beach palm trees in cuba 

What to Pack for Cuba

By globedrifters Uncategorized

What to Pack for Cuba

What should you pack for your trip to Cuba? It’s a pretty straightforward affair, but the best advice we can give you is to pack everything you need! This is because there’s an extreme lack of products in Cuba so getting anything you forgot to pack will be very difficult. This blog is your guide on what to pack for Cuba!


How’s the Weather in Cuba?

The weather in Cuba is warm to hot year-round. Average nighttime temperatures are always cooler than those in the daytime and it’s important to have an umbrella or poncho for rain at any time of the year. Tropical weather can be very unpredictable! Winter months will have the occasional cold front and temperatures can drop into the 50s °F. The winter months (November – March) do not coincide with hurricane season and there’s a small amount of rainfall which makes it an ideal time to travel to Cuba. 

weather in cuba

Monthly average highs and lows in Cuba

What are the Outlets Like in Cuba?

The outlets in Cuba are equipped with 110v electricity. If you have appliances from the US, you will not usually need an adapter or converter. Otherwise, you will need adapters and/or converters for your rechargeable electronics.

outlets in cuba

This is what most electrical outlets look like in Cuba

What to Pack for Cuba

Wondering what to pack for your trip to Cuba? Our advice is to pack everything you’ll need. Finding phone chargers, shampoo, conditioner, bandages, aspirin, socks and pretty much everything else in between is hard to find in Cuba. If you can find it, it is very expensive. That’s why it’s best to pack everything you think you’ll need. If you have any extras, you can leave them behind as gifts for the Cuban people.

Below is a list of items that we recommend our 9 day trips travelers bring with them to make your trip more comfortable:

  • Sunglasses/hat
  • Flashlight/headlamp (for possible power outages)
  • Light jacket
  • Bathing suit
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Flip flops/sandals
  • Mosquito repellent (DEET strength) 
  • Sunscreen (biodegradable, if possible)
  • Small, secure across the shoulder day bag or backpack
  • Any prescription medication and over the counter medicine
  • Shampoo/conditioner/soap  (casas particulares don’t always offer)
  • Hair dryer (if needed)
  • Snacks for the road
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Rechargeable phone batteries (fully charged in case of power outages)

For the winter months, it’s best to bring a sweater and/or scarf and jacket for the occasional cold front. Also, it’s a good idea to bring 1 – 2 pairs of jeans for those cooler days.

Please note that power outages are common in Cuba. They’re typically only for a few hours, but we very strongly recommend bringing a headlamp/flashlight and fully charged, rechargeable batteries for your cell phones.

What to Wear in Cuba

Anything goes in Cuba and you can wear pretty much anything. You’ll see Cuban men and women wearing all types of Western-style clothing and the young people try their best to keep up with the current trends. We recommend lightweight clothing that dries quickly.

small group having fun in cuba at la guarida in havana

Anything goes in Cuba so pack comfortable clothes and lightly!

Support for the Cuban People

In Cuba, most people lack access to a lot of the things that we would consider basic necessities. Most of you, including travelers on our 9-day trip, will visit Cuba under the OFAC category “Support for the Cuban People”. Your trip is a great opportunity to bring some small things that could make a big difference and help the Cuban people.

Read more about what kinds of gifts you can bring for the Cuban people in our blog.


As long as you keep these things in mind while traveling in Cuba, you’ll have a wonderful adventure with memories that will last a lifetime! Happy travels!

Gifts for the cuban people, Cuban people street scene 

Gifts for the Cuban People

By globedrifters Uncategorized

Gifts for the Cuban People 

Want to know what gifts for the Cuban people you can bring on your trip to help them? In Cuba, most people lack access to a lot of the things that we would consider basic necessities. Most of you, including travelers on our 9-day trip, will visit Cuba under the OFAC category “Support for the Cuban People”. Your trip is a great opportunity to bring some small things that could make a big difference and help the Cuban people. Below is a list of some ideas for gifts for the Cuban people you can bring.


Why Bring Gifts for the Cuban People?

There is an embargo placed on Cuba by the U.S. and Cuba’s government tightly controls the distribution of goods to the people. A combination of these two things (as well as many other political, economic and social factors) makes getting items that most consider basic necessities very difficult in Cuba. For example, many of us wouldn’t think twice about running to the local pharmacy to pick up some Ibuprofen or Aspirin if we had a headache. This simple task isn’t so easy in Cuba because shortages of over-the-counter medicines as well as prescription medications are common, especially these days.

Due to shortages of everything from cooking oil to antihistamines and everything in between, we always recommend that travelers to Cuba who want to help bring gifts for the Cuban people to donate to those in need. You don’t have to pack your suitcase full of donations, but if you have some spare space in your luggage, basic items to help the people of Cuba are a great way to do some good while traveling. 

Cuba embargo billboard, Gifts for the Cuban People

The embargo is just one factor that makes getting basic goods very difficult in Cuba.


What Gifts to Bring for the Cuban People?

Any gift for the Cuban people you bring will usually be appreciated as there are shortages of pretty much everything you could imagine. However, there are three main things that are extremely hard to come by in Cuba: medicine, clothing and toiletries.

Medicine

Most over-the-counter medicines, ointments, vitamins, supplements, etc. are next to impossible to find in Cuba. These are probably the most necessary things that are hardest to come by for the Cuban people. Below is a list of ideas of medicines and medical supplies you could bring:

  • Ibuprofen/Aspirin/Paracetamol
  • Antihistamines
  • Antacids
  • Antibacterial ointment/cream
  • Vicks Vaporub 
  • Bandages
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Anti-itch creams for children

Toiletries

Anything related to personal hygiene is hard to obtain in Cuba. When you can find it, the supply is very low or it’s very expensive for the average Cuban person. Here is a list of things that don’t take up much space in your suitcase and would make great gifts for the Cuban people:

  • Bars of soap
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Sponges/Loofahs
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Baby powder
  • Disposable razors

PRO TIP: If you bring shampoo, conditioner and shower gel for your trip, you can just leave them behind for the cleaning lady at your casa and even if they’re just half full, they’ll make great gifts for the Cuban people. And as a bonus, your suitcase will be much lighter on the way back home!

Clothes

Clothing of any kind can also be difficult to find for many Cuban people. When you can find it, it’s expensive, very low-quality and often in poor condition. For this reason, we always suggest bringing clothes as gifts for the Cuban people. They don’t have to be brand new or high fashion; even lightly used, but in good condition is alright. 

PRO TIP: We recommend children’s clothing because these are often the most expensive and difficult to find in Cuba.

Miscellaneous

Pretty much everything under the sun in Cuba is hard to find so any little extras that you would like to bring will be great gifts for the Cuban people. If you bring bottles of any liquids or creams, even half-full bottles are OK! The items below are not essential, but are still hard to get. Here is a list of miscellaneous items that you can bring to help out the Cuban people:

  • Rechargeable batteries and lightbulbs (due to the recent power outages)
  • Perfumes/Colognes 
  • Lotions/Beauty creams
  • Makeup
  • Deflated soccer/basket-/kickballs
  • Small, handheld ball pump
  • Children’s backpacks
  • Hair accessories (i.e. brushes, combs, hair ties, bobby pins, etc.)
  • USB cables (for phone chargers)
  • AA or AAA batteries
  • Pens/markers
  • Small candies or lollipops
Cuban musicians, Gifts for the Cuban People

Any gifts, big or small, will be greatly appreciated by the Cuban people.


Who do I Give my Gifts for the Cuban People to?

Most travelers on our small group trips have told us that they weren’t sure who to give their gifts for the Cuban people to. It can be hard or awkward to decide who to offer them to. We understand that giving them to a random person on the street can be uncomfortable. We recommend giving your gifts to the cleaning ladies at your casa particular. They are often part-time hires by the casa owners and make less than the average Cuban so they are great recipients of these gifts. You can give them the gifts in person or leave them in your room with a little note at the end of your stay. 

PRO TIP: The casa particular owners are often in better economic situations than many other Cubans as they have family in the US or overseas that often help them with goods and money. They’ll be appreciative of any gifts you may have for them, but we recommend giving your gifts to the cleaning ladies as they typically earn less and have access to less.

Plaza de la Revolucion Havana, Gifts for the Cuban People

Traveling to Cuba is an experience of a lifetime so why not do some good while you’re there?


Pretty much any Cuban person you encounter on the island will usually be happy to receive a gift in any form as long as it is offered with a warm smile. Gifts for the Cuban people are not mandatory, but can make a big difference. Whatever you decide to bring and whoever you decide to give it to will be very much appreciated. Happy travels!