I wanted to share with you the 6 most important things to carry in Cuba! Although we all have different necessities – I am sure you won’t want to be caught without any of these 6! Having been there recently we learned that the list is a little different than normal….
I always pack my lightweight nylon gym sack by Nike in our luggage to use on shore at our cruise destinations. I like the fact that the top of this type of bag closes tightly, with a drawstring especially since I will be carrying it behind me and I wouldn’t want to worry about anyone being able to get into it… but I also don’t like to have to tie and untie my bag. I like to have a separate zip pouch where I can put certain things, making them easier to find. In a questionable area I carry the bag with the zipper pouch toward my body. I learned years ago that the cheap bags can spring a leak – or are just more difficult to dig through. So now I have a nice one!
This is the exact one I carry now, and so far I have washed it twice and used it for a grand total of 3 weeks, and quite frankly when it wears out I think I will buy another just like it!
But what I carry in the bag is the most important thing
Especially when trekking around in Cuba!
- Paper and a Pen – as we stumble around using our limited Spanish we found that writing things down and drawing pictures can be very useful! The Cuban people are very helpful and curious. You may want to write down the name of a Restaurant that you are told about, it’s location, or even record the name of someone you spoke to. But also expect to be asked questions related to just about anything…. beginning with “Where are you from?” after which a Cuban will tell you about a relative of theirs that lives in the states…. A small journal or spiral notebook will work perfectly – get it before you leave! All they have on the ship are designer journals……
- Your Wallet – should contain your ID, Ship Card, and some local money. There is only one kind of money that a tourist can have, it is called CUC, and has buildings on it (as opposed to people) and is about equal to the USD. There is no need for credit cards, so don’t take them. I also recommend taking your passport and visa landing card. I keep these things in the zipped pouch, so that they are easy to find. I suggest putting your passport in a ziplock bag to protect it from dampness like a spill, rain or sweat……
- Sunscreen and a clean damp cloth in a ziplock bag. It is hot hot hot in Cuba. Please prevent sunburn – it can ruin your trip in a big hurry. A light colored hat will keep your head cool and may even provide some shade. Once you get all sweaty the clean damp cloth will be a refreshing way to cool off a bit. We borrowed one from the ship.
- Paper Map – because your phone won’t work! Like us, you will see young people lining the streets in certain places that appear to have wifi, but your device won’t see it at all. There is no functional internet in Cuba for us. Make sure you carry a map so you can wander to your heart’s content and still find your way back.
- Wipes – of 2 kinds. TP is a rare commodity in Cuba. You will want to make sure to carry tissue. I also recommend hand sanitizer or bleach wipes that can be used to cleanse your hands. After all you might touch something you wish you had not. When we expose ourselves to unfamiliar germs we are more likely to be susceptible to illness.
- Battery pack for re-charging your phone (camera) – Don’t leave your phone behind just because you won’t have wifi. Our phones take beautiful pictures and you will be using your phone as a camera so much that it likely won’t last long…. Turn off your cellular data and wifi to make it last longer…. But be sure to have a battery pack and charging cord with you so you can keep recording your memories all day…… Here are a bunch of options from plug in to solar – choose your favorite!
I carry one of these and I can fully charge my iphone6 in about an hour with it!
I hope you have found this post helpful! Be sure to personalize the list and bring whatever you can’t live without as well!
Please feel free to call us or ask a question in the comments.
We love to share our expertise and have not yet written it all here!
If you are also doing fathom’s Dominican Republic Cruise you can read about what to pack for it HERE
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