Cuba Risk Report
Security travel advice for Cuba
Threat level: Low-Medium
The general travel safety advice for Cuba is to express caution especially from petty crime, to take caution when travelling and avoid travelling to the country during the time of year when weather may influence travel and transport links.
Recent Security Risk Events
Even though there is a low level of reported gun crime and terrorism in Cuba, it is best to remain vigilant as westerners are targeted abroad.
It is advisable you do not travel with anyone other than your pre-arranged tour operator, official staff and registered taxi services as there have been documented scams and incidents.
When travelling to/from the country it is best to have valuables in your hand luggage and perhaps your main luggage shrink wrapped to prevent theft or tampering at the airports.
There is a lower average of crime against visitors in popular tourist destination spots as they are manned well by local police however there is an increasing risk of pickpocketing, purse snatching, fraud schemes, and thefts from unoccupied cars and/or dwellings. Areas near to hotels can be of risk also with thieves, prostitution and criminally motivated characters in the area waiting for opportunistic crime. Please be aware that sexual activity with anyone under the age of 18 is against the law.
It is recommended you always ask for the price up front on purchasing goods, eating and drinking out and always when using a taxi services.
It is best to bring out in public small amounts of cash, in addition to some emergency money. Not to let credit cards leave your sight. In addition to this, please secure your belongings carefully inside your accommodation in a safe. There have been reports of theft of belongings even inside these safes or small amounts of cash, investing in tamper proof secure bags and cable ties will deter opportunistic accommodation staff.
There have be known spates of civil unrest and demonstrations which have turned violent, however due to governmental oppression in the past these have been short lived. It is advised you stay away from such public gatherings for your own safety.
Cuba has had long standing ties to Russia and the People’s Republic of China. It has had more recently developed closer links with the USA, however due to its poor human rights and treatment of its residents has ongoing issues it is working through with the European Union.
UK citizens can drive in the country with a full UK driving licence however please do so with caution as there are hefty penalties and custodial sentences for foreign and domestic drivers in the country, especially those incidents that have resulted in injury. You may not be able to leave the country during the time of investigation which can take months to resolve.
The general road conditions are unfavourable, which can be poorly lit and lack of road signs can cause issues.
The hurricane season is from June through to November, during this time it is best to take natural disaster safety measures. Mud and landslides caused by heavy rains and flooding can cause problems and dangerous travel conditions, during this time transport links and primary services may be disrupted.
Time now in Havana:
A tourist card is required to enter Cuba, this allows the holder to stay in Cuba for 30 days and is valid for a single entry. You must provide proof of confirmed return flight and booked accommodation.
It is advised that visitors to Cuba are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus, which is usually administered when you are a young baby. You may also want to consider a Hepatitis A vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
In some cases it is advised that if you are in a rural area, you travel to the nearest city for medical treatment rather than attending a local medical centre.
There have been confirmed cases of the Zika virus and Chikungunya fever in Cuba and suitable precautions are advised. Both diseases are transmitted to humans by mosquito bites and although there is no vaccine at present, taking precautions against bites can prevent contraction in the first place.
Personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. There have been a number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold.
U.S. Embassy Belmopan
Calzada between L & M Streets,
Telephone: +53 7839 4100
British Embassy Havana
Calle 34 no. 702 esq 7ma,
Telephone: +53 7214 2200
Telephone: +53 7204 1771
Telephone: +53 7204 1772
Other useful info