Your perfect Packing List for Cuba!

Updated: September 13, 2020 by Traxplorio

A trip to Cuba means in any case that something unplanned, unique is going to happen πŸ™‚ Your packing list should therefore contain some important items that will be very helpful to you in Cuba.

On the one hand, this is because in Cuba you cannot simply walk to the nearest supermarket to buy something that you might have forgotten at home, on the other hand, Cuba lives from the community of its people. That is simply great! We recommend living with Cuban host families (in so-called Casas Particulares) to make your Cuba adventure even more unique and authentic. The hospitality of the Cubans knows no bounds, so add one or two gifts to your packing list πŸ™‚

The packing list contains items that we have tested ourselves in Cuba and found to be very helpful. Besides items for your packing list, you will also find valuable information about activities in Cuba, the seasons in Cuba and of course advice to assist you on your trip.

When you travel to Cuba you will not only fall in love with the country, but especially with the people there! We are sure that whoever travels to Cuba will have wanderlust to his new found home πŸ™‚

Table of Contents

Your Cuba Packing List
About Cuba

15 Travel Gadgets you need on your Cuba Packing List!

travel adapter

A Travel Adapter is a must-have on every journey! With it you don’t have to worry about the sockets at your destination and you can charge your devices quickly on your own. Especially handy are the USB ports, which allow you to charge several devices at the same time at one socket.

Compressed Refreshing Towels

Remember that in Cuba not everything is easy to get? Toilet paper is one of these products. That is why it is not unusual to bring your own toilet paper to a cafΓ© or restaurant. These handy compressed toilet paper rolls can be a real life saver πŸ˜€ So this should be one of the essential products on your packing list.

Insect Repelling Wrist Band

Admittedly, with this item I also had to smile first. But for those who don’t like to use insect spray, this item is a good alternative! It really worked and directed the mosquitoes more towards the people around me πŸ˜› The bright colors also fit perfectly with the Cuban joy of life. It also takes up less space in your luggage.

4. Merrell Hiking Boots Low Rise

If you travel to Cuba, you simply have to walk around and enjoy the nature! Good hiking boots are essential to make sure that you don’t mind longer hikes. And you are going to hike a lot in Cuba (at least on the days when you are not relaxing on the beach πŸ˜› ). Merrell hiking boots are highly recommended because they are of excellent quality.

Flip Flops

Of course you also travel to Cuba to enjoy the beautiful beaches. The right equipment should be on your packing list. These are no normal flip flops… no, if you turn them around you have a bottle opener and can enjoy a cool beer in the sun. Sounds great, right? πŸ™‚

mikrofaser handtuch

These handy fast drying microfiber travel towels should be on your packing list for every beach vacation. Not only do they take up very little space in your luggage and are ultra lightweight. They also allow you to cool off for a short time anywhere, because you’ll be dry in seconds and can slip into your comfortable clothes again.

7. Backpacking Backpack

For traveling in Cuba, a large backpacking backpack is definitely our recommendation over a suitcase. This makes you more mobile and carrying your luggage in the Cuban heat is much more comfortable. When buying a backpack, you should pay special attention that it is well adjusted to your back. We have linked our loyal companions for you and recommend not to exceed this volume, otherwise it will be too heavy.

Backpack

If you have a big backpack with you, of course you don’t want to walk around with it all the time. This small practical ultra lightweight packable backpack is perfect for every trip! The daypack’s adjustable breathable straps ensure a proper fit and comfortable all-day use. We are really surprised how comfortable and robust it is. A clear recommendation!

Small First Aid Kit

On a backpacking trip it is always advisable to have a small first aid kit with you. This is also the case when you travel to Cuba. This kit offers the most important basic equipment and does not take up much space in your luggage. For safety reasons there should always be a place on your packing list.

Travel Security Belt

Another great item for your safety in Cuba is this practical Travel Security Belt. It protects you from pickpockets and you always have enough money with you. Compared to a chest pouch or similar, another big advantage is that you can even swim in the sea with the belt and always have your money with you. This item should definitely be on your packing list as it does not even take up space in your luggage.

LifeStraw Water Filter Bottle

From safety to health πŸ˜‰ The tap water in Cuba is not of drinking water quality. Nevertheless, you should definitely drink enough in this heat! If you want to avoid heavy lugging, we recommend the LifeStraw Water Filter Bottle. It filters the bacteria out of the water and allows you to always have access to fresh water πŸ™‚ Of course, it is also more sustainable than buying plastic bottles on site!

Activated Charcoal

In general, when you travel to Cuba, you should also pay attention to what you eat. You can eat fish almost everywhere without hesitation – and it is particularly tasty in Cuba. But you should be careful with meat. Not all stomachs are used to the food there, so charcoal tablets should definitely be on your packing list. Nobody wants to have stomach problems on vacation – especially not when there is so much to discover as in Cuba.

13. Swimwear

Of course, your swimwear should not be missing on Cuba! We have only listed these two items here to make sure that you don’t forget to put them on your packing list. Most of the time you forget the obvious πŸ˜› And I myself had to get along without my swimwear during my vacations… πŸ˜€

Sunscreen Lotion

Speaking of things not to be forgotten… sunscreen lotion! This is really essential and should be packed first, because it is not easy to get sunscreen lotion in Cuba (at a normal price). Of course, it is very important from a health point of view, because your skin has to enjoy many more hours of sunshine πŸ™‚

Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary

Finally, a tip that I would have preferred to take a bit more seriously before πŸ˜› In Cuba, people speak really bad or no English at all! Of course you can always communicate and funny situations arise πŸ˜€ Nevertheless I would like to recommend you to improve your Spanish a little bit and to have this phrasebook with you if necessary.

More Cuba Packing List Gadgets which may come in handy

Small presents for locals πŸ™‚

6 Things you DO NOT need in Cuba

More than two of anything πŸ˜‰

This refers to luxury and mainly electronic goods such as a camera, a cell phone, a laptop etc. If you are unlucky, you might otherwise face problems entering the country.

GPS Devices

Don’t worry, your smartphone is completely safe πŸ˜‰ Otherwise you should refrain from bringing GPS devices to Cuba. They only care about stand-alone GPS units.

Government critical or illegal products

You should definitely remove certain products from your Cuba packing list. These include pornographic products, as well as, for example, novels about the Cuban Revulotion. You better find another beach reading πŸ™‚

Too many luxury items

On the one hand, you should keep this in mind to avoid being noticed at customs (so don’t take too many gifts with you πŸ˜› ), on the other hand opportunities attract thieves. But Cuba is one of the safest countries in South America – so don’t worry.

Hanging toilet case

This product was found on many Cuba packing lists. On our trip, however, it was not really useful and rather took away space in our luggage. Therefore it is not a recommendation of ours.

Drones

The reason is quite obvious – drones are banned in Cuba.

3 Special Accommodations to stay in Cuba

Cuba Vinales

When staying in Cuba, you will usually be a new family member for a short period of time. At least if you choose to stay at “Casa Particulares”, as we strongly recommend. First of all we would like to recommend not only the incredibly great accommodation of Pedro and his family, but also to stop in ViΓ±ales. Pedro is one of the most loving Cubans we have met. We really miss the conversations at breakfast! He also helped us where he could and organized a breathtaking jungle hike with a view over ViΓ±ales at sunrise. It was the highlight of our Cuba vacation!

Cuba Varadero

We have also fallen in love with the Arteagas! If you are planning to travel to Varadero, we strongly recommend you to avoid the hotels. Not only will the beach there not be able to compete with the beaches more distant… you will also miss the comfort of having your own private bartender. Yes, in this accommodation you have a professional bartender πŸ˜› Not only was this mojito truly the best in Cuba, he also serves an excellent Bloody Ceasar. You do not know what that is? One more reason to visit the Arteagas πŸ˜›

Cuba Havana

In Havana there are many, many possibilities for accommodation. Raul, is an excellent choice! We especially liked the fact that Raul also organized our airport transfer πŸ™‚ The apartment is larger than average and even offers room for 4 people. Here we also enjoyed a delicious Cuban breakfast for the first time. The location of the accommodation is unbeatable! You can reach all sights within walking distance and you are right in the middle of the Cuban life. The prices in this area are a bit higher than in other parts of Havana. This is caused by the fact that the most beautiful spots of Havana are located here.

4 seasons in Cuba. What to experience and what to be aware of

Spring in Cuba (March - May)

Spring is still mainly dominated by the Dry Season (November – April). Temperatures are slowly getting a little more pleasant – around 24-27 Β°C. However, many tourists take advantage of this pleasant climate, so it can get very crowded in Cuba at the beginning of spring (peak time: December – March). You should also be aware that during the tourist season in Cuba the prices are a slightly higher. It should be mentioned that there are not the typical 4 seasons in the Caribbean. It is rather characterized between dry and wet season.

Depending on how well you can handle the given weather conditions, a trip to Cuba in spring is definitely recommended.

Spring, especially in April, offers excellent conditions to explore the country at pleasant temperatures and without crowds of tourists.

Which activities are most recommended in spring?

Do you like to dance or would you like to learn? Of course, you can dance perfectly in Cuba at any time of the year! But in springtime, the streets of Havana are full of music and dance festivals where everyone is welcome to join in.

While you’ re in Havana, you should definitely take a tour in one of the many charming classic cars! It’s best to do the tour right at the start, so you can get a sense of what’s going on and then decide which parts of Havana you want to explore a little more πŸ™‚

The great temperatures should of course also be used for extensive hikes through Cuba’s jungle and nature. Because Cuba does not only consist of fantastic beaches!

Speaking of beaches… in springtime the beaches are more empty and therefore even more attractive! Therefore consider planning a few days at the beach for your trip to Cuba πŸ™‚

If you travel to Cuba, you can’t go wrong with a trip in spring.

Summer in Cuba (June - August)

cuba summer

The summer in Cuba lives up to its name! The temperatures are relatively constant above 30 Β°C. Even at night there is hardly any cooling. The sea therefore contains an even higher attraction πŸ˜‰ Therefore, summer in Cuba is recommended for those who love water sports and activities.

The summer is entirely in the wet season (May – October).Therefore, in addition to the high temperatures, there is also a high humidity. Furthermore, the hurricane season in Cuba starts in June and lasts until November. The number of storms that have hit Cuba has increased significantly since the 2000s, but in general Cuba is not a highly threatened destination. For example, the last tropical storm in 2018 killed 10 people. The proof that you are safe to travel to Cuba is that there are many tourists coming to the Caribbean island, especially in July and August.Β 

I have to admit that I was not there myself during these months, but I only heard good things – Cuba is always a dream!

Which activities are most recommended in summer?

Obviously everything that has to do with the beach and the sea is in 1st place πŸ˜› Whether you just want to relax in the Cuban sun or are a little more active. Especially diving and water skiing are popular.

If you want to escape the heat of Havana, Trinidad is a good destination. From there you can also start many trips into the Cuban jungle, which offers a lot of shade.

And besides, how else can one spend one’s time in Cuba in the summer? With mojitos! Rum is the only product in Cuba, which I think you can get everywhere without any problems πŸ˜€ So why don’t you do a cocktail course and learn how to make the perfect Mojito πŸ˜‰ That way you can bring back some Cuba-feeling at home.

In this context, cheers to a wonderful Cuban summer!

Autumn in Cuba (September - November)

autumn cuba

Now lets get to my favorite travel time for Cuba. The main reason is that there are not many tourists on the road now πŸ™‚ During the day it is still very warm, but at night the temperatures drop significantly. Especially recommended is a trip at the end of October, beginning of November, because the wet season ends here and the tourists are not yet on the road again.

The temperatures are rarely above 30Β°C and tend to be in the range of 25-27Β°C. This is very pleasant for most activities πŸ™‚

In autumn we are also in the off-season, which makes it especially attractive for budget travelers πŸ™‚

Which activities are most recommended in autumn?

ViΓ±ales should definitely be at the top of your to do list. Not only can you go on breathtaking hikes through the Cuban nature, but you also have to visit a tobacco plantation! Cuban cigars are known and revered around the world. Take your chance and take a closer look at the production and let a real Cuban farmer tell you some stories. Of course you can buy some cigars for home straight at the plantation (good souvenirs πŸ˜‰ ).

But if it does rain more often, Cuba also offers countless indoor activities. These include the popular Salsa courses or cooking classes. Contrary to many reports about Cuban food, we enjoyed it very much.

Cuba also has an impressive and interesting history. Therefore, the museums are a clear recommendation, even if you are not a museum type. Everyone knows the names Fidel Castro or Che Guevara, but do you know the real story behind them?Β 

However, these months are perhaps the most uncertain in terms of the weather in Cuba. Therefore a good packing list is even more important. But with our packing list you should be safe, so nothing gets in the way of your trip to Cuba πŸ˜‰

Winter in Cuba (December - February)

winter cuba

Winter is a very popular travel season for Cuba. When it gets cold and wet at home, people are drawn to the Cuban dream beaches. With an average of 6 rainy days and temperatures between 23-25 Β°C you can easily stay here.

As you can see, you don’t need really heavy luggage at any time of the year in Cuba πŸ˜‰ This is very good, because you should definitely keep moving and get to know the country and its people.

Be sure to bring your hiking boots, because there are a lot of great outdoor-activities in these months.

Which activities are most recommended in Winter?

Cuba has nine UNESCO World Heritage sites (which is more than any other country in the Caribbean). Due to the pleasant temperatures, winter is ideal for exploring them. Especially in Havana, there is a lot to admire.

For many people, winter is also the best weather in Cuba. The water is pleasantly warm and also attracts many locals to the beach. Here you can easily get into the Cuban life and experience exciting stories and unique moments. A Mojito always tastes better if you share it with new friends πŸ˜‰

Very popular is also the Havana Jazz Festival, which takes place in December. In Cuba there are countless festivals with music and dance that provide entertainment.

A little insider tip is the trip to a Cenote! You don’t know what a Cenote is? No problem, I didn’t know it either – but once you have experienced it, you will never forget it again! A Cenote is a kind of natural swimming pool in the middle of the jungle. It is a unique experience and a great atmosphere! Since we are in the Cuban nature, a visit to Topes National Park is another excellent option.Β 

In conclusion, we would like to point out that Cuba is wonderful all year round and you will certainly not be bored. Have fun on your Cuba trip!

10 Interesting Facts about Cuba!

Both in terms of size and population.

I myself first realized during my stay how big Cuba is πŸ˜€ I could by far not explore everything… but this is only one more reason to come back.

It is also interesting that Cuba is even the 17th largest island in the world.

First we would like to clear up a small rumor. We have often heard that it is absolutely necessary to bring cash with you on Cuba, because you can rarely withdraw money or pay by card. That is nonsense! There are always enough possibilities to withdraw money…

Now to the currencies. There is CUC (for tourists) and CUP (for locals). 1 CUC corresponds to 1$ and 24-25 CUP.

In the more touristic areas the difference in price (CUC vs. CUP) when paying is relatively small. However, there are certain markets or establishments that only accept CUP. We encountered this for example at a street festival in Havana.

Of course, in any profession it is important not to get out of practice. This is the reason why we have a great selection of incredible cocktails in Cuba! Whether with or without alcohol, you will surely find a new favorite cocktail πŸ™‚

For many of us hardly to imagine… but in Cuba public Wi-Fi hotspots are actually existing for the first time since 2015. Before that, only selected people could enjoy them (e.g. government officials or doctors).

When you are in Cuba, you can buy Wi-Fi cards (1-5 CUC) and get 1 hour internet access.

Since you have digested the first shock, here comes the second πŸ˜› Cubans have only been able to own a cell phone or computer for just over 10 years. However, most Cubans started to own one in 2015 when public WiFi was introduced.

The hotspots are very easy to recognize πŸ˜‰ Whenever there are many people sitting on their cell phone or computer in one place, there is one.

$29.60 a month!

That’s not even 1$ per day πŸ™ Therefore every household has an additional ration book. There you can find certain necessary products, which are subsidized at nominal costs.

Many know that the smallest bird in the world is at home in Cuba – the bee hummingbird. But did you also know the Monte Iberia eleuth? This small dwarf frog has a length of about 10mm and was only discovered in 1993. Obviously he makes it difficult to be found πŸ˜›

In March 1857!!!

All ski or snowboard lovers will be disappointed πŸ˜‰ You will not be able to pursue your hobby in Cuba. The last snow has been so long ago that no living person can testify it.

But there are enough alternatives for AprΓ¨s Ski Parties πŸ˜‰

Another fact to rub your eyes. And the fact that Christmas was reintroduced as a public holiday is only due to the visit of the former Pope, John Paul II.

Before that it was banned from 1969-1998. At that time, it was said to have economic reasons, since sugar cane production should not be interrupted, and therefore normal working days were necessary.

It’s Baseball! πŸ˜‰

Meanwhile everyone in Cuba loves baseball. It replaced Spanish sports such as bullfighting, among others.

The Super Series consists of 28 games, which are played between May and June. The best players from all teams of the Super Series are appointed to the national team.

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