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Things To Pack For Cuba | My Cuba Packing List

Wondering what things to pack for Cuba? In this Cuba packing list I’ve tried to be as thorough as I possibly can including some suggestions of what to wear in Cuba and some essential things to take to Cuba.

Cuba isn’t like visiting many places where if you forget something you can just nip to a mall and pick up a new one! Plus you also likely won’t be able to use a credit or debit card for extra, unplanned expenses!

Remember Cuba is hot, humid, and laid back. So when deciding what to wear when traveling in Cuba think of light materials.

As it’s not a religious or conservative country in Cuba you can wear what you like! It does rain over the Summer so it’s worth taking an umbrella or a light rain jacket.

I have put together a list of some essentials to pack for Cuba. It is a list of basics so you may want to add a little more luxury if you have space. I only had a 28lt Cabin Zero Backpack with me so there wasn’t much room for luxury!

This packing guide for Cuba is based on traveling from 7-14 days there. I managed to go for the whole ten days washing a few items of clothing and my underwear in a sink using a laundry soap bar I brought with me and a little scrubbing brush. You can ask your casa host to do your laundry for you if you prefer.

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The ultimate Cuba packing list for travelers.
Cuba Packing List.

What to wear in Cuba

A woman enjoys the vibrant atmosphere of Havana from the back of a pink convertible car during her 48 hours in the city.

It’s pretty impossible to tell you exactly what you should and shouldn’t wear in Cuba. But what I can do if offer you some first-hand observations and share with you how I pack and dress in these particular areas. 

Also at the end of the day, dress how YOU feel comfortable, just because I choose not to wear hotpants and a crop top in Medellin doesn’t mean you shouldn’t if you are comfortable doing so.

Did You Get Insurance Yet?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!

The Insurance companies I personally recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover.

Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here where I go into detail about the companies. 

Cuba Travel essentials

A camera and a book on a table next to the ocean, with a GTS mask strap draped over the camera.

Sunglasses

Does anyone actually leave home without sunglasses? I personally always travel with 2 pairs. One for day to day use that I normally just throw in my bag. Then a second pair that are a bit nicer which I wear when I want to take some nice pics for the gram. I always get my sunglasses from Blenders, Glassesshop, or Knockaround as they are good quality, have UV protection, and are really reasonably priced.

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing ListReusable Water Bottle

Having a good reusable water bottle is essential. If you are still a little worried then get a water bottle with a filter like this for peace of mind. For a bottle with extra tech this one is self-cleaning via UVC light, is USB rechargeable, and turns any water into drinkable freshwater. It is also vacuum insulated to keep your water cold for up to 12 hours.
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Hand Sanitizer

Let’s face it, 2020 changed the way we travel, and there is no going back. Hand sanitizer is something you can no longer travel without and I’m obsessed with this hand sanitizer holder my friend designed. You can buy them in a pack of 2 and the bottles come with it so you can top them up. Not only are they super practical so they clip on o your purse, or luggage but you can also clip your mask on there too, save throwing it into your backpack! It’s vegan leather and you can choose the cute florals (which I have) or a brown and black combo.

Bug Spray

I suggest getting an eco-friendly one for your body and then getting something a little more aggressive like this to spray on your clothing.
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Vaccines

You may need to prove you have had any specific vaccines and for some places, you may need malaria pills. There are many vaccines that are strongly advised for travel depending on your location. So a few months before you travel to speak to a medical professional and make sure you were immunized with all of the suggested vaccines.

Please never take medical advice like this from a blogger! Go see a medical professional…

Download my packing list for Cuba

Luggage for Cuba

It is really up to you what luggage to pack for Cuba but I would strongly recommend a good backpack if you are planning on traveling across Cuba to different places.

If you plan on covering a lot of ground then I would personally suggest a 60L backpack and a small daypack that can easily be packed when traveling. 

I’ve added images and links for the luggage I have tried and tested in Europe below. 

If security is a concern for you then I highly recommend getting in Pacsafe backpack for added security and peace of mind. I also wrote this blog post on the best digital nomad backpacks and this one about carry on luggage, just in case they are useful to you. The KnackPack is great for digital nomads with specific space for your tech and all your essentials.

If backpacks are not your thing, this suitcase with a 20″ laptop pocket will do wonders for you, and with this coupon LEVEL8Claire10 you get a 10% discount!

You are also going to need some packing cubes to help keep all of your things organized (and squeeze in a few extra items of clothing). Plus a good laundry bagtoiletry bag, and of course a shopping bag. Alternatively, get a backpack with built-in packing sections like this one. It hangs like a mini wardrobe too which can be helpful instead of using hotel storage. It’s what I’m personally traveling with these days.

Last but not least, this travel pillow with memory foam will be your best friend for long periods of traveling.

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List
Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Other Useful Things to Pack for Cuba

Over the years backpacking the world I’ve got packing down to a fine art and I have some essential items in my backpack that you might not think of. So here are some things you are going to need that you might not think of!

Laundry Soap and a Nail Brush – Unless you want to be doing laundry every few days, it’s best to just wash out your underwater in the shower each night. To do this I always travel with a bar of laundry soap and a nail brush. It also comes in handy to clean off marks and stains from clothes you are washing.

A Travel Washing Line – I love mine, it’s so handy and takes up no room at all.

A Sewing Kit – When you are traveling sometimes you need to make-do-and-mend.

Mini First Aid Kit – Goes without saying really! I also add in some extras like activated charcoal and other useful pharmaceuticals. 

Carabiner clips –  So useful for attaching things to your backpack!

Head torch – Equally as useful for camping as it is for reading in bed, or trying to find your way home in the dark.

Ear Plugs – If you are planning on staying in hostels you are going to need these!

A Whistle – I know many people worry about safety and want to protect themselves. I like to carry a whistle just in case I need to pull attention. It might not be as effective as pepper spray, but as that is illegal to fly with too many countries, this is a good alternative.

A Door Stop – Worried about safety in your room at night? Use the doorstop to block the door from the inside and make it harder for someone to enter the room.

Silk Sleeping Bag Liner – Another thing that doesn’t take up so much room, but will give you a lot of peace of mind if you need it. Sometimes you might either find yourself chilly or just not wanting to sleep in the bedsheets. So hopping inside a sleeping bag liner helps you get a good night’s sleep, wherever you are…

Umbrella – If you are traveling somewhere tropical it’s likely to rain, but still be hot. Having an umbrella in your bag will keep you dry without making you feel like you will collapse from heat exhaustion!

A padlock – I recommend getting one of these locks so you don’t need to worry about keys. They are TSA approved so you can use them to lock your luggage when flying as well as using it to lock your locker at the hostel.

USD – I always keep an emergency $50 USD hidden somewhere, just in case. USD is the most widely accepted currency, but you will need to ensure the notes are clean and crisp. Many places won’t accept them if they are marked at all.

Quick-dry towel – I have 2, a large one and a small hand size one that I keep clipped to my backpack.

A sarong – I never travel anywhere without at lease 2 sarongs. I use them to replace my towel, hang over my bed in a hostel for privacy. Wrap around my hair when it’s wet, sunbathe on… I could go on and on. I even make a dress out of mine when I’m at the beach.

A scarf – Another multi-use item that doesn’t take up much room. Scarfs are great for covering shoulders from the sun, or when entering churches. It will also help keep you warm, and they look cute!

Yoga Mat – I never travel without my yoga mat. I wrote a whole post to help you choose the best travel yoga mat here.

Spice Bag – If you are planning to do some cooking then I recommend making a spice bag so you don’t end up wasting lots of money or herbs and spices, or eating bland food for the whole of your trip. I put my spices into ziplock bags and then keep them in one of these clear bags

Ziplock Bags – I know, I know, more plastic. But they do come in really handy when traveling and you can wash and reuse them so you aren’t throwing them away.

Coffee Flask – Great for keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. It also saves you having to use disposable cups when you buy a takeaway coffee.

Aeropress – I do love my coffee, so traveling without my Aeropress is not an option haha. This is also another great portable coffeemaker/ mug if you aren’t a fan of the Aeropress. 

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Clothing to Pack for Cuba

You can see my full Cuba packing list here on Amazon, and you can also download my free packing list for Cuba here. So I’m going to try and keep this section brief.

I never travel with much and Cuba is a pretty dressed-down country anyway. Here’s what was in my bag for Cuba:

  • Four basic vest tops/ t-shirts
  • 2 ‘nice’ more dressed up tops
  • Two pairs of denim shorts (one black and one blue)
  • One pair of leggings (for horse riding and avoiding mosquitos)
  • One dress (suitable for salsa)
  • One dress (suitable for daytime/ beach cover-up)
  • One denim shirt (the only time I used this was as a blanket on the bus and plane so I probably could have done without it.
  • Five pairs of panties
  • Two bikinis
  • 1 crop top/ bralette

As I said I pack pretty light. I also wash out my underwear and top each night and leave it to dry to save space. Don’t skimp out on essentials though.

If you need things like glasses, make sure to pack extras or spares. You don’t want to be caught out if you break your main pair or lose them.

Consider a range of styles for your spare pair – John Lennon glasses, cat eye glasses, rimless glasses… the options are endless!

Note: Catcalling is pretty rife in Cuba and although hot pants and crop tops are totally acceptable (most locals will be dressed like this). I personally decided to dress a bit more conservatively most of the time. This is my personal choice as I feel a bit more able to deal with the looks and calls when I’m less exposed physically. You may feel totally different to me. So you should feel free to dress however you personally feel comfortable. Just be aware that no matter what you are wearing you are likely to get a lot of unwanted attention for local men.

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Toiletries to Pack for Cuba

Ok so normally I’d be telling you to not stress too much about traveling with toiletries as you can easily pick them up in the country you are visiting… not true for Cuba.

Toiletries are one of the most essential things to bring to Cuba as it can be very difficult (and expensive) to buy them there.

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Technology to take to Cuba

If you are stressing about taking your smartphone to Cuba, don’t. You will need to be careful about flashing your expensive digital gear around Cuba though. Take a read of these posts to help you prepare if you are worried.

Here are some digital things I’d recommend packing for Cuba.

Smart Phone – If you don’t want to take your fancy iPhone traveling, then this is a great phone with a very good camera for under $300. It’s what I used to use before I invested in the iphone 13 pro max.

Kindle – Save space by investing in a kindle and kindle unlimited. You will find most of the lonely planet travel guides are available to read for free with the plan. 

Lightweight laptop and external hard drive – I have a MacAir which is perfect for traveling. After losing all of my photos a few years ago I also always travel with a heavy-duty external harddrive.

Camera and Tripod – I travel with this DSLR but I also have this mirrorless camera which I often take if I want to use something more discreet. My camera geer has grown with my blog and my essential travel cameras now include this DJI Osmo and this mini drone. If you need a tripod, I love this one as I can use it with all of my cameras (even my phone), plus it’s small and light enough to fit in my daypack.

Backup charger – I have these two and always keep one in my bag.

Travel adaptor – Get a worldwide one like this so you can use it wherever you travel to.

Portable WiFi – I never travel without my TEP wireless device. If you can’t live without WiFi I recommend buying or renting one. Or another of my favorites is the GlocalMe G4 because of its versatility.

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

Cuba Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Cuba?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Cuba which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Cuba on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Cuba?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major Mexican tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Cuba?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide

If you are traveling to Cancun you can use GoCity and save up to 55% of the initial cost of entrance tickets to various museums, tours, and attractions!

If you are traveling to Playa del Carmen then I recommend booking through my friend Vanessa at Turismo Channel. You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack

Check out My travel books

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

The Solo Girls Guide to Traveling Without Fear

Things To Pack For Cuba,Cuba Packing List

The solo girls guide to becoming a digital nomad