(Updated July 11, 2016)

Travel Advisory!... Pack all valuables with your carry on!

Things you should not pack:

Refer to Cuba's official Prohibited List at the Cuban Customs website for articles prohibited from entry into Cuba. They are routinely seized on arrival, without compensation. Here is a partial list:

  • walkie-talkies
  • satellite phones,
  • hand-held GPS equipment
  • televisions
  • freezers
  • air conditioners
  • stoves
  • water heaters
  • electric frying pans
  • toasters
  • irons
  • any other item that draws heavily on electricity
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Pornographic material

Permitted items:

  • Photo and video cameras, camping tent, fishing gear, bicycle, sports equipments, laptop computer, equipments for recording and reproducing sounds. 
  • Currently Thomas Cook are printing incorrect information in their ticket booklet stating that items of clothing or accessories made from camouflage material, including rucksacks, will be confiscated at customs.   This is competely untrue, there is no problem with wearing camouflage clothing.
  • They also incorrectly state that Play Stations consoles are not permitted.
  • Check out the Cuban Customs website at:  http://www.aduana.co.cu/index.php?opt...

Things you should consider packing:


  • Currency (Bills only, no coins) from your Country of origin. (Note that US dollars are subject to a 10% surcharge when exchanging, so travellers from the USA may consider exchanging to another currency, but only if the exchange rates result in a savings.)
  • ATM's few and far between in Cuba.   
  • MasterCard / Visa from your Country of origin (United States Excluded!)...you will need your PASSPORT to perform transactions with your Credit Card.
  • Debit Cards bearing the VIsa / Mastercard symbol will work provided the issuing bank has no connection with the USA.
  • Parallel Currencies CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) and the CUP (Cuban Peso) 1 CUC = 24 CUP .  You are unlikely to come across, or need, the CUP if you are staying at a resort hotel.
  • Proof of travel insurance.  (It is recommended to carry insurance that includes adequate medical coverage and repatriation.)


Electronic Items:

  • Power Converter (220V > 110V) or ensure that any electronic devices you bring are dual voltage.
  • Battery-powered alarm clock, in case one is not provided at the hotel. You don't want to miss bus or plane times.
  • Extra Batteries (any type of battery is expensive in Cuba.)
  • Battery Charger & Rechargeable Batteries (Check whether your charger is dual voltage.  If not, you may need the Power Converter as mentioned above.)
  • Head Lamp / Flashlight if you want to trek the beaches at night or find that romantic spot for you and your loved one at night.
  • Camera (bring ziploc bags to prevent camera & extra batteries from getting wet on outings [ie. Jeep Safaris / Catamaran tours])
  • Headphones  [2.5mm (1/8") jacks] for the plane ride (they charge you $5 dollars on the plane if you want to buy them)
  • Electric Shaver (Check whether your shaver is dual voltage.  If not, you may need the Power Converter as mentioned above)



  • Socks & Underwear (You should bring at least 1 pair of socks, you never know when it might get a bit chilly!)
  • Sandals/ flip flops (maybe a pair of trainers if you want to play tennis
  • Sea shoes (good if your going to other nearby beaches with stones) 
  • Sea Socks (good for Catamaran Trips and exploring the island)
  • Baseball Caps
  • Muscle- tanks (anything light, it's gonna be hot!)
  • Shorts 
  • Swimming costumes (bring more than 1) 
  • Sun dresses 
  • Cardigan/ sweater (for the cooler nights) 
  • Dress Shirt, Pants and Shoes (for A La Carte Restaurants and local Disco clubs...Cubans always dress their very best when going out in the evenings)


Toiletries & Medications:

  • Face Cloth (surprisingly, many hotels in Cuba do not have facecloths) For scrubbing down in the shower
  • Mosquito Repellent (DEET is the most common ingredient at a maximum of approx. 30% solution...In Canada 100% solutions have been outlawed due to its toxic effects....however there are some Herbal/Natural alternatives...not sure how well they work)
  • Beach Towel (if you lose your own there is no charge...some hotels charge $25 dollars if you lose theirs)
  • Condoms (self explanatory)
  • Medications (ensure you have a doctor's note and leave medications in original bottles - do not mix them to save space)
  • Tampons / Pads (very expensive to buy in Cuba)
  • First Aid Travel Kit (Immodium, Band Aids, PolySporin, etc.)
  • Advil / Tylenol (always great for a hangover....these items are expensive in Cuba)
  • Q-Tips
  • Toothpaste, Toothbrush & Mouthwash
  • MultiVitamins
  • Hand / Skin Lotions
  • Shampoo & Conditioner (some hotels supply)
  • Leave-In Conditioners (great for battling the Sun and the Salt all day)
  • SunTan & Sunburn Lotions
  • Electric shaver, Razors & Shaving lotion
  • Deoderant (Very poor quality in Cuba)



  • Get Hepatitis shots prior to arriving in Cuba (see your Doctor).
  • Hip Sack (for carrying your camera and other small items around with you on outings). 
  • Thermos (w/keyring & travel clip)...cups tend to be too small at all resorts
  • Cigarettes (if you prefer to stick with the brand that you are used to)
  • Lighters (again...lighters are very expensive in Cuba)
  • Kroakies for Sunglasses (so you can hang your shades around your neck if so desired)
  • Golf Glove, Tees & Balls (if you plan on playing a round and renting clubs)
  • Plastic Bags (for packing wet bathing suits prior to departure)
  • Plastic Bags (for packing shampoo & lotions in as they may explode/leak during the flight due to compression & decompression)
  • Ziploc Bags for your Camera (to prevent from getting wet)
  • Avid Scuba Divers / Snorkelers may want to add some items here?
  • Cheap Nylon Wallet (may not want to bring your leather wallet and remove all unnecessary cards/documents from your wallet)
  • Nicorette Gum (for the Plane ride...if you're a smoker, you may find it eases your nerves in flight)
  • Get a Tan prior to leaving (You might want to get a jumpstart on your tan and not look like a lobster the first couple of days there!)
  • Insulated mug. Their cups are small and your drink gets warm very quickly.
  • According to the Cuba Now Blog, The NY Times and the Atlantic physical maps are essential due to lack of internet access in Cuba. All three recommend StreetSmart Havana and Cuba maps which are available on Amazon.


Gifts for the Locals:

There has been much discussion about bringing gifts for the locals.  The following page presents a good description of many of the issues surrounding this practice, and should be read carefully before loading up a suitcase with useless gifts for the resort staff:

Article by DonTomas