Cuba is generally considered a safe country to visit, including for U.S. citizens.

The island is known for its low crime rates compared to many other countries in the region. Violent crime is rare, and the government strongly emphasizes maintaining tourist safety. Most visits to Cuba are trouble-free, and tourists often remark on the warm and welcoming nature of the local population.

However, Cuba shares many safety threats for travelers with other developing countries. These include petty crimes (theft, robbery, scams) and safety risks associated with the country’s crumbling infrastructure (e.g., food poisoning and mosquito-borne diseases).

Cuba is safe to travel to as long as you avoid these safety risks. In this guide, we show you how.

In this article…

    Theft and Robbery

    Because of inflation and poor credit card processing infrastructure, tourists need to carry a ton of Cuban Pesos (CUP) to cover most of their trip costs in Cuba.

    This will expose them to the most common theft in Cuba: pickpocketing.

    Pickpocketing is especially prevalent in crowded places such as public buses, beaches, nightclubs, and tourist areas.

    Baggage theft is another common form of petty crime targeting tourists in Cuba. It can happen in hotel rooms, casas particulares (Cuban Airbnbs), cars, and airports.

    You might also be a victim of robbery, but incidents of assaults are rare.

    While you can’t eliminate the risk of theft and robbery, please take precautions:

    • Keep your documentation safe, and always carry copies with you.
    • Use a TSA lock on your bag.
    • Pack valuables in a carry-on.
    • Don’t leave your bags unattended in a car.
    • Dress modestly. Don’t show off your jewelry, designer bags, or cash publicly.
    • Don’t carry all your cash with you at once, and don’t put your wallet in your back pocket. Protect your cash with a travel money belt or an anti-theft bag.
    • Although there are many places to visit in Havana, avoid the poorest neighborhoods.
    • Don’t get drunk with strangers or invite them into your room.
    • Keep your room’s doors and windows locked.
    • If you are driving on Cuban highways, you will notice many hitchhikers. Don’t stop for them.

    Shortchanging and Overcharging

    How to Travel to Cuba - Cuban Currency

    Shortchanging and overcharging are widespread currency scams in Cuba. They can occur at restaurants, street markets, nightclubs, taxis, and when exchanging money on the street.

    Follow these tips when using cash to avoid becoming a victim of currency scams:

    • Know the Cuban currency. We wrote a whole article about it.
    • Check the price before purchasing. Avoid surprises!
    • Always pay in Cuban Pesos.
    • Double-check your change.


    Tourism is a big industry in Cuba. While most Cubans find legitimate ways to profit from tourism, others resort to defrauding travelers.

    You may encounter individuals who appear friendly and claim to be tour guides or taxi drivers. Others will offer you cigars (most likely fake) or arrange sex services (chulos).

    Some people on the street will offer unsolicited advice, put things on your hands, or even panhandle for money.

    Here are things you should do to avoid being scammed by hustlers in Cuba:

    • Don’t accept anything someone attempts to push into your hands (unless you want to pay for it).
    • Hire official tour companies, such as Tour Republic.
    • Don’t buy cigars from street vendors.
    • Don’t engage in sexual relations with jineteras (sex workers).

    Remember: a polite but firm “no” should be enough to de-escalate any uncomfortable situation.

    Sexual Harassment

    Solo female travelers may experience sexual harassment in the form of catcalling and whistling.

    In most cases, these practices are harmless and won’t lead to abuse or violence. In fact, Cubans have a name for it: piropo, which is kind of a compliment to a woman’s physique.

    If you feel harassed or constantly bothered by an individual, a firm “No me moleste” (don’t bother me) should be enough to stop him. If not, please call the authorities.

    Food Poisoning

    Is Cuba Safe - Water shortage

    You can get sick with food positioning in Cuba, even at high-end resorts. Street food and tap water are particularly problematic, so avoid them.

    If you suddenly experience fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, please find medical help immediately.

    However, we are sure you don’t want to deal with this while trying to have fun on the island! Here are some best practices to avoid food poisoning in Cuba:

    • Get travel insurance for Cuba. It is an entry requirement -along with the Cuba Tourist Card– and will cover healthcare, which is not free for tourists. We recommend Insuby for Canadians and Americans.
    • Stick to bottled water. However, bottled water may not be available everywhere. That’s why you should bring a reusable water bottle, like this one from LifeStraw.
    • Don’t buy food from street vendors.
    • Eat at reputable restaurants or paladares.
    • Bring essential over-the-counter medications.

    Mosquito-Borne Diseases

    Fumigation against Mosquitoes in Cuba

    Anywhere you encounter mosquitoes from the Aedes species, you risk contracting the Zika or Dengue virus.

    Cuba is no exception. With its tropical climate, mosquito activity is intense, regardless of the season.

    Pack a powerful mosquito repellent to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases (in addition to lots of itchy bites). It’s an easy way to ensure you stay happy and healthy!

    Poor Road Conditions

    Roads in Cuba have a bad reputation. According to the U.S. Department of State, “accidents involving motor vehicles are the leading cause of accidental deaths in Cuba.”

    Lack of regular maintenance, potholes, and inadequate street lighting contribute to hazardous road conditions. Roaming livestock, horse-drawn carts, and pedestrians also use the streets.

    If you are driving a rented car in Cuba, be careful, especially at night or during inclement weather when visibility is low.

    For short rides, it’s better to hire one of those colorful classic American cars in Cuba.

    Internet in Cuba may be hard to get while driving. We suggest bringing a road map like this StreetSmart Map of Cuba.

    Natural Disasters

    HUrricane Irma - Northearn Cuba

    Natural disasters can threaten tourists in Cuba, particularly during hurricane season, which typically runs from August to November.

    Cuba is in the Atlantic hurricane basin, making it susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms. These weather events can bring strong winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, and flooding.

    Tourists might face disrupted travel plans, road closures, flight cancellations, and potential evacuation orders. Additionally, accommodations and infrastructure might suffer damage.

    If possible, avoid traveling during the wet season, particularly from September to October.

    Cuba is Safe, But Just in Case

    Following these basic safety tips, you can have an awesome time in Cuba.

    But if you ever run into a safety threat, here are the important numbers and apps to note down:

    So, do you think traveling to Cuba in 2024 is safe? Let us know in the comments!

    Essential Travel Logistics For Cuba

    Cuban Tourist Card – If your Cuban Tourist Card (a.k.a Cuban Tourist Visa) isn’t bundled into your airline ticket or travel package, buy it only through EasyTouristCard

    Travel Health Insurance – Travel medical insurance is an entry requirement for Cuba, so you can’t skip it. Travelers can get travel health insurance for Cuba via Insubuy. Travel protection benefits such as trip interruption and cancellation, baggage delay insurance, etc., are not required.

    Essential Items to Pack – Bring the essential travel necessities that you may not be able to get in Cuba:

    Read our complete packing list for Cuba.

    Find Accommodations – Find hotels or casas particulares (private accommodations) on Skyscanner, which lists thousands of accommodations available in Cuba.

    Book Your Flight – Book cheap flights to Cuba on Skyscanner, our favorite flight search engine to find deals on flights to Cuba.

    About the Author

    Tour Republic

    Tour Republic is a marketplace where you can discover, book, and review the very best experiences Cuba has to offer. We are a team of tourism professionals and journalists who have partnered with Cuban entrepreneurs to provide travel experiences that can transform your trip into a life-changing adventure. We also share our profound love for Cuba through in-depth travel guides, myth-busting articles, and captivating narratives. Whether you want to explore Cuba's wonders or understand its intricacies, our blog posts are your gateway to the heart of this extraordinary country.

    See Our Stories