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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I visit Cuba now?

Cuba is a country like you haven't seen anywhere in the world. It is not overloaded with McDonald and his lifestyle is very relaxing. You must visit to really understand why Cuba is so fascinating. Now is your chance to meet this country.

Will I need a visa to enter Cuba?

Yes. All visitors must have a valid visa or tourist card, but obtaining it is not difficult: You can apply at any embassy or Cuban consulate in your country. Travel agents and airlines will also provide it when you buy your ticket.

This visa allows you to visit the country for 30 days. Once in Cuba you can extend it for another 30 days. It is important to note that Cuba does not stamp passports.

Do the Americans are welcome in Cuba?

Cubans do not have restrictions in receiving American tourists. They are very welcome!

What are the best places to visit in Cuba?

Definitely Havana, Trinidad (well-preserved old colonial villa), Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, Trinidad and Cienfuegos.

For nature tourism recommend Viñales, Baracoa, Topes de Collantes in the Escambray and Sierra Maestra, the main mountains in the island, located in the province of Granma.

To visit the beaches that give Cuba justly fame consider Varadero, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Santa Maria in Jardines del Rey.

If you are interested in diving, Maria La Gorda it is reputed to be the best Cuban seascape, but also the Isle of Youth, Guardalavaca and Santa Lucía in Camagüey will be a very good experience.

What is the best time to visit Cuba?

De Cuba is said to be eternal summer, and this it is true. The temperatures are always high because of its moderate subtropical climate. Even in winter when is influenced by the trade winds and cold air masses from the north the temperature is usually above 20 degrees Celsius.

Does the Hostal Mercedes can meet me with my little children?

Small children and babies are always welcome at Hostal Mercedes. All the conditions are met to enjoy the house with their parents.

Can Cubans visiting the house?

Of course, we are open to any client of any nationality.

Does the Mercedes Hostal is clean?

Yes, very clean. Housekeeping is given 24 hours.

Do I need to reconfirm my booking before arrival?

No, it is not necessary. However we appreciate informing us in advance if you will not come for some reason.

What about the food?

You can order your meals in the Hostal Mercedes if you want to eat at home, we have a good chef at your disposal. In addition throughout Havana there are very good restaurants, private and state. The offer is good and varied simply choose.

How much should I pay for the concierge service at Hostal Mercedes?

Nothing at all. Hostal Mercedes offers this service for free.

How should I pay for the services of Hostal Mercedes?

The only form of payment is cash. Remember that private houses in Cuba are run by their own families and they do not have the means to process credit cards or cashing travelers checks.

Can I use my cell phone or other device on Cuba?

Yes, Cuba has roaming agreements with almost all mobile operators.

Phone and Internet access

Phone calls.

In Cuba you can use pay phones to make direct calls within the country. You can use cash for local calls, only 20 cents in local currency is needed. Although you can also use phone cards that are sold in convertible pesos (CUC), these cards come in denominations of 10 and 20 CUC and you can buy them at hotels, conference centers, ETECSA offices and telephone booths.

To call Cuba directly:

  • Dial the international calling code: 011
  • Dial the code for Cuba: 53.
  • Dial the area code of the location to which you call.
  • Dial the phone number of the person to talk to.

Internet access

Before 2015 Internet access from Cuba was extremely low and slow, speed access rarely exceeded 56 kbs. Internet access was from the main hotels only. From July 2015 the State have opened public access area via wi-fi in all provincial capitals. These areas are mainly in parks and other visited places, the price is 2 CUC for an hour but the speed is acceptable.

What does "paladar" means in Cuba?

"Paladar" is the way we Cubans use to mark private restaurants. These establishments are authorized since 1994, since Cubans were able to convert some of their homes in a small restaurant of no more than 12 guests. But this situation has changed a lot since then, many of these small establishments have grown and have become big class restaurants serving Cuban and international cuisine and they are throughout all the national territory.

How far are sandy beaches from the city of Havana?

Havana has sandy beaches on the outskirts of the city. The best are to the east; Santa Maria, Guanabo, etc. They are only 25 minutes drive from Hostal Mercedes; but there are also other beaches although much smaller west as Havana Club, Old Havana Yacht Club just 8 km from the house. This club has a private beach which you can access by paying a cover that you can enjoy all day.

Can I hire a chauffeur during my stay? Do I complete time or part time?

When traveling to Havana you will want to enjoy every minute. One of the best ways to do this is to hire a driver. Hostal Mercedes can help you hire a driver to guide you in your experience of visiting the city.

How to move in Cuba?

Taxi companies are managed by the Cuban government and the rates are cheap compared to what you would pay in London, Paris or New York.

Also in Havana there are private taxis, commonly called "almendrones". They are mostly large American cars of the 50s, with a state of considerable decline. These vehicles follow a fixed route and stop to pick up passengers who follow that path, as a bus would. The price is 50 cents per person convertible on each trip.

The most economical and convenient way to travel between the provinces of Cuba is through VIAZUL bus. Getting a reservation in advance is almost impossible. You can book and pay for tickets in Internet, but it does not guarantee that you will not have problems when you present at the Station. However, it is easy to acquire the passage at VIAZUL terminals of each locality. However try to avoid the months of July and August, and the Christmas season where the service is saturated, in these cases we recommend renting a car.

Can I rent a bicycle or motorcycle in Havana?

There are a lot of places where you can rent bicycles in Havana, for example:

Metropolitan Building, San Juan de Dios, esq Aguacate, Habana Vieja.
Phone: +53 7 860 8532

The cost is about 12 CUC per day.

Can I play golf in Cuba?

Yes, in Varadero where there is a golf course of 16 holes, and Havana that has the Golfito Capdevila with 9 holes.

What are the best places to enjoy the night life in Cuba?

The nightlife of Havana is varied. The best places to dance are the Casas de la Música, the Tropicana cabaret, the Cabaret Parisien, the Red Room of the Hotel Capri, Dos Gardenias and Turquino Habana Libre Hotel, formerly Havana Hilton, Havana Cafe, Gato Tuerto, etc. There are also private bars, check the site map to know them.

In other provinces visit the Houses of Trova that exist in each provincial capital.

Is Cuba a dangerous and unsafe country?

Not at all, in fact Cuba has one of the lowest crime rates in the Americas. You can verify the presence of police forces in everyday life, and they effectively protect visitors.

However, take care of your property as you would in any world capital.