We are never tired of repeating how unique is Cuba. The genuine character of each city, its curious history and the warmth of the people, makes the country a wonderful place to visit. However, due to its economic peculiarities, there are many items that you can find elsewhere in the world but are difficult to obtain on the island. In this article we will tell you the best tips on what you should pack when traveling to Cuba and enjoy the island as it deserves.
Travel documents: Passport, tourist card and health insurance
It may sound unnecessary, but we always like to remind travelers to bring their passports to any trip overseas. Cuban authorities require also a Cuban Tourist Card, a document similar to a visa that can be purchased at the airport, during the check-in for your flight. Another thing to take into account when traveling to Cuba is the health insurance, which is required by the government. Flights originating from the US include this mandatory insurance.
Cuba continues to have a cash economy and for the most part American debit and credit cards should be for emergencies only. We recommend around $75 -$100 per person per day for your trip to make sure you have enough that is if you are booked on one of our trips.
You can exchange the cash in one of the many exchange houses, called CADECAS. You are able to exchange most foreign currencies including USD. There is no need to convert US to another currency because you would incur two commissions. If you have exchanged too many Cuban Pesos, you can always convert them back before leaving the island..
If you have heard that toiletries are a challenging topic in Cuba, well it’s not a myth. Most of the brands of shampoos and deodorants that are familiar in other regions of the world you won’t find them at the island due to the embargo. It is best to bring all the toiletries that you will need during your trip, including sunscreen which is unavailable on the island. If you don’t want to return with the toiletries, they will make a nice gift for local friends.
Sun protection kit
Cuba is a very sunny country even during the rainy season, and visitors can’t help but be surprised when an announced stormy morning turns into a warm blue sky day with temperatures of 35°C. In order to enjoy the many cultural activities and beautiful landscapes Cuba has to offer, travelers should protect their skin and eyes from the heat and the ultraviolet waves. How? By wearing a hat and sunglasses, a combination that looks amazing with light clothes recommended for the Caribbean.
We also advise you to bring and use sunscreen. It can be difficult to buy it in the island, especially the good quality ones. A sunscreen without toxic ingredients is the best way to preserve the gorgeous coral reefs that make Cuba a paradise for snorkelers and divers.
Don’t underestimate the heat! It can be exhausting and uncomfortable, that’s why you need to pack adequate clothes for Cuba’s weather. Light summer dresses, T-shirts, shorts, summer shoes and of course a swim suit or two. A cardigan can be useful for the plane trip and for those cool evenings. And nothing like a good pair of walking shoes to protect your feet from Trinidad and Havana’s cobbled streets, Viñales’ muddy plantations or Baracoa’s slippery paths.
Simple insect repellent can be hard to find in Cuba, particularly those special brands for sensitive skins. Thus, it’s important to bring your own. Mosquitoes and other biting insects are typical in any Caribbean environment, and they are attracted by humidity, heat and darkness. In Cuba, they are prevalent in wetlands and forests, but also in the cities during the night.
Despite the existence of international pharmacies in Cuba, certain medications are almost impossible to obtain. In particular, those brands that are usually used in the US, Canada or Europe. That’s the reason we urge you to pack a first-aid kit with a variety of medicines you may need, such as prescribed medication, allergy pills, painkillers and anti-acids. Recognize your needs and pack well!
While many will see a trip to the Caribbean as an opportunity to get away from technology, there are some electronic devices you shouldn’t forget to enhance this unique experience:
- Your phone and charging cable: What to say? We love to keep notes, follow our trajectory in off-line maps, take pictures and tell all the family what we are doing… the phone is packed!
- A camera: Nothing like a camera to capture those unforgettable moments in Cuba. Bring a high capacity SD card and take a new world of pictures.
- A power bank: For those long walks through the city where the day seems to be eternal, you will need a fully charged power bank portable for the phone and the camera. Take it wherever you go and never lose a spot.
By the way, Cuba has the same wall power outlet as the U.S, so you don’t need to carry an adaptor. The voltage is usually 110 volts too, but check always with the owner of the casa particular where you are staying before connecting anything.
If you wish to practice your Spanish, you are coming to the right place. Cubans are friendly and extroverted and they will try to talk with you even if they don’t speak any English.
Grab a Spanish-English phrasebook and be prepared to practice the words you know and learn many others. Your expert guide will help you with that!
Donations for Aniplant
We encourage our travelers to donate pet medicines, food or anything they decide. ANIPLANT, is non-governmental organization advocates for the protection of domestics animals rescuing them from the streets to feed them, cure them and search for a new caring home. Directed by Nora García, who has dedicated 30 years of her life to this noble work, ANIPLANT also develops community projects to teach children how to take care of their pets.
However, dog and cat medicines are difficult to find on the island. Any help you can give could save many beautiful lives and it only occupies just a few inches of your travel bag.
Now your luggage is almost ready! Complete your plan contacting Espíritu Travel to ensure the best trip to Cuba.