cuba safe for americans

Is Cuba Safe For Americans? [2024 Guide]

Cuba is a dreamy – and widely safe travel destination – known for being an unforgettable bucket list destination. But given the long-held tensions between Cuba and the United States, is Cuba safe for Americans right now?

As a long-time Cuba visitor from the United States who now calls Cuba a second home, I consider myself a pro on all things that come with legal travel to Cuba from the United States. Read on for a detailed explanation of safety in Cuba for American travelers and important safety tips that can make travelers of any nationality a little safer when they visit Cuba. 

is cuba safe for americans

This post contains affiliate links that may reward me monetarily or otherwise when you use them to make qualifying purchases – at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, please read our disclosure policy.

Safety in Cuba

Travelers will be pleasantly surprised to find that Cuba is quite a safe destination for travel. Don’t just take my word for it; this is something that both statistics and countless personal anecdotes can back up. The most recent Global Peace Index data even ranks it as a safer destination than the United States.

Especially when compared to other Latin American and Caribbean nations, Cuba is one of the safest travel destinations in the Americas – and you’ll feel it as soon as you get here. While tourists should be aware of themselves and their belongings as they navigate Cuba and take basic travel safety precautions, crimes against travelers are not very common, and usually extend to pickpocketing at the worst.

Read More: Is Cuba Safe? A Local’s Guide to Safety in Cuba

Is Cuba Safe for American Travelers?

Cuba is a safe destination for travelers from the United States, as it is for travelers from any other country. As an American who has spent significant time in Cuba, I can attest to this personally. 

After visiting Cuba countless times, first as a student, then as a tourist, and now as a second home, I have never felt anything less than safe in Cuba as an American traveler. There is no discernible difference safety-wise in Cuba for American travelers compared to travelers of any other nationality.

Most American travelers visiting Cuba are well acquainted with the long-held tensions between the government of Cuba and the United States. You’ll even see evidence of this in Cuba wherever you travel, whether it be on a billboard with an anti-American government message or in the Museo de la Revolución in Havana where you’ll see caricatures of George W. Bush and other American leaders alongside American military gear captured in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion by the United States.

However, this tension stops here! I have never met a single Cuban to hold even the most minimal type of contempt or dislike for me personally as an American… and I’ve met many Cubans, even high-ranking officials in the government, and the most Revolution-loving Cubans you’ll ever meet. In fact, most people who learn I’m from the United States are even more interested in learning more about my story and what has brought me to Cuba. 

This is what you should expect as an American traveling in Cuba – interest, nothing more! You’ll love what you find.

U.S Embassy in Havana

Should any unexpected circumstance regarding safety or security arise while you’re traveling in Cuba as an American citizen, the U.S. Embassy in Cuba is located in the heart of Havana along the malecón oceanfront promenade and can provide emergency services to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. 

Make a note of the address before you arrive should you need support:

U.S. Embassy in Havana

55 Calzada, La Habana, Cuba

+53 7 8394100

We also recommend that travelers register their international trip with the U.S. State Department using STEP prior to departure. This is a standard safety practice that we recommend for travelers heading anywhere abroad, regardless of the destination. This will allow you to receive updates from the local U.S. embassy and can help the embassy contact you in the case of an emergency.

visit cuba

Safety Tips for 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. 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.

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.

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.

What to Pack for Cuba

Check out our Ultimate Cuba Packing List to help you pack for your trip – we’re sharing exactly what to bring to Cuba and what we never travel without.

Safety Gear for Cuba

There’s no Cuba-specific safety gear that we recommend other than a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to use for safe and secure internet browsing while in Cuba – which travelers should have no matter where they’re headed! However, these are some pieces of travel safety gear we recommend travelers consider:

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.

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. 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.

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. 

old havana che guevara

Travel to Cuba for Americans – FAQ

Can Americans Travel to Cuba?

Yes – Americans can travel to Cuba. While there are a few important details to keep in mind for American travelers to Cuba – like certain hotels that the U.S. government forbids U.S. travelers from visiting – it’s quite easy to enjoy a trip to Cuba as you would a trip anywhere else.

Read More: Can Americans Travel to Cuba? Ultimate Guide to Legal Travel

Do Americans Need a Visa to Cuba?

Yes – Americans need a tourist visa to travel to Cuba. The Cuban tourist visa is also known as the Cuban tourist card and isn’t something that you’ll need to apply for from a Cuban embassy in advance. The tourist visa to Cuba can be purchased online from EasyTouristVisa in advance of your trip in 7-10 business days or even purchased directly from your airline before departing for your trip to Cuba. 

Read More: How Long Does It Take To Get a Visa to Cuba?

Do Americans Need a Tourist Visa to Cuba?

Yes – Americans need a tourist visa to Cuba. This is the same tourist visa to Cuba that any traveler of any other nationality needs. It can be obtained either online from EasyTouristVisa or directly from your airline. 

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.