I love going on vacation, but packing and unpacking are the most tedious tasks of travel for me. Packing for Cuba was somewhat hard for us because we didn’t want to forget anything due to limited resources. Not everything is easy to get from the pharmacy or regular store so my cousin and I had to be selective about what to pack for almost a week in Cuba. If you’re planning a trip to Cuba, read more about what to wear in Cuba and basic necessities to include in your Cuba packing list.
Cuba Travel Essentials
The first thing to have on your Cuba packing list is your important documents. Proper documentation is an absolute MUST when traveling to Cuba from the U.S. Make sure to bring along your Passport and have access to travel documents such as your boarding pass, Cuban tourist visa (tourist card), complete travel itinerary, and proof of travel insurance. If you are flying directly to Cuba from the United States, you can purchase your tourist card at the airport kiosk when you check in. I paid $50 flying with Delta airlines, but suggest checking your airline website for the latest up-to-date information.
It is also important to know that your credit cards and debit card will not work. I can’t emphasize bringing enough cash for your entire stay. I spent about 280 CUC total after staying almost a week in Cuba, but you can easily spend 100 CUC in one day if you’re a big spender.
Medicine & First Aid Essentials
I added medicine and first aid to the Cuba packing list because sometimes you never know. Make sure to pack prescription drugs in your carry-on. You can also bring over-the-counter meds and a first aid kit for cuts and burns, heartburn, or stomach issues. For nights or traveling to the beach or mountain regions, bring insect repellant and a light sweater. While in Thailand, a friend of mine brought along Mosquito Repellent Wipes. These were a cheaper alternative to the traditional bug spray and they were just as effective.
What to Wear in Cuba
When thinking about what to wear in Cuba, make sure to pack your clothes. The island is located in the Caribbean with a tropical climate and according to my friend, bow wow clothes are not only acceptable clothes to bring to Cuba, but it’s also the standard. It’s best to wear clothes that are breathable like cotton or linen. I suggest packing at least 2-3 outfits for each day; due to the combination of the heat and exhaust from the maquinas, your clothes will be sweaty or dirty. If you’re going out for dinner or shows at night, make sure to bring a cardigan or light jacket because nights can be pretty chilly. Since Cuba has a lot of uneven roads, sidewalks, and cobblestone streets, skip the heels and bring comfortable walking shoes and sandals. Don’t forget a sun hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses for your beach days and walking tours.
Luggage and Electronics to Pack for Cuba
Due to horror stories heard about luggage retrieval in Havana’s airport, I packed everything in a carry-on. Try your best to be selective with the electronics you bring along. The country has the ability to accommodate both 110 and 220 v, but it depends on where you are staying. I suggest bringing along a convertible charger or asking your host ahead of time. Wifi is available in certain hotspots so tablets and laptops aren’t really necessary unless you’re watching pre-downloaded movies or have another form of entertainment. I brought along my water and mirrorless cameras for photos and video but tried my best to be in the moment and enjoy the experience in real-time. This is not electronic, but I highly suggest downloading the Mobile Passport app to go through customs quicker. If you have Global Entry, it isn’t needed.
(Optional) Gifts for Casa hosts & locals to Pack for Cuba
If you’re staying at a Casa Particular, you have the option to bring gifts for your hosts. Most casas are well-equipped, but some common goods are hard to come by in Cuba. My cousin and I literally returned with empty (and almost empty) suitcases after giving away most of the items we packed. Here are some items included in our Cuba packing list for Casa hosts and locals
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Toilet Paper
- First aid and medical supplies
- School Supplies
- Toothpaste & Toothbrushes
Need a list of specific items to bring for a week in Cuba? For a limited time, you can get a FREE printable packing list for Cuba. Click here to sign up and download your copy of my Ultimate Cuba packing list today.
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What are some other essentials to include in a Cuba Packing list?