Once again, we are at the end of the year. Have you made it to Cuba yet? You do not want the year to end without visiting this tropical paradise. There is still time to make it a December to Remember in Cuba. In this blog, we will learn more about some of the upcoming events in Cuba. You will also learn more about the local weather, how to plan for a trip to Cuba this time of the year, required documents to travel to Cuba as a U.S. citizen, what to expect upon arrival at the airport, and more.
Cuba: More Than Just Mojitos & Vintage Cars
Although Cuba is mostly known for its mojitos, charming facades, and vintage car rides across Havana, Cuba is also host to many educational and scientific events. During December, in addition to the traditional Parrandas de Remedios, Cuba will also be receiving visitors from all over the world to cover topics such as film, tobacco research, meteorology, coastal ecosystems, organic chemistry, and many others. Take a look below to learn more about upcoming events in Cuba.
Upcoming Events in Cuba
10th International Meeting of Researchers & Students of Information and Communication / ICOM – December 2nd to the 6th
Some of the topics to be discussed at this event will be communication and information as cultural processes for the development of society towards the year 2030. Researchers from all over the world are invited to attend the event. The Faculty of Communications from the University of Havana and the Palacio de Convenciones are organizers of the event. The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana.
10th Cuban Meteorology Congress, 3rd Seminar-Workshop of Atmospheric Pollution, and the 2nd Climatology Seminar / X Congreso Cubano de Meteorología. III Seminario-Taller de Contaminación de la Atmósfera. II Seminario de Climatología – December 2nd to the 6th
This event, organized by the Cuban Meteorological Society, is open to meteorology professionals and enthusiasts. It is also for those who are involved in the development of contingency plans for extreme meteorological phenomena. The event seeks to open the doors to discussions, debates, and exchanges over available knowledge and interdisciplinary research about the laws and dynamics of Atmospheric Sciences. The event will be taking place at the Colegio Universitario San Gerónimo in Havana and the Tryp Hotel Habana Libre.
International Symposium of Integrated Management and Environmental Handling of Beaches & Coastal Ecosystems / X Encuentro Internacional De Investigadores Y Estudiosos de La Información y La Comunicación (Varaplayas) – December 4th to the 6th
The event will be covering five workshops with topics on geomorphology, vegetation, environmental education, community participation, and more. The items on the agenda will include subjects such as methodology for scientific research, management, and integrated diagnostics in beaches and coastal areas, amongst others. The symposium will also host the first Varadero Nature Photography Contest. This activity will be taking place at the Barceló Solymar.
4th Ibero-American Symposium of Organic Chemistry December / IV Simposio Iberoamericano de Química Orgánica 4th – 8th
The event is open to scientists and professionals in the industry, as well as to students. The event will cover various aspects of organic chemistry to include natural product chemistry, medical chemistry, computations organic chemistry, and more. The event will be taking place in Santa Maria Key, Villa Clara, Cuba.
41st Edition of the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano / Habana Film Festival – December 5th to the 15th
This festival, also known as the Habana Film Festival, is a gathering of Latin American talent. The festival’s full agenda includes screenings, workshops, and other events that promote networking and the exposure of top industry talent from Latin America. Famous directors, such as Pedro Almodóvar, and actor and director Robert Redford have been known to attend the event. The event also hosts an award ceremony for Premios Coral, which recognizes awardees in several categories. Screenings and activities will be taking place along several movie theatres and venues in Havana.
1st Congress for Tobacco Research in Cuba December / Primer Congreso De Investigación Tabacalera En Cuba (INVESTA) – December 9th to the 13th
Cuba is one of the world’s top producers of quality tobacco leaves in the world. This year, the country will be hosting its first congress for tobacco research. The event will also focus on the topic of Cuban black tobacco. The event aims to increase the reach of tobacco research and build awareness of the science behind tobacco at the local and international levels. The event will be taking place at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana. It may be a terrific opportunity to explore the origins of tobacco from one of its most important sources, taking a Segway to visit a Havana cigar lounge or two.
Las Parrandas de Remedios
December also brings to Cuba Las Parrandas de Remedios, one of the country’s most rambunctious festivals! The Parrandas typically take place in the days before Christmas. Some of the events happening simultaneously across different cities and towns in Cuba include parades, celebrations, lights, music, and dancing. This festival is said to have started as a way to attract more churchgoers to mass before holidays in the old town of Remedios. Now several cities and towns in the country celebrate Las Parrandas and compete for who has the best and loudest celebration! This celebration and many others, are just a preview of how Cubans celebrate the holidays and how you, too, can enjoy Cuba in December and welcome the new year.
Tips for Easy Travel to Cuba in December
Weather in Cuba In December
Cuba is privileged with reasonably good weather almost all year round. The average temperature in Cuba in December runs from highs around 81oF to lows of about 64oF. The best time to visit Cuba is now! December through May. Just another reason to plan a trip to Cuba this time of the year. To adjust to the weather, plan to dress comfortably during the day, with closed-toe shoes. In the evening, carry a cardigan or jacket with you to adapt to the weather fluctuations. Layers are great to take into consideration when packing.
Requirements to Travel to Cuba from the U.S.
There are specific basic requirements that need to be met to travel to Cuba from the U.S. The first is a valid U.S. Passport. The second is identifying the right reason for travel from the 11 categories approved for travel to Cuba established by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Support for the Cuban People is one of the broadest reasons for travel and frequently used. The third requirement is a visa/tourist card, for which you will need to have determined your cause for travel. Then, you need to have planned a full agenda of activities. Explore the many excursions and all-inclusive programs that are available to help you prepare a full agenda.
What to Expect Upon Arrival at José Martí International Airport in Havana
As it is customary with international travel, you will be asked to provide your customs forms as you meet with the immigration officer. It will be helpful to have all the accommodation information available, as well as your detailed itinerary, in the event you are asked to provide information about your trip. If you are traveling under the Support for the Cuban people, note that you will need to keep your agenda and receipts of all expenses incurred during your trip to Cuba. This documentation is required up to five years after the trip. Your luggage will also be scanned right after passing through immigration.
Before exiting the airport, you will also pass by representatives from the health department to provide one final form. After completing this step, you will be able to head towards the exit. Depending on the number of people in line, this process may be prompt or may take a little longer. Taking into consideration that Cuba has a different currency, you may want to pass through the currency exchange house at the airport. Use all your local money before leaving the country, as taking local currency outside of Cuba is not allowed.
While preparing for the trip, you may also want to arrange for transfers to and from the airport in Havana. You may also want to research how to rent a car in Cuba, or perhaps, as part of your itinerary, you would like to enjoy a vintage car tour in Havana. Preparation is vital to have a worry-free trip to Cuba.
The Benefits of Working with OnCuba Travel
Whether it is your first time or your seventh time visiting Cuba, it is essential to work with a professional agency that specializes in travel to Cuba, such as OnCuba Travel. Check out the many testimonials, including mine, from customers who have worked with this experienced team. One other benefit of working with OnCuba is that they have both – a local U.S. office in Miami, FL, and a centrally-located office in Havana, Cuba. I can say from experience that their team is very hands-on and efficient.
When I was planning my first trip, they took the time to send not only recommendations to prepare for the journey, but also images of the casa particular (Private home) where I was staying. I also received a detailed breakdown of the day-by-day itinerary with educational information about each landmark and activity we were having on a specific day. Having all these materials was extremely helpful in preparing for the trip. I felt like I was not going in blindly and had a great idea on what to expect. I had a fantastic trip with their help.