Definitive Cuba Packing List: What to Bring to Cuba in 2020

Recently, Cuba has become a popular tourist destination, and the country itself never expected visitors to pour in this much. Because Cuba wasn’t prepared for many visitors, planning a trip to Cuba is a different thing entirely and requires a traveler to prepare adequately. Unlike Miami, the Bahamas, and Dubai, where you can shop on landing, Cuba is not well-stocked with the many provisions and clothing you’ll prefer to have on hand. It can be a challenging destination for first-time visitors, but this complete packing list for Cuba will get you ready for the journey ahead.

Preparing for any trip shouldn’t be too stressful for you if you have a list of all you need. You can also pre-plan every stop to make your trip go more smoothly and to ensure that your expectations for where you’re visiting will be what you actually get. We suggest that all trip planners pack adequate supplies. If you want a successful stay in Cuba, you should never make the mistake of packing as if you’re traveling domestically between states.

Aside from the need to pack adequately, Cuba is a beautiful place to be. It’s also on our list of TOP 12 travel destinations. Already, tourists are pouring in more than double the number of last year. But this newly discovered vacation and tourist venue shouldn’t be prepared for too cheaply. One of the secrets of having a memorable visit to Cuba is packing what you’ll need every hour of your stay.

What You Need to Pack for Cuba

We won’t tell you how many shirts and pants to bring. It is totally up to you to decide the number of tops and bottoms you’ll be needing, but you may not find the laundry services over there to be very convenient, so it depends on your choice.

You may not find the laundry services in Cuba!
You may not find the laundry services in Cuba!

Apart from that, you’ll need several items for an enjoyable stay in Cuba. You’ll need a bag, either a light backpack or a large traveling bag. Choosing a bag is personal. You may be planning to stay for a month or a week or, perhaps, for just a few days.

No matter the number of days you’ll be spending in Cuba, you shouldn’t be concerned with packing light because your cash won’t get you everything you forgot to pack. Also, your American bank card won’t be useful for anything when you get there. That’s right, American cards don’t work in Cuba. Buying a lot of the things you failed to pack will be difficult.

Your cash won’t get you everything you forgot to pack.

You’re going to a country with warm tropical weather; you’ll need cotton and light fabrics. Contemporary and sharp clothing is best to fit into the typical culture popular among Cuba citizens. Mostly, you’ll not need short pants and sandals for your evening outings. Some dress shoes and long pants would do, but you do not need to be so formal.

You’re advised to pack everything you need but still within reason. There’s a certain weight of luggage regarded as over limit and will not be allowed into Cuba. Your airline should have more to tell you about that before packing. While packing, you’ll want to include gifts and giveaway items for the local people. It is normal in the Cuban culture to give gifts to your hosts, and many visitors do so.

What plugs to take to Cuba?

Another item you’ll need in your luggage that is essential is your travel charger. All your digital and electronic devices will need a power supply to take you through your journey. Whenever you want to upload on Facebook and text on Whatsapp or take pictures, and your phone or digital camera is down on power, you can easily plug into this multifunctional travel charger and charge your devices at any time.

You can get a quality travel charger:


In your luggage, you’ll need a water bottle juice, water, or other liquids when necessary. Check this link to get one of these for yourself, so that you won’t have to run from one store to another in Cuba if the need arises.

Here is a combined Cuba packing list of all you need to pack to make your journey a memorable one.


You’ll need a backpack for your travel. It’s quite portable and large enough to pack all you need. If you’re packing for more than one person, you’ll need an extra handbag. If you’re going to be in Cuba for too long, you’ll need a big bag, but you should be aware of luggage size and weight restrictions, or else you’ll be charged for being over limit.

The reason a backpack is necessary is that you can take it anywhere in Cuba. In case you don’t fancy carrying a purse around, the backpack will do. Cross bags or a portable purse will also keep your papers and devices safe.

Every bag you carry with you should be lockable. You’ll need luggage locks for this. It is essential that you keep any valuable item locked at all times. If you carry cash around, you’ll need to be careful not to misplace it, and you’ll need a lock to keep it secure. The good news is that the crime rate in Cuba is quite low.

Look how to choose the best suitcase for travel to Cuba.


So what to wear in Cuba?

You are visiting a tropical country, so you’ll need some light clothing. Depending on the time of the year you’re visiting, you don’t need thick clothes to stay warm in Cuba. There aren’t any restrictions for dress codes in Cuba, so feel free to express yourself in tank tops, short sleeves, or tube tops. If you are planning to be out at night, you’ll want some light jackets and long pants to prevent getting little too cold. You will also want some dress shoes or high heels.

In some parts of the country, the roads are uneven and can get wet or dry anytime. You’ll need shoes to prevent your feet from getting dirty. Sandals are good enough if it’s dry. Packing clothes for a Cuba trip should consist mostly of casual, light clothing unless you’re going for official purposes.

what to wear in Cuba


Your phone, charger, laptop, camera, and adapter should not be left out when packing. In case your gadgets are down on battery, you can get them back up and running with the travel charger. Shop around and look for excellent quality and multifunctional travel charger. These electronics are part of the things you can’t buy when you get to Cuba.

You’ll want to take pictures for lasting memories, and you’ll need a camera or smartphone to do so. Also, a rechargeable flashlight will be helpful as you may be going to an area that is isn’t well-lit at night.

Food Items

There are enough food items to buy in Cuba, but they are not going to look like your favorites. You might want to bring some of your own snacks, and electrolyte powder is a great idea in case you get dehydrated. While you’ll have money on you, you may not be to spend it on what you want to eat, so bring along some food that can be preserved.

Cuban meals are not as bad as you might have heard. Their local dishes are delightful when prepared well, and you will find fresh fruits for sure. Mostly, their foods are peppered and garnished with flavors and spices. All of these ingredients may cause stomach irritation or diarrhea, though, so be careful. You should also remember to pack in line with the required guidelines of the country.

While you visit resorts, popular tourist destination, or recreational centers, you will find nice meals like that of your hotel kitchen; you’ll find a few American dishes over there too in the heart of the country’s capital. If you’re traveling from another part of the world, you’ll find your local delicacies also. These dishes may not be as perfect as you want them to be though. Whenever you’re packing for Cuba, think about everything, especially if you are visiting for the first time.


These are the things you might forget about, thinking that you can buy them when you arrive in the country. A frequent traveler, however, will not consider these items unnecessary. So, as a visitor going to Cuba for the first time, make sure you bring along your toiletries: toothbrush, shampoo, hair treatment kit, moisturizer, body spray, and the like. It may take a bit of time or cost a lot of money to get these items in Cuba.

They don’t occupy much space in your luggage, and you can gather them all in a portable purse. You will need to carry your medical kits, too, if you’re on medication. Even if you are not, prepare for the worst. First aid supplies and antibiotics will be needed for unexpected circumstances. Asthmatic patients should also take note that Cuba’s respiratory and heart care system is not too efficient.

You should have medications on hand to avoid getting sick and to prevent food poisoning. You may not like their local health centers, so medicines and supplies for a cold, stomach ache, bruises, abrasions, bites and cuts are vital things to pack too. More importantly, come with your hand sanitizer, tissues, and toiletries.

Giveaway Gift Choices for Your Cuba Trip

Many tourists love giving gifts to Cuba’s residents every time they pay a visit to the country. Choosing gift items is quite easy. Locals love receiving gifts from abroad. Here is a simple list of the residents’ favorites.


What to bring to Cuba to give away:

  • Toothbrush, mostly for kids and teens. They love the Superman and Dora editions.
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash. You may consider getting floss too.
  • Body spray, cologne, and deodorants
  • Male and female hygienic products
  • Sunglasses, hair comb, hair holder
  • Body lotions and moisturizer
  • Storybooks, writing materials, toys
  • Pants and tops. They also appreciate shoes and cash prizes.
  • Chocolate bars, chips, and other consumables allowed into the country
  • Medications under a quarantined check

This is not a complete list what you can bring to Cuba for locals. Gloves, socks, and pieces of jewelry are suitable gifts. You can quickly tell from the reactions of the locals that your gifts are satisfactory. Most visitors find it easy gifting locals, whenever they travel. This is a means of making new friends and getting help from whoever receives their gifts.

What Not to Bring to Cuba

As you are packing for your trip, you should be aware that there are certain things you cannot bring into the country. Every nation its rules, and getting familiar with some of the things you cannot bring will help you have a good and peaceful stay.

What Not to Bring to Cuba
Don’t bring censored literature, pornography magazines or drones to Cuba.

Some Literature Types

Regardless of the purpose of your visit or your views on Cuba’s ancient or political story, every Cuban national is very proud of their country and has regard for every area of government. Literature books and journals that negate their unity or is biased against the country are not allowed. Even If you want a book to read when you get bored, books that speak against or oppose Cuba’s political beliefs and policies are not welcomed in the country.

Drone Gadgets

A lot of tourists and vacationers fall in love with the sight of the beautiful attractions all over Cuba and, as a result, they create memories by taking pictures. Be aware that you are only allowed to take photos with your mobile phones and digital camera. Drone cameras are great for providing a bird’s eye view and capturing pictures from a wide angle, but they are not allowed in Cuba.

Adult Content and Material

Sensitive materials like pornography magazines and DVDs are not allowed in Cuba. The country is not against any adult content or naked pictures, but it is considered wrong to import sensitive materials like this into the country. Usually, Cuba is a liberal country and doesn’t restrict you from viewing contents like this, but you need to drop such content out of your luggage.

While you have to make adequate plans for your trip, you also need to be aware that Cuba is a country that is strict on its rules and restrictions. For example, in Amsterdam and Paris, you can have marijuana on you, but you can’t do that in Cuba. It is counted as an offense. You shouldn’t bring your beer either. You’ll get enough in Cuba. Also, your necessary traveling documents should go with you everywhere in the country.

One of the primary reasons why these rules and laws are set up is to ensure a peaceful and safe visit. A place that maintains law and order will attract many visitors.

How Much Currency Can You Bring into Cuba

It is essential to know that there’s a certain amount of money you can bring into the country. There is no least amount of cash you can bring along, but you can only take about $5,000 or its equivalent amount into Cuba. This is because you won’t be allowed to exchange above that amount in the country legally. If you happen to bring amounts higher than $5,000, you are advised to declare such value to custom agencies.

Additionally, if you are going on a business trip, you can only take as much as $5,000 or its equivalent out of the country. Either by cash or check, an amount higher than that should be brought to the attention of Central Bank of Cuba President for authorization with the presentation of documents to confirm legal import or export. Any amount higher than the set value of cash is considered illegal, and such cases can be taken up by the government.

What Currency Unit is Used in Cuba?

Beginning with the essential things you’ll need in Cuba, the first on the list should be some dollars and or other currencies you can exchange when you get to Cuba. This is because you cannot make any withdrawal from your US bank account(s) while you’re there. You’ll need enough money to explore Cuba at large, but even if you’re not planning to stay long, you’ll still need to bring adequate cash. When you get to Cuba, you can exchange your money for their local currencies, CUC or CUP.

What Currency Unit is Used in Cuba

Interestingly, in Cuba, there are two official currencies, and they are both useful anywhere in the country. They are:

Cuban Peso (CUP)

The Cuba Peso is the currency created for citizens of Cuba. It is rarely found with tourists and visitors. You may find this currency useful for buying food and drinks, tickets for buses, and to do some local market shopping. It is available in denominations of 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 pesos. It has higher denominations than the other currency. Exchanging 1 CUP is equivalent to 4 US cents. Approximately, you’ll be exchanging 4 dollars for 100 Cuban Pesos.

Cuban Convertible Peso(CUC)

This is the official currency assigned to outsiders and non-citizens during their stay in Cuba and is frequently spent by foreigners. Its value is higher than the Cuban Peso. They are both accepted anywhere in the country, though. The exchange rate of 1 CUC is 1 US dollar. Another difference between the two currencies is their denominations. The CUC is not available in 250 denominations and above, but it is more valuable.

To calculate how much cash to bring to Cuba aim to budget at least 50 Convertible Pesos (CUC) per day.

Exchanging dollars for Cuban convertible pesos comes with bank charges.

What Foreign Currencies are Accepted and Exchanged in Cuba?

You’re not going to get Cuban currency anywhere outside Cuba. And exchanging your money for pesos will have to take place in Cuba. It is advisable to bring the best currency with a higher conversion rate. This helps to boost your spending capacity when you get there.

Lots of currencies can be exchanged in Cuba. Know their current conversion rates to be sure of what money would be preferable for exchange. Here are the currencies you can trade in Cuba: American dollar, Canadian dollar, Swiss Franc, British Pounds Sterling, Euro, Norwegian Krone, Japanese Yen, Mexican Peso, and Swedish Krona.

What Currency is Best to Exchange in Cuba

Usually, the best currencies to trade in Cuba are British Pounds Sterling and Euros. They usually are the best to bring to Cuba if you want a high conversion rate. If you are coming into Cuba with American dollars, you will be exchanging for the Cuban convertible Peso with extra charges. If you want to avoid these charges, it is advisable to exchange the dollars into a currency of higher rate before you travel to Cuba.

Make sure you abide by the regulations attached to the amount of money you are allowed to bring to Cuba; this is important when you exchange your dollars to any currency before traveling. The equivalent value of the exchange dollars shouldn’t be more than $5,000.

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