is cuba safe

Is Cuba Safe For Travelers? A Local’s Cuba Safety Guide 2024

As you consider a trip to Cuba, you may wonder – is Cuba safe? Whether from concerned travelers from the United States wondering whether Cuba is safe for Americans to would-be solo travelers, it’s one of our most frequently asked questions.

Take it from us, a Havana local and a serial expat – Cuba is safe for travelers! In our ultimate Cuba safety guide, you’ll find all the details you’ll need to feel reassured about Cuba as a safe travel destination and all the Cuba travel safety tips you should know to keep you safe while traveling to Cuba.

the best things to do in cuba

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Is Cuba Safe?

With a resounding yes, we can confirm that Cuba is a safe destination for travelers.

I’ve always felt extremely safe in Cuba, even as a solo female traveler! In fact, after traveling extensively through Europe and Latin America, much of the time solo, there are very few places where I’ve felt safer than I do in Cuba.

Crime statistics back up our experience. While the Cuban government doesn’t regularly publish very detailed crime statistics, its recent reports to the United Nations on crime show a significantly lower rate of crimes of all kinds than you’ll find in almost any country in the Americas – including the United States.

While petty crimes like pickpocketing and theft do occur in Cuba, it’s uncommon, especially towards foreigners. Cuban law is quite protective of travelers, meaning that locals know that crimes against foreigners are quite harshly punished. It’s a big deterrent for crime towards travelers.

How Safe is Cuba?

Especially for travelers looking for a Caribbean or Latin American destination for their next trip, Cuba is among the safest travel destinations you can find.

With very low levels of theft, violent crime, and murder, Cuba is quite safe for travelers, including solo female travelers. Guns are almost non-existent in Cuba – it’s functionally impossible for the average person to get their hands on a gun, though police officers are armed – meaning you won’t need to worry about this type of crime in Cuba.

Crimes Against Tourists in Cuba

The most common crime travelers experience in Cuba is pickpocketing, though it is not common.

In the past few years, this has slightly increased in frequency as changes in fiscal policy in Cuba mean that more travelers are traveling with cash (read our guide to currency in Cuba if you’re not aware of this situation – it’s a must before you visit Cuba).

Everyone knows that foreigners are carrying more cash these days, making the risk of pickpocketing slightly higher than it has been. Keep yourself safe by using basic street smarts, keeping an eye on your belongings in public places, and only carrying a small amount of cash with you at once.

kilometro cero havana
Courtesy of Kilometro Cero

Is Cuba Safe for Americans?

Take from me as an American who is in Cuba all the time – Cuba is safe for American visitors. During all my time traveling Cuba and meeting everyone from government officials to your average citizen, I’ve never met a single person who in any way expressed even the tiniest bit of dislike for the average American citizen.

While some Cubans – not all – have resentment or distaste for the way that the United States has meddled in Cuba over the years, Cubans are able to completely divorce this from the average U.S. citizen traveling through Cuba. While Cuba and the United States may have strained relationships, this is not something that will impact you as a traveler.

Read More: Is Cuba Safe for American Travelers?

Is Cuba Safe to Travel?

Cuba is absolutely safe to travel! While we get the “is Cuba safe to travel?” question a lot as well, we believe Cuba is quite safe to travel. Our experience, the experience of countless other travelers, and statistics all back up that Cuba is quite a safe place for travelers.

We always recommend taking basic travel safety precautions, whether you’re traveling through Cuba or to the next town over. You’ll feel safer and will be safer this way. However, Cuba remains quite a safe destination for travelers.

Travel Essential

Don’t think about traveling to Cuba without a good VPN (Virtual Private Network). Using a VPN while connecting to the internet is an easy way to keep your personal information safe from hackers and trackers. We’ve used NordVPN for years and couldn’t recommend it more – it’s a must for safety online, especially in Cuba. 

cuba safety

Cuba Safety

While Cuba is a safe travel destination overall, it’s still important to take basic travel safety measures. These are some of the most important Cuba safety tips you should keep in mind while traveling through Cuba:

1. Don’t Follow People Places You’re Not Familiar With

“I have a friend around the corner who sells cigars for half this price!” or “I know an even better place to get drinks!” are some common sales tactics in Cuba.

While these aren’t always a way to commit a crime against you – oftentimes, they’re genuinely just looking to make a sale! – it’s always safer to refuse these types of recommendations, especially if something feels off.

2. Make Noise, If You Need To

If there is any stereotype about Cubans that is totally true, it’s that they love to get up in other people’s business. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe or someone won’t leave you alone, get loud!

Loudly tell the person bothering you no, or even yell; anything to draw attention to yourself. People around you will take note and most likely get involved on your behalf.

3. Only Carry What You Need

Currency changes in Cuba mean more travelers than ever are traveling with large amounts of cash. Make sure to only head out onto the streets with just what you need for that outing or for that day and no more.

In case you were to get pickpocketed, you’d only lose a portion of what you have. Looking for an (almost) free accommodation hack when it comes to keeping your belongings safe in your hotel? Get a cheap bike lock or something similar to lock your suitcase to your bedframe. While it might not be totally foolproof (and might be overkill), it is quite handy and very easy.

4. Don’t Walk Alone At Night

Use street smarts, and don’t walk alone at night! While Cuba is quite safe, you’ll want to use the same safety tips here that you would anywhere. Stick to populated streets at night and take taxis to move around.

5. Stick to Populated Areas

Even during the daytime, the best safety practice for travelers is sticking to populated areas where there are a number of people around. Isolated hikes are best with experienced guides when possible, for example. Try to avoid desolate streets or isolated beaches when you can, though statistics say you’ll be fine regardless.

6. Watch Your Belongings In Crowded Areas

Keep yourself safe from pickpockets by making yourself less of an obvious target. Don’t wander the streets flashing expensive cameras, jewelry, or expensive designer clothes; this is especially true if you’re visiting crowded areas like Old Havana, markets, or using public transportation.

A note about cameras: don’t feel like you can’t take photos while you’re out and about – not at all! All I recommend is that when you want to take a photo, take out your camera, then put it away. Don’t carry it around your neck or in your hand for hours at a time as you explore the cities of Cuba.

I recommend using S-biner micro-locks on your backpacks or bags while out and about and recommend women use crossbody purses when possible.

7. Share Travel Plans With Friends or Family

One of the best ways to stay safe and feel safe is to know that you’re not really alone. Make sure to share your travel plans and contact info with family back home, and make plans to check in with them on a regular basis. Proving a scan of your passport and the names of your hotels or guest houses can be helpful.

Travel Essential

Don’t head out on your adventure without comprehensive travel insurance! Good travel insurance may cover lost or stolen gear, medical emergencies, delayed or canceled flights, and more. Check out the policies available from World Nomads or compare plans using Visitors Coverage.

Safety Gear

We always travel with a few safety gear items that we think have made a big difference in keeping us safe on the road over the years. Check out our complete packing list for Cuba before you visit, but make sure to add these safety gear items to your packing list:

1. First Aid Kit

I recommend all travelers travel with a small first aid kit, whether they’re headed to Cuba or just down the street. Whether you want to get a premade travel first aid kit on Amazon before you depart or make your own by throwing some bandaids, painkillers, and rubbing alcohol pads into a pouch, it’s a good idea to carry these items with you as you travel Cuba.

This is particularly important for Cuba where it can be quite challenging to get your hands on certain common medications and first aid supplies you might be able to easily grab elsewhere. Check out our Cuba packing list for more details about just what you need to bring to Cuba.

2. S-Biner Micro-Locks

S-biner micro-locks are my number one favorite piece of travel gear; I use them everywhere I go without fail. These tiny micro-locks can be used to clip zippers together on backpacks or purses, which is just the deterrent you need to stop pickpockets. Easily packable and super affordable, these micro-locks have long been my number one travel safety hack!

3. Luggage Locks

I always keep my luggage or backpack locked in airports or hotel rooms when I’m not there, or when I’m lugging them around. I love locks with a flexible chain for this – while simple luggage locks aren’t designed to be impenetrable, they’re enough to make you the least obvious target for pickpockets, which is often more than enough!

4. Portable Safe

Looking for a way to keep your stuff locked and safe when you’re not around? Bring a lightweight portable safe. You can even bring this with you if you’re headed to the beach and want to swim without leaving your stuff unattended on the beach! Just attach it to a beach chair or even a tree, and you’re free to swim in peace.

5. Door Stop

Bring a cheap doorstop with you to use on the inside of your closed hotel or casa particular door while you’re inside – this can be enough to stop someone from forcing your door. If you really want to scare off an intruder, choose from among door stops with an alarm when forced. These are affordable, super packable, and work wonders.

6. Passport Scarf

I’ve never liked money belts or the like – they’re generally not cute, tricky to use, and pickpockets know them all too well. The passport scarf is something you’ll actually use – it looks like any other scarf or shawl but has a hidden pocket for your passport and money. It’s among my favorite travel gifts for mom.

7. Personal Alarm

Feeling unsafe and want a bit of added protection? Bring along a personal alarm – just hit a button or tug on the alarm, and a blaring alarm and flashing light will go off enough to scare off any attacker. These are tiny and quite affordable, easy to pack and carry around daily.

While I don’t think carrying a personal alarm is really necessary for Cuba, I mention these because I know many solo female travelers love these. The added sense of security they can provide is worth its weight in gold.

Is it Safe to Travel to Cuba?

Yes – Cuba is quite safe. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’ve always felt safe traveling in the busiest parts of Havana, the most rural towns on the island, and everywhere in between – even when traveling as a solo female. If you’re looking for a safe destination for travel, Cuba is a fantastic choice for an island vacation.

Carley Rojas Avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Home to Havana and Explorers Away. She is a serial expat and traveler, having visited 40+ countries and counting. Carley has written for publications like Travel + Leisure, MSN, Associated Press, Weather Channel, Wealth of Geeks, and more. Find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.