Canada warns its tourists of caution when traveling to Cuba

Canadá advierte a sus turistas de precaución' al viajar a Cuba

HAVANA, Sept. 7th. Canada warns its tourists: that they must exercise a “high degree of caution” when traveling to CubaThe warnings take into account the shortage of basic products, including food, medicine, and fuel, but also theft and sexual harassment.

The Government of Canada issued an alert to its travelers to Cuba that asks them to “exercise a high degree of caution” when visiting the Island, due to “the shortage of basic products, including food, medicine and fuel,” as well as the danger of being robbed and sexually harassed.

According to an update on Cuba’s travel policy released on September 5, which placed a yellow alert for the island, travelers planning to travel there should take into account that it “faces chronic shortages and the severe shortage of basic necessities, including food, bottled water, medicine, fuel and hard currency.

“Fuel shortages are currently critical and affect a wide range of services. Traveling across the Island is extremely challenging. Public transport services, including taxis, are often disrupted, leaving tourists with few options for travel. Some travelers have been temporarily stranded with a rental car,” he says.

“Hotels and resorts, which often use generators during power outages, may not be able to maintain their services. Fuel shortages can also affect government services,” she adds.

She warns the report that “shortages can lead to disruptions to other essential services. There are often long lines at gas stations, which have led to riots.”

In response to the above, Ottawa asks its nationals to travel to Cuba with “toiletries and medicines”, keep “a supply of water, food and fuel on hand”, as well as make sure “you always have access to an emergency kit complete”.

Another aspect highlighted by the authorities is the one that implies the safety of women, especially those who travel alone.

“Solo female travelers may be subject to some forms of sexual harassment. Incidents of sexual assault against Canadian women have occurred, including at beach resorts,” the report acknowledges.

In situations of this nature, Ottawa advises tourists to avoid “snacks, drinks, gum and cigarettes” offered by new acquaintances. In addition, not to leave “food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers.”

Regarding the growing environment of insecurity in Cuba, the authority acknowledges that “minor crimes occur there, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching,” which generally occur in crowded places, such as tourist areas, markets, public buses, nightclubs, and beaches. , although they can also occur in isolated areas.

“Theft from hotel rooms, particularly private homes, and from cars is common,” she adds.

It also warns of fraud with credit cards and ATMs and scams linked to exorbitant prices when renting taxis and classic cars. “Disputes over overcharging can lead to violence,” he says.

For this reason, he recommends always confirming “the prices before consuming or contracting a service.”

“Some scammers specialize in defrauding tourists. Most of them speak some English or French and do their best to appear friendly. They may offer to serve as tour guides or to facilitate the purchase of cigarettes. Some have used violence in their efforts to rob tourists,” the report said.

“Fraudulent tour agents and taxi drivers also operate throughout the country, including at Havana’s international airport. Luggage thefts from taxi trunks have occurred,” he says.

“In bars, sex workers, including minors, can be very persistent and intrusive with tourists who refuse their services. Foreigners, including Canadians, have been robbed after having sex, and some of them have faced accusations for having sex with minors,” he says.

The long summary of warnings ends by recalling that “the decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveler, who is also responsible for their own personal safety.

Be prepared. Don’t expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you’re traveling far from major urban centers.”

Canada is the main source market for tourists from Cuba. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, an average of 1.3 million vacationers from that country visited the Island every year. Until July, according to official figures, there were 630,041 Canadian nationals who had arrived in the Caribbean nation.