Travel to Cuba from Canada in 2023, and visit Santiago de Cuba, El Morro fortress, and the queens balcony to get this view!

Easy Guide: How To Travel To Cuba From Canada 2024!

For years, Cuba has been a top destination for Canadian travelers. Despite the pandemic, travel to Cuba from Canada is still super popular, and Canadians flock to this island!

It’s easy to understand why – from mesmerizing beaches and natural attractions to its intriguing history and culture, there are so many adventures waiting here.

Although I am not Canadian, I have traveled regularly to Cuba for more than four years, and I have become an expert in how to travel to Cuba from anywhere!

Cuba also offers more affordable all-inclusive vacations than some other Caribbean destinations, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious globetrotters!

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Traveling From Canada To Cuba

The paradisiacal beaches in the Cuban keys, where there are a lot of amazing resorts where travelers going to Cuba from Canada can enjoy incredible beaches like these and adventures!
The paradisiacal beaches in the Cuban keys

Yes, Cuba is open for travel from Canada!

If you are worried, Canadians are not subject to the restrictions for travel to Cuba that American travelers need to navigate.

But all travelers to Cuba, including Canadians, need to follow a few steps before entry in addition to booking the flight and finding a wonderful place to stay!

📍 Quick guide for Cuba travel from Canada:

  • Buy a Cuban Tourist Card
  • IF you travel via the U.S., you need to get the pink tourist card
  • IF you travel via the U.S., you may also have to state that you “travel to help the Cuban people” like American citizens need to do.
  • Get travel insurance with health coverage
  • Book the flight, and a casa particular, or a hotel
  • Register your entry to Cuba online on d’viajeros
  • Consider getting a VPN that works well enough in Cuba
  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months more
  • Remember that you will only be able to get Cuban peso CUP when in Cuba. Bring all the foreign currency you plan to spend in cash, Canadian dollars, US dollars, or euros.
  • Bring all the medicine you sometimes or regularly use. Cuban pharmacies are empty; you will not be able to get anything when in Cuba
  • Bring a water bottle with a filter to ensure you always have access to drinking water
  • Check out my best advice for Packing for Cuba here!
  • Also read about Money In Cuba & Wifi In Cuba before you go!

Read on to find elaborate information about all the rules, regulations, and handy tips you need to know about traveling from Canada to Cuba.

If you already have what you need to know, you can skip to the bottom part and research a variety of tours in and around Cuba!

General Entry Requirements to Cuba

You need to get a Cuban tourist card before you travel.

You can buy a tourist card online or buy one at selected airports in Canada.

Note that if you fly Air Canada, they will provide you with a Cuban tourist card along with your ticket, so that is super convenient!

This is what the green tourist card, or tourist visa for Cuba, looks like.
This is what it looks like when you get it!

You will get the tourist card for Cuba as an empty document, and you need to fill it out by hand.

Keep it with you through your holiday in Cuba, as you need to show it at the airport when you leave as well!

Remember that if you travel via an American airport, even if you are Canadian, you need a pink tourist card for entry (not a green one).


Entry Form At D’Viajeros

Before departure, you also need to fill out an online entry form before you arrive in Cuba, you can find that here.

If you attempt check-in without it, most airlines will not let you board. You will also be asked to show your completed entry form upon arrival in Cuba.

It is enough to show the electronic version on your phone (take a screenshot; remember, you will be offline when you arrive).

Cuba has amazing scuba diving sites! Regards, Yours Truly!
Cuba has amazing scuba diving sites! Regards, Yours Truly!

Cuba Travel Insurance With Health Coverage

In order to enter Cuba, you need to have travel insurance that covers health issues.

You might be asked to provide documentation for travel insurance when you pass through passport control, so be prepared for that.

If you do not have valid travel insurance and they check you, you probably will be asked to buy Cuban travel insurance at the airport before you are allowed to enter the country.

If you are going to extend your stay in Cuba, you will always be asked to provide documentation of travel insurance at the office of immigration.

Stunning Las Terrazas in Pinar del Rio province in Cuba! Take a daytrip here while visiting Vinales Valley!
Stunning Las Terrazas in Pinar del Rio province

Yes, You Need A Passport To Enter Cuba!

You need a passport to enter Cuba, and you need to check that your passport is valid for at least six months after your entry date!

Transport In Cuba Now

There are a variety of transport options in Cuba for short distances, very short distances (bicycle taxis), and long-haul journeys.

You find taxis in all destinations in Cuba, in all shapes and forms. What you always need to remember is that Cuban taxis don’t have meters or online booking (normally).

So always agree on a price before you get in; use your phone calculator if language is a problem!

The Viazul bus service has routes between the most popular destinations in Cuba, including all the way to Santiago de Cuba!

You can book your ticket online on Viazul or at the station at your destination.

There are also taxi colectivos, shared taxis where you buy a seat in a taxi, great if you are a solo traveler or a couple – and you share the taxi with other travelers.

This is fast and convenient, and your casa host or hotel will help you book a seat in a taxi colectivo.

If you prefer to have things organized before you arrive and you want to pay securely online, you can book transport with reputed services online.

The Best Time to Go to Cuba

The best time to go to Cuba is the dry season, which runs from November through May (early June) every year.

This is also the high season, with the most tourists and the highest prices!

A quick overview of the weather: dry season in Cuba is November through May, and the wet season is June through October.

Within the wet season, the hurricane season is around September and October.

Also, July and August are two excruciatingly hot months, and December and January can get a bit chilly.

Of the two shoulder seasons, spring and fall, I would say the best time to travel to Cuba is March through May and even June.

Bodeguita del Medio in Santiago de Cuba
Bodeguita del Medio in Santiago de Cuba

It is not too hot, not too crowded, and not yet the rainy season. And travel costs probably are also a bit lower in this period.

September through to November is also cheap, but expect a bit of weather as this is hurricane season in the Caribbean!

Pro Tip: Get a cute travel duffle bag that has room for your laptop, a pair of shoes, a change of clothes, and the necessities for your flight!

I love this one from Bagsmart!

The Cheapest Time To Visit Cuba From Canada!

The cheapest time to visit Cuba is when most people think it is a bad idea to visit as well, generally in the autumn months, including the hurricane season.

Also, the spring season outside the biggest holiday periods, you might see a dip in prices as well, and apart from that, keep an eye out for really great deals!

Where Should I Stay In Cuba?

If you are looking for a pampering all-inclusive resort holiday, you can check out these amazing places in Varadero, or Cayo Santa Maria, which will treat you like a queen!

There are also some really great high-end hotels in Havana, my favorite is the Iberostar Grand Packard, but there are other good Havana options as well.

The Santiago de Cuba cathedral in the distance over the rooftops, just as the sun is setting!
See the Santiago de Cuba cathedral across the rooftops?

You really should not visit Cuba without staying at a casa particular and getting to know the Cuban culture via the host and family that will make your stay unforgettable!

You find really great casa particulares in Havana, Trinidad, and all the other famous and popular destinations in Cuba.

Check my overview here for top-rated options in various destinations!

What are the best things to do in Cuba?

Each destination in Cuba is quite unique and has its attractions, history, and important characteristics!

In Varadero, one of the most popular destinations in Cuba, you cannot miss the stunning award-winning Varadero beach.

But even outside the hotels, there are a lot of fun things to do that you probably don’t want to miss.

In Varadero, there is also a myriad of organized tours where you will be picked up from your hotel or casa, and taken for amazing adventures on land or sea!

In Trinidad, strolling the uneven cobblestoned streets and checking out the local artist studios, stores, and restaurants are almost mandatory.

But! There is a long list of other attractions in Trinidad outside the historic center as well!

Take a sunrise tour in Vinales Valley! It is a pain to get up that early but the reward is this view of the golden valley!
Sunrise tour in Vinales, having coffee as the sun arrives!

Many travelers do not spend a lot of time in Havana, but if you are a city sleek and like the hustle and bustle, you can stay busy in Havana almost indefinitely – check out this list of things to do!

And even in the countryside in Pinar del Rio, there is a myriad of things to do in Vinales Valley.

And last but not least, if you have the time to make the trip to the eastern capital of the carnival; Santiago de Cuba, you will find a lot of interesting things to explore.

So good luck prioritizing!

Is Cuba Safe for Canadians?

Cuba is generally a very safe destination for all travelers, as the laws and punishments for crimes against tourists in Cuba are quite strict.

Petty crime can result in prison sentences in Cuba, which has a deterring effect on offenses. But as always, be smart about things, and don’t flash your stuff around!

Violent crimes very rarely take place against tourists in Cuba. It is not impossible, but very low probability, so this is not something you should spend energy worrying about.

Can Americans Travel To Cuba From Canada?

Yes, Americans can travel to Cuba from Canada – but American citizens still need to travel within the regulations set by the US Government for Cuba travel.

This means choosing one of the pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel, buying the pink tourist card, and not staying in any of the places on the Cuba restricted list.

Read all about travel to Cuba as an American here.

Is There Wifi In Cuba Now?

How to travel to Cuba from Canada. Look at these inviniting views from the amazing beacehs in Cuba! Go for a trip with a small catamaran right from the beach!

Yes, there is wifi in Cuba, although not everywhere and not all the time!

My best tips for staying online in Cuba:

  1. Download and activate a good VPN before you go to make sure your gadgets are safe and that you are not blocked from important services online.
  2. Set your phone to flight mode when you arrive.
  3. Consider buying a sim card from Etecsa for your holiday to be able to use the Cuban 4G net. You can do this in stores in Cuba. Or buy a sim card online from Onesimcard or Cellomobile before your holiday.
  4. To connect to wifi, buy scratch cards from Etecsa that have unique usernames and passwords. Price 25CUP/1 hour, or 125CUP/5 hours.
  5. Go to a wifi hotspot (park or hotel), open wifi on your phone, connect to Etecsa, insert the username and the password on your scratch card – and connect. You are now online.
  6. Some hotels have their own system with wifi. Most large hotels and resorts have complimentary wifi, but often you still need to get an access code from the reception.

If you want all the details, you will find everything about the internet and wifi in Cuba here.


3 Great Small Group Tours Cuba

Parque Central on the verge between Old and Central Havana in the capital of Cuba
Parque Central on the verge between Old and Central Havana

If you are looking for a Cuba holiday, but don’t really want to take on the challenge all alone, there are various tour companies that can provide tried and tested “done for you” tours of Cuba!

One of the tour companies that have great reviews all over for their Cuba tours is G Adventures.

I have done several tours with G Adventures, like the Inca Trail and the hike to the Lost City in Colombia, and I have no problem recommending them as a really good tour operator.

These are the top-rated G Adventures tours of Cuba!

1. Cuban Rhythms: Beach Fronts & Havana Vibes

8 days, Havana to Havana, age requirement 18-35.

Playa del Este 25 minutes outside sizzling Havana!

With the Cuban Rhythms tour, you will immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Trinidad and Havana, where you can explore the local bars and clubs with music that flows through open windows.

Or take a journey to visit one of many beaches, followed by connecting with locals via homestays in casa particulares, or joining other young people on their excursions around town.

Here you will make unforgettable memories as well as friends for life!

2. Cuba Explorer

9 days, Havana to Havana, age requirement 12+ (under 18 w/adult)

The park in front of Plaza Mayor in colonial city Trinidad
The park in front of Plaza Mayor in the colonial city Trinidad

Discover the rarely-seen side of Cuba on this nine-day Cuba Explorer journey!

You will cruise in a classic car through Havana’s historical streets and saunter down Trinidad’s cobblestoned lanes to the sounds of music from nearby windows.

Visit a tobacco plantation for an authentic Cuban experience, and marvel at the lush green rolling western hills of Vinales, with views that will take your breath away.

Traveling by private air-conditioned vehicle means you’ll always be well rested, ready to soak up all that vibrant culture and warm tropical breezes have to offer!

3. Treasures Of Cuba Tour

9 days, Havana to Havana, age requirement 12+ (under 18 w/adult)

The view from the Queens Balcony on El Morro Fortress at the entrance to Santiago
The view from the Queen’s Balcony on El Morro Fortress at the entrance to Santiago de Cuba

On the Treasures Of Cuba tour, as the sound of horns fills your ears, bask in the ambiance of classic cars parked on colonial squares and revolutionary statues.

Step off resort grounds to experience true Cuban culture – travel east towards Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa, where Cuban rhythms began, as well as its passionate revolution.

Explore churches, forts, and cobblestoned streets that hold Spanish heritage while you sightsee. For an even more immersive adventure, stay overnight at a local homestay at a casa particular – making this opportunity exclusive to a few travelers!

Don’t just take a walk down this less-traveled path – shake it up with some lively dancing! Viva la Revolución!

Short Tours & Day Trips In Cuba!

I have done a variety of shorter excursions with Civitatis in Cuba, day trips, and two-day trips, and so far, I have only had great experiences with that!

Read more about the shorter tours you can do in Cuba for half a day or a day or two on this page where all the information is gathered!

FAQs Travel To Cuba From Canada

Can I Travel To Cuba Right Now From Canada?

Both Canadians and other international citizens can travel to Cuba from Canada.

For American citizens traveling to Cuba from Canada, the same rules apply as if they were traveling from the US to Canada.

US citizens still need to have the pink Cuban travel card and choose one of the 11 pre-approved reasons for travel to Cuba.

Can US citizens travel to Cuba via Canada?

Yes, US citizens can travel to Cuba via Canada, but it is not necessary.

Americans can travel directly from the US to Canada while following the regulations set by the US government.

You can read more about how Americans can travel to Cuba here.

Is Travel Ban To Cuba Still In Effect?

Canadian citizens have never been subject to the travel ban to Cuba; that has only been for US citizens.

Currently, US citizens can also travel to Cuba as long as they abide by the rules and regulations set by the US government.

What Documents Do I Need To Travel To Cuba?

All visitors to Cuba must have a valid passport to be able to enter, a return ticket to leave the country, travel insurance, including medical coverage, and a Cuban tourist visa, also called a tourist card.

What Can I Bring To Cuba From Canada?

Tourists to Cuba can bring in, without customs duties, two bottles of alcohol and one carton of cigarettes for personal use.

Additionally, up to 10 kilograms of medication, as well as gifts worth at most $250 US, are permitted duty-free.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to carry all your necessities while still saving money!

How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa For Cuba?

You do not need to apply for a tourist visa or a tourist card to go to Cuba.

You need to buy one; it is all a formality.

You can get a tourist visa for Cuba at the Cuban embassy, which might take a few days.

Or you can get one through selected airlines that provide that service.

Lastly, you can buy one online and have it sent home to your address within three days.

How Much Cash Can I Bring To Cuba?

You can bring the equivalent of $5000 in cash to Cuba when you visit, without registering your money in customs.

Can You Buy A Cuban Visa At The Airport?

Some airports sell tourist visas for Cuba, but not very many. You need to check with your airline whether you can buy a Cuban tourist card at your airport of origin.

If you fly American Airlines from Miami, you can buy the Cuban tourist card next to the check-in counter.

FAQs Cuba Travel

Why are US citizens not allowed to travel to Cuba?

This is NOT correct. US citizens ARE ALLOWED to travel to Cuba.

Americans can choose a reason for Cuba travel among 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba, determined by the US Government.

Can US citizens travel to Cuba as a tourist?

Technically, US citizens are NOT allowed to travel to Cuba as a tourist. Americans choose between 12 pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel, among which the most common one is “to help the Cuban people”.

American citizens still need to buy a tourist card, also called a tourist visa, to enter Cuba.

What are the 12 requirements to travel to Cuba?

You can read about the 12 pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba for US citizens here.

The easiest and most common reason for Cuba travel is “to help the Cuban people”. There is no paperwork or application process connected to this, you just choose your reason and state that reason if anyone asks.

What happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba?

Nothing happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba, apart from, hopefully, that the US citizen will have a fabulous holiday and nice encounter with Cuban culture.

US citizens need to choose one of the pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba and need to buy the PINK Cuban tourist card, also called a tourist visa.

Selected airlines sell this visa/tourist card, or you can buy one online.

What documents do I need to travel to Cuba?

You need the following documents to travel to Cuba:

Do Americans need to be vaccinated to enter Cuba?

No, there is no requirement for specific vaccines prior to entering Cuba. Your country’s health department probably has recommendations for what vaccines you should consider before entering Cuba.

How Do I get a tourist card for Cuba?

You can buy a tourist card online from Easy Tourist Card or from the Cuban embassy in your country.

You might also be able to buy a Cuban tourist card from your airline or at the airport prior to departure.

It is possible to buy a Cuban tourist card at Miami International Airport at the check-in counter with American Airlines and Delta Airlines.

How Do I Get A Tourist Visa For Cuba?

A tourist visa is the same as a tourist card for Cuba. You can buy it from the following places:

  • Buy one online from Easy Tourist Card
  • Buy one from your airline if they offer this
  • Buy one at the airport of departure if they offer this
  • Buy one from the Cuban Embassy in your country

Is Travel To Cuba Allowed Right Now?

Yes, Cuba travel is allowed right now. There are no COVID or health restraints from entering Cuba right now.

There are no political constraints from entering Cuba right now for most international travelers.

American citizens need to, in addition, choose one of the 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba (Americans can not travel as “tourists”) and follow some simple guidelines for traveling in Cuba.

Wrap-Up Travel To Cuba From Canada?

Traveling to Cuba from Canada is legal, easy, and does not have to be very expensive!

Whether you want to come for a pampering Caribbean resort holiday or you want to travel around and explore everything about Cuba, you can choose either with or without a guide!

The most important thing is that you discover the beauty of Cuba and want to come to visit!

Happy Travel Planning,

xoxo/Hege 🙂

Related blog posts:

How Long Is The Flight From Toronto To Cuba (+10 destinations)

How To Travel To Cuba From US Hassle-Free

My Resource Go-To List For Best Travel Booking Deals!

Best Airfare bookings: Skyscanner, Wayaway,

Best tour companies: Civitatis (for Cuba), Viator

Best Hotel Bookings: Booking, Expedia

Travel Insurance: IMG Medical Travel Insurance

VPN Secure Internet: ExpressVPN

Cuba Visa Online: Easy Tourist Card

Car Rentals Online: Discover Cars

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21 Comments

  1. Great tips in this post. I’m from Canada and I’ve never been to Cuba. I wouldn’t have thought of providing proof of health insurance.

    1. Hi Kelly,

      right! Travel insurance is mandatory to enter Cuba, but not many destinations actually check it or make you buy one if you “risk it” without it. So better to be on the safe side!

  2. I’ve never been to Cuba but it looks beautiful and I’d love to go! I never knew there were so many treasures there. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Cuba has been on my bucket list for many years now! I hope I’ll visit it soon with my family and explore as many places as possible. I also would like to try to stay in the casas particulares. 🙂

    1. I hope you do!

      And staying in casa particulares is the best experience either way; you get to know a little about Cuban culture and life if you stay for a chat! They normally give GREAT service, and Cubans are super nice people!

  4. This is great information! I have a friend in Canada who I know will find this useful and I just shared with! Thanks for all the tips!

  5. That’s so interesting that so many Canadians visit Cuba! I live in Florida and have never been to Cuba. Looks like they have some beautiful beaches!

    1. The Canadians have the “advantage” of not dealing with the sanctions that affect US citizens travel, so that’s why 🙂

      From Miami, though, there are several departures to Havana, Cuba, every day, and the flight is only an hour.

      You can even buy your Cuban tourist card next to the check-in counter!

  6. I have a question, as a Canadian citizen, am I able to fly from Edmonton (with layovers in Denver and Newark) to Havana for medical tourism? I cant seem to find a clear answer anywhere, would I have to follow the OFAC license requirement because my flight stops in the USA or am I allowed to travel for tourism? Any knowledge on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Tara!

      Yes, you are allowed to travel via the US as a Canadian citizen to Cuba.

      If your last airport is a US airport, you need to buy the pink tourist card (a bit pricier than the green one).

      As a non-US citizen, I doubt you will get a lot of hard questions in your last US airport, but if you do – you are staying in private residences and spending your money on private enterprises – under the “helping the Cuban people” clause.

      Canadians are free to travel to Cuba for whatever reason, but since you travel via the US: As “medical tourism” is not one of the pre-approved categories to travel to Cuba defined by the US Government, you would be advised to travel under the “helping the Cuban people” category.

      In the US (US airports) there is no paperwork connected to Cuba travel, only to state your reason for travel when requested. So for you, it would be to state the “helping the Cuban people”-reason.

      Hope that helps!

      As a Canadian, what you do in Cuba, is your own business 🙂

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