Art in a studio in Old Havana. Solo travel to Cuba.

Solo Holidays To Cuba: Important Things To Know Before Visiting Cuba From A Local (2024)!

Are solo holidays to Cuba a good idea? Fun? Even for women, is it safe? After traveling solo to Cuba for five years as a woman from Scandinavia, let me help you put your mind at ease.

Yes, solo holidays to Cuba are a good idea. It will be fun, and it is safe.

When someone asks me if I feel safe traveling solo around the world, I often say that any destination, however far from my home, is someone’s neighborhood. And Cuba is no different.

Here is everything you need to know before traveling solo to Cuba to travel safely and have an amazing holiday.

Affiliate disclosure: I only recommend tours, services and purchases I know and love on this website.

Summary Solo Travel To Cuba

  • Cuba is a very safe destination to travel solo, including for solo female travelers.
  • The daily cost of solo travel in Cuba starts at around $100 a day and up indefinitely.
  • Budget accommodation for private rooms starts at around $20 and up.
  • Traveling around in Cuba solo is very easy with buses or taxi colectivos.
  • There are a variety of organized tours solo travelers can join across Cuba.
  • Tours range from short free excursions to day trips and multi-day trips around the island.

First: Is Cuba Safe To Travel Solo?

Parque Central in Havana, a square with lots of tall green trees and park benches. Around the square are the Museum of Fine Arts, the National Theater, the Hotel Inglaterra, Hotel Parque Central, and the Capitolio building. All white stone buildings with thousands of art details, speers, domes, and intrikate patterns on windows, facades and doors.
Parque Central in Havana

Yes, it is safe to travel solo to Cuba. In fact, it is safe to travel here in general, as Cuba is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean for tourists, including for women.

One important reason for this is that as tourism is one of Cuba’s most important sources of revenue, crime against foreigners is not taken lightly.

Penalties are severe for crimes against tourists in Cuba, a law implemented by Fidel Castro in the 90s.

That said, among Cubans in Cuba, the crime rate is higher, including some forms of violent crime. So the crime rate in Cuba is like two parallel worlds where yours is very safe as a tourist.

Traveling solo in Cuba, you should be normally vigilant as you would be anywhere. Don’t flash valuables or money, keep your pockets and bags closed in crowded areas, and be careful with the Cuba Libre cocktails (they can be fierce!).

Female Solo Travel To Cuba

Elegant woman walking the streets. Cubans are very particular with their appearance, hair, make-up and clothes.
<br>Women get lots of attention on the streets in Cuba

Traveling to Cuba is very safe, including for solo female travelers. However, there are a few things solo female travelers should know before traveling to Cuba, and one is that being safe is not the same as being left alone.

In Cuba, gender roles are still very traditional. In addition to that, as a foreigner, you will attract a lot of attention in the streets when you are walking alone.

As catcalling is still very much a thing in Cuba, you should be prepared to have people addressing you anywhere.

The attention ranges from catcalling to compliments to random comments, things that in other places are considered harassment but are still normal in Cuba.

You will be called “Linda,” “Preciosa,” “Bella,” or “Hello beautiful,” and be propositioned for various things. Don’t be surprised if someone even proposes to you as you pass by!

Life is difficult for a lot of people in Cuba, and you represent the “extranjera“, the outside, and wealth.

This is not dangerous, but it may be annoying if you are not used to it. Just be prepared, and you will be fine. It has nothing to do with you but everything to do with the Cuban culture.

Unique Solo Travel To Cuba

A blue classic car in Havana in front of classic colonial architecture on a sunny day

First up, Cuba is a super popular tourist destination in general.

Apart from being a safe travel destination for solo travelers, Cuba is also a socially open society. So much so that if you prefer to be left alone minding your own business on your holiday, you might struggle a bit with that.

Travel Solo Around Cuba

There are also plenty of things to do and see day and night, and traveling on the island is becoming increasingly easy.

The Viazul bus has departures between the most popular destinations, or you can book a seat in a taxi colectivo, or do an organized tour. I have tried all forms of transport, apart from renting a car.

I do not recommend renting a car in Cuba, and that is not because driving in itself is challenging. The reason is that the car standard is generally lower than in other destinations.

Gas is hard to find and expensive; there is no road assistance available, and if your car breaks down or you get into an accident, it can get really expensive and complicated.

The better option is to rent a car with a driver. He will be responsible for everything from fuel, technical issues, insurance, and more, and he has the connections to fix anything that might go wrong.

Best Holiday Destinations In Cuba

Big red propaganda poster in Cuba with slogans pro Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.
Propaganda posters in Cuba

Havana is a must-see destination, with its historic old city, fortresses, classic old American cars, the famous Capitolio building, the Malecon, the Museum of the Revolution, and a lot more.

The Cuban capital has a lot to offer day and night, and whether you have Latin bones in your body or not, you should visit at least one Casa de la Musica (they are in every destination) and shake to reggaeton rhythms in a Cuban nightclub.

Vinales Valley is the home of Cuban cigars, and Trinidad town is famous for its perfectly kept colonial architecture (also called the Museum of Cuba).

Cienfuegos is the only town in Cuba founded by French settlers. Its nickname is La Perla del Sud, and it is situated close to the infamous Bay of Pigs on the southern shores. Take a day trip here to see the small museum.

Santa Clara is probably the most important town in Cuba because of its importance in the days of the Cuban revolution, which you will see signs of everywhere when you visit.

And then there is Varadero, the largest resort area in the Caribbean region, perfect for a few days of pampering, luxury, and relaxation.

Towards the east, Camaguey and Bayamo are two of the seven original settlements founded by the Spanish in Cuba.

Bayamo was destroyed by a huge fire during the fight to free the city from Spanish oppression, which made the city famous (and also destroyed all its original architecture).

On the eastern tip, you find Baracoa, the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba, and Cuba’s second-largest city, Santiago de Cuba.

Lastly, the vast Sierra Maestra mountains, where Fidel Castro had his resistance headquarters in the last years before the revolution.

Map Of Cuba And Popular Cuban Holiday Destinations

This map was created with Wanderlog, the best trip planner app on iOS and Android

Perfect Cuba Accommodation For Single Travelers

Being a popular destination for backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between, there are also accommodations for single travelers in all styles and price ranges.

Hotels, hostels, and private casa particulares will take care of your personal travel needs, whatever they are.

Cost Of Solo Travel To Cuba

A small white catamaran in the surf in Varadero, with a colorful sail in red, yellow and blue.
Small catamaran in Varadero

A holiday to Cuba can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be or as your budget allows.

On this island, there are incredibly luxurious hotels, side by side with hostels, small hotels, and Casa Particulares, which are privately owned rental homes.

Low Budget Travel To Cuba

If you are on a tight budget, the lowest-priced accommodation is shared rooms or dorms, which could be around €10-12 per night if you are up for that.

Prices for a private room in a budget hostel start at around €20.

A daily budget for a budget solo vacation to Cuba, including food, some transport, a museum or two, and a cerveza, can be as low as around €80-100 per day.

Budget accommodation typically costs around €50-100 per night, sometimes including breakfast. A budget solo day in Cuba will cost around €150-200, including lunch, dinner, a paid activity, and transport.

And from €150 and up, you get really good hotels and probably a mansion or a casa particular if you want to!

Luxury Solo Travel To Cuba

A luxury solo travel day budget in Cuba, if you include accommodation, breakfast, lunch, a really nice dinner, a few drinks, transport, and some activities, will start from around €350 per day and up indefinitely.

In Havana, great options are the Iberostar Grand Packard, the Manzana Kempinski, and Royalton.

Luxury Solo Travel Tips For Cuba

A beautiful pool in a luxury resort on Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba around sunset. Surrounded by white sun beds with pillars and curtains, palm trees, and the hotel restaurants and bar.
Luxury resort in Cayo Santa Maria

Traveling solo means that you only need to focus on your budget, your goals, and your priorities. If your dream holiday is a pampering all-inclusive resort with endless beaches, there are plenty of options for solo luxury trips to Cuba.

Most of the biggest cities and famous beach areas have a variety of high-end luxury hotels where you can bask in pampering service and amenities.

The best cities to find luxury hotels or high-end casa particulares are the big cities, like Havana and Santiago de Cuba.

Manzana Kempinski rooftop pool in Havana just around sunset. The pool is lit from below, the water is blue, the elegant restaurant is in the background, and the sky is glowing orange from the sunset.
Manzana Kempinski rooftop pool in Havana

Outside of the two biggest cities, the best places for luxury all-inclusive resorts are Varadero, in addition to the Cuban Keys.

The most popular ones are Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, and Cayo Guillermo, along the northern shores east of Havana.

High-End Casa Particulares in Havana

Pool at night 2 1

There are also a number of private luxury casa particulares in and around Havana, with high star ratings from international guests. These casas offer pools, jacuzzis, stunning views, and top amenities to make your holiday perfect.

Find High-Rated Luxury Casas Here!

Note: if you are an American citizen, you need to be aware of the Cuba restricted list from the US government regulating where you can stay or eat in Cuba.

Hotels and resorts that are owned by the Cuban government (by more than 51%) are typically on this list.

Perfect Mixed Small Group Tours To Cuba

A group of divers lying in the light blue water, smiling to the photographer, about to swim out from Playas del Este east of Havana
Go in a group and do fun things together

Even for avid solo travelers (or for your first trip to Cuba), sometimes it is nice to have some security and social life for free while traveling.

Making small group trips around Cuba will give you that, as well as the freedom and flexibility to do your own thing.

Organized tours use local tour guides and operate to “help the Cuban people” by providing accommodation in cases particulares; private holiday rental homes across the island.

The best small group tours and tour companies that operate in Cuba have itineraries from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Civitatis Tour Company.

I have made several day trips and organized two-day tour in Cuba with the UK-based Civitatis tour company.

These tours get top ratings and good reviews across the board, and I second that. The organization, destinations, guiding, and content were really high quality and worth the time and money.

The tours will be a perfect mix of organized activities and free time, and you are free to choose your own adventures in all the destinations you visit.

This way, you can make friends with lots of travelers from different countries, get some guidance on what to do, and spend time exploring on your own with all the solo travel perks you love!

G Adventures Tour Company.

G Adventures is another Canadian tour company operating in Cuba with great reviews. This company offers a variety of multi-day tours but no day trips.

I have not done any G-Adventures round tours to Cuba as I have (although the Cuba tours get top reviews), but I have made other tours with them, like walking the Inca Trail hike in Peru and the Lost City trek in Colombia.

G-Adventures has a high focus on responsible travel, eco-friendly adventures, and expeditions and generally has great reviews for its tours.

G Adventures is a small group adventure travel company that offers tours all over the world. Their focus is responsible travel, environment, and local resources. They have 10 different small group tours to Cuba, giving you the best of everything on the island!

Research Tours Here!

Backpacking Cuba Solo

Backpacking Cuba solo has never been easier, and bus transport between domestic destinations is a lot easier than a few years ago.

The Viazul bus service has online secure booking and low prices from a Western perspective.

Or you can book a seat in a taxi collectivo, traveling in a normal taxi but sharing it with other people traveling to the same destination. It’s a super way to meet new friends and have a great time traveling!

There are a lot of hostels around Cuba available on Hostelworld, but you will also find cheap rooms in casa particulares on Airbnb or Expedia.

Research Your Flight Options To Cuba

Hitchhiking Cuba Solo?

A road in rural Cuba, with a big roadside sign with a photo of the Cuban flag, a military vehicle, with the text "the land of history" in Spanish.
Hitchhikking around Cuba

When you travel around Cuba, you will see people hitchhiking everywhere on the roads and highways; this is still normal here. There is no real problem with hitchhiking and safety.

Cubans hitchhike because it is cheap, and this form of transport is common. As a foreigner, however, this might not be as easy.

The reason for this is that Cuban drivers might be suspected of running an illegal taxi with you in it, which is a crime.

If you still want to try, set up base on the highway in the direction you are going and wave a bit of money in the air. Maybe someone will stop to pick you up, or maybe not.

A row of classic American cars, convertibles in bright colors, seen from above. One purple, one red, and two bright pink.

Jineter@s In Cuba

Also, be aware of the term jineterism, which is a word commonly understood to refer to prostitution and prostitutes but which, in reality, encompasses a lot more.

They could also be called “street hustlers”, but jinetero/a (both genders) is a word used for anyone trying to earn money from tourists all across the spectrum.

Many websites warn you about jineteros, but I would like to nuance the picture a bit.

Jineteros are not dangerous, but they may be annoying and a bit pushy. The bottom line is that their aim is simply to make ends meet and earn some extra money selling services or merchandise (wages in Cuba are low).

As a solo traveler, you are more likely to get attention from jineteros while walking the streets by yourself. If you don’t want their services, simply ignore them or say no (and mean it).

There is also still sex tourism in Cuba, mainly in the form of holiday relationships, Where the foreigner spends time with the Cuban jinetero/a and normally ends up paying for restaurants, gifts, and activities.

So, if you meet someone who wants a fast rollercoaster romance with you in Cuba, it is highly likely that this is their goal.

I am not categorically saying “don’t do it” (and there are exceptions), but I am saying it is an advantage to be aware of what this probably is (and what it probably is not).

There is also downright prostitution.

A male friend of mine was traveling around Cuba for two months recently, and as a male solo traveler, he was offered una novia, a girlfriend, regularly and quite aggressively. Just so you know.

Why Do A Solo Trip To Cuba?

Smiling drummer with a large yellow drum in Callejon de Hamel in Cuba, with seated spectators along the colorful murals in this small but cultural important alley.
Music is Cubas backbone

Cuba is perfect for all the perks of solo travel, like meeting new friends, managing your own itinerary, socializing with whomever you want whenever you want (or not), and changing your mind at any time!

As a solo traveler, you tend to be more open to connecting with your surroundings and the people you meet, and this is particularly rewarding in Cuba.

Cuba is a unique country with a long and complicated history. Traveling solo in Cuba will teach you a lot and probably expand your perspective even more, as you will get to know the local culture and life!

The first impression of Cuba is often the vibrant culture, music, dance, and street life.

There are a lot more layers to the country, though, which you will learn if you spend some time talking to people and really taking in your surroundings.

The Santeria religion is omnipresent, guiding most Cubans in their everyday life. You see it through people in white in the streets and shops selling religious relics, tokens, and flowers.

Life in Cuba is hard after the pandemic, 60 years of external sanctions, and current internal reforms that affect everything.

Visiting the country with an open traveler’s mindset will be incredibly valuable to dig a little deeper!

Best Way To Travel Solo Within Cuba!

While in Cuba, if you want to travel around and explore more than one destination, there are various ways to go about that.

The Viazul bus from Havana to Vinales is $12 and three and a half hours, while Havana – Varadero is $9, and around four hours.

Traveling the long stretch between Havana and the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba by Viazul bus will normally take around 17-18 hours ($56), so that is a long-haul experience. It is also the cheapest.

EpicNomadLife Tip: If you feel adventurous, try taking the local buses, the guaguas, or the rutas; mini-buses that do fixed routes in the cities. The price is two or five CUP, which is 20-50 cents!

Finding a private taxi will be a faster and also more expensive solution. If you are a group of travelers booking together, it will be cheaper, and you can get help from your hosts or hotel to make a booking.

The price of Havana – Santiago de Cuba probably would be around $400.

You may also find domestic flights, but it is hard, if not impossible, to book a domestic flight in Cuba online.

I have never had a domestic flight in Cuba, but you may consult Cuba Star Travel, which displays schedules and offers bookings via phone or email.

You can also consult CubaTour, a national travel agency.

Note: US citizens are not legally allowed to use services in Cuba that are owned by the Cuban state, in accordance with the Cuba restricted list.

A narrow street in Central Havana surrounded by colorful but beautiful run-down houses in different colors.
Streets in Central Havana

Shopping For Groceries In Cuba

Shopping for food in Cuba is different from most places. Cubans have food stamps for governmental shops, and there are fruit and vegetable markets around cities, towns, and the countryside.

There are no supermarkets or grocery stores in Cuba, not in the way that you are used to. In the state-run MLC stores (that only accept credit cards), you can find foodstuffs, mostly canned, bottled, and dry things.

Expect that there probably will be lines to get in. Apart from that, you will find fruits and vegetables sold on the streets, as well as pork meat, and occasionally cheese and ham (one type).

What you will be able to buy is what is in season.

It will be easier for you to eat your meals at paladares, privately owned restaurants, than shop for food and cook at home, as food generally is a scarce commodity in Cuban supermarkets (not in restaurants and paladares).

If you want to expand your Cuban experience, you can find a market, have a chat with someone, hacer las colas (stand in the lines), and get what you need to cook at home at a lower price than eating out.

FAQs Cuba Travel

Why are US citizens not allowed to travel to Cuba?

This is NOT correct. US citizens ARE ALLOWED to travel to Cuba.

Americans can choose a reason for Cuba travel among 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba, determined by the US Government.

Can US citizens travel to Cuba as a tourist?

Technically, US citizens are NOT allowed to travel to Cuba as a tourist. Americans choose between 12 pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel, among which the most common one is “to help the Cuban people”.

American citizens still need to buy a tourist card, also called a tourist visa, to enter Cuba. All visitors need the tourist visa, not just U.S. citizens, so this has nothing to do with the US embargo or sanctions.

What are the 12 requirements to travel to Cuba?

You can read about the 12 pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba for US citizens here.

The easiest and most common reason for Cuba travel is “to help the Cuban people”. There is no paperwork or application process connected to this, you just choose your reason and state that reason if anyone asks.

What happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba?

Nothing happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba apart from hopefully, the US citizen will have a fabulous holiday and encounter Cuban culture.

US citizens need to choose one of the pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba and need to buy the PINK Cuban tourist card, also called a tourist visa.

Selected airlines sell this visa/tourist card, or you can buy one online.

What documents do I need to travel to Cuba?

You need the following documents to travel to Cuba:

Do Americans need to be vaccinated to enter Cuba?

No, there is no requirement for specific vaccines prior to entering Cuba.

Your country’s health department probably has recommendations for what vaccines you should consider before entering Cuba.

How Do I get a tourist card for Cuba?

You can buy a tourist card online from Easy Tourist Card, or from the Cuban embassy in your country.

You might also be able to buy a Cuban tourist card from your airline or at the airport prior to departure. A tourist card can be bought at Miami International Airport’s check-in counter for American Airlines and Delta Airlines.

How Do I Get A Tourist Visa For Cuba?

A tourist visa is the same as a tourist card for Cuba. You can buy it from the following places:

  • Buy one online from Easy Tourist Card
  • Buy one from your airline if they offer this
  • Buy one at the airport of departure if they offer this
  • Buy one from the Cuban Embassy in your country

Is Travel To Cuba Allowed Right Now?

Yes, Cuba travel is allowed right now.

In addition, American citizens must choose one of the 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba (Americans can not travel as “tourists”) and follow some simple guidelines for traveling in Cuba.

What Is The Best Time To Travel To Cuba?

The high season for travel to Cuba is around Christmas and in the summer months.

December and January are the coldest, driest months, while July and August are the hottest and most humid months.

In the summer, there are definitely most tourists, and the prices are the highest, the queues are the longest, and the heat can be a challenge. In the winter, the sea can be just a bit too cold, and you might need a jacket in the evening.

The wet season, also known as hurricane season in Cuba, runs from May through November. In August and September, there are the most thunderstorms and occasional tropical storms.

Personally, my favorite months in Cuba are April – May and the end of August through October. These periods have the fewest tourists, still nice weather (if you don’t mind the rain showers), and nice sea temperatures!

Not Booked Your Flight Yet? Compare Prices Here!

Wrap-Up Solo Holidays To Cuba!

As you see, there are many good reasons why Cuba is an excellent solo travel destination, including for solo traveling women!

I hope I have been able to reassure you that safety should not be your main concern when planning a trip to Cuba.

If you can handle the Latin culture while exploring Cuba on your own, you have a lot of fun, amazing, and unique adventures to look forward to.

Related blog posts:

Is Female Solo Travel In Cuba Safe? A Local Woman’s Advice

Best Things To Do In Cuba Solo By An Expert

43 Best Things To Do In Havana Solo By A Local

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