Cuba travel essentials and things to bring

What do I pack for Cuba travel?

Cuba is a sunny warm tropical island, so cotton and other light natural fabrics are ideal. Cubans dress casual but sharp – a consideration when selecting your travel wardrobe. If you think you’ll need it, bring it. You’ll have difficulty finding it in Cuba.

Cuba packing considerations

  • Beachwear, hats, and caps are not worn to restaurants, evening events, or entertainment venues. Men wear long pants and shoes. Women wear a sundress, skirt or slacks, and a blouse.
  • Bring a light jacket or sweater as rooms, restaurants, tour buses and other public areas can be overly air-conditioned. Comfortable footwear is key. Never break-in new shoes when traveling.
  • A travel umbrella is needed from May through October for brief downpours. Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are indispensable.
  • Hotels and resorts offer laundry services for a fee. There are no laundromats in Cuba.
  • Airline weight limits change constantly. Check with your airline before packing to avoid over-weight luggage fees. Consider leaving some space for gifts and donations.

Our handy packing checklist for Cuba travel

Documents and money
Clothes and accessories
  • Men Long pants and shoes for evening events, shorts for day activities
  • Women Skirt, slacks or sundress for evening events, shorts for day activities
  • Shirts and T-shirts
  • Sweater or light jacket
  • Swimsuit, beach towel
  • Underwear and socks
  • Comfortable shoes (don’t break in new shoes on this trip), sandals, flipflops
  • Belt, watch, prescription glasses, contact lenses
  • Sunglasses, travel umbrella, sunscreen
  • Cap or sun hat
Medicine and hygiene
  • Band-Aids, miniature first aid kit, earplugs (if trouble sleeping)
  • Deodorant, fragrance, moisturizer
  • Face cloth, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, comb, hairbrush
  • Fingernail clippers, lip balm, wet wipes
  • If you are sensitive to foreign food and water, bring Kaopectate or Imodium
  • Prescription drugs, bring a two-week supply, keep In original container
  • Mosquito repellent with a 50% DEET component (safe to use on skin)
  • Toilet paper for day excursions, sanitary napkins, tampons, condoms
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, razor and supplies
  • Vitamins, aspirin or equivalent
Other travel essentials
  • Camera and mobile phone accessories, charging cables, tablet, e-reader, laptop
  • Electricity is mainly 220 AC. Bring a 220 to 110 adapter for electrical equipment
  • Snacks, dried fruits, and nuts
  • Rubber bands, Ziplock bags, super glue, tape, sewing kit
  • Novel, guidebook, Spanish phrase book, note paper, pens, pencils
Don’t bring these things to Cuba
  • Narcotics (Cuba is a zero-tolerance nation)
  • Explosives
  • Pornography
  • Anti-Cuba literature
  • Aerial drones
  • Stand-alone GPS devices (cell phones ok)
  • Walkie-talkies
  • Items considered to be weapons

Need help planning your trip to Cuba?

At Cuba Explorer, we love to answer questions about Cuba and help island visitors. Call us toll free at 1-888-965-5647 or email us with your questions.