3 Tips for Traveling to Cuba

How to get there and back without getting fined.


Protect Yourself Ahead of Time

The general position on traveler safety in Cuba is that it’s just as safe (or unsafe) as being in any other country in the Caribbean, like the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. It is a relatively poor country with a low-level criminal element — mostly stealing boxes of cigars from factories and reselling them. Still, as with all travel, the best defense means having a little bit of common sense and taking steps to protect your belongings at all times.

3 Tips for Traveling to Cuba

Joking around with a local (yes, those sunglasses were in style at the time!)

Currently, Havana is a low crime area since there are many police officers scattered around the city, and punishment for any crime against a tourist is extremely steep — an effective deterrent. Still, travelers can be sure that a whole industry of pickpockets and thieves will pop up to take advantage of the sudden influx of American travelers with wallets and purses full of American money.

3 Tips for Traveling to Cuba

Sunburned and looking very touristy in Havana

Before you travel, take the time to read about how to avoid becoming a victim of credit card and identity theft. Protect the personal information on your smartphone by setting a lockscreen passcode. It’s valuable advice whether you’re travelling across the street or across the Gulf.

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 110 Comments

  1. Will definitely visit Cuba sometime this year. Simply because of the old cars. I’m a huge car junky and really love the classics. Such elegance and slick designs. It’s like a shiny bucket of death. We all know the safety standards of old cars right?

  2. Lynn Hayes

    Cuba is definitely on my list of places to get to soon and this is such a thorough guide! Lots of things I didn’t know. Thanks for putting it together! I actually had a Cuban sandwich for lunch today in Cambodia of all palces, and it wasn’t that great 😉 lol

  3. Roberta Bennett

    This is a really extensive guide! Fantastic post with great info! Planning our visit at the moment. Cheers!

  4. Frances Seifert

    This article is so helpful! We are currently trying to figure out how we will plan our trip. We looked into th people-to-people tours, but they seem to be a bit too organized for our taste. The trampoline method could be the best option, but my husband is a bit nervous that something could happen, and we might have trouble getting out of the country if so. Thanks for putting this together… I am going to be bookmarking it to help with our plans!

  5. Amanda Roberts

    What a comprehensive guide to travelling to Cuba. It’s helpful to see the tricks and catches pointed out to help with the planning. Simple things like slowing down and taking extra care with the forms to avoid duplicated costs and non-US based travel insurance are easy things to miss.

  6. Kimberly Thompson

    I just returned from Cuba a few weeks ago, it was so amazing! Def stay with a local family in a casa cheaper and great experience.

  7. Emma Blackwood

    Cuba is such an enticing and exciting destination right now. I wanna get the opportunity to experience it before massive tourism takes over.

  8. Catherine White

    Great tips! I hadn’t realized that Cuba would be such a gorgeous country. I would really love to visit Cuba someday. Their history and culture sound quite interesting.. Great tips for those who would like to travel there for the first time.

  9. Nicky Bryan

    Thank you for these tips! Thanks Hilary. I have friends that recently went to Cuba and they spent a fortune. I want to make it on a budget, at least I’ll try!

  10. Pearl Nguyen

    Thanks for the tips! I did not know it was so expensive to go there. Hopefully, I get to go one day.

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