What to Pack if You're Backpacking Around Cuba

Che Guevaras image is everywhere in Cuba
Che Guevara's image is everywhere in Cuba | © RC77
Jack Guy

Cuba is unlike other destinations for many reasons, not least because the trade embargo means that it can be difficult to get hold of recognizable products on the island. Here’s what to pack to make sure you’re prepared.

Playa Ancon, near Trinidad, Cuba

Plan around the weather

First of all, a note on weather. If you’re visiting in rainy season (June to November) you’ll want a thin jacket so you don’t have to stay inside if it’s wet. From December to February it’s worth bringing a light jumper for the cooler evenings.

For those who want to visit the ballet, theatre, or smarter establishments, you’ll need to pack long trousers and a button up shirt. Many a tourist has been sent scrambling to clothes shops to pick up trousers before a night at the ballet. Save time, money and stress by remembering to pack a pair.

You’ll most likely be served Havana Club in Cuba today

Bring everything you need

Make sure to pack extra sunscreen, which is hard to find or expensive in Cuba. The sun here is incredibly strong, so you’ll need to slap plenty on each day. The same goes for a good sunhat. You should also remember to bring enough toiletries, as it can be a struggle to find toothpaste or shampoo.

US readers should be aware that their bank cards will not work in Cuba. Bring as much cash as you think you will need, and make sure it’s in euros or pounds sterling to avoid the 10% surcharge for converting dollars.

Countryside outside Vinales, Cuba

Spice things up

The paucity of ingredients and traditionally unseasoned food means that Cuban cuisine can be a bit bland, especially if you’re eating on a budget. It’s worth bringing your favourite condiments with you to liven up your meals.

Pack some painkillers in case you end up with a hangover, and some anti-diarrhoea medicine too. Women should also bring feminine hygiene products with them because it’s not easy too get them on the island.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article