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What to Pack for Your Cuba Vacation

Check out this complete packing list of everything you need to pack for your Cuba trip. Follow our helpful tips below and you will arrive in Cuba prepared for a stress-free vacation.

Cuba’s sunny climate and rich history make the Caribbean country an exciting travel destination—especially for Canadians. However, travellers who have never visited Cuba before are often surprised to discover that entry requires more than just a swimsuit and camera.

Cuba has some unique entry requirements for travelers. That means some things are essential for your packing list, and some should be kept off it. Find out what’s required and what’s forbidden for Canadians travelling to Cuba.

Here’s What to Pack When Travelling to Cuba

When flying to Cuba, your first focus should be complying with travel requirements. You will be much more comfortable during your trip if you do not have to stress about satisfying bureaucratic regulations.

  1. Passport. Make sure that you have your passport, and a photocopy of your passport for your trip. Visitors are required to carry photo identification at all times.
  2. Cuban Tourist Visa. Canadians that travel to Cuba are required to fill out a tourist visa, also known as a tourist card. These cards are typically provided by airlines or tourism operators.
  3. Health Insurance. Visitors to Cuba must be able to show officials proof that they have health insurance for the full duration of their stay.
  4. Light Clothes. Pack light apparel that will be comfortable in the heat. Include at least one dressy outfit for a night on the town.
  5. Medication and Toiletries. Bring along any necessary medications (up to 10 kg) and toiletries as these products may not be available in Cuba.
  6. Pesos. Bring plenty of cash as most credit or debit cards are not accepted in Cuba. Anything exceeding 5,000 USD (6,566.60 CAD, or its equivalent) must be declared.
  7. Gadgets. Pack cameras, phone chargers, a Spanish dictionary and other extra items to make your trip more enjoyable. No adapter is required, unless you need three-pronged outlets.
Havana's architecture and classic cars inspire Canadians to travel to Cuba.
What to Bring When You Travel to Cuba | Skyscanner Canada

What Not to Pack When Travelling to Cuba

Visitors are allowed to pack personal items for their trip to Cuba. However, if officials suspect some of your possessions are not for touristic use, they reserve the right to seize them.

  • GPS. The Canadian government indicates travellers to Cuba should leave their GPS at home. That goes for satellite communication equipment and walkie talkies, too.
  • Fresh fruit and animal products.
  • Drugs. Cannabis may not be legal in Canada, but you should not travel with it, or non-prescribed medications, to Cuba.
  • Weapons. This includes firearms, munitions, sharp objects, or other items that can cause any harm.
  • Pornography, works of art, and museum pieces.

If for some reason you need to bring any of these items to Cuba, be sure to declare them and have the necessary supporting documentation. Nonetheless, they may be subject to fee payment or confiscation.

Travelling to Cuba? Cigars and coffee are among the most popular souvenirs.
What to Bring When You Travel to Cuba | Skyscanner Canada

Best Clothes to Wear on Your Trip to Cuba

Most travellers think about clothes as soon as they book their trip. It’s true that clothes can sometimes make or break a trip, but there is no need to stress over which pieces to bring.

Cuban clothing is typically quite casual, so you will generally be fine wearing lightweight pants, shorts, shirts and dresses during the day. Make sure you bring a swimsuit, towel, and sun hat if you are planning to spend time outdoors.

Bring comfortable shoes or a good pair of hiking sandals. It can get slightly chilly at night, so pack at least one light jacket or sweater. In case you end up going to any formal events, bring along some slacks or a nice dress.

Flippers on Cayo Santa María Beach in Cuba.
What to Bring When You Travel to Cuba | Skyscanner Canada

Health and Safety Supplies for Travel to Cuba

Being prepared for any minor medical issues is always a good idea when traveling. Keep in mind that Cuba does not have the same pharmacies, drugstores and health care clinics that you have to back home.

Bring a decent supply of any prescription medications you are on. Also, consider bringing over-the-counter painkillers, as well as anti-nausea, allergy and other meds just in case you need them.

Hygiene and first aid products such as hand sanitizer, bandages, soap, shampoo, and toothbrushes are also important. Insects in Cuba can carry diseases, so bring along a strong insect repellent and make sure that your vaccinations are up to date. And of course, don’t forget your sunscreen.

Additional Items That Are Useful in Cuba

Don’t forget these additional items can really help you make the most of your trip. Most travelers benefit from a camera, a phone charger, a guidebook, a Spanish-English dictionary or phrasebook, some pens and pencils, and a money belt. Be mindful of what you’re photographing. Taking photos of military and police or rail and airport facilities is strictly forbidden.

Being prepared for anything will make it much easier to relax and enjoy your trip to Cuba. Instead of worrying about finding money or appropriate clothing, you can be confident that you are ready for any adventure when you follow this packing list.

Packed and ready to go? Find the real Cuba at these 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Disclaimer: Information correct as of July 24, 2019, obtained from www.aduana.gob.cu. Canadians should always check the latest requirements at travel.gc.ca before booking a trip.