Have you ever tried packing for Cuba and had absolutely no idea what to bring? This happens all the time and is a question we get on the daily. Cuba can be one of the most difficult places to pack for, however we’ve done it so often that we’ve got you covered whether you’re going for a quick trip or a longer stay. From food to electronics, there are certain things to bring that will really make your experience that much better!
If you’re looking for good chocolate in Cuba, and we’re talking high quality stuff, you’re out of luck. Although you might be able to find decent chocolate here and there, you’ll be searching for hours and hours and by that point the craving has faded. We recommend bringing a variety of chocolate for 2 reasons:
1. (The obvious reason) Who knows when that sugar craving will kick in and we all know there’s nothing like some good old chocolate (or whichever snack you love) to satisfy that craving/
2. Good chocolate is one of the greatest gifts you can bring a Cuban, seeing as it’s close to impossible to find good chocolate. It’s hard to count the number of feuds we’ve seen caused over who gets that last Snickers bar!
Our recommendation: a box of Ferrero Rocher seems to be the holy grail of chocolate care packages here.
It’s good to keep this on hand wherever you go, however you don’t want to be stuck in Cuba with a killer headache and needing some relief as it’s very difficult to find Tylenol in Cuba.
We can’t stress this one enough, bring lots of bug spray, unless you want to spend your evening caught outside cursing at the Mosquito gods. We’ve seen it happen too many times. You can never have enough bug spray here in Cuba.
External Memory Drive
For those of us who’ve spent time in Cuba, we know all about the internet situation. for those who don’t, well. you’ll find out soon enough. Although Cuba is a great place to disconnect, you still might want to wind down with a movie or download that new album on Spotify. If you’re looking to stream or download anything, think again, as the internet is notoriously slow here. We recommend loading up a USB or External Hard Drive with a pile of movies, tv shows and music. The great thing too is you’ll be able to make the locals super happy as they are rarely able to download anything. And if you’re feeling generous, a simple USB Drive donation goes a very long way here.
Ah, pillows in Cuba. How we love that subject. A “good pillow” in Cuba is sort of an oxymoron as it doesn’t really exist. Although you might not be the type of person to mind a bad pillow, you’ll most likely notice a small kink in your neck the next day, and that is no bueno. So pack a decent pillow before you come here, as it’ll make your stay that much better. Your future self will thank you. And again, pillows go a very long way as donations here, so leave it behind and put a smile on someone’s face!
Wine might not be a priority on your packing list before coming to Cuba, however you’ll be kicking yourself when you don’t get to pair that beautiful grilled Cuban fish with a nice bottle of white. Although more and more bottles are popping up in Cuba, they can be rather expensive and the selection isn’t the greatest. Do yourself a favour a pack a bottle or two for yourself to enjoy.
Makeup/Beauty/General Hygiene Products
You don’t realize how spoiled we are until you come to Cuba and see what’s available in terms of makeup or self-care products. Cubans do get by and are quite creative, however we all know that feeling of using a high-quality moisturizer or a beautiful selection of lipstick. These are very difficult to find here, if not impossible.
Our short list: Q-Tips, Tooth Brush, Tooth Paste, Nail Kit, Lipstick, Deodorant, Lotion, Anti-Bacterial Soap
We all know that feeling when our phone dies or the batteries in the remote control stop working. Although you might be able to borrow a friend’s phone charger, or run to the store to grab some batteries, this might not be the case in Cuba. Batteries and electronics in general are quite expensive (if you manage to find them) so we highly recommend packing a little set of general cables, adapters, batteries, etc. We also recommend packing a flashlight as this can come quite handy as well.
Lines can be very, very long in Cuba and that includes banks. Long waits, ATM machines not working, cards not being accepted regular power outages are just some of the challenges you might face when trying to withdraw money. Who has time to deal with this when you have a mojito waiting for you and you’re trying to get your salsa on? That’s why we highly recommend withdrawing money before arriving in Cuba, that way all you have to do is exchange it which is the easiest part.
We’ve all seen photos of Cuba, from the amazing colourful buildings to the old American cars. Cuba is a photographer’s paradise, and although you might not be the artistic type, that can definitely change in Cuba. We’ve seen it happen many times. We recommend packing your camera, whether it be your DSLR or small point and shoot. If you don’t own any of those, we recommend making space on your phone! Trust us, you don’t want to be enjoying one of those amazing sunsets on the Malecon and kicking yourself for not having your camera on you.
Stay tuned for our next blog on top 5 apps to download before coming to Cuba!