Birding in Cuba
Nearly everyone arrives by air, from Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Europe. There are some flights from the United States, but Americans require the permission of the Treasury Department (Americans who don't qualify for the stringent regulations typically travel via Canada, Mexico, or Nassau). Private yachts are another option.
Morsn is in the sparsely populated Camaguey Province. To the north and east is a marshy region, on the flight path of major bird migration routes.
There is daily bus service from Havana, which takes about seven hours. Cubana has flights to Maximo Gomez airport, about 15 miles south of Morsn. Cuba has a good and inexpensive domestic air network. Cuba has excellent roads, so a rental car is probably the best bet. And government vehicles are required by law to pick up hitchhikers, so the intrepid can always take that route.
Cayo Coco: This 364-square-km key was a favorite haunt of Hemingway. A 27-km causeway connects it to the mainland. It is a protected reserve; 90 percent is covered by scrub vegetation. It is home to Cuba's largest flamingo population of at least 2,000 birds. At the time I visited there was only one hotel, but several more are under development. It can be reached by air from Havana and Ciego de Avila. It's probably best explored by bicycle. The Hotel Morsn offers excursions to Cayo Coco.
Cuba Tourist Board
55 Queen Street East, Ste 705
Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1R6
Phone: (416) 362-0700
Fax: (416) 362-6799
Consulate of Cuba
5353 Dundas St.
West Etobicoke, Ontario M9B 6H8
Phone: (416) 234-8181
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Mon.-Fri.
Embassy of Cuba
388 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 1P3
Phone: (613) 563-0141
Fax: (613) 563-0068
Embassy of Canada
Calle 30 No 518 Esq. A 7ma Miramar
Cuidad La Habana, Cuba
Phone: (011-53-7) 24-2044
Fax: (011-53-7) 24-1069
(from Tourist Board Web site)
Airports: Nine international airports.
Airlines: Air Transat, Canada 3000, Canadian Airlines, Cubana Airlines, LACSA, Royal Airlines, Skyservice.
Departure Tax: US $20
Car rental: Cubacar, Havanautos (central reservation office in Havana: tel. 24-0646, fax.24-1416), Tranautos, Transgaviota.
Tour operators: Air Transat Holidays, Alba Tours, Canad-Cuba Sports & Cultural Festival, Conquest Tours, Fiesta West, Hola Sun Holidays, Magna Holidays, Regent Holidays, Signature Vacations, Sunflight Holidays, Sunquest Vacations, Sunquest West, World of Vacations.
Conditions for entry: A valid passport and tourist card or visa is required. The tourist card is included in the package tour. A visa is required for business travelers, journalists, Cuban nationals, and long-term stays. For additional information including entry requirements for individual tourism arrangements and customs regulations, please check with the Cuban consulate.
Health: Water is safe to drink but bottled water is available and recommended.
Accommodation: All categories available, including five star properties.
Tipping: At client's discretion, not included in bill.
Electricity: 110 volts, 60 cycles. Some new hotels are 220 volts.
Clothing: Casual light clothing, preferably cotton.
Currency: National currency is the Cuban peso. We suggest you take U.S. dollars since goods and services are priced in U.S. funds. Accepted are traveler's checks and credit cards issued by Canadian banks, with the exception of American Express (TCs & credit cards from U.S. banks not accepted).
Shopping: Duty free-shops can be found in all hotels and airports. Cuban cigars, rum, liqueurs, arts and crafts, T-shirts and other souvenirs are good buys. All goods taken out of the country must be accompanied by official government receipts as well as, a stamp of approval, for certain arts and crafts.
Official holidays: Cuba's public holidays include Liberation Day (January 1), Labor Day (May 1), Celebration of the National Rebellion (July 25, 26, 27), and Beginning of the War of Independence. (October 10).
Is It Legal to Travel to Cuba?
(From Global Exchange, which offers educational tours to Cuba for Americans)
Most people are understandably confused by the proposal for legal travel to Cuba. With tightened U.S. restrictions on travel and trade, it would seem unlikely that a tour of Cuba would be possible. However, U.S. citizens may travel legally to Cuba under one of five specific provision: traveling as a journalist, as a professional researcher (licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department), as fully hosted participant, attending an international conference, or visiting an immediate family member (restricted to emergencies only).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication