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Cuba 2023: A Traveler’s Tale of Safety, Adventures, and Cultural Delights

There are loads of places that you can travel to and Cuba is also on that list. You might be asking yourself ‘is Cuba safe to visit and what details about the country? This includes laws there, medication, travel concerns, and so much more!
Cuba Flag

Planning a trip to Cuba in 2023? As a seasoned traveler, I’ve recently explored the island and want to share the latest travel advice and my personal experiences to help you make an informed decision about visiting Cuba this year.

The Current Situation:

Before we dive into my experiences, it’s crucial to address the current situation in Cuba. As of my last visit in early 2023, the country had adapted to the ongoing pandemic and implemented various safety measures. However, conditions can change, so it’s vital to stay updated on travel advisories and entry requirements.

Is Cuba Safe to Visit in 2023?

I’m pleased to report that Cuba remains a safe destination for travelers, with a welcoming and hospitable population. During my stay, I observed a strong focus on public health and safety. Mask-wearing was prevalent in indoor public spaces, and hand sanitizing stations were readily available. The government and businesses had taken steps to ensure the safety of both residents and visitors.

Navigating Entry Requirements:

To visit Cuba as a US citizen, it’s essential to understand the entry requirements. While restrictions have eased in recent years, it’s crucial to research and comply with the latest regulations. During my visit, I entered Cuba under the “Support for the Cuban People” category, which allowed me to engage with local businesses and support the Cuban people directly.

Traditional Cuban Dance Styles

Personal Experiences:

  1. Warm and Welcoming Locals: One of the highlights of my trip was the warmth and friendliness of the Cuban people. From taxi drivers to street vendors, everyone I encountered was eager to engage in conversation and share insights about their culture and country.

  2. Exploring Havana: Havana, the capital city, is a captivating blend of history, culture, and architecture. Walking through its vibrant streets, I marveled at the colonial-era buildings, colorful vintage cars, and lively music that seemed to be around every corner.

  3. Safety in Public Spaces: I felt safe exploring Havana and other parts of Cuba on foot, even during the evening. The streets were well-lit, and there was a noticeable police presence, creating a secure environment for travelers.

  4. Scenic Natural Beauty: Beyond the cities, Cuba offers stunning natural landscapes. I had the chance to hike in the Viñales Valley, where picturesque tobacco fields and limestone formations left me in awe.

Travel Concerns

Table of Contents

There are different travel concerns whenever you are visiting another country. These include:

Visas and Border Measures

Every country has the right to decide who can enter or leave its borders.

You will have to check with the nearest embassy or immigration department in Cuba. You will need a visitor visa to enter Cuba. If you’re visiting for tourism, you can easily get a tourist card through your travel agent or the embassy. Your tourist card will include a tourist visa. In other situations, you will need to apply for a visa. 

One thing you need to keep in mind is that entry and exit conditions can change at a short notice. You will have to contact the embassy for details regarding customs, visas, quarantine rules, currency, etc.

Departure From Cuba

You need to check with the local authorities on all exit procedures that apply to you.

You also need to show proof of travel insurance and must purchase extra insurance if you are more than 70 years and are planning a high-risk sport. 

Also, the list of duty-free items that you are allowed to take to Cuba is Limited. Your items might get seized by the customers as well. Make sure to check this with the embassy.


Some countries out there do not let you enter if your passport is not valid for 6 months after your plan to visit the country.

Some governments and airlines apply this rule so make sure to get this checked by your travel agent. However, the rule is not set by the Australian Government. 

If your passport gets lost or stolen, you need to contact the embassy right away. However, always take precautions by keeping your passport in a safe place at all times.


There are 2 official currencies in Cuba.

These are: 

  •  the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC)
  •  the National Peso (moneda nacional or CUP

Foreigners need to use CUC all the time. It is illegal to remove CUC bills from Cuba. Moreover, Australian dollars cannot be exchanged in Cuba. Australian dollars can’t be exchanged in Cuba. 

Credit cards, debit cards, and cheques are not accepted in Cuba if they are issued by a US bank or Australian Banks that are affiliated with US banks. These are:

  • All American Express and Westpac bank cards
  • Some Visa and MasterCard cards, depending on the issuing bank

Before you plan to travel, make sure to check with your bank if your card will work in Cuba.

Local Travel

To drive in Cuba, you will need: 

  • Your valid Australian driver’s license
  • A valid International Driving Permit (IDP)

Driving Permit

You also need to get your ID before leaving Australia. Also, to hire a motor vehicle, you need to be 21 years old or older.

Exploring the Vibrant Culture

One of my most memorable experiences during my 2023 visit to Cuba was attending a local music performance in Trinidad. I stumbled upon a small, dimly lit venue with live salsa music pouring out onto the cobblestone streets. Drawn by the infectious rhythms and laughter, I couldn’t resist stepping inside.

Where: Trinidad, a picturesque colonial town in central Cuba.

When: It was a warm evening in late February 2023.

Why: I had heard that Trinidad was known for its lively music scene and wanted to experience it firsthand.

How: I was walking through the charming streets of Trinidad, taking in the beautifully preserved architecture and vibrant street art when the sounds of a trumpet and congas lured me in.

As I entered the venue, the atmosphere was electric. Locals and fellow travelers danced together, and musicians played with incredible energy. I found a spot at the bar and ordered a mojito, immersing myself in the music and the moment. It was a joyful celebration of life and culture, a testament to the resilience and spirit of the Cuban people.

Cuban Women's Folk Dress​

Safety Measures: Even in this crowded setting, safety measures were in place. Masks were required when not actively drinking or dancing, and hand sanitizer stations were scattered around the venue. It was evident that both the patrons and the establishment took the pandemic seriously while still savoring the cultural experiences that define Cuba.

Connecting with Locals: What made this experience even more memorable was the chance to connect with locals. I struck up a conversation with a Cuban couple seated next to me at the bar. We talked about their favorite music venues, their love for Trinidad, and the challenges and triumphs they had faced in recent years. It was a poignant reminder of the resilience and warmth of the Cuban people.

Covid-19 is a risk in Cuba. You should consult with a medical professional for information regarding vaccine options when visiting Cuba. The Australian Government does not provide any advice on the safety and quality of vaccines that have been approved in other countries.

Crime and Safety Concerns

You must be wondering if is Cuba safe to visit or if it has huge crime rates.

Foreigners may go through violent crimes that include assault, robbery, or sexual assault. Pickpocketing, bag snatching, and other related crimes are quite common as well, especially if you are traveling by public transport. 

You might have to suffer from power outages that can last for hours. This is the time when theft increases. You should always keep the windows and doors of your accommodation locked. Keep all your valuables safe in your bag. This includes all your jewelry, cameras, and other electronics. 

Road-based crimes happen here frequently Thieves may slash your car tires and while they pretend to help you with that, they will steal your vehicle. To protect yourself from road-based crimes, you should only opt for registered taxis and keep your doors locked and windows up at all times. Make sure not to pick up any hitchhikers and be alert at all times.

Law and Politics

When visiting Cuba, you will have to follow all the local laws and penalties.

Do your research before visiting the country so that you do not face any issues afterward. 

In case you get arrested or jailed, the Government will help you under the Consular Services charter. However, getting out of jail is not that easy. 

Drugs are not allowed here at all. Make sure you are not carrying or using drugs here. Serious crimes should not be done at all and can result in the death penalty. If you are accused of something, you might be jailed during the investigation. Drinking while driving, engaging in black market activities, and taking photos of military or police sites are not allowed. Make sure to get local advice before visiting.


When traveling, you need to keep a photo ID with you at all times.

If you are found without it, the authorities have the right to detain you. Also, in the instance that you lose your passport or other important documents, make sure to contact the Embassy asap

Emergency and Natural Disaster Response

Cuba has experienced many natural disasters which include hurricanes, earthquakes, storms, and tsunamis. If a natural disaster occurs during your visit. Follow this: 

  • Keep your passport safe in a waterproof area
  • Monitor the local media 
  • Follow the advice of the local emergency officials 
  • Stay in contact with your friends and family 
  • Get local advice 

Make sure to get updates regarding the weather at all times. 

Apart from this, for fire and rescue services call 105, for medical emergencies call 104, and to call the police dial 106. Your insurer should also have your 24-hour emergency contact number.


Encouragement to Travel in Cuba in 2023:

My journey in Cuba in 2023 was a testament to the diverse and captivating experiences this country has to offer. From the pulsating rhythms of Trinidad’s music scene to the serene beauty of Viñales Valley, I discovered that Cuba remains a place of resilience, warmth, and wonder.

Now, as we conclude this part of the blog post, I want to leave you with a thought: Traveling to Cuba in 2023 is not just a journey; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in a country that has weathered challenges with grace and optimism. It’s a chance to support local communities, savor authentic experiences, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

If you’ve ever considered visiting Cuba, now is the time. The country’s safety measures, welcoming locals, and unique cultural experiences make it an ideal destination for adventurous travelers. Whether you’re drawn to the music, the cuisine, the history, or the natural beauty, Cuba has something to offer everyone.

As you plan your trip, remember to stay informed about the latest travel advisories and entry requirements. Respect local customs and regulations, and embrace the opportunity to connect with the resilient and vibrant Cuban people. Cuba is ready to welcome you with open arms, and your journey is bound to be filled with unforgettable moments, enriching encounters, and a deep appreciation for this remarkable island nation. In the next part of this blog post, we’ll delve into practical travel tips to ensure a smooth and memorable visit to Cuba in 2023.

Dance and Music


Here is all you needed to know about visiting Cuba. Hopefully, by the end of this article, all your queries are solved and you have got the answer to whether is Cuba safe to visit. Go spend some time there and enjoy all you can!

Visit Kanana Caribbean for more island facts, vacation planning, sightseeing, travel deals, and upcoming events.

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