What to pack for Cuba
Cuba is a country of many things—a tropical paradise full of passion, soul, warmth, music, good coffee, great cigar and fantastic rum; however, it only has what it has . . . . this can change daily.
Shopping for clothes or shoes is quite expensive as are the necessities. Keep in mind that you’ll want to pack with careful thought.
General Packing Tips:
Keep it Simple! Like real simple . . at the end of the day, you need undergarments, something for the top, something for the bottom and shoes. I brought 2 sundresses, 2 shorts, 3 tops (everything was interchangeable), camera (iPhone, DSLR and GoPro with waterproof camera), goggles, snacks, documents/research, a Chocolate book (of course) and a first aid kit/emergency medicine. If you are blue eyed, blonde haired and freckled like my hubby and I, invest in a Rashguard for over your swimsuit. It will save you in many ways.
The pic below shows some of the miscellaneous items we brought.
- PB crackers
- Graze snacks (with the box in case we needed to protect some art on the way back – as a matter of fact, we needed it to protect a small map we purchased). The more things you bring that have a dual purpose, the better.
- SPIbelt and money belts (in hindsight I should have just brought the SPIbelt, that thing is perfectly awesome)
- A nailpolish box that actually had painkillers and muscle relaxant (it was to serve as emergency only). Keep in mind, my husband was telling me to put it in the Prescription bottle but it just took up too much room. I only wanted to bring a couple of each along as I had just had a blood transfusion 2 weeks prior to the trip and was experiencing extreme pain during my recovery. I figured it was best to manage any pain that showed up on my own before heading to a Cuban hospital.
- Coin dispenser (my Mom gave me this over 15 years ago for the quarters for my laundry)
- Pen (I carried it on my flyfishing shirt for my Immigration forms – its impt to have your own pen)
- Sewing kit
- small bars of soap
- hotel shampoo bottles
- ziploc bags
- floaty box for watersports (because in most countries, you can’t just leave your stuff on the beach and go play) and . . .
we did NOT bring walkie talkies as we usually do traveling internationally. Supposedly, Castro says NO to these.
Women’s Clothing Tips:
Again, keep it simple. I know how it is, I can over pack in about 5.6 seconds. Don’t do it for Cuba. Its hot, the sidewalks are tough to walk on . . dress for comfort. Dress minimally.
I wore a small flyfishing shirt because I could wear it anywhere, over a swimsuit, over shorts, over a sundress if the breeze picked up. This is the shirt – I wore it on the plane as well because it was long sleeve and with my trek pants it kept me warm.
*Sidenote: having pockets all over your clothing is AMAZING!! I now know why my hub loves his cargo shorts. I totally get it now, it was so functionally awesome. Not very sexy but perfect for Cuba!
Men’s Clothing TIps:
My husband and I had many similar outfits. In fact, when we were in Mexico taking our last flight back to Dallas, 2 separate people called me Sir. LOL. Whatever. I had no mirror, no electricity in the AM and had my hair pulled back with no makeup and a flyfishing shirt. Again, whatever. Just so you know, my husband, was never called Mrs. The flyfishing shirts worked great for him.
He also brought 2 pairs of shoes – 1 pair of Reef flip flops, 1 Keen waterproof shoes. 2 Flyfishing shirts. 1 Cargo shorts. 1 Trek pants.
Lesson learned – simplicity is best. Wear clothes you can wash in the sink and hang up to dry (quick dry clothes) and you’ll get to put all of your time into experiencing Cuba and not worrying about what you’ll wear or lugging around a ton of stuff.
We had 2 backpacks (mine was really small) and had our hands free when we were traveling. Definitely the way to go!
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