Sending a letter by post takes a long time: at least 6 – 8 weeks before a letter arrives and many letters never arrive at their destination.
Never enclose money or anything of value. Letters are frequently opened by the Cuban Post Office services and some letters never arrive at their destination. Don’t send parcels either, for the same reasons. The safest and fastest way to send letters and parcels is via the international courier service DHL; they have an office in Havana, located at DHL
Avenida 1ra y calle 26, Playa (Miramar) This is a very reliable service with tracking facilities on the Internet, but it’s not cheap.(www.dhl.com)
Cuba has its own parcel service, located at: Cuba Pack International
Calle 22 n° 4115
TELEPHONE SERVICES IN HAVANA
The only official telephone operator in Cuba is the state company ETECSA.
On the street are several public telephones working with pay cards. On Obispo Street (calle Obispo) is a Telephone Shop ETECSA where you can buy phone cards and make international calls. The telephone prefix for Cuba is 53 and the prefix for Havana is 7. You can reach Havana and Varadero by mobile phone (GSM). NOTE: To reach a mobile in Cuba from abroad the prefix
5 has to be used (Instead of the city prefix ex. 0053 5 xxxxxxx followed by 7 digits, the mobile number in Cuba)
Telephone Area Code in Cuba
Codigos Telefonicos de provincias de Cuba
prefix Havana City: 7
Havana Province: 47
Las Tunas: 31
Pinar Del Rio: 48
Villa Clara: 42
Santi Spíritus: 41
Isla de la Juventud: 46
Ciego de Avila: 33
Santiago de Cuba: 22
Guantanamo 21 Medical emergency: 838 1185 and 838 2185
Fire department: 105
Intoxication: 260 1230
INTERNET SERVICES IN HAVANA
Available in almost every state hotel, in the better hotels are several computers available. A public Internet service exists in the Capitolio (side entrance, left hand side) with 10 computers.
The Cuban internet
TRANSPORT SERVICES IN HAVANA
Most hotels offer car rental services. We don’t recommend driving a car in the city if you’re tourist or a foreigner. The signage is poor and often the traffic lights are difficult to see. You have to constantly look out for pedestrians, dogs, cyclists and big holes in the road surface. There are lots of sewers without a cover in the streets of Havana. Watch out at night and always leave the car in a guarded parking area. Don’t leave anything in the car.
Gas can be bought at the state owned CUPET stations and costs about 1 CUC per liter.
As a foreigner you are responsible for any damage you cause to the rented car or any third party. Check your insurance coverage in your country, or buy insurance locally.
The best way to explore Havana is by taxi or cocotax.
TAXI SERVICES IN HAVANA
This is one of the safest and fastest ways to travel through the city but pay attention. The official taxis are modern comfortable cars with air conditioning. You’ll find them in front of the state hotels or official buildings. The taxi companies are Panatax, Habanatax, Transur, and OK-Tax – they all have counters and charge you about 0.6 - 1 CUC per kilometre.
Besides the official licensed taxis you’ll find the illegal taxis driven by Cubans who want to earn a little extra by carrying tourists. They don’t have a license or insurance and often they charge more than the official taxi rates. Always ask for the price before getting in.
TAXI COLECTIVO HAVANA
On the road in front of the Capitolio you will see the so-called “colectivos.” These are taxis that depart when all seats are occupied, the
Taxi Colectivo's have a fixed destination, some of them go to distant suburbs like ALAMAR.
Nowdays it's easier for Cubans to get a taxi-license, they can even rent cars from the State. Also NEW is the fact that
today Taxi Colectivo's are permitted to transport foreigners.
COCOTAX SERVICES IN HAVANA
A three wheeled motorcycle under a big yellow shell with a driver and two seats at the rear for tourists. The drivers are very skilful, and we recommend Cocotax for a ride along the Malecon (the long sea boulevard) on a hot day, so you can enjoy the cool breeze on your face. The price is 0.5 CUC/kilometre. Always make a price deal before departure.
CYCLOTAX SERVICES IN HAVANA
A three wheeled cycle mostly for short distances in Old Havana. It goes slowly and is a heavy burden for the driver. For most trips 2 – 3 CUC is enough.
This is a unique bus model, which got its nickname
"camello" because of the resemblance to a camel. Camello is a combination of a truck and a bus. It ‘s very cheap - 1 peso nacional (around 4 US cents), but the comfort is zero. The bus is always crowded with people, it’s very hot inside and has poor ventilation. Some people get sick because of the great heat inside the bus. Pay attention for pickpockets.
VIAZUL AUTOBUS SERVICES IN HAVANA
Trips to other Cuban cities can be done by Viazul bus.
For departure places and timetables check their website:
TRAINS IN CUBA
History of the Cuban Railway. Present situation, train schedules,
Hershey train from Havana to Matanzas.
WALKING IN HAVANA
In the Old City the best mode of transportation is walking, because it gives you enough time to quietly observe the Cuban way of life. Watch out for the potholes in the road surface and the many missing sewer covers, especially at night.
CUBAN NEWSPAPERS - PRESS SERVICES
Foreign and international newspapers and magazines are not available, and only the official newspapers of the communist party are sold on the streets. You’ll find: GRANMA: available in English and Spanish TRABAJORES JUVENTUD REBELDE
CUBA NEWS ONLINE
PHARMACIES AND HEALTH CARE SERVICES IN HAVANA
The pharmacies for the Cubans have a limited supply of medicines, some of which are difficult to get. Cubans use products made in their country. Therefore we recommend that if you are under medical treatment bring an adequate supply of medicines with you.
Take also a small first aid kit, with anti diarrhoea, antibiotics, bandages, aspirin, and stomach pills. Note that sanitary towels, condoms, shampoo, paper towels and napkins are difficult to find and are sometimes not available.
For medicines and medical treatment tourists have to go to Farmacia Internacional, located at avenida 41 #4101 esquina calle 20 (avenue 41 corner 20th Street) Playa, Havana CIRA CARCIA CLINIC
Cubacel : http://www.cubacel.cu
PUBLIC TOILETS IN HAVANA
Do not exist. Tourists can use the toilets (banos) in hotels. Most bars have toilets but always take some paper napkins or toilet paper with you, in Cuba toilet paper is a luxury, a lot of Cubans use their newspaper.
ELECTRICITY - Cuban electrical outlets
Most power outlets provide 110 V 60 Hz, some hotels operate on
220 V. All plugs are of the American type with flat pins. If you are from Europe you’ll need an adapter plug. Always use surge protectors with laptops and electronic devices.
the electrical grid.
Electrical Power Outlet used on the island
Don’t drink tap water or use ice cubes, you’ll risk getting diarrhoea. Instead drink only bottled water.
Most hairdressers know their trade, but watch out for the price. The first time I paid 5 CUC (peso convertible) and found it very cheap, till a Cuban friend said that the normal price was one CUC (1 USD)