cuba vpn

Best VPNs for Cuba: A Local’s Cuba VPN Guide [2024]

Consider it an essential for travel to Cuba: using a VPN in Cuba is a must if you’re hoping to connect to the internet in Cuba. Using a VPN – a virtual private network – is one of the easiest (low-tech!) yet effective ways to stay safe online and access content online that may not be accessible in Cuba.

As locals, we navigate the issues that come with using the internet in Cuba on an all-too-frequent basis, and have learned (the hard way!) about the best VPNs for Cuba. Read on for our resounding recommendation for the best VPN for Cuba and tips on how to use a Cuba VPN service – it’s a bit different here than you might expect.

old havana attractions

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What is a VPN?

If you’re planning on using the internet in Cuba, even just for basic things like accessing Facebook or other messaging apps to stay connected with family and friends back home, you need to come prepared with a good VPN for Cuba.

But what is a VPN (virtual private network)? A VPN 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. More specifically, it runs your data through off-shore, protected servers, which makes it appear as if you are using the internet elsewhere.

In countries with limitations or restrictions on the internet, like China, Russia, or Cuba, a VPN is absolutely essential. With a VPN, you’ll be able to use the internet in these countries as you would at home – no restrictions, limitations, or, importantly, internet censorship.

Using a VPN in Cuba

When traveling to Cuba, it is particularly important to use a VPN. Why? There are a variety of websites and apps that you cannot view while using the internet in Cuba – these are websites and apps you might need to use in Cuba, or things you use on a daily basis back home and wouldn’t want to be without.

Looking for some quick recommendations about the best VPNs for Cuba to navigate the internet in Cuba easily? These are our top recommendations for Cuba VPNs:

  1. NordVPN: The Best VPN for Cuba (hands down!)
  2. Surfshark
  3. VyprVPN

Make sure you download the VPN service’s app on your phone, computer, and any other devices you’ll use while in Cuba, testing and completing the VPN setup before you arrive in Cuba. The App Store and other relevant pages you’d need to access to complete the VPN setup process are blocked in Cuba; this means that you likely won’t be able to get a VPN service from within Cuba unless you have one already.

Read on for more details about each of these VPN services and why they’re the BEST options for those looking for VPN protection in Cuba.

wifi in cuba

Best Cuba VPNs 

The best VPN Cuba options for travelers are those that take some of the limitations of Cuba’s wifi into account. Take note: since the internet speed in Cuba is much slower than speeds you might be used to abroad, picking a lightning-fast VPN that won’t slow down speeds even further is crucial.

1. NordVPN

NordVPN is by far my top pick for a VPN in Cuba! Their speeds are the fastest around, per independent tests. These lightning speeds mean you won’t be slowed down as you surf Cuba’s sluggish internet – making NordVPN by far the best VPN for Cuba.

NordVPN’s Winning Features:

  • Ultra-fast speed – the best per independent tests
  • Protect up to six devices at once
  • Tracker and ad blocker standard
  • Military-grade data encryption and protection

It’s easy to just set your location to browse as if you were in the United States, Germany, Canada (or any other countries where NordVPN has servers) and browse the internet just as if you were there. NordVPN has a 69% discount offer currently running and offers three free months if you sign up now. If you’re considering getting a VPN for your trip to Cuba, this is the one to get!

2. Surfshark

Surfshark is a very popular VPN service that lets users connect unlimited devices at once for just $2.29 a month. Surfshark is a very high-quality VPN with strong speeds, which makes it another great option for Cuba.

One additional benefit of Surfshark over other popular VPN services is that it allows users to connect unlimited devices with just one subscription. By comparison, NordVPN lets you connect just six devices at once. Surfshark is running an 85% off offer with two additional months for free if you want to check it out – I recommend it!

3. VyprVPN

Another good option for a VPN to use in Cuba, VyprVPN is another reliable and low-cost VPN that is popular with travelers in Cuba. Its speeds are generally slower than those of NordVPN or Surfshark, though it’s a great option nonetheless. VyprVPN is also running a deal right now for 50% off, so now is a good time to check them out!

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.

havana cuba buildings

How to Use a VPN in Cuba

Thankfully for those who are not technologically gifted, 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!

Free VPNs for Cuba

Wondering if there are any free VPNs that work well in Cuba? While there are some that work, we recommend against using them; there is a reason they’re free after all. Here’s why:

1. Impossibly Slow Internet Speeds

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. Free VPNs in Cuba can slow the internet connection you experience to such an extent that you may not be able to connect to the internet…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.

2. Potential 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.

3. Blocked Content

Almost no free VPN services are able to unblock content restricted based on geographical location. 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.

4. Premium VPNs are Cheap, Too!

Premium VPN services like NordVPN and any of the other VPNs for Cuba we recommend I mentioned 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.

VPN Cuba

With all this said, I highly recommend that you visit Cuba with a VPN ready to go! While Cuba doesn’t have internet censorship to the degree of other destinations like China, 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.

In the meantime, keep planning your Cuba trip and grab your VPN subscription from NordVPN to help you make the most of your time in Cuba.

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.