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By No owner — last modified Dec 18, 2014 02:38 PM

 Cuba - Profile

Facts

  • In recent years more yachts have begun to visit Cuba as the authorities have started to encourage tourism. Consequently the entry procedures have been modified and yachts may now only clear in at a port of entry that also has a marina facility.
  • Whilst the cruising area is vast, there are restrictions on where you can go. All the small bays on the north coast are closed to yachts and throughout the country it is only possible to go ashore at designated ports where there is a marina or tourist facility. It is still possible however to anchor in remote areas where there are no settlements. The few designated stops are: Puerto Vita, Cayo Coco, Marina Darsena in Varadero, Marina Hemingway, Cayo Levisa, Marina Cabo San Antonio, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, and Santiago.
  • US yachts are not forbidden from cruising in Cuba, but if they do not obtain a licence from the US Treasury Department and permission from the US Coast Guard, they may experience difficulties when returning to the USA (see further details under USA Clearance). This situation may change now that relations between the two countries are improving.
  • Whilst it is perfectly legal for foreign yachts to go directly from Cuba to the USA, if clearing in at Key West it is possible you will experience problems on arrival where immigration officials are said to be "difficult", (reports have been received of cruising permits being denied or taken away). See USA Clearance for further details.
  • Because the island runs in a general SE-NW direction and the prevailing winds are easterly, ideally one should cruise along Cuba's coasts in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Yachting is still in its infancy and as there are very few locally owned sailing boats, repair facilities are limited. Resources to assist yachtsmen are limited or non-existent in most of the country and as a result one must be fairly independent if cruising here.
  • The US still maintains a military base at Guantanamo Bay on the SE extremity of the island. This port should only be entered in an absolute emergency.
  • Although not officially permitted, gifts of clothes, shoes, eye glasses or household items are very welcome by the Cuban people.
  • Recent changes mean that Cubans are now free to travel within their own country, however the cost of transportation for most remains high. On the positive side, any Cuban who has a car is now permitted to drive it as a private taxi.

Security

Tourists are regarded as valued guests for Cuba and the local people will do all they can to help you. There has been no serious crime reported against visiting cruising yachts, however, in Cabo Cruz (along the route to Cienfeugos), there have been several reports of theft from yachts in the anchorage. The anchorage is far from town and people do swim out to the boats.

The Caribbean Safety and Security Net (safetyandsecuritynet@gmail.com) gather information by anchorage or by island, so sailors can plan their cruising in the Caribbean with an eye to appropriate behaviour and precautions wherever they decide to go. Should you have suffered a boarding, robbery or attack on your yacht or have information about a yachting-related security incident, go to the CSSN homepage and click on the "Report an Incident" icon. The associated form is quick and simple to complete and ensures that all the necessary details are reported. The CSSN is the most comprehensive source of Caribbean security incidents against sailors on the net. Remember, it is every cruiser's responsibility to ensure that incidents are reported.

Free Cruising Guides have completed the Caribbean Security Index (CSI) review of 2013 and updated the country ratings. The latest update of the CSI contains new information that may be important to you to “route around crime.”
See this report at http://www.noonsite.com/General/Piracy/caribbean-crime-caribbean-security-index-csi-review-of-2013

Last updated April 2014.

Weather

The climate is subtropical with November to April, the cooler dry season, being the most pleasant. The rest of the year is often humid, rainy and very hot and the hurricane season is from June to November.

Cuba Weather Forecast.

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page

Main Ports

Share |
korand
korand says:
Nov 20, 2013 10:08 PM

Port of Entry - Does anyone know if you can clear into Cuba at Nueva Gerona, on the isle of Youth. I will be sailing their directly from Cayman islands.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 25, 2013 11:03 AM

There is a small marina and a coast guard station, but it is not an official port of entry.
Frank Virgintino

yogi
yogi says:
Dec 19, 2013 05:21 PM

We are planning to sail from Port Antonio, Jamaica to Santiago to clear in. Do you know, Sue, is it possible to clear out from Baracoa by the way to Bermuda? Thanks

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 07, 2014 02:55 PM

Baracoa is no longer a port of entry, but can still be visited once clearance has been done elsewhere.

Daniel Baydreamer
Daniel Baydreamer says:
Mar 16, 2014 12:40 PM

We are in Miami and are planning to sail to Havana! We do have a dog onboard ! Does anyone have any experience with bringing a dog into Cuba? Anything else that is worth knowing about if you are planning to cruise around in Cuba?

Best regards

Daniel

Canucksailor
Canucksailor says:
Apr 01, 2014 07:10 PM

The above information regarding pets is incorrect. Provided you enter with the dog's rabies' form, and a certificate of good health within the past five days (ask the vet to not date it), you will have no problems bringing your pet to Cuba. There is NO quarantine, and no requirement for a permit in advance from the Filosanitario. You can tie to a dock. Where do people get this misinformation from anyhow? If you have further questions about Cuba, please contact me directly at northchannelsailing@gmail.com

wapiti
wapiti says:
Dec 14, 2014 02:09 PM

We have to leave our boat for about a month and fly to Australia. The best route is via London. It seems the cheapest option is to leave the boat in Hemingway Marina and fly to London. Can anyone comment if it is OK to leave boats in Cuba and travel overseas? Is there a better option in the Caribbean?

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 18, 2014 02:38 PM

I suggest you contact the Commodore of Marina Hemingway - Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich - yachtclub[at]cnih[dot]mh[dot]tur[dot]cu. He speaks English and can advise on security etc. There's no restriction on how long you can leave a boat in Cuba, so if the flights are reasonable it is probably a good option.

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