If you’re looking for an unforgettable trip that combines history, culture, and natural beauty, look no further than Havana. Here you’ll find it all right at your fingertips, while having the chance to explore one of the world’s great and undeniably most unique cities.
In this ultimate guide to Havana, Cuba, we’re covering everything you’ll need to know to enjoy Havana, including places to visit in Havana Cuba, Havana culture and art, and even the best day trips from Havana. We’ll also share our unique perspective, as a local and expat, about what you can’t miss when in Havana.
While some things have stayed the same in Havana, Cuba for decades, some things are changing fast: Havana restaurants pop up, open, and close again in just a few months, and things to do in Havana at night constantly evolve and change.
We’re keeping up with it all to help you have the most incredible Havana Cuba trip possible! Keep reading for this ultimate Havana travel guide from the locals, with all our tips for traveling to Cuba and all the things to do in Havana Cuba that you just can’t miss.
More than just another destination to check off the bucket list, there is so much to see and do when traveling to Havana that makes it a dream destination for travelers. While Havana may be best known for its beautiful and historic Old Havana center and its 1950s classic American cars, you’ll find much more here to excite every kind of traveler:
Spanish colonial forts and early 20th-century architecture for the history buff
Fábrica de Arte Cubano for art installations and live performances from internationally renowned musicians and DJs – its the center of Havana art!
Staying at a casa particular rental property with homecooked meals for an unforgettable cultural exchange
…and much more!
Havana makes for an incredible short getaway from Mexico or the United States, even a great long weekend option – travel to Havana Cuba from Miami is around a 45-minute flight.
However, you can just as easily spend five or more days exploring the city of Havana, before heading out to the rest of the country to explore favorite destinations like Viñales, Trinidad, Baracoa, and more.
It’s also one of the best cruise ports in the world and the most demanded by cruisers. Cruise ships dock in the Havana port right in the heart of Old Havana, making a visit via cruise ship an easy and unforgettable one.
If your itinerary allows for a longer time to explore, travel to Havana is just the gateway for so much more to see and do in the rest of Cuba. Just a bus ride or taxi ride outside of the city you’ll find nature reserves with mountains and waterfalls to enjoy, caves to hike, and countless white-sand, untouched beaches.
For those looking for a Caribbean vacation but unsatisfied with laying on a beach or being confined to a resort, visiting Havana with a stay at a nearby beach is the best option in the Caribbean.
You’ll get a mix of cultural exchange and history from this beautiful city, while also enjoying some of the best beaches around – there is really no better option than Cuba.
Check out our complete travel guide to Varadero if you’re interested in combining Havana with a beach getaway. This is Cuba’s most popular (and one of the most beautiful!) beaches, though it is just one option of many incredible beaches along the island.
Travel Insurance for Cuba
Cuba requires that all travelers visiting the country have insurance to cover any potential medical costs while in Cuba. Don’t make the mistake of skipping out on a travel insurance policy when you travel to Havana – you’ll likely be required to show it upon arrival!
Check out our Complete Guide to Travel Insurance for Cuba for all the details, plus the best affordable plans for all kinds of travelers.
This is important for travelers from every country: many travel insurance companies do not cover travel to Cuba! This is due to the U.S. embargo on Cuba. This means you can’t rely on your standard travel insurance plan to cover you – make sure to check out Cuba-specific plans.
We recommend checking out the plans from these companies that cover Cuba travel:
Can Americans Travel to Cuba?
Yes, Americans can travel to Cuba!
This is one of the most common questions we get, and there is so much uncertainty around this question for most would-be travelers from the United States. However, it’s actually quite easy and 100% legal to travel to Cuba as an American. Here’s our guide to how to do it.
Here is what you need to know:
The U.S. government requires travelers to have a legitimate “reason” for traveling to Cuba – as long as you do, you don’t have to do any paperwork or apply for permission to go to Cuba with the U.S. government. Thankfully, there is a “legitimate reason” for travel that makes it very easy for nearly all Americans to travel here!
Called the Support for the Cuban People travel category (read our complete guide for all the details), most people can easily travel to Cuba on their own, without the need for a group tour. All you’ll need to do is plan to spend your money at Cuban businesses that aren’t government-run while traveling in Cuba. In this way, the U.S. government considers your trip a support for the average Cuban citizen.
Trust me, you won’t feel limited by this! The best Havana restaurants and all things you’d want to do in Havana are run by small businesses that will be glad you’re supporting them.
Make sure to check out our important Havana guide: the complete guide to American travel to Cuba for even more important details and things to keep in mind before planning your trip.
Facts about Havana
Christopher Columbus in Cuba
Columbus declared Cuba “the most beautiful land human eyes had ever seen” when he landed in eastern Cuba in 1492.
Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492 after first landing in the Bahamas and explored the northeastern coast of Cuba.
One of my favorite obscure facts about Havana? Columbus was buried in the Havana Cathedral between 1792 and 1898 – his remains were relocated to Seville, Spain after Cuba’s independence.
The Cuban Revolution
While the Cuban Revolution was victorious on January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro didn’t enter Havana until January 8th, 1959.
Former U.S.-supported dictator Fulgencio Batista fled Havana, Cuba in the early hours of January 1st, 1959, and from then on out the Cuban Revolution has reshaped Cuba permanently. The fallout has shaped Havana both for the better and the worse in many ways ever since.
Hemingway in Cuba
Ernest Hemingway lived in Cuba for about 30 years, and Cuba inspired some of his most famous works, including The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Visiting Havana, Cuba and learning about Hemingway is a favorite of Havana tourism for many travelers. If you’re interested in learning more about Hemingway’s time in Cuba, make sure to see these spots when visiting Havana:
El Floridita bar at the start of Obispo street in Old Havana
Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Hemingway frequently stayed while in Havana
Hemingway’s former home, Finca Vigía. It’s located just outside of Havana and lovingly preserved exactly as it was decades ago.
Spanish is Cuba’s official language. Cuban Spanish is known for its distinctive accent and plenty of colloquial words used that are unique to Cuba.
Cuban Spanish includes a mix of words inspired and pulled from African languages (especially Yoruba) and plenty of English words as well. Even if you know Spanish well, be prepared to learn a lot while you’re here.
If you’re looking to brush up on your Spanish while here and learn some of the colloquial Havana language, check out Estudio Sempere language school!
English is the language of the tourism sector in Cuba but is not widely spoken otherwise. Try to come knowing some basic Spanish phrases to get by – they will go a long way! Make sure to download the Google Translate app before heading to Cuba as well – it can even read and translate signs and menus for you!
Flights to Havana Cuba
The Jose Martí International Airport in Havana is the largest international airport in the country with plenty of regular flights to nearby destinations. Located just outside of the city, it usually takes around 20 or 30 minutes to reach downtown Havana from the airport.
Taxis from the airport cost around $25 USD – the official rate is posted at the airport, so don’t let a taxi driver try to convince you that it costs any more than the posted rate! Settle on the rate before getting into the cab.
While COVID might have thrown a wrench in the regularity of flights everywhere, in non-COVID times there are multiple daily flights to Havana Cuba from major cities in the United States, Mexico, Latin American countries, and Europe.
While the world grapples with COVID on and off for the foreseeable future, make sure to check the status of flights to Havana Cuba as their regularity has changed.
Currently, flights to Cuba from the United States are only allowed to enter the airport in Havana, Cuba, and are barred by the U.S. government from entering airports in any of Cuba’s other cities. If you’re looking for a flight into these cities, make a connection in Havana on another ticket, or via a third country.
Is Havana safe?
Havana travel is definitely safe! This is something that I personally believe and is well supported by data.
As a woman, I’ve never felt unsafe or uncertain when traveling in and around Havana, even when alone. The city of Havana and the country of Cuba overall are known for being extremely safe countries for travelers, and you won’t have much to worry about here.
As when visiting any city or traveling anywhere, make sure to take some basic safety steps and take basic measures to protect yourself against petty crime like pickpocketing.
Important basic travel safety includes trying not to be flashy with jewelry or expensive cameras/computers, putting your backpack on your front when on public transport, and always being aware of your surroundings. With these things in mind, you and your belonging should be more than fine.
Solo Female Travel in Havana
Even as a solo female traveler in Havana, I have always felt safe here. While you should expect a certain amount of attention from men – whether it’s just staring or trying to talk to you – simply giving the silent treatment and walking on, and ignoring it, should be enough.
In comparison to when I have traveled in other Latin American countries, I haven’t felt that male attention has been any worse or better in Cuba than I’ve experienced elsewhere.
Laws in Cuba designed to protect tourists are quite strong, severe you might even say, and Cubans are well aware of that. This means that as a traveler you’re not likely to encounter any issues – just be aware of pickpocketing as you should be anywhere!
If you’re looking for more details about the places mentioned in this article, make sure to check out this detailed Havana map, where I’ve included all our recommendations – and much more. Here you’ll find our favorite Havana restaurants, Havana accommodation options, and the best places to visit in Havana Cuba.
Click on the Havana map to zoom, explore, and download for your Havana travel. Enjoy!
Places to Visit in Havana Cuba
Old Havana Cuba
Explore Old Havana
Old Havana is certainly the inspiration for the image you likely have of Cuba in your mind: early 20th century buildings in bright colors, classic American cars, and winding cobblestone streets. Exploring this beautiful neighborhood you’ll find this and so much more, making it hands down the number one thing to do while in Havana.
A popular place to start exploring is in the Plaza Central, from which you can head down the bustling Calle Obispo that cuts through the center of Old Havana. Make sure to also take a stroll on the Paseo del Prado heading towards the Malecón sea wall, especially towards the evening to enjoy the sunset over the ocean.
One thing that makes Old Havana so unique? People actually live here! While parts of Old Havana have been transformed into museums and apartments for rent to visitors, here you’ll still see Cubans living their everyday lives – kids playing in the streets, fruit and vegetable markets filled with locals, and more.
Walking Tour of the Four Plazas
One of the best ways to discover the heart of Old Havana is to take a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhood’s four largest, most well-restored plazas.
Old Havana’s main plazas include:
Plaza de la Catedral,
Plaza de Armas,
Plaza de San Francisco.
Use the Maps.Me app as a free Havana travel guide to guide yourself through Old Havana’s meandering streets and take time to soak in the city along the way. Between visiting these destinations and walking between them you’ll see much for the best of the Old Havana Cuba center.
Read More: Top 10 Apps to Download for Travel to Cuba
A Drink with a View
While there are plenty of bars and restaurants in Old Havana Cuba with beautiful views and rooftops, the pool decks and rooftop bars at the three newest luxury hotels in the city – Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski, Iberostar Packard Hotel, and Hotel Paseo del Prado – are fantastic spots to enjoy a happy hour drink and unmatched views.
My personal favorite is the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski, with its incredible view over Plaza Central and Havana’s beautifully restored theater.
Drinks are delicious and prices are reasonable, and you’ll find a good wifi connection here if you’re looking to check your email or catch up with friends and family back home.
Any of these locations are also fantastic for escaping the heat of the middle of the day and cooling off with a drink overlooking the view. Plus, these hotels offer day passes to use the pool and facilities for non-guests if you’re looking to take a swim.
Clandestina is a Cuban design brand founded right here in Havana that is taking Cuba and the rest of the world by storm. Based out of their charming storefront in Old Havana Cuba (located at 403 Villegas near the Capitolio), Clandestina is one of the first and only Cuban brands to market and sell its products online worldwide.
Clandestina’s design store carries hand-printed clothes, posters, items for the home, and much more. Not only do these items make perfect souvenirs with their often tongue-in-cheek Cuba-related themes, but you’ll be supporting a groundbreaking Cuban small business in the process.
Visit Coppelia and the Yara
Coppelia is well known in Havana and around Cuba as the country’s most famous ice cream parlor, with a rotating list of flavors. It’s a major Vedado Havana landmark found in every Havana guide that you won’t want to miss. Coppelia is the perfect stop for an afternoon or evening treat and escape from the sun.
Don’t be deterred if you see a massive line slinking around the park waiting to get in – there are smaller stands just near the entrances of the park that generally cater to travelers who don’t want to wait in line for the less expensive prices Cubans will pay.
Directly across the street from the Coppelia is the Yara, a landmark movie theater that hosts regular new releases of Cuban and Latin American films, as well as international film festivals. If you’re in town for a film festival, try getting tickets – they’re very cheap!
Walk Along the Malecón
The Malecón sea wall is a favorite gathering spot in Havana, especially in the evening and to watch the sunset, but it’s also definitely worth a stroll to see the city from the oceanside.
While the Malecón extends along the length of the city, I think the portion in Vedado is the best part to explore on foot.
Alternatively, if you book a ride in a classic convertible while in Havana – a favorite activity and an unforgettable way to see the city! – you’ll get to enjoy rolling down the Malecón in style.
Visit Pabellón Cuba
Pabellón Cuba is an outdoor exhibition venue on 23rd street – the Vedado Havana neighborhood’s most important and vibrant street. Pabellón Cuba holds regular concerts, art and science expositions, cultural events, and much more, and it seems like there is always something going on here.
You won’t find many tourists here, and it isn’t in every Havana travel guide, but Pabellón Cuba is a great place to check out if you’re interested in exploring Havana art and Havana culture.
Enjoy Great Food and Coffee
The Vedado Havana neighborhood is packed with great places to eat, as well as plenty of fun bars and clubs. This makes it a fantastic place for travelers to stay while visiting Cuba. It also means you should definitely plan on exploring the neighborhood whether you stay here or not!
Try out favorite Havana restaurants like El Idilio, Fonda La Paila, or El Cheverongo for great options in Vedado. Mamaine is one of my personal favorite cafes in Havana, and has a great range of food and coffee options all day.
Make sure to download the AlaMesa app before heading to Cuba – this Cuban version of Yelp has the city’s most complete listing of restaurants at all price points, and its offline map feature is extremely helpful for getting around the city!
Things to do in Havana Cuba
Things to do in Havana at Night
Join locals on the Malecón
The Malecón sea wall that runs the length of the city is one of Havana, Cuba’s favorite destinations at night. Not only is this a great place to enjoy an unforgettable sunset, but at night it turns into a favorite gathering spot for locals and travelers alike. You’ll find vendors walking up and down the sea wall selling alcohol and snacks, or you can bring your own and enjoy.
Not only is this one of the best ways to enjoy the Havana sunset, but it’s also one of the many awesome (free!) things to do in Havana at night. This guide to fun things to do at night will give you even more ideas of awesome free things to do.
Visit Fabrica de Arte Cubano
The Fabrica de Arte Cubano is an incredible destination for Havana art and Havana culture. Plus, it is an evening destination that has something to offer everyone!
Housed in a former cooking oil factory, this mixed-use space includes multiple bars and a small restaurant along with fine arts installations, venues for live music and performances, and much more.
Come for internationally renowned musicians and DJs as well as fashion shows, documentary screenings, and much more on rotation nightly. There is plenty to see and do here for hours, so plan to spend the whole evening here.
Rooftop Drinks over Havana
There are plenty of beautiful rooftop spots over the city to enjoy a drink and music at night. A popular spot is Mercy Bar Cafe in Miramar, which overlooks the ocean and has frequent live music, though this may be a bit far if you’re staying in Vedado Havana or Old Havana.
Try Malecon 663 along the Malecon sea wall between Old Havana and Vedado for another beautiful ocean view with great food, drinks, and a great atmosphere. La Guarida, one of Havana’s most famous restaurants, also has a beautiful rooftop with bistro lights and a gorgeous view of the city at night.
Other popular spots include the rooftop lounges with bars and restaurants at Old Havana hotels. Hands down the best include the Gran Hotel Manaza Kempinski, overlooking Old Havana, Iberostar Gran Packard Hotel overlooking the Morro fortress and the entrance to Havana harbor, and Hotel Paseo del Prado, overlooking the ocean.
Havana Cuba Beaches
Playas del Este
Playas del Este is an extension of beaches that run for several kilometers on the eastern side of Havana, Cuba. The closest beaches to Havana, Playas del Este are relatively easy and inexpensive to access, making them quite popular with locals and travelers with shorter itineraries.
The nicest Havana beaches that are part of the Playas del Este are are Playa Santa Maria, Playa Marazul, and Brisas del Mar. Here you’ll find beachside hotels and restaurants nearby, which make renting chairs and finding facilities during a beach day quite easy.
You can easily arrange private transport with a taxi from the city. For a cheaper yet comfortable option, you can also find shared cars that depart from next to the train station in Old Havana. Alternatively, you can take a Havana Bus Tour hop-on hop-off bus (on the T3 line) departing from Old Havana’s Parque Central.
While the beach at Varadero isn’t a part of Havana, Varadero is the best beach that is closest to the city. If your itinerary allows for it, I highly recommend heading to Varadero, just over two hours outside of Havana for the best beach experience close to Havana.
Check out our ultimate travel guide to Varadero for our top recommendations for Varadero accommodation, things to do, and places to eat.
Varadero is a pristine white sand beach and town known for being one of Cuba’s favorite getaways. Locals and tourists come here, and you’ll find plenty of accommodations, things to do, and places to eat at every price range. It makes for a fantastic day trip from Havana, or an even better overnight!
Havana Cuba is overflowing with an abundance of delicious places to eat, with more cropping up all the time. Here you’ll find a fantastic mix of classic Cuban dishes as well as increasingly more international food options.
Make sure to download the AlaMesa app before heading to Cuba – this is like a Cuban version of Yelp, and has the most extensive listing of restaurants, cafes, and bars in Havana and across the country.
Read More: Top 10 Apps to Download for Travel to Cuba
These are some of my top recommendations for cafes and restaurants in Havana Cuba, and the places you’ll find us when we’re enjoying time out in Havana.
El Café – $
This is one of my personal favorite restaurants in Havana Cuba, and a top recommendation I always share for breakfast, brunch, and coffee. Located in the heart of Old Havana, El Café serves delicious, fresh food and coffee all day, and mixed drinks at night. Breakfast sandwiches on sourdough are a favorite, as are granola with fresh tropical fruit.
El Dandy – $
El Dandy is another breakfast, lunch, and brunch spot that turns into a happy hour spot in the evening. This place is small and quaint but always attracts a crowd, and has affordable but delicious options. This is the perfect place to stop for lunch when exploring Old Havana.
Jibaro’s – $$
Jibaro’s is located in Old Havana and is one of my go-to places and top recommendations. Not only is the location beautiful, but they have fantastic food and mixed drinks, making this a great location for just a quick stop or a full meal. Plus, this is a great spot for vegetarian and vegan options, which can still be challenging to come by in Havana Cuba. Get here early, as the place is small and fills up fast!
El del Frente – $$
El del Frente was born when its neighboring restaurant, 304 O’Reilly, started to boom in popularity, outgrowing its space and opening a sister restaurant. While it might be overshadowed by its famous neighbor, I much prefer El del Frente, with its lovely rooftop dining space and bar, and delicious, inventive Cuban dishes.
La Guarida – $$$
La Guarida is one of the most well-known Havana restaurants, and with good reason. It has welcomed politicians (President Obama!), celebrities, and all the who’s who of Cuba and beyond the course of its history. It’s also known for having unforgettable meals. This place is worth the splurge for a delicious meal in a beautiful setting. Don’t miss the rooftop bar for an evening drink or meal with a view.
With both an increase in new hotels and private rental options in the past 5 years, there are more accommodation options in Havana Cuba than ever before, and at all price ranges.
There are several popular types of accommodations in Havana to consider:
Hotels – luxury hotels and boutique hotels
Apartment and home rentals
For years the most popular option in Havana has been apartment and home rentals, called “casas particulares.” These rentals can be anything from renting a spare bedroom in a family’s home to renting an entire private mansion, and everything in between.
We go into much more detail about the best places to stay in Havana in our Havana travel guide Ultimate Guide to Where to Stay in Havana – make sure to check it out for all the best places to stay in every neighborhood, and at every price point.
Here are some of our favorite properties in Havana Cuba to consider, from the most basic hostel accommodations to luxurious boutique hotels in colonial mansions!
Cuba 58 Hostel – $
Havana doesn’t have as many hostels as you’ll find in other capital cities. However, take a look at Cuba 58 Hostel in Old Havana for a lively and social atmosphere on a budget. Hostal Red in the Vedado neighborhood is another great option. Plus, check out our guide to the best hostels in Havana for the complete list of our favorite hostels in the city!
Casa Mi Tierra – $
Casa Mi Tierra is a favorite in Old Havana – a colonial building turned bed and breakfast with just three rooms, this could easily be an option for traveling with friends or family. Rooms are comfortable and spacious, and you’ll feel like you’re immersed in the historical heart of the city from the moment you wake up. Casa Mi Tierra is also very affordable and will leave you shocked at how much you can get for your money when traveling to Havana.
Casa Castellón – $
Casa Castellón isn’t all that stylish, but the lovely host family that owns this casa particular will make you feel like you’re found your home away from home. Make sure to ask the hosts for recommendations of the best things to see and places to eat nearby, and they can also help arrange transportation or tours while you’re in Cuba. Plus, you’ll be just steps away from the very best of Old Havana!
Casa Flamboyan – $ – $$
Casa Flamboyan is a beautifully restored colonial home in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana that has lovingly been converted into a sunny bed and breakfast. This is a fantastic and relatively inexpensive option in a fantastic part of this lively neighborhood, and a great choice on a budget!
Residencia Santa Clara – $$
Residencia Santa Clara is a stylish and modern boutique hotel in Old Havana that has won architecture awards for how it combines modern amenities and features with the building’s historic bones. What stands out to me are the comfortable and stylish rooms, the cafe and bar downstairs worth a visit even if you’re not a guest, and the fantastic, walkable location within Old Havana.
La Reserva Vedado – $$$
La Reserva Vedado is easily one of my favorite Havana Cuba hotels – this stunning and beautifully restored boutique hotel and historic home in Vedado feels truly luxurious, but won’t break the bank. The front porch and lush patio will make you feel as if you’re staying in a stylish friend’s personal home while offering all the amenities of a hotel.
For a complete guide to accommodations in Havana and the best parts of the city to stay in for your trip, check out our Ultimate Guide to Where to Stay in Havana.
If you’re looking at staying in a rented home like an Airbnb or rental apartment or home (a casa particular), make sure to check out our guides to the best Casas Particulares in Havana’s Vedado Neighborhood and the best Casas Particulares in Old Havana.
Day Trips From Havana
Day trips from Havana to Viñales
Around 2 ½ to 3 hours to the west of Havana is Viñales, home to the Valle de Viñales – Viñales Valley, and some of Cuba’s most beautiful natural landscape.
Viñales is best known for its incredible limestone “mountain” structures that shoot straight up out of the valley floor and are covered with lush vegetation. Called “karsts,” these are very unique and distinctive formations, and absolutely breathtaking.
Viñales is also home to some of the best tobacco grown in Cuba, so it’s a perfect place to come if you’re looking to learn more about the process of cigar making that Cuba is so famous for. On day trips from Havana to Vinales, travelers can visit tobacco farms and meet farmers, see how they dry and store tobacco leaves, roll cigars, and try a sample!
Check out our guide to the best places to stay in Viñales for our favorite Accommodation recommendations.
Viñales is also one of the best locations in Cuba for hiking. At the foot of the limestone karsts you’ll find caves to explore, plus there are countless hiking trails through the natural reserve for some beautiful views. Check out our complete guide to hiking in Viñales and guide to Cuba’s top hiking destinations if you’re looking to add this to your trip!
Day Trips from Havana to Varadero
If you’re looking for a day trip from Havana to the beach, I generally recommend a visit to Varadero! Varadero is just over 2 hours east of Havana, and with frequent buses (and private transport options!) that connect Havana and Varadero, it’s usually the easiest beach option from the city.
Check out our ultimate travel guide to Varadero for all our favorite places to eat, stay, and the best things to do in Varadero.
Hotels and private rental hosts can arrange private transportation to Varadero, or buses leave several times a day from the central bus station in Havana near the Plaza de la Revolución – tickets cost around the equivalent of 10 USD each way. You’ll also find private cars near the bus station that sell seats for slightly more if you’re looking for a bit more comfort, though the buses are generally nice.
Varadero has plenty of accommodation options at all price ranges if you’re looking to stay the night – even better than just a day trip from Havana. Plus, since so much of Varadero’s beachfront is public, even staying a few blocks away from the beach means you’ll have easy access to a beautiful stretch of ocean.
Tips for Traveling to Cuba
Cuba is almost certainly unlike any place you’ll probably have ever traveled to before. Cuba’s irregular trade situation and the U.S. embargo mean that sometimes it can be challenging to find things here, no matter how hard you look.
Grocery stores or pharmacies will sometimes run out of staple products, while having shelves overflowing with an overstock of other things.
This is one of my top tips for traveling to Cuba: bring exactly what you’ll need for your trip, and then some. Don’t be certain you’ll find those headache tablets at the corner pharmacy, or an extra bottle of hairspray. If you think you’ll need it, you should bring it!
Be Knowledgeable About the Internet in Cuba
The internet in Cuba is slower than you’re probably used to, and there are far fewer places you can access wifi than you might be used to at home. Don’t expect to be connected as much as you might be elsewhere!
Make sure to come with a VPN service (we’ve found NordVPN works best in Cuba and keeps speeds up better than other VPNs in Cuba!) so you can access all the internet pages as you would at home.
Despite slower internet speeds, internet access is growing quickly here, and many Airbnbs, hotels, and accommodations provide internet access. Make sure to check out our complete guide to using the internet in Cuba for even more details about how to get connected and use wifi while in Cuba.
Cash is King in Cuba
It’s important for travelers from the United States to be aware that American credit cards and debit cards will not work in Cuba – you’ll need to bring all the cash you plan to spend on your trip with you when traveling to Cuba.
Check out our guide to planning on how much cash to bring with you to Cuba so you don’t get stuck without money those last few days of your trip!
However, even if you bank outside of the United States, cash is king in Cuba, and many restaurants, guest houses, tour providers, and more will not accept debit or credit cards. It is best to bring cash with you when you travel to Cuba and convert it once you arrive.