I spent two weeks in Cuba at the beginning of a long 6 month trip and wish I hard read any kind of Cuba packing list before I travelled the Caribbean isle of Cuba. When arriving in Cuba I realised we had made the biggest error in the history of my travel life when we arrived with only enough sun cream for the first few days of our 2 week Cuba trip. We had all our toiletries packed and prepped in our backpacks, all except one. Our sun cream.
If you’re travelling to Cuba for 2 weeks or longer then you’ll want to study this Cuba packing list for backpackers to ensure you know what to pack for Cuba. If you are planning to see Cuba on a budget you’ll equally want to check out this Cuba packing list to save your budget for all the amazing activities and things to do in Cuba.
CUBA PACKING LIST FOR BACKPACKERS
What to pack for Cuba?
Budget travel to Cuba and backpacking in Cuba is becoming more and more popular as the country becomes more readily available to international tourists. If you plan to spend two weeks in Cuba exploring or even longer you’ll want to know what to pack for Cuba and how to hack backpacking in Cuba with your packing list.
Some items such as toiletries and basic medication are impossible to get your hands on in Cuba so if you’re backpacking Cuba solo or travelling Cuba on a budget you’ll want to be prepared. By following this packing list you won’t have to face any of the difficulties travelling in a closed economy may bring you and unlike us, you won’t need to dedicate an entire day to the great sun cream hunt.
The Complete Cuba Packing List
If you have to sacrifice other essentials then do so but not the sun cream. Make sure you have enough sun cream to last your full trip, the sun is hotter than hell especially by the ocean and in popular tourists resorts like Trinidad so make sure sun cream is at the absolute top of your Cuba packing list.
When we realised we didn’t have enough sun cream for our two weeks in Cuba we had to go shopping and what was available to us was not your typical kind of SPF sun cream and looked more like sun block or toothpaste when applied to the skin. It is also worth making you aware that sun cream is quite expensive in Cuba so if you are doing Cuba on a budget its unlikely you’ll want this additional expense.
After sun cream
Similar to sun cream after sun can not be purchased in Cuba and we didn’t see this item once in any shops during our time in Cuba. The sun is hot in Cuba all year round and nothing really beats that refreshing feeling of having after sun moisture on your frazzled skin. After sun isn’t an essential and definitely worth sacrificing if you can’t fit your sun cream in. If you are fair skinned or burn easily please add aftersun to your packing list. Looking for more info on staying safe in the sun?
Water Purification Tablets
It may sound like an odd one but having a small box of water purification tablets with us saved us so many times whilst travelling in Cuba. Water is widely available in Cuba of course and water can be purchased in large bottles for around $2. But the tap water in Cuba is not for drinking like many couturiers in Latin America and the Caribbean. Smaller towns often have fewer, badly stocked shops which close down on weekend. Add this extra precaution to your Cuba packing list.
In Playa Larga we arrived on a weekend and all the shops were closed and we were unable to buy water unless buying small bottles at a restaurant. We didn’t dehydrated though thanks to our water purification tablets. Cuba was the only place we used them.
Toothpaste and other essential toiletry items are hard to find in Cuba, although for the most part you can always grab a bar of soap. Toiletries aren’t always the cheapest or easiest to come by in Havana or other areas of Cuba. It’s unlikely you’ll ever have access to branded or regulated products either which can be an issue.
Take what you need with you for a backpacking trip to save on high costs mainly. Sun cream as mentioned previously is an essential item to add to your Cuba packing list.
Day-to-day and Prescription Medication
Imodium, paracetamol, antihistamine all fall under this category for your Cuba packing list and what to pack for Cuba. Take with you any pharmaceuticals you’ll need during your stay on the island. of Cuba. Prescription medication goes without saying but other essentials are hard to come buy. Plus you may need the painkillers for all the Mojito induced hangovers you’ll experience.
I always recommend having a box of anti-histamine for insect bites or heat rashes which leads me on to the next item on the list of what to pack for Cuba.
Insect Repellent and After Bite
First Aid Kit
We didn’t see one single place selling travel adapters in Cuba, make sure you take the correct adapters with you for your stay especially backpackers who won’t be staying in a resort that may offer adapters to guests. This is an unmissable packing list item if you are backpacking Cuba solo.
In Cuba the standard North America travel adapter is the one you’ll need if you are travelling from Europe or Asia.
Cuba Packing List for Backpackers
Travelling to Cuba on a Budget
Cuba backpacking budget breakdown;
Accommodation: $20 per night for two people in a Casa Particular
Eating: $10-15 per day stick to street food and snacks, but restaurant food is generally $10 standard for a meal
Drinking: $20 per day for Mojitos and beer usually $2 per drink, we often bought our own rum and coke and sat on the Malecon in Havana
Taxis: $10 per day
Viazul: $20-$50 depending on distance. The Viazul is the tourist bus service in Cuba
A 20-something travel blogger based in Liverpool. Covering all things from Latin America to Liverpool local guides and everything in between.