Before leaving for Cuba I made sure to look up what other people had to say. Those posts were really helpful. Based off of my experience in Cuba, here are 16 travel tips to keep in mind when traveling to Cuba.
1. Walk with hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes, baby wipes, and toilet tissue
Some places don’t have toilet tissue and you may encounter no running water. We were lucky, most places we went did have these things but when we encountered one that didn’t, I was happy we were prepared.
2. Bring extra underwear and outfits
Be prepared to sweat! Cuba is very hot and you will take multiple showers a day. Whenever I travel I always pack extra under garments, just in case. I usually never have to use it but this time I was glad I brought so many. I showered so much that I almost ran out.
3. Download the offline version of Google translate
Wifi is few and far between. Unlike some other countries most Cubans do not speak English. Google translate really came in handy.
4. Bring more money than you expect to spend
Extra expenses will pop up. During our last two days our money started to run thin. You have no access to your American money so whatever you bring is all you got. Bring at least $500 with you, more if you can. I went with $500 and came back with about $40. Keep in mind that most of our excursions were paid for in advance. Most of that money went to cabs, food, tips, and souvenirs.
5. Bring snacks and mini bottles of water
Breakfast and granola bars are a good idea. We stayed in an airbnb so we were on our own for breakfast. Our host told us about some places a couple blocks away, but our days started so early we didn’t have much time to go and get breakfast. Our breakfast consisted of granola bars and water.
6. Never drink the tap water
Your host/hotel should provide you with bottled water or bring your own.
7. Bring tons of sunblock
That sun is hot and harsh. You should also walk with a little umbrella. Many Cubans use them as protection from the sun.
8. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
Especially when it comes to cab drivers, they know you’re tourists and will try to get the most money out of you. Set your price (a reasonable and fair one) and stand your ground. Someone will give in eventually.
9. Bring a small back pack
It’s a good idea to carry your wet wipes, hand sanitizer, baggies of toilet tissue, sunblock, bug spray, portable charger and other things in a small back pack. I found one that was small and cute so it matched most of my outfits.
10. Always carry your wifi cards with you
You have to buy hour long wifi cards in order to use the internet in certain places. You never know when you might stumble upon one of these hot spots, so it’s good to always be prepared.
11. Get use to flies
They are everywhere especially when you’re eating. That was the only thing I hated. Some places only have one or to flying around but if you eat outdoors be prepared to be swarmed by them.
12. Walk with a fan
We were able to pick some up at a souvenir shop. It really comes in handy on those extra hot days.
13. Book and plan your excursions ahead of time
It was nice to have our days planned out before we got to Cuba. The day we arrived was a free day, with each person kind of doing their own thing. The next three days were filled with excursions. It made our trip easier to know what we were doing and when. We also gave ourselves down time in between to relax or nap before heading out again. Since you won’t have internet or phone access it’s not a good idea to wait until you get down there to figure these things out.
14. Throw your diet out the window
You’re going to want to eat everything.
15. Leave enough room in your suitcase to bring back souvenirs
Lucky for us we had an extra suitcase. The bag we used to bring all the snacks and water, we used to bring souvenirs back.
16. Download the mobile passport app
This app gets you through U.S. Customs faster. It’s also good as a form of identification. You can leave your passport locked away in your room (and not risk losing it) and have your mobile passport with you instead. You might also want to walk with your driver’s license or another form of identification.
Hope these tips were helpful. If I left anything out, feel free to comment below. Make sure to check out “Viva La Cuba” for the full re-cap of my amazing trip.