Cuba is such an exciting destination, not only because of it’s political history, but also because of it’s natural beauty and unique cultural characteristics. It can be both exciting and scary planning the first trip to Cuba and I don’t blame you, I have been there!
One of the main concerns people have when planning a trip to Cuba is the logistics of communication once they arrive. Cuba is making advancements as far as telecommunications are concerned, but they are still far behind what we are used to. For instance, phone calls are hard to make, wifi connection is very limited and there are no internet cafes around. Good news is, there are ways around it and I will share my tricks with you.
Alright! So, once you land on Cuban soil, your smartphone will no longer be able to make phone calls or have everything you need to know at your fingertips. You won’t be able to ‘google’ things on the fly and get by easily. A trip to Cuba requires prior research and planning. You need to know where you are going and how you are going to get there in advance, or else you are not going to have a pleasant experience.
Now, there are ways you can prepare before you get there. One way to prepare is to download the following mobile apps BEFORE you arrive in Cuba.
Top 5 Mobile Apps You Need to Download Before Arriving in Cuba
This app provides offline maps using OpenStreetMap data. It allows users to see maps from all countries without the use of internet connection. This app was extremely helpful since I didn’t have to purchase a big paper map and struggle opening and closing it every time. The map of Havana was clear and at my fingertips. One thing to note is that you MUST download the map of the City BEFORE arriving because the app needs internet connection to download the map. Once the map is downloaded into your smartphone, internet connection is no longer needed to navigate it.
2. A la Mesa
A la Mesa is a Cuban App and it provides a very robust and up-to date restaurants and ‘paladares’ guide in major Cuban cities. I used it in Havana and loved it. It provides you with reviews, location, descriptions and pricing.
Who doesn’t have WhatsApp these days? Only few people I suppose. I used WhatsApp in Cuba as my main source of communication with my loved ones. We were lucky to stay in a ‘casa particular’ that provided us with free wifi. We used this app to chat with our loved ones, share pictures and even make phone calls.
When traveling to Cuba, I recommend you stay in a ‘casa particular’ hosted by a local family. The platform Airbnb made it so easy and safe for us to book our accommodations. Having the app in my smartphone made me confident that if anything happened, we could easily find a place to stay.
5. Google Translate
Essentially a pocket dictionary is a must if you are not fluent in Spanish. Google Translate comes very handy for those fearing the language barrier.
In summary, these are the Top 5 Mobile Apps You Need to Download Before Arriving in Cuba:
I hope this post was helpful and remember: feel free to contact me via email or in the comment section below if you have any questions or want to suggest other apps!