Cuba Holidays – Clearing Up what Not to Take

There is a list as long as your arm when it comes to the no-brainers of what you should and should not take with you on any holiday, exotic or otherwise. However, what you’re probably unaware of is the fact that there’s also a comparably long list of things you’re pretty much banned from taking into any given country which are completely unbeknownst to you and your travel companions. 

One of the very best ways of sucking all the fun out of a good holiday is to study the ins and out right down to the finest detail and end up spending the whole trip paranoid. On the other hand however, an even worse scenario is to find yourself kicking off the trip with a heated and fruitless argument with customs as to why you’ve contravened their laws, or worse still being barred entry altogether. 

Cuba is one of the most accommodating and relaxed environments imaginable for the tourist, but like anywhere else the country has its own unique list of items you can forget about taking along on your holiday. Chances are that most of them won’t have exactly featured highly on your list of “must-takes” but in the spirit of safety and peace of mind it is always worth a look. 

What NOT to Take

The official Prohibited List of Cuba can be found on the country’s customs website, but for those looking for the examples most likely to end up in one or two bags for time to time, beware of the following:
  • Walkie Talkies – Professional, amateur or toys for the kids will usually be seized if found. 
  • Satellite Phones – If unsure, check how your own device is categorised. 
  • TVs – As in actual television sets and not the little LCD DVD players, iPods, iPads etc. 
  • AC Units – How exactly would you get one in your suitcase in the first place?
  • Freezers – See above. 
  • Toasters – Surely you can live without one or pick one up for cheap.
  • Cooking Stoves – Again, live without one or book accommodation that provides one. 
  • Water Heaters – Not the most likely choice for a holiday, but regularly seized. 
  • Irons – Even travel irons are not taken kindly to, or anything else that creates excessive heat for that matter.
  • Vegetables and Fruit – Cuba has some of the finest on the planet so don’t waste your time and money trying. 
  • Sexually Explicit Material – Strict laws apply to pornography and it isn’t worth the embarrassment of being caught. 

What you CAN Take

Just to finish up, there are certain items over which there is so much confusion as to permission to carry or otherwise on Cuba holidays  – travel agents for the most part are giving seriously mixed information. So, to clarify, you are perfectly entitled to take along:
  • Standard and Digital Cameras
  • Video Cameras
  • Laptop Computers
  • Tablet Computers
  • Mobile Phones
  • Fishing Equipment
  • Camping Gear (No Stoves!)
  • Video Game Consoles
  • Packaged Food and Drink
  • Clothing and Accessories with Camouflage Patterns/Colours
Cuba is no stricter than any other country when it comes to what you can take along – just exercise a little common sense and brush up on the basics. 

-By Anita Roddick
Anita Roddick is a full-time travel consultant working with a small, independent agency in the heart of Central London. She has a passion for creating unique trips to far-flung destinations and taking the whole family along for the ride. She is also a passionate travel blogger.  


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