If you plan on using the internet in Cuba, you definitely need a VPN for Cuba – consider this a travel essential for your trip to 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 from your location.
Especially in Cuba, where certain websites and apps are inaccessible due to internet censorship and restrictions, a VPN is a must for anyone planning to access the internet while traveling to Cuba. 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.
In this ultimate VPN Cuba guide – written by locals for travelers to Cuba! – we share our best tips on using a VPN in Cuba – and our resounding recommendation for the best VPN for Cuba. Plus, check out our top recommendations for how to use a Cuba VPN service – some VPNs work better than others using the internet in Cuba!
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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.
First things first – 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.
VPNs are very easy to set up, and the fastest VPN services won’t slow down your internet speed. Using a VPN is the best internet safety practice whether at home or using public wifi in a cafe for the level of protection and encryption it offers. However, using a VPN can be particularly important when traveling in Cuba.
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.
Read More: Is Cuba Safe? Cuba Safety Guide + Local Tips
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.
Using a VPN in Cuba
When traveling to Cuba, it is particularly important to use a VPN. Using a VPN in Cuba will both keep you safe from potential hackers and allow you to access different pages on the internet you might need, but not be able to access otherwise.
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.
While the Cuban government does not outright block much content other than a few key websites critical of the Cuban government, you will find many pages and internet services that just aren’t available in Cuba. Why? Due to the decades-long United States embargo of Cuba, many companies must block their websites and apps from being accessed by 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
- Certain messaging apps
In order to access any of these websites or apps from Cuba, you’ll need a VPN Cuba solution that works for you – this is the only way to access these services from Cuba. 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!
Do VPNs Work in Cuba?
Yes, VPNs work in Cuba! However, it’s important to sign up for a VPN service and complete the VPN setup BEFORE you arrive in Cuba. 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 (by laws enforced by the United States relevant to the embargo of Cuba, not actually by the Cuban government itself). This means that you likely won’t be able to get a VPN service from within Cuba – you have to come prepared beforehand.
If you arrive in Cuba with your VPN subscription and the relevant apps already downloaded and ready to go, this won’t be an issue for you – you’ll be able to use the internet in Cuba just as you would anywhere!
Best Cuba VPN
The best VPN Cuba options for travelers are those that take some of the limitations of Cuba’s wifi into account. Take note: the 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.
Due to Cuba’s already slower-than-usual internet speeds, if you choose a basic VPN service that slows down your internet speeds significantly as you use it, the internet in Cuba will be too slow to use with a VPN at all.
Be on the lookout for VPN services with plenty of servers, especially located geographically near Cuba, which will ensure that you keep the fastest speeds possible. While you do NOT need to find a VPN with servers in Cuba for the VPN to function in Cuba, generally VPNs with more servers tend to be the speediest.
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.
1. Nord VPN
NordVPN is by far my top pick for a VPN in Cuba!
NordVPN speeds are the fastest internet speeds in independent tests, which is the number one thing that you need to look for when considering a VPN Cuba solution. 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 has a 63% 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!
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.
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 (though both José and I use NordVPN at the same time on all our devices and haven’t had an issue).
Surfshark is running an 82% off offer with two additional months for free if you want to check it out! I recommend it!
3. VYPR VPN
For 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!
Best VPN for Cuba
There are many fantastic VPN providers out there, but my resounding recommendation for a Cuba VPN is NordVPN. I’ve used NordVPN and been an extremely satisfied customer for at least three years now, using it in Cuba, Europe, Latin America, and every day when I’m at my coworking space at home. I have only positive things to say about NordVPN!
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 encryption and protection of your data at an extremely low price. It’s one of the best VPNs on the market and costs you less than a cup of coffee per month – it’s a steal, really.
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. Try NordVPN with our 63% OFF Limited Time Code. Our code also gets you three months free!
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! Essentially, the VPN provides an IP Address in the United States for this.
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
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, and I strongly recommend against them – particularly for those planning to travel to Cuba.
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
1. Internet Speed
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. 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.
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.
2. 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.
3. Blocked Content
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.
4. Premium VPNs are Cheap, Too!
Premium VPN services like NordVPN and any of the VPNs 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.
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! 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.