be charged for the calls.  This is not covered in the price of the trip so be prepared to pay the hotel for those calls before we leave.  We will have Wi-Fi access at the hotel and a few other areas we will be in on the tour.  You will find that the service is possibly slower than in the U.S. and also not as strong of a signal.  Please understand that is common in Cuba so we will have to adjust to this.  Pictures and/or videos may be taken everywhere we go except at military posts or inside a government building.  Your guide will inform you if pictures cannot be taken in an area you are at.  In Cuba, both 110 and 220V electric plugs are used.  Most of the sockets allow for the American model type A plug.  You may want to bring an adapter and converter with you to be sure your electronic devices can all be used and/or charged.  The hotel has hairdryers in all the bathrooms.  Also, there is a safe in your hotel room.


Suggested Recommendations

There will be 2 evenings that you are free to explore and have dinner on your own.  We would suggest that your group stay together when going out. (We have found that Havana is a safe place and we have not had any issues with safety or security there.) This is so no one gets lost or left behind.    We have included a list of some wonderful, not far from the hotel, recommendations for restaurants.  Ask us to make reservations for your group once you have decided on a place.  The list, with the attached map, will be given to you upon arrival.


If you haven’t purchased travel insurance, you may want to consider doing so. (Usually, this has to be done at least 2 weeks before the departure date.)  MSLC is purchasing, as part of your package cost, medical insurance which covers you while in Cuba for any medical emergencies, clinic visits and medical evacuations.  It does not cover trip cancellation, interruption, luggage issues or loss of personal property.  It is not required that you have it but we wanted to make you aware of the existence of such so you can decide if you want to purchase that on your own.


You will be traveling with a very knowledgeable, local guide and an experienced representative of MSLC, at all times, except on your free time. Please feel free to ask them questions. They are there for you and both speak fluent English & Spanish. The yacht will be anchored at Marina Hemingway Yacht Club the entire time while in Havana.  The Captain and crew will be ready to assist you if needed, as well.

You can expect to meet the most welcoming, friendly people in the world when you arrive in Havana!  They will become like family to you and you to them.  Be prepared to want to stay longer and visit often!


Please contact us if you have any questions or are in need of more information before the trip.