How to Stay Connected in Cuba

Updated May 2024

Internet and WIFI in Cuba

Internet is becoming increasingly available in Cuba, and costs are much lower than they used to be. However it is still much more difficult to access the internet in Cuba than in most other countries, and the vast majority of guesthouses do not have the facilities to offer WIFI.

There are WIFI points, however at different places in all the cities visited by tourists, such as plazas, public areas, and in most hotels. WIFI cards that give you 1 hour access to the internet can be purchased in the hotels and at offices of the communication company ETECSA. These cost 25CUP each, however often these cards are sold out and locals make a business of offering them on the street for an inflated price which you can most likely pay in foreign currency. Some hotels sell them at higher prices or require you to buy a drink. We recommend you buy quite a few WIFI cards in Havana on the first days of your travels, as the cards are valid for use at WIFI points all over Cuba. Lines to buy them are usually long, or points of sale closed.

A wifi point in a plaza in Old Havana
To access the internet, local Cubans and tourists alike use public wifi points located in cities throughout Cuba

Telephoning from Cuba

International phone calls from Cuba are very expensive. You can either buy a phone card from an ETECSA to use on public phones, or call from a hotel. The rates from hotels may be slightly more expensive but more convenient as you are not cut off when the card runs out, and only pay the cost of the call. 119 is the code to make international calls from Cuba.

Global Roaming in Cuba

Celular or mobile phones from other countries will work in most cities in Cuba if they meet the following requirements:

  • Your phone works on the 900MHZ (3G), 2100MHZ (3G) or 1800MHZ (4G) frequency band
  • Your operating network has a contract with the Cuban mobile network Cubacel. Verify this with your mobile phone service provider.
  • You have the global roaming service activated

How to Get a Cuban SIM Card

Cuba offers tourist SIM packages called CubacelTur. These physical SIM cards can sometimes be purchased locally, but due to shortages, it is best to purchase them online in advance. You can pick them up at the Jose Marti airport terminal 2 or 3 and most other airports and Etecsa offices in Cuba.

The SIM costs around 30USD and includes 6GB mobile data, 100 min of local calls, and 100 local SMS messages, top ups are only for mobile data, not calls nor SMS. The SIM card is good for 30 days after activation. Suena Cuba is a popular site for purchasing the CubacelTur SIM card.

You can buy an e-SIM for Cuba, which only includes data. Most locals and businesses in Cuba communicate via WhatsApp or Messenger, so the data plan should be sufficient. Currently, the only provider for e-SIMs in Cuba is Airalo.

Your phone needs to be unlocked and operate on the 900MHZ (3G) or 1800MHZ (4G) frequency band for it to work in Cuba.

Post in Cuba

You can send a postcard from Cuba. The postal system in Cuba is reasonably reliable, although sometimes a little slower than in other countries. However, anything larger than a letter or a postcard invariably gets 'lost' in the system. There are some attractive and interesting post cards widely sold in Cuba (old photos of Che, Fidel, and the 'heroes of the revolution' being quite popular). You can also buy pre-paid postcards in Cuba from the shops which are quite convenient and do work. The cost of sending a postcard internationally is about 25CUP

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will my cell phone work in Cuba?

Yes, if your phone provider has a roaming contract with Etecsa, Cuba's only telecommunications company, your mobile phone will work in Cuba. You can check which cell phone providers work in Cuba on the Etecsa website. We recommend using it only for text messages; data and calls can be extremely expensive.

Will my casa particular have wifi?

More and more casas are adding free wifi to their amenities, particularly in Havana. However, the majority of casas, particularly in the provinces outside of Havana, do not offer free or paid wifi.

How do I connect to wifi in Cuba?

In most cases, you must purchase a Nauta Wi-Fi card from an Etecsa location, which will give you a login and password to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot. You can also tether to someone else's data; there are frequently people who will offer these services in public spaces for a fee.

Is Cuba a good place to be a digital nomad?

Cuba's connectivity is underdeveloped and often slow or unreliable compared to most other countries. Digital nomading in Cuba would require patience.  Also, several sites are blocked due to the US embargo on Cuba. Downloading a good VPN will help you access these sites.

Can I purchase a SIM or e-SIM in Cuba?

Yes, you can purchase a Cuban SIM from Suena Cuba and an e-SIM from Airalo.

What is the best advice for staying connected in Cuba?

Our best advice is to try Cuba unplugged. It's one of the few destinations where you can give yourself permission to disconnect rather than be frustrated by Cuba's slow and sporadic connectivity. If you're on a tour with Cuban Adventures, your family can be assured that we are keeping you safe and will call your emergency contact if needed.

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