Backpacking Cuba 101

Backpacking Cuba sounds like a dream for every world traveler, doesn’t it? This country is loaded with a highly interesting history, from a dictatorship over to a revolution, leading to economical embargoes, and more.

But how does Cuba itself really look like? How is it to travel the most famous Caribbean Island? Gomio collected some basic backpacker information for Cuba we think you should know before backpacking Cuba!

Cuba Backpacking 101

Basic Information about Cuba

1. Official Name: Republic of Cuba

2. Official language: Spanish

3. Government: Marxist–Leninist single-party state

4. Population (2012): estimate 11 million

5. Currency: In Cuba you will experience two currencies. The CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) is the Cuban currency for tourists whereby CUP (Cuban Pesos) is the currency for locals.
National Holiday: Triumph of the Revolution, December 10th

Varadero, Cuba Libre design all over the country - Backpacking Cuba

Requirements for traveling Cuba

1. Valid identification card
You have to carry an official document with you which identifies you by your name, photo, and country. This can be a valid passport or any equivalent document which contains a official seal that authenticates it.

2. Visa, so-called tourist card
To visit Cuba you require a Visa. Other than most countries, you will receive a extra tourist card, and won’t get a stamp at your passport. The travel visa in Cuba is valid for 30 days

3. Sufficient funds – 50$/ day
Traveling to Cuba you have to own at least 50$ for each day you are spending in Cuba. You have to have this kind of money with you in cash or on an international bank account.

Geography Cuba

The Republic of Cuba is divided into 14 provinces, 169 municipalities, and the Island of “Isla de la Juventud” in the west. Cuba is an elongate island, from the west end of Cuba to the east end of Cuba it is 1200km long. The island has an average width of around 120kms, where 210kms is the maximum and 32kms the minimum. Even the country is mainly plain, there are also mountains, one with a height of around 1980 meters above sea level.

Cuba Map - Basic Backpacker Cuba Information - Backpacking Cuba

Accommodation in Cuba

As a traveler you actually have to stay at a Casa Particular. Those “Casas Particulares” mean “Private Houses”, and are usuallyVilla Cristina in Vinales, Cuba - a hostel experience in Cuba managed by Cuban families. Those houses offer private rooms, and very often a lounge, balcony, a terrace, or garden. There is always a space to get together and get in contact with other travelers or the managers themselves. Gomio calls those houses “Cuban Style Hostels” as there is a social atmosphere, a sharing experience beside the accommodation itself.

As those houses are also cheaper than other accommodation options in Cuba, you can also save some valuable money. Read more about Cuba Travel 101 here. We collected also the Best Hostels in Cuba for travelers to get an authentic Cuban travel experience. Check out “Best Hostels in Cuba“.


Cuba has an average of 330 sunny days a year, which means 91% of all days you can enjoy the subtropical climate. The average temperature is 25°C, same as the average coastal water temperature. So don’t forget your summer clothes!

Documentary about Cuba

Check out this BBC Documentary about Cuba. The Adventurer and journalist Simon Reeve traveled to Cuba to find a communist country in the middle of a capitalist revolution. He says “This may be the last chance to experience communist cuba!”.

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