It's hot, but what out for the cold!
It can get very hot and humid in Cuba throughout most of the year,
especially in the summer months of June, July, and August, when lightweight clothing is recommended.
In the winter months of Cuba - in December, January, and February it can get colder, particularly during
the evenings. It is recommended to bring a fleece top, jacket, or the like, for these months. A fleece top
can also be useful on public buses or flights in Cuba where it can be quite cool due to the air-conditioning,
even in summer months. Although the temperatures don't get very low in Cuba (the all-time record in
Cuba is 0.3 Celsius), because of humidity levels and the fact that Cuban houses are not set up for cold weather,
the cold can be hard to escape from. In general however, during the day, the climate in Cuba is hot and tropical.
Some people can get by with just a pair of sandals. In the summer, because of the temperatures
in Cuba, open footwear is definitely preferable, even in the evenings. There are some interesting day-walks
in Cuba that you may want to do. These involve walking over some steep and rocky terrain, so it would be advisable
to bring footwear that you would feel comfortable doing this in, if you are interested in such activities. Some
travellers have suggested that "water shoes" are the best footwear for these trails. Water shoes can also be
useful for snorkeling in the Bay of Pigs where access to the water is by walking over rocky surfaces that can
be sharp and pointy.
For going out in the evenings in Cuba, casual dress is acceptable everywhere you go,
so there is no need to bring footwear especially for this, although some people may be more comfortable
doing so. Despite their low income levels, Cubans love to dress up smartly whenever they can.
There will be plenty of opportunities for swimming in Cuba (beaches, rivers, pools) so
be sure to bring your swimwear.
Cloting and footwear
- Sandals and footwear for walking (see above)
- Small towel and swimwear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 1-2 liairs of shorts
- 1 liair of long trousers
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Insect repellant (important for night time)
First aid kit should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or
similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, and prescription drugs you may be taking.
- Reading/writing material
- Cover for backpack
- Snorkeling gear
If you are travelling with children or if you have special dietary
requirements and like to eat snacks between meals, we recommend you bring your own snacks
to Cuba, especially for travel days. Snacks are available in Cuba, however they may not be
to your liking or as readily available as you'd like.
Gifts for Cubans
Cubans are delighted to receive gifts from foreigners even if they are items that
you would consider throwing out at home. Second hand clothes are warmly accepted as gifts as
they can be distributed among family members and friends. Soap, shampoo, perfumes, non-prescription
medication (such as panadol), and pens or pencils are also very popular with the Cubans. Inexpensive
soap is readily available in Cuba if you intend buying some as gifts. Used mobile phones are highly
valued in Cuba, especially if they are unlocked and work on the 900Mhz frequency. Any Australian mobile
phone, or any quad-band mobile phone, will work on the 900Mhz frequency. Though they would be most happy
to receive them, it is not necessary to bring gifts for your host families, as they are probably some of
the more well-off families in Cuba and will be happy enough with just your good-natured presence. If you
want to take gifts for your host families perhaps something that they can use around the house or in the
kitchen would be a well received and inexpensive gift - such as keyrings, place mats for the table,
Donating large amounts of items in Cuba can be a little more complicated. Your tour guide
will be the best person to help you with ideas on who to donate to, and how best to carry this out.
Here are a few suggestions on who you might like to donate to in Cuba...
- The people employed in the guesthouses. That is, not so much the guesthouse owner but the people they
pay to do the house work for them.
- The teachers of any schools you are able to visit during the tour
Likewise to people working at somewhere like one of the organoponicos (urban organic community vegetable gardens).
We suggest donating to people who are working for the government and with whom you have some sort of positive inter-action during your stay, rather than to random people on the street in