One thing I never travel to Cuba without? A VPN.
Using a VPN – a virtual private network – is one of the easiest (low-tech!) yet effective ways not only to stay safe online, but to access content online that may not be accessible from your location. By simply turning on a VPN when you use the internet, you can access the internet safely and securely, just like you would from home.
Especially in Cuba, where certain websites and apps are inaccessible, having a VPN is a must for anyone planning on accessing the internet while traveling.
Keep reading our ultimate VPN Cuba guide for our best tips on how to use a VPN in Cuba – and why you need a Cuba VPN solution! – as well as our top recommendations for the best VPN for Cuba.
What is a VPN?
A VPN (a virtual private network) makes your internet connection secure by encrypting your data as you use the internet – keeping your data safe from hackers and private while you’re on the internet.
When using public wifi (like at a cafe, at the airport, or anywhere else where others could potentially access the network) your online data is highly susceptible to hackers. With the protection of a VPN, your data is safe from hackers, phishing, and other internet threats and privacy concerns.
Using a VPN is a best internet safety practice whether at home or using public wifi in a cafe for the level of protection it offers. It’s particularly important when traveling, especially when traveling internationally.
In countries with limitations or restrictions on the internet, like China, Russia, or Cuba, a VPN will also help you avoid censorship and access webpages you wouldn’t be able to access without one.
In Cuba, is particularly important to use a VPN, both to stay safe from potential hackers and to access different pages on the internet you might need.
There are a variety of pages that you cannot view while using the internet in Cuba. While the government does not outright block much content, there are some government limitations on accessible content, mostly news sources that have been critical of the Cuban government in the past.
However, certain websites are inaccessible in Cuba due to the United States blocking their access from internet users in Cuba. While the list changes and fluctuates constantly, blocked websites include:
the App Store and Google Play store;
U.S. banks and international banks;
In order to access any of these websites or apps from Cuba, you’ll need a VPN Cuba solution. Thankfully there are plenty of great VPNs that work in Cuba and help you avoid these limitations easily – even for those who aren’t tech-savvy!
Additionally, while traveling in Cuba you’ll be using public wifi connections, like in a public park, in a hotel, or in your rental house or apartment. These are the types of wifi connections that are easy targets for hackers. Using a VPN will keep you safe wherever you connect.
All internet in Cuba is run through ETECSA, the state-run internet / telecommunications company. Public wifi networks like these are the target of hackers for stealing passwords, financial and banking data, and personal information.
Because of the limits on accessing the App Store and Google Play once in Cuba, it’s important to plan on getting a VPN for Cuba before arriving here, so you can download the VPN app on your laptop and phone. This is why I recommend to all travelers coming to Cuba that they get a VPN before arriving – so that they can access the internet safely and without limitation while traveling.
Best Cuba VPN Options
The best VPN Cuba options for travelers are those that take some of the limitations on Cuba’s wifi into account.
Specifically, internet speed in Cuba is slower than speeds you might be used to abroad, so picking a lightning-fast VPN that won’t slow down speeds even further is very important. Looking for VPN services with plenty of servers, especially located geographically near Cuba, will ensure that you keep the fastest speeds possible.
These are the best VPN for Cuba options that I’ve seen and used while in Cuba. While I personally use (and love) NordVPN in Cuba and beyond, the others listed below are popular and effective options in Cuba as well and great options to consider.
NordVPN is my top pick for a VPN in Cuba! NordVPN speeds are the fastest in independent tests, meaning this will help you make the most out of the internet speed you’ll experience in Cuba. NordVPN has a 68% discount offer currently running, so at just $3.50 a month, it’s a steal.
Surfshark is a very popular VPN service that lets users connect unlimited devices at once for just $1.99 a month. Surfshark is a very high-quality VPN with strong speeds, which makes it another great option for Cuba. Surfshark is running an 85% off offer if you want to check it out! I recommend it!
VPN Cuba Recommendations
There are many fantastic VPN providers out there, but my resounding recommendation for a Cuba VPN is NordVPN. I’ve used and loved for a while, in Cuba and in other countries as well, and have had nothing but positive experiences.
One of the main reasons for selecting NordVPN is that it has the best speed rating of all VPNs on the market. In Cuba where internet speeds are already slower than you may be used to, conserving speed is an ultimate priority. Not to mention that NordVPN provides military-grade protection of your data at an extremely low price.
It’s easy to just set your location to browse as if you were in the United States, or Germany, or many other countries where NordVPN has servers, and browse the internet just as if you were there. Try NordVPN with my 68% OFF Limited Time Code
How to Use a VPN in Cuba
Thankfully for those who are not technologically gifted (me!), using a VPN is extremely straightforward. Most VPNs allow you to download an app on your phone or computer, or install the VPN in your browser on your computer. Once you’ve done this, just flip the VPN on and select the location, and you’ll be using the internet securely.
Every time I need to get on the internet in Cuba, I just set my desired location to the United States, turn on the VPN, and I’m able to use the internet just as I would if I were there – but knowing that my data is totally safe and secure!
While geographically close locations tend to have faster speed, NordVPN also allows for a “quick connect” option, which automatically chooses the server that will provide the fastest speed.
Free VPN Cuba Recommendations
There is an increasing number of free VPN Cuba services you can download and use on the internet. Attracting those looking for quick and easy internet protection, these services have grown rapidly, and there are tons out there. However, free VPN services are generally not worth using.
There is, after all, a reason they’re free. Especially in Cuba, where internet speeds are slower and low-quality VPNs can slow down speeds making the internet practically unusable, they are generally worth avoiding.
Reasons To Avoid Free VPNs:
The internet in Cuba is slower than the internet you’re probably used to. Using any kind of VPN in Cuba or anywhere will slow down your internet slightly, but free VPNs will slow down your internet A LOT. Even when you’d normally receive lightning-fast internet speed, free VPNs can make internet speeds very slow.
Using a free VPN that slows down your internet speeds significantly in a place that already has slow internet could mean that you won’t be able to connect…at all.
This is why I’m such a NordVPN fan when it comes to the best VPN for Cuba – it does the best in the industry at keeping speeds as blazing fast as possible, making it the most useable VPN in Cuba.
Some free VPN services also offer the option of premium paid plans as well, then give lower speed priority to free users, trying to get them to upgrade to paid plans. Not fun.
Free VPNs and Malware
Not only are free VPNs not worth using, but they can also actually be harmful to your computer. A study of free VPNs found that they are significantly more likely to contain malware, mostly related to advertising shown to free VPN users as they navigate the service (hey, they have to make a profit on the service somehow). Looking for internet security and getting malware seems like a pretty bad deal to me.
Almost no free VPN services are able to unblock international Netflix libraries, or a lot of the other content restricted based on geographical location.
Netflix and many of the other websites used for streaming content put a lot of resources towards making their geographical restrictions challenging to bypass – making them too strong from free VPNs to overcome with limited resources to dedicate towards this.
If you’re concerned about being able to access particular websites and content from Cuba, free VPNs are not going to be able to cut it – they’re not designed to. Many free VPNs offer better service for paying customers, which is able to overcome some “geoblocks,” but market this as an incentive for purchasing a paid subscription.
Premium VPNs are cheap to begin with!
Premium VPN services like any of those that I recommend above, are extremely inexpensive to begin with! There is really no need to deal with poor and potentially harmful free VPN service when fantastic VPNs are so inexpensive.
Any of the three companies I recommended above cost about as much as or less than a cup of coffee per MONTH. And when you factor in any of the money-saving ways to use a VPN, you can practically write off that cost anyways.
With all this said, I highly recommend that you visit Cuba with a VPN ready to go, no matter which of these three companies seems like the best to you.
While Cuba doesn’t have censored internet like in China where even access to Facebook and Google are impossible, there are limitations placed on you when you use the internet that you’ll want to avoid – check out our complete guide to using the internet in Cuba for more details.
OH – and did you know that VPNs will pay for themselves by helping you find cheaper flights? Head over to our article on using a VPN for travel to learn more about how!