Australians can travel to Cuba. In fact I’m Australian and I visit Cuba regularly. Because there seems to be a lot of Australians who end up on my website with this question, here’s a detailed post for them.
Here’s what all the Aussies need to know about visiting Cuba.
Visiting Cuba From Australia
Do Australians Need A Visa To Visit Cuba?
Australians need the same tourist ticket (Tarjeta Del Turista) to visit Cuba that everyone else needs when traveling to Cuba. The only difference for Australians is the length of time they can stay in Cuba.
The tourist visa (Tarjeta Del Turista) for an Australian allows for a stay of 30 days in Cuba. It can be extended for added 30 day intervals.
I’ve written about the process of extending a Cuban tourist visa and you can also see a little of it on my Youtube. It’s an easy enough process to extend a Cuban visa, though it is frustrating.
The tourist ticket (Tarjeta Del Turista) for Cuba costs $20-$25USD depending on who you buy it from. It can be purchased from the airlines, travel agencies selling Cuban holidays or from the Cuban Embassy in Canberra.
Travelling To Cuba From Australia
As an Australian travelling to Cuba from Australia your best option is to avoid any flights that transit the United States (US). This is because you will likely need a $160USD ‘transit visa’ from the Americans in order to change planes.
The US transit visas require a lot of paperwork and frequently, interviews. These transit visas are often unavailable and you might find yourself without a transit visa and unable to board your flight.
As an Australian travelling to Cuba you should avoid all flights transiting the United States.
This leaves an Australian with two options. They can fly up to Europe and then down to Cuba. Or they can fly across to South America and then up to Cuba. I’ve flown both routes more than once.
Depending on the time of year your going to be visiting Cuba I would suggest avoiding European winter by transiting in South America.
You don’t want to be flying from snow storms into tropical Cuba. And you certainly won’t want to be carrying cold weather and tropical attire in your luggage.
Because you need to take two flights, one from Australia to Europe or Latin America and then a second flight to Cuba, you should break up your journey and visit the country in which you transit.
If your preference is to transit (change planes) in Europe you will need one flight ideally stopping in Madrid. And then another flight from Madrid to Cuba.
Madrid is the larger European hub with flights to Cuba. Most of the flights to Cuba from Europe will stop in Madrid.
However if your preference is to transit in South America, you have far more options. You will find flights from Santiago Chile, Montevideo Uruguay, Lima Peru and my favourites, Buenos Aires Argentina and Bogotá Colombia.
I would strongly suggest taking a few days to a week in whatever country you choose to transit. The flights from Australia to Europe or Latin America are long. And because you do need to transit in a country on your way to Cuba you might as well see that country too.
Cheap Flights From Australia To Cuba
I book the majority of my travel using OMIO. It’s a German owned and operated travel booking site that I discovered while in Europe.
OMIO is often much cheaper than all the other booking engines. And it always has the best customer service.
You can view the prices for flights on OMIO here. Or use the widgets below.
Don’t make the mistake of using something like the Chinese owned trip.com for Cuba. It’s a scam website with a useless Indian call centre.
I made the mistake of using trip.com once and I lost over a $1000 on flights. You can read about why trip.com is a scam on this website.
Travel Insurance For Australians Visiting Cuba
When Australians visit Cuba they must have travellers medical insurance that specifically covers Cuba. It will need to say somewhere on the policy document that Cuba is included in the coverage.
Cuban Aduana (Customs and Immigration) may ask to see proof of medical coverage on arrival. And you will definitely need it to extend a visa in Cuba. If you can’t show proof of medical coverage in Cuba you may be forced to buy a Cuban policy.
The Cuban medical insurance policies sold by Cuba are expensive and useless. You definitely don’t want to be treated in a Cuban hospital.
The insurance polices I use are from visitorscoverage.com
How Should An Australian Pay In Cuba?
Australian issued bank cards do not work in Cuba. If you don’t take an adequate supply of cash in USD or Euro with you to Cuba you’re going to find yourself up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
Cuba is a predominantly cashed based society. And due to the US sanctions cards issued by US banks or those who do business with US banks do not work in Cuba. And this includes all major Australian banks.
Take cash to Cuba in USD or Euro. Do not take Australian dollars as you will not be able to change Australian dollars in Cuba for decent rates. You will get lesser exchange rates in Cuba with Australian dollars.
You should also read this article for a rundown of the exchange rates in Cuba and how to find the current rates.
Will My Australian Mobile Phone Roam In Cuba?
Australian mobile phone providers won’t roam in Cuba. If you’re on Telstra, Optus or Vodafone these will not function in Cuba. Your device will work but your SIM card will not.
You will need to either take a travel SIM card with you or purchase a Cubacel SIM card from ETECSA on arrival in Cuba. My recommendation is to opt for the Cuban mobile phone SIM card once you arrive in Cuba.
A Cubacel SIM card from ETECSA will be cheaper than a prepaid global travel SIM card. And both will have the same speed as they’re both working on the Cuban 4G mobile phone network.
Be sure to have a VPN preloaded onto your phone before arriving in Cuba. Do not travel to Cuba without a VPN.
This is because you will not be able to access popular Australian websites, social media and messaging applications or your bank without a quality VPN.
I use and recommend NordVPN for Cuba and it always performs flawlessly on Cuba’s unique wifi and 4G mobile networks. You can get NordVPN at NordVPN.com
Where Can I Get More Information About Cuba?
I’ve made my Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba available on this website. And I would strongly advise you to read it before travelling to Cuba. It will help you navigate Cuba and Cuban society.
My Complete Guide To Cuba will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can just arrive unprepared.
Read the most Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba here.