Havana is the capital city of Cuba, which developed into a popular destination, especially for American tourists, besides the almost total ban on travel maintained by the U.S. federal government.
Some of the most visited landmarks are the Museum of the Revolution and the Capitol Building, for those visitors interested in history, as well as Plaza de la Revolución, a huge square with statue and monuments.
If you decide to go to Havana, do not miss visiting a live cigar factory or walking along the Malecón.
This is a city which belong to the so-called New7Wonders Cities and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is enough to attract numerous tourists from around the globe.
Warnings & Dangers in Havana
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Havana is a city which is not considered too dangerous, and travelers should behave as in any other major city. Local authorities are doing their best to protect tourists from criminals since the city depends on tourism. Cuban police is everywhere, so you do not have to be afraid of criminals during the daytime. Harsh prison sentences for crimes against tourists make the city even safer.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Due to the existence of unlicensed taxis, always use radio taxis that you call from a hotel. When renting a car, which can be interesting, you should pay attention that Havana has many one-way roads. Official taxis may be expensive, but they are the safest way of traveling around the city. If you decide to ride a scooter, wearing a helmet obligatory.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Tourists should be aware of the constant increase of hi-tech items theft and not to boast with the latest technology in public places. Thieves have so well developed strategies to rob you, so you need to be careful. In comparison to other cities in terms of pickpocketing in in Latin America, Havana can be considered safe, but your belongings should never be left unattended. Bag-snatchers operate everywhere, especially in Old Havana, on public transport and at major tourist sites.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
The hurricane season in Havana lasts from June to November. The city is prone to earthquakes, which might lead to tsunami waves. If you happen to be caught by some of natural disasters, advice of the authorities should be followed.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Even though police is everywhere, muggings and kidnappings happen in Havana. They are not against tourists, but you may become a victim by accident. Special care should be taken in central Havana at night. Never stop for hitch-hikers who are known to perform attacks.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
During the recent period, there have not been records of terrorist attacks in Cuba. Nevertheless, global threat exists and you should be watchful and vigilant in case it happens.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
Rent a car companies tend to accuse of damage on rented cars even though tourists are not responsible for that. Cigars scam is popular and visitors often buy false cigars, so make sure you buy cigars in official shops; Credit card scams are also common. There are false taxi drivers operating, so if you need a taxi, always use a registered one.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Many women travel safely and there is almost no discrimination here. If it happens that a man comments on the beauty of any woman, these comments should not be taken as a sexual harassment. Havana is almost trouble free in relation to female traveler.
So... How Safe Is Havana Really?
Due to its vast history, culture and architecture, Havana attracts over a million of tourists yearly. The city’s economy is mainly based on tourism, that is why the security of visitors is at the first place and the guards are everywhere.
Knowing that the punishments for the crime against tourist are harsh, criminals avoid attacking them, which makes Havana a safe place to visit. However, it is still significant to take care of your belongings, never leave your credit card out of sight and practice common sense as in any other major city.
If you get a chance to visit this picturesque and charming city, do not miss it.
- Visas - In case you stay less than 2 months in Cuba, you will not need visas. Visas can be extended once you are in Cuba. There are useful websites that can help you inform about the regularities.
- Currency - Both Cuban Pesos and Cuban Convertible Pesos are official money in Cuba. ATMs may not be found everywhere in Cuba, but the most of them are in Havana. Since there might be problems with cards, it is advisable to check with your bank before you travel to make sure that your cards work in Cuba.
- Weather - The weather in Cuba is tropical with the average temperature of 21°C in January and 27°C in July. The rainy season starts in May and lasts up to October. Cuba is characterized by the warm water the whole year round.
- Airports - Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, with three separate terminals, is the largest and busiest airport in Cuba, used for all other international flights.
- Travel Insurance - Taking into account the fact that a risk of Zika virus transmission exists in Cuba and that dangerous activities may lead to the necessity of specialist care, which can be very expensive, it is better to get a travel insurance policy before coming to Cuba.