Known for its beautiful beaches with crystal-clear water, Cuba is a colourful country with friendly people. But more than just the turquoise-coloured waters, Cuba packs a punch with its world-renowned cigars, voguish vintage cars, and towering palm trees in a warm subtropical climate.

In this post, we will provide a comprehensive Cuba packing list to get you set for your vacation.

Cuba has a rich culture of vibrant outdoor markets and many fun-loving music genres. The people are generous and welcoming, and most of them spend a significant portion of their day socialising.

The country is pleasing to the eyes due to its different architectural styles like Baroque, Neoclassical (brought by the French), Art Deco, and Eclectism. You will see many streets with pastel-coloured houses and some with Moorish-inspired arches in Cuba.

Cuba is also one of the best affordable tropical vacations.

What to Take to Cuba

Cuba has only recently attracted attention from globetrotters and can be considered a relatively new travel hotspot.

Since Cuba faces many embargos and economic sanctions, it’s difficult to find many things in Cuba. If you forget to pack something, chances are you won’t find it in a local convenience store.

But rest assured, we’ve got you covered.

What to Wear In Cuba – Packing Clothes and Shoes

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Since the country has a subtropical climate with cool winds, it’s relatively easy to pack clothes. Pick light, breezy, and comfortable items, preferably made of cotton or silk, to avoid sweating profusely in the country’s sweltering heat.

The weather is generally hot all year round, but the months between May and October are rainy so take a raincoat with you.

  1. Dresses (3 to 5): In a place like Cuba, where dancing is a cultural norm, you can never have too many dresses. They are also a breezy clothing item for the humid weather.
  2. Tops (4 to 5): Pick tank tops or tops with short sleeves to stay cool in the heat.
  3. Jeans (1 pair): We recommend steering clear of jeans because they can be pretty uncomfortable in humid weather. But it’s safe to pack one pair for a night out when the temperature is cooler.
  4. Shorts (2 to 3 pairs): Pick breathable fabrics.
  5. Skirts (2 to 3): Skirts are great for daytime and evening wear. Opt for midi or maxi length skirts – the length traps cool air and makes you feel less hot, as well as protects you from sunburn.
  6. Pants: As an alternative to skirts/shorts, pack 3 to 4 pairs of lightweight pants.
  7. Sleeping suit: When it comes to sleeping suits, pack ones with cool, lightweight fabrics like linen, silk, or cotton.
  8. Flannel or light cardigan (1): Although Cuba has a warm climate, some nights may be slightly chilly so pack a flannel or light cardigan.
  9. Undergarments: This is dependent on the duration of your vacation. Ladies, if you’re planning to partake in Cuba’s physical activities, carry 2-3 sports bras.
  10. Bathing suit (1 to 3): We hope you’ll make the most of Cuba’s gorgeous shorelines, so don’t forget your bathing suits.
  11. Sunhat (1 to 2) and Sunglasses: To protect your eyes and face from sun damage and make your outfits look chic.
  12. Sneakers: Some of Cuba’s roads are dusty, so close-toed shoes are a good idea. And if you’re planning to visit the mountainous regions, go trekking, or participate in any physical activity, take your most comfortable pair of sneakers with you.
  13. Walking sandals: Cuba’s style is more smart-casuals and not overly formal. A cute pair of sandals or flats work for most tourist locations and a night out.
  14. Pair of heels (1): Only take them if you plan to dance or participate in salsa.

Cuba Checklist – From Essentials and Accessories to Tech Gear

Aside from clothes, so much more goes into deciding what to pack. And for a destination like Cuba, you want to make sure you have all the extra items covered too.

Documents

Listed below are the documents you need when visiting Cuba:

  • Passport
  • Flight or cruise ticket
  • Travel health insurance
  • Hotel booking confirmation
  • Tourist visa and a Tourist visa card: the tourist visa card is a document that must be kept with your passport. Click here to check eligibility and to apply for a tourist visa.
  • Cash: due to the official embargo, American debit cards and credit cards do not work in Cuba. You will have to convert an estimated amount of money to euros. ATM cards besides American ones should work, but check with your bank and notify them in advance that you’ll be travelling to Cuba.

Luggage and Bags

In addition to your luggage bag, take with you:

  • A small backpack or crossbody bag: to carry your essentials while touring Cuba.
  • A foldable tote or backpack: for beach days.
  • Laundry bags: to separate dirty clothes from clean clothes. Or use them for shoes.

Neck Wallet

Due to Cuba’s economic struggles, pickpocketing is common, and tourists are an easy target. A neck wallet enables you to carry your valuable belongings under your clothes and out of sight. It’s also wise to not wear any expensive or flashy jewellery in Cuba.

COVID Safety

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The pandemic has completely changed the way we travel. With the risk of catching a virus, you must ensure you take all the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others around you safe. Pack the following items:

  • Hand sanitiser: keep it in your handbag and apply it as regularly as you can.
  • Face masks: to protect you from catching the virus and also from diesel fumes in Cuba.
  • Medical kit: Your medical kit should have band-aids, an anti-itch cream, motion sickness medication, painkillers, and any other medications you take regularly. As well as zinc and Vitamin C tablets to boost your immunity.

Toiletries and Accessories

These include basic toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and sanitary products. In addition to this, don’t forget:

  • Accessories and jewellery
  • Cosmetics and skincare products.
  • Contact lens and its solution: Carry a pair of glasses as a backup.
  • Sunscreen: Take a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from sunburn and skin damage.
  • Toilet paper: It is not available in most public bathrooms in Cuba, so take toilet paper or kleenex pocket tissues.

Check out this post on some of the things you should not do on a beach vacation.

Filtered Water Bottle

Tap water in Cuba is not safe to drink. It’s not easy to find purified or filtered water either. A filtered water bottle enables you to have clean water on the go while touring. It also eliminates health risks and decreases the consumption of single-use plastic bottles.

Activated Charcoal

Not every country’s food safety standards are up to par. Sensitive guts may suffer in Cuba. In this case, activated charcoal helps to flush out toxins from the system.

Mosquito Repellent

The risk of mosquito-borne diseases, like the Dengue and Zika virus, is present in Cuba. Carry a mosquito repellent and religiously use it every day.

Electronic Devices and Tech

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It’s nearly impossible to travel without one’s cellphone in today’s digital age. Only take your laptop or tablet to Cuba if it’s necessary. Otherwise, they’re at risk of being lost or stolen.

  • Headphones or earphones
  • Portable charger (or power bank)
  • Camera: with sufficient available storage
  • Power adapter and USB cable: Cuba has the same plug inlets as the US and Canada. These are the type A/B/C/L power outlets.
  • VPN: mobile network is infrequent and scattered in Cuba. Public WiFi is available in most places, but it’s prone to cyber-attacks. A good VPN encrypts your internet traffic, secures data, and provides a safe mode to surf the internet.

What to Bring to Cuba to Give Away – Gifts for Locals

Due to low wages, high costs, and a corrupt government, many Cubans struggle to make ends meet. It’s a good idea to take something as a gift for the locals to support them and as an act of appreciation for hosting you in their country.

These gifts can include toiletries, hygiene products, medicines, clothes, shoes, school supplies, or anything that would help them in their day-to-day life. If you’re staying at a guesthouse, ask your Cuban host if there is anything the people in the area need.

Final Thoughts on Packing For Cuba

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We hope you enjoy your days in Cuba feeling like a pirate while swimming the briny blues.

Since Cuba hasn’t changed much with time, walking the cobbled streets feels like you’ve entered a different time — one set with the backdrop of a magical colonial setting.

Cuba is an excellent country if you want to take some time off and find peace. Moreover, the people are friendly and enthusiastic. If you ever need help, just ask any local or the owner of your Casa, and they’ll be more than willing.

Remember to take everything you could need in Cuba with you, but be careful not to overpack. You can check out our post for useful tips on how to travel light and dress well at the same time here.