Packing Essentials for a Cuba Vacation

Besides specific travel documentation, packing for a vacation to Cuba is similar to packing for any other trip to the Caribbean. The United States has an embargo on Cuba which has made it challenging for the average American citizen to vacation there. However, most countries permit their citizens to vacation in Cuba.

Those who venture to the beautiful island of Cuba are in for a treat. A lush, tropical environment, white sand beaches and world class resorts await travelers to this island paradise. On the surface, Cuba resembles many other Caribbean destinations, however, when packing for a trip to Cuba; there are some particulars to keep in mind.


Due to the fact that the Cuban climate is relatively warm and humid most of the year, warm clothing will rarely be necessary. However, before you pack only shorts and t-shirts, there are certain conditions to consider. Mosquitoes can be a problem, and while the government takes measures to control the insect population, there is still a minor risk, especially to individuals who may be allergic to insect bites. The quickest solution to this problem is wearing long sleeves, pants, close toed shoes (not sandals) and a hat. Any clothing that is brought for this purpose should be very light in order to keep the wearer cool. Shorts and short sleeves are not entirely useless to people concerned with insect bites; however it is a good idea to bring long sleeves and pants as well as standard beach gear.

It is also a good idea to pack extra clothing for various purposes. Finding replacement clothing if something goes wrong can be challenging in Cuba, and very expensive, depending on where your hotel is located. In Cuba, clothing is extremely valuable to the local population, and a small donation can have a positive impact. That being said, underwear is especially difficult to acquire in Cuba, so make sure you bring a backup pair or two.


Toiletries that should be brought on a vacation to Cuba are no different from toiletries that any traveler would pack before leaving for a Caribbean island. A basic shaving kit and other personal items are a good start. While pharmacies are present in Cuba, they are generally undersupplied. Therefore basics such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and deodorant can be very expensive. Quality shampoo and conditioners can be even more challenging to find.


When packing for a vacation to a Caribbean island such as Cuba, bring all basic medication that you could possibly need. Medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen are in short supply in Cuba. In the case of an emergency, supplies can be found, but it is risky to leave home without any medicine you may need. If you do happen to locate medicine in Cuba, it most likely will be very expensive. Bringing an ample supply of your own medicine is the best way to approach this situation.

Prescription medicine is certainly an item you will not want to leave home without. Be sure to bring any prescription medicine that you have been given from a doctor. Filling prescriptions while in Cuba can be extremely difficult. Other important medicinal items are sunscreen and insect repellant. Forgetting these items can lead to significant discomfort, and just put a damper on your trip in general. A basic first aid kit will also come in handy. Supplies can be low, and having your own can be beneficial. As medicine is in short supply, extra supplies to be donated are always appreciated.


Batteries are also expensive and can be difficult to find in Cuba. Due to this fact it is a good idea to bring plenty of batteries for any electronic devices you need. Film, used a lot less with the advent of digital cameras, is also challenging to acquire in Cuba. Possibly the greatest necessity when travelling to Cuba is an adapter for outlets. Most Cuban outlets are not set to the American standard.

Security and Identity Items

Proper documentation is extremely important when traveling to Cuba. Keeping a copy of your passport with you at all times is crucial. Officials are likely to stop travelers on the street and check identification. It can be dangerous to carry one’s actual passport as a pickpocket can create major problems for repatriation. The best way to protect your passport is probably keeping it in the hotel safe. Make copies to carry on your person in case you are stopped. Keeping emergency phone numbers on you can also be helpful in the event that you are somehow indisposed. Plenty of cash also will come in handy. Cuba is a very safe destination for vacationers; however basic precautions should be taken.