5 Things to Bring to Cuba
You’ve booked your plane ticket to Havana, you’ve planned your itinerary, and decided where you want to go. Now it’s time to decide what to bring to Cuba!
Cuba is not like any other country, where if you forget something at home you can easily buy it at your destination, so it’s important to make a list of what to bring to Cuba.
American credit and debit cards are not accepted anywhere in Cuba and you won’t be able to use them at any Cuban ATM either. Add cash to your list of what to bring to Cuba and exchange it for CUCs at the Cadeca (the exchange offices). You will find a Cadeca relatively easily in every city. Try not to bring American dollars because you will be charged an extra 10% fee. If you are transferring to Cuba via Canada or Mexico grab some Canadian Dollars or Mexican Pesos from the ATM at the airport. Euros and Sterling are also very good choices as they are widely used. Make sure you also exchange a few CUPs, to buy ice cream, pizza, or churros on the street.
2.) Health insurance
Add health insurance to your list of what to bring to Cuba, it’s mandatory. It is very likely that you will be asked for it at immigrations, when you enter the country, if you are holding an American passport. You can buy the insurance at the airport just before entering immigration, usually at a table. Also, make sure you bring with you all the medication you need because these are difficult and very expensive to find in Cuba. An allergic reaction to a bee sting cost me over 70 CUCs.
3.) Sun lotion and repellent
Do not leave home without packing a high factor sunscreen and a strong repellent on your list of what to bring to Cuba. It is a very hot country and the sun is very powerful. I had an SPF 30 sunscreen and I still got burned. There are a lot of mosquitos in Cuba and I would recommend you bring with you a jungle formula repellent with DEET of around 50%.
4.) Your camera and adaptor
A camera should be at the top of your list of what to bring to Cuba. Most of the casa particulares I have stayed at had 110v power supplies with the American pin model. Don’t forget to bring an adaptor (not required if you are coming from America) and be prepared for your electronic equipment to charge more slowly than at home. Also, don’t forget your camera, memory cards, and plenty of batteries. Cuba will delight you with its beauty.
5.) A good pair of walking shoes and a dancing outfit
The best way of exploring Cuba is on foot and for this you will need a good and comfortable pair of walking shoes on your list of what to bring to Cuba. I used to wake up early due to the jet lag and go for morning walks, on the streets of Trinidad. I would walk on cobbled streets, up and down the hills, meeting friendly Cubans and exchanging smiles with the children going to school. Before you know it, I would already reach 10.000 steps before breakfast. The support of good shoes was essential.
You can’t say you have fully experienced Cuba if you did not attend a live music concert in a casa de la musica. You will learn the basic steps for salsa and you will want to go and try them out together with the locals. You will be surprised by how stylish the Cuban people are and how amazingly they dance. Add dress clothes to your list of what to bring to Cuba so you don’t stand out as the “tourist”, and blend in. Chances are that a Cuban will invite you to dance and you will have a great time keeping up with their amazing rhythms. Enjoy!
If you have extra toiletries or clothes, don’t hesitate to give them to your hosts in casa particulares. They will be more than happy to receive them and you will know they will be much appreciated and well used.
With all of these essentials to take to Cuba now on your list of what to bring to Cuba, you can focus on the fun part of the trip: adventure!