Cuba Covid 19 Entry Requirements & Travel Updates – Everything You Need To Know
17th January – In light of the most recent government announcements and measures, the information detailed below is no longer entirely relevant. It seems unlikely that travel to Cuba will resume before July at the earliest – see also our feature on Cuba Summer Holidays.
The reopening of Havana airport on 15th November marked the latest stage in the gradual reopening of Cuba.
Of course, if the last seven months have taught us anything (apart from how to bake, sew, Zoom and definitely leave DIY to the professionals) it is to be prepared for pretty much anything and everything to change at a moments’ notice.
With that proviso in mind, and as of 14th January, this is what we know.
UK Government (FCDO) Advice on Travel to Cuba and Quarantine Rules
Due to the low rates of Covid 19 on the island, Cuba is currently one of the few countries that the UK government permits its citizens to travel to and from without the need to quarantine on return.
Please note that the above exemption only applies if you fly direct to and from Cuba. If you fly indirect, in either destination (via Paris, Madrid etc), you will need to take into account the rules that apply to the country in question, even if you are only in transit.
Official (from a UK point of view) advice on travel to Cuba can be found at the FCDO website although please note that the guidance on Entry Requirements may not tally with the information that we have received from the Cuban Ministry of Tourism.
Regular Entry Requirements For Cuba
Aside from any Cuba Covid 19 related rules and regulations, foreign visitors to Cuba should also be aware of standard entry requirements to the island.
For UK passport holders, all that is required for entry to the island is a Cuba Tourist Card. As a certified Cuba tour operator, Beyond The Ordinary are licenced to self-issue the Tourist Card. Please note that these Tourist Cards must be arranged / acquired in advance of travel. You will not be able to board a flight to Cuba without your completed Tourist Card and they are not available for purchase at the airport.
Historically, the same rules apply to EU passport holders although this should be confirmed with your nearest Cuban consulate. Subject to this confirmation, we are able to provide Tourist Cards to EU passport holders.
Non-UK / EU passport holders should contact their nearest Cuban consulate. We are able to provide Tourist Cards to some, but not all, non-UK / EU passport holders.
Flights To Cuba
In normal times, Cuba is served by both charter and scheduled flights from the UK. At Beyond The Ordinary, we only work with scheduled airlines.
After being closed for several months, Havana airport re-opened to commercial flights on 15th November.
The only direct, scheduled flights from the UK to Cuba are with Virgin Atlantic, between London Heathrow and Havana. However, these have been suspended for several months and, currently, there is no indication when they will resume.
Indirect, scheduled flights may operate between the UK and Havana with the likes of Air France (via Paris), KLM (via Amsterdam), Iberia and Air Europa (both via Madrid). However, flying via these cities / countries may require passengers to quarantine on their return to the UK or entail other such Covid related consequences. At this time therefore, we will not be booking clients on indirect flights.
Charter flights operate from various UK airports (often on a seasonal basis) to Cuba’s beach resorts such as Varadero, Cayos de Villa Clara and Holguin (for Guardalavaca). Strict limitations apply as to where passengers can stay on arrival in Cuba as well as their freedom to travel beyond the resort.
For more general information, please visit our dedicated page regarding Cuba flights.
Cuba Covid Travel Regulations
Effective 1st January 2021, anyone travelling to Cuba must have certified proof of a negative result of a PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel at an accredited testing centre in the UK or the country you are travelling from. Children are not exempt. This test should be taken through a private facility, not through the NHS.
Visitors will be required to complete a Health Declaration Form (which should be provided by the airline in-flight) which will include information on where visitors are staying in Cuba. This form will be handed over to the authorities on arrival in Cuba.
On arrival, and before passing through immigration, all passengers will be interviewed about their health and subject to a thermal temperature test. Any passengers exhibiting symptoms of a communicable disease will be transferred to an Isolation Centre for further examination and assessment.
All arriving passengers will have to take a further PCR test for Covid 19 with, potentially, a follow-up test after 5 days. There is currently no charge for this local test.
Anyone with a positive PCR test result will be required to go to hospital. The costs of the stay in hospital (and any medication) must be paid by credit card when discharged, or payment must be arranged directly by your travel insurance company.
As of 1st December 2020, the Cuban government are applying a health tax of US$30 per person which will be added to air fares by the relevant airlines.
All foreign visitors must have travel insurance, with medical cover that covers Covid 19. Although having travel insurance has long been a condition of entry to Cuba, it is not known whether (and how) visitors will have to provide evidence of such insurance.
In the future, it may be that visitors to Cuba will have to provide some form of vaccine passport although no details are yet available.
Testing Positive For Covid In Cuba
Flights from the UK and Europe tend to arrive in Havana from the late afternoon onwards. While it is the aim of the authorities to deliver the results of Covid tests within 24 hours, ie late afternoon on Day 2 of your holiday, it is best to assume that you will receive news on the morning of Day 3.
If you test positive for Covid and are symptomatic, ie fever, high temperature, persistent cough, you will immediately be transferred to hospital.
If you test positive for Covid but are asymptomatic, you will be transferred to a specialist hotel that has been re-purposed as a Covid isolation unit. You will have another PCR test which, we believe, will be 5 days after your initial test at the airport.
If you are travelling with someone who has tested positive for Covid, but you yourself have tested negative, you will be placed in isolation within your hotel and subject to another Covid test. The exact nature of this ‘isolation’ is not entirely clear at this stage.
Cuba Covid Internal Travel Restrictions
Trying to ascertain what, if any, travel and accommodation restrictions exist in Cuba in relation to Covid 19 is not easy. As and when we ourselves are provided with more detailed information, we shall update this page.
At this time, there are restrictions on travel to Pinar del Rio province (including the popular tourist destination of Vinales) as well as on Sancti Spiritus province (including Trinidad).
However, as there are currently no direct, scheduled flights from the UK to Havana, we are currently unable to take bookings for travel to Cuba – although we are more than happy to chat through any plans you may have!