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Cuban architecture

Custom regulations

Visitors who are well prepared and adhere to a few simple rules should have smooth trips through customs, both when entering and leaving Cuba. Key information to remember:
Cuban customs laws prohibits any imports of pornographic material, narcotics drugs, live animals and firearms, although these last ones can be authorized by the organization in charge of this tourist modality when these are for the sport of hunting. Any possession, consumption and traffic of narcotic drugs and other substances are penalized, except for those of personal use accompanied by the corresponding doctor prescription letter.

Inbound travelers

In addition to their personal jewelry, cameras and other valuables, visitors are allowed to bring into Cuba, duty free, two bottles of liquor, one carton of cigarettes and up to 10 kilograms of medicine. Gifts up to a value of $250 can also be brought in. Of that, $50 is duty-free; the rest is 100 per cent taxable.

Narcotics and firearms, except for authorized hunting weapons, are not allowed into the country. No restrictions exist on the amount of money a visitor can bring into the country, but amounts over $5,000 us should be declared.

(New) VCR and DVD players are now allowed into Cuba: Cuban customs has lifted the restrictions on the importation of VCR and DVD players into Cuba. Starting May 1st, 2007 travelers can bring them into the country regardless the type, brand or model, including the built-in ones in other equipment. Tourists are allowed to take their personal effects which include the articles (new or used) that they reasonably need for their holidays (according the length and purpose of the trip), plus: sport equipment, jewels, photographic camera, camcorder, cellular phones, blackberries, laptops, iPods, mp3 players, video games, hair dryers, electric shavers, binoculars, one portable radio receiver, tape recorder, one portable music instrument and a sound recording device. It’s prohibited to bring into the country: narcotics, explosives, pornography, any item (including literature) intended to be used against the national security, animals and plants regulated under the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora, GPS, cordless phones (for the household) that operate in bands different than 40-49 MHz and 2,4 and 5 GHz and household appliances: freezers, air conditioners, electric kitchens and furnaces, electric ovens, electric showers, electric fryers, electric water heaters, irons (travel irons are allowed), toasters and any spare electrical parts for the above.

(New) Effective December 20th 2007, walkie-talkies are now allowed in Cuba for tourists. They must be registered at customs when entering and you must bring them back with you.

Outbound travelers

Be sure to save $25 CUC (Cuban Convertible pesos) in cash for your departure tax at the airport. Visitors leaving Cuba can take out 50 cigars, and 1.14 liters of liquor (two regular-sized bottles of 750ml). To export other items, such as art and antiques, obtain a permit from the National Registry of Cultural Objects. Most legitimate vendors have such permits, and can officially stamp your receipt.

Strict rules apply to taking plants and animals out of Cuba. The Convention on International Trading in Endangered Species (CITES) prohibits taking the following out of the country: indigenous flora and fauna; live or preserved specimens and articles made from parts of endangered species. However, articles made from species approved by the CITES Administrative Authority in Cuba may be taken out.


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