Cuba's digital destination
Written by and/or contributed to by Christopher Baker
What should I pack?
Bear in mind that Cuba is many things—a tropical paradise full of passion, soul, warmth, music, good coffee, great cigars and fine rum, etc. Shopping nirvana it is not, however, and while you can get most basic stuff in Cuba, typically it is hideously overpriced and very poor quality. So bring what you need unless it is a Cuban specialty.
Cuba is a sub-tropical country so pack for summer. Bikinis, shorts, sandals, sleeveless cotton dresses and shirts are the order of the day. But bear in mind that most Cuban men would never wear shorts in the city! A night out at Tropicana or La Guarida Restaurant needs something smart if not overly formal.
If you are coming in the winter don’t assume that it will be hot all the time, especially in the evenings. You should bring some warm clothes (long sleeves, a sweater, something warm), since there is nothing more frustrating than being frozen to death in a tropical country! You should also bring some lightweight rain gear if you are coming in the summer.
Books & magazines
There are basically no magazines or books that you would want to buy in Cuba (excepting some Latin American literature) so bring anything you want to read in physical form or load up the Kindle/IPad. It can be a nice gesture to leave behind some gossip magazines for Cubans you meet along the way.
As in many countries, a fully stocked medical kit should be packed as part of your travel luggage. This should include anti-diarrheal remedies (Immodium), some form of antacid (Rolaids or Tums) for stomach problems. You don’t need to go crazy on this, as the medical section makes clear the Cuban health care system works pretty well but there is no harm in bringing more than you absolutely may need.
What voltage appliances and plugs work in Cuba?
Generally Cuban electricity is 110V with the square American plug socket. In some hotels they have predominantly 220V and the round sockets which while obviously well intentioned can cause more problems than it solves. Take care with the voltage and bring a couple of adapters to give you flexibility.
Bring insect repellent, suntan cream, a wide brimmed hat, plug converter, spare batteries and anything else you need to function. Bear in mind that if you are doing any specialized sport (cycling, climbing, fishing, etc.) there are very few (if any) spare parts (inner tubes, fishing hooks, etc.) available so bring your own.
Christopher P. Baker is a professional travel writer and photographer, and leads tours of Cuba for MotoDiscovery and National Geographic Expeditions. His six books about Cuba include MI MOTO FIDEL: MOTORCYCLING THROUGH CASTRO?S CUBA (National Geographic Adventure Press), winner of two national book awards.
? Christopher P Baker
travel writer ? photographer ? moto-journalist ? cuba expert
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.christopherpbaker.com
Lowell Thomas Award 2008 Travel Journalist of the Year