From UK’s Cuba Direct
The prospect of a Cuba holiday in winter 2020/2021 need not look as dire as it seems. The Cuban health and tourism authorities have just updated health and safety rules regarding the arrival of foreign visitors on holiday and published a list of measures with step-by-step guidance in the event of COVID-19 contagion. To shed light on frequent traveler questions such as:
Can I travel to Cuba without bringing a PCR test?
Will I be put in quarantine upon arrival?
Can I stay in a casa particular?
We answer these and many more questions below, and please read on.
New travel rules for safe Cuba holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic
Starting in January the 10th, 2021, all travelers will be required to take a PCR test 72 hours before arriving in Cuba and presenting authorities with a negative test result upon arrival. Said results must be certified by an accredited laboratory or testing center in your country of origin.
Upon arrival in Cuba
Upon arrival in Cuba, you will need to take a PCR test as soon as you land in the country. Airlines and other means of transport like cruises should include this cost into tickets. This is a government tax increase as per point 23 of our Booking Conditions. Doing a PCR test upon arrival in Cuba is mandatory and is done to ensure safe Cuba holidays for all.
Signed sanitary declaration
All travelers to Cuba are also required to submit a sanitary declaration, a form they must fill out on the plane and which airlines will facilitate to all passengers on board, just before landing in Cuba.
Travel health insurance
Having adequate travel health insurance has been mandatory for travellers to Cuba since long before the COVID-19 pandemic. This rule continues in place with the extra requirement that the travel health insurance you bring must offer COVID-19 related coverage. Alternatively, you will be offered to buy health insurance in Cuba upon arrival, also at the airport, for $30 USD or the equivalent in a foreign currency, e.g. GBP.
Quarantine is not established at this point nor required for any traveller, more on what happens after obtaining PCR test results below. We do recommend limiting contact with others until the result of the test is ready.
Staying in Cuba hotels or “casas particulares”
Guests won’t experience any kind of restrictions during their stay in Cuba hotels or “casas particulares”, except when using any means of local transport, where wearing face masks is mandatory.
Beyond the glorious Cuban beaches, holidaymakers in Cuba will be able to book excursions in open nature, enjoy a variety of water sports, and visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites all around the country, as well as benefit from a variety of health and wellness programmes to minimize and prevent contagion as well as strengthen the immune system, your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, and this goes especially for travelers or guests who have contracted coronavirus in recent months and are recovering from the sequels.
All travelers and hotel or casas particulares guests are expected to take responsibility for their own safety and that of others for a smooth Cuba holiday experience. Following hygiene rules, frequent hand washing or sanitizing, social distancing and wearing face masks when using transport and in closed spaces is recommended.
All Cuba hotels now have a specialized in-house medical team made up of a General Practitioner, an epidemiologist and nurses to guarantee early detection upon any suspicion of COVID-19 infection.
In the event of a positive PCR test result
The results of the PCR test taken upon arrival to Cuba will be ready within the first 24 hours of your Cuba holidays, which means that holidaymakers will be immediately notified through the appropriate health and tourism authorities.
Travelers with symptoms: travelers that have tested positive and who begin experiencing symptoms during their Cuba holiday will be taken to a medical facility unit, a nearby hospital with a highly skilled and specialized medical team as well as the necessary medical equipment to guarantee a speedy recovery.
Asymptomatic travelers: after conducting a thorough medical evaluation by the medical team, asymptomatic holidaymakers will be isolated within specialised hotel facilities converted into hospitals.
Anyone who has come into contact with the traveller or travellers that have tested positive will be immediately put in isolation within the hotel under special protection and surveillance, they cannot come into contact with the rest of the hotel guests until the results of a second PCR test are obtained, on the 5th day.
The costs of all medical expenses will be covered by the traveller’s health insurance, whether obtained in Cuba or their country of origin.
A few added notes
As a result of the above-illustrated rules, all those embarking on Cuba holidays this winter 2020/21 season will need to stay in their hotel or casa particular until they obtain the results of the PCR tests carried out upon arrival, a maximum of 24-hours waiting time. Travelers will NOT need to do quarantine unless their test comes back positive or if they have been in close contact with a confirmed case. Otherwise, no isolation will be required at all.
Also, while holidaymakers will be able to book tours and excursions as normal, some parts of Cuba remain closed off to tourism which means that foreign visitors will not be able to pass through them under any circumstances and until further notice.
Safe Cuba holidays for all
Although Cuban authorities don’t require travelers to bring mandatory negative PCR test results to be shown upon arrival, Cuba Direct highly recommends all our clients to do a PCR test before leaving the UK, since travelling with a coronavirus infection can seriously dampen your Cuba holiday and ruin the experience entirely. If you think that the upside will be recovering from COVID-19 on a Cuban beach… think again! You will be put in quarantine for a good part of your holiday (or all of it), so in this case, as with most things in life… better to be safe than sorry! If you test positive, we will be happy to waive our changing fees and help you change your holiday departure. This fee-waiving policy will remain in place for all departures until 31 March 2021.
We also want to emphasize on the fact that all tourist infrastructure in Cuba, including airports, cruise terminals and marinas have rigorous hygiene protocols in place to guarantee the safety of foreign visitors. These protocols have been certified and endorsed by local tourism and local authorities and were designed following recommendations from worldwide health organizations including WHO.
In addition to the new COVID-19 related measures and rules listed here, we strongly recommend all those planning Cuba holidays to check official UK government travel guidelines and recommendations as published by the FCDO and UK health authorities.
And remember! Cuba is one of the few world destinations included in the UK Travel Corridor, where quarantining is not required either prior to departure or immediately upon return to the UK.