Ever since the United States and Cuba opened diplomatic relations again, the curiosity for travel to Cuba has skyrocketed. There are now over a dozen airline routes scheduled from the United States to various cities in Cuba. In addition, major hotel chains like Starwood have begun taking reservations for one of two properties they intend to open in Havana.
But with any “new” country, one of the major questions I have been consistently hearing is whether or not traveling to Cuba is safe for Americans.
One of the challenges with quantifying crime in Cuba is the lack of reporting by the Cuban government. Crime statistics are not published and the U.S. Department of State’s “Safety and Security” briefing on Cuba is based purely on the reporting of U.S. citizens and other travelers.
With that being said, most of the information I’ve read when conducting research for this post makes it overwhelmingly evident that Cuba is certainly safe for travelers. Of course, being stupid (as my mom would say 😉 ) will almost 99.9% of the time get you into more trouble than you bargained for. So don’t go ahead and carry wads of cash or flaunt flashy, expensive jewelry, etc.
The reason I say this is well, this type of petty crime happens everywhere and it’s the one time of crime that I’ve read is more common in Cuba. Thankfully the presence of the Cuban military and police is enough to deter its citizens from committing any major crimes against foreigners. The last thing the country wants to do is drive away all the dollars they just invited in.
Zika. The hot issue right now for the Caribbean region is the Zika virus. Unfortunately Cuba has had numerous cases of the virus so it’s a great idea to pack loads of mosquito repellent and apply regularly.
Don’t drink the tap water. I typically never drink tap water when I travel just because I don’t feel like researching the purity of it that particular destination. This is evermore true for Cuba. There have been cholera outbreaks in a few of the outer lying cities and any ice you see is made from pure water only. Stick to bottled water and always check the cap on the water bottle to make sure the seal is still in tact!
Be proactive. When traveling to a foreign country, always check the CDC’s Travelers’ Health page for the latest health notices and vaccine recommendations.
After doing some extensive research, Cuba is safe to visit. Be smart, stay vigilant, and enjoy the spoils of the country before they’re ruined by capitalism! 🙂
I understand any hesitation about visiting. The country is still developing, the influx of Americans is certain to temp opportunists, and the unreliability of the infrastructure can turn a good day to bad real fast. With all that said, the Cuban people are gracious and want to welcome you as part of the family. Enjoy the food, drink, and atmosphere.
Quick story – I once had a mojito at a bar in Italy and it was amazing. The bartender said he learned how to make mojitos in Havana as they have “the best bartenders on the planet.”
Well, I certainly can’t wait to see for myself!