Internet and WiFi in Cuba

How to Get Internet and WiFi in Cuba

Does Cuba have WiFi? Yes, but not as freely as we are used to. During our three week trip, we logged on to the internet and WiFi in Cuba six times. WiFi access in Cuba differs to access in Europe / USA / most of the rest of the world because:

  1. There is no free WiFi in Cuba – it is expensive
  2. Internet access in Cuba is restricted and controlled by the government – remember this if you choose to log on
  3. Cuba is a great holiday destination but still a communist country

How to Get Internet and WiFi in Cuba

To gain access to WiFi in Cuba, purchase a card from a ETECSA telecommunications centre or a hotel which has WiFi accessibility. The card should cost 4.50 CUC / $4.50 / £2.93 and gives you one hour of online internet access in Cuba.

ETECSA Telecommunications Centre v Hotel

Not all towns have a ETECSA telecommunications centre and not all hotels have WiFi. You’ll spot the ETECSA centre because there will be a line of locals queuing or leaning against the wall. Gringos don’t have to queue for some reason so if you can get over the embarrassment you can shuffle past the line of locals. There will also be a massive pylon on top of the centre. *Update, this rule doesn’t apply for Havana’s Obispo street centre, we were snubbed and made to join the line which is fair play. There are also computers for use (with the card) in the ETECSA telecommunications centres.

Update: WiFi in Cuba 2016 / 2015

As of 2015, the ETECSA has opened eight Pay – For WiFi Hotspots across parks all over the island at a cost of 2 CUC per hour.

  • Pinar del Rio
  • Cienfuegos
  • Ciego de Avila
  • Las Tunas, Matanzas
  • Villa Clara
  • Mayabeque
  • Sancti Spiritus

Have you seen any, tell us about it in the comments below, we’re excited!

ETECSA Vinvales I Internet and WiFi in Cuba

Hotels With Internet Access in Cuba

The more expensive hotels in the likes of Havana and Trinidad, tend to sell the cards but you must buy a drink with it so your 4.50 CUC card for one hour of WiFi becomes 7.50 CU. If you add a drink charge to it (the hot chocolate in Iberostar, Trinidad is lovely though and the air con is desirable). This rule is per card so if you buy two cards you are required to purchase two drinks. Wow, different story in Havana! Hotel Sevilla charges 8 CUC / £5.23, don’t be a mug! You use the same card so buy one at the centre if you can afford the time and just use it in the lobby (we weren’t questioned when we did this). Fun fact – this hotel has a pool that cheapos like us can use for 15 CUC / £9.81 (you get 12 of this back to use as credit at the bar). Iberostar Parque Central is not as kind than the one in Trinidad, non-residents have to use the business centre, they obviously don’t want the riff raff.

Hotel Sevilla Havana I Internet and WiFi in Cuba

One Hour Card v Thirty Minutes

The ETECSA telecommunications centre in Havana advised that you can’t use the thirty minutes cards (which are white) in hotels, they said it was for PCs in the telecommunication centre only and that the one hour cards (blue) were for hotel WiFi. This is untrue in our experience; we used both the white and blue cards in hotels for both WiFi and PC use. However, it may be a government rule they have to follow.

Cuba WiFi Access and Quality  

Accessibility is not only restricted to where you log on but the strength of the WiFi is not always great. It’s often slow and can stop working. Apparently it had been down for four days in Cienfuegos. I did lose a lot of time online because the network dropped and I could not log out. In Trinidad, Iberostar showed excellent customer service and gave me my money back. I’m doubtful this would happen in the telecommunication centre! When we tried to use Iberostar in Havana we were told that the WiFi was playing up in the business centre.

Internet and WiFi in Cuba I Trinidad

How to Log On Using Nauta WiFi

The card has a log on code and password which you score off. When you select the network you will be asked for these. Type both in and hit accept then done. That should be you online.

How to Log Off Using Nauta WiFi

Type 1.1.1.1 into the search bar (if it takes you to a Google search of 1.1.1.1 ignore this and try again). Here you request to log off and click ‘cerrar sesión’. If you have not used your full one hour then the credit will be available for you to use again.

Internet and WiFi in Cuba

This is the only way to connect to the internet and WiFi in Cuba (2016) so please don’t fall for any scams telling you different! A man was trying to sell us cards outside the centre in Havana, no thanks pal!


Time Saver Tips – Before

  • Before you fly to Cuba, copy and paste information from online (Two Scots Abroad‘s Cuba backlog obviously) into an email and email it to yourself. Make sure you open them when you have WiFi at home and they should be in your account ready to refer to
  • Screen print Tripadvisors suggested restaurants! Remember to scroll down so you capture the address

Time Saver Tips – During

  • Write a list of priorities before you log on so you don’t get sucked into Facebook stalking (thanks to Sam for this tip)
  • Type messages into your notes app and then copy and paste over to your email, text, Whatsapp. This will save you time
  • Edit photos using offline apps before posting / emailing
  • Set the timer on your phone as soon as you log on. Time flies when you are having fun
  • Or be like me and embrace the holiday away from social networking, blogging and emails!

Internet and WiFi in Cuba


Places With WiFi in Cuba

Here is a list of the known places where you can access WiFi in Cuba. If there are any that I have missed, do tell us and I will add. I appreciate that I am no longer in Cuba and as Dylan says ‘times they are changin’

Havana

  • ETECSA Telecommunications Centre, Calle Obispo
  • Hotel Sevilla
  • Iberostar Parque Central (guests only in lobby, non guests use business centre)

Viñales

  • ETECSA centre, close to main street

Playa Larga (Bay of Pigs)

  • No WiFi (we couldn’t even get access to the bank!)

Trinidad

  • ETECSA at Parque Central
  • Iberostar Parque Central (must purchase drink to use, sells cards)

Cuba Public WiFi: Pay – For WiFi Hotspots in Public Parks 

  • Pinar del Rio
  • Cienfuegos
  • Ciego de Avila
  • Las Tunas, Matanzas
  • Villa Clara
  • Mayabeque
  • Sancti Spiritus
  • For a full list check here

WiFi in Cuba Resorts

I would take the advertisement of internet access in Cuba resorts cautiously. We did have two computers to access the internet on at our resort, Brisas del Caribe, in Varadero but access was temperamental.

Playa Acon Trinidad I WiFi and Internet in Cuba

WiFi in Varadero

Varadero is a extremely popular package resort area of Cuba, Google is awash with question regarding free WiFi in Cuba, internet access in hotel bedrooms etc for this area. For now, you just have to accept that WiFi access is not a definite! According to tripadvisor there is access to the internet in the following places in Varadero.

  • Blau Marina (4.50 CUC/h)
  • Blau, Varadero (4.50 CUC/h)
  • Iberostar Varadero (5 CUC/h)
  • Iberostar Laguna Azul (5 CUC/h)
  • Melia Las Americas (5 CUC/h)
  • Melia Sol Palmeras (7 CUC/h)
  • Memories Varadero (4.50 CUC/h)
  • Ocean Varadero (4.50 CUC/h)
  • Paradisus, Varadero  (4.50 CUC/h)
  • Royalton Hicacos (lobby bar and pool)
  • Villa Cuba  (4.50 CUC/h)
  • Roc Barlovento (4.50 CUC/h)

Casas Particulares and WiFi

Casas particulares are a common type of accommodation in Cuba. This is when travellers stay with locals as opposed to hotels or hostels. At present, there is no WiFi in casas particulares.

Fancy living with a local check out our guide on casas!

Important Message

Like in any country, if you are logging on to an unsecured connection so you are putting yourself at risk of hacking.  Please remember that this system was not set up for holiday – makers and it is likely that it will not be able to handle an influx of new tourists trying to log on.

That is the full round up for internet and WiFi in Cuba. I hope that you have found it useful, let me know how you find the information in the comments below. Obviously there is the glaringly obvious point – you are on holiday! Maybe its time for a digital detox too?

Further Reading

Did you find this useful? Pin for others to see too!

Internet and WiFi in Cuba

What tips do you have for using internet and WiFi in Cuba?

Post updated 4th Oct 2016

62 thoughts on “How to Get Internet and WiFi in Cuba

  1. Tami

    Good tips! I would imagine it must have been frustrating until you figured out how to get connected! So thanks for sharing with everyone else…

     
    Reply
  2. Amanda

    This post is super useful and a great timesaver. I knew it’s possible to use internet within the country but didn’t know how to go about it.

     
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  3. noel

    Cuba is on my bucket list and this is a great tip for anyone that still needs wifi when traveling, thanks so much for sharing this.

     
    Reply
    1. TwoScotsAbroad

      Good to hear we are helping out Noel. You can read about our time in Havana, Viñales, Diving in the Bay of Pigs and Trinidad on our website too! More advice articles to follow.

       
      Reply
  4. Lesley

    Great tips. Although we found WiFi in Cuba, it was too much of a struggle to use it. We just accepted it.

    These tips would definitely help beforehand.

     
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    1. TwoScotsAbroad

      We did for the most too Lesley. It was a nice blogging holiday although by week three I just wanted to be able to check the name of that actress in the that film… type things.

       
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  5. Anda

    Great advice for those who want to visit Cuba. We are American citizens and can’t travel there (with a few exceptions). I’d like to visit this country someday. There is something about it that is very attractive, although it’s a lot of poverty.

     
    Reply
    1. TwoScotsAbroad

      We have four location articles on Cuba if you want to read up more about our trip. It was actually pretty expensive in comparison to travelling around South America. Thanks for reading Anda.

       
      Reply
  6. Jackie

    Thanks for the great practical info! It’s so easy to take for granted that Wifi will be widely available. The time saver tips like screenprinting and typing messages in notes are great for Cuba or anyplace where the Wifi is spotty or too expensive! Thanks for sharing.

     
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  7. Natasha Amar

    I’m heading to Cuba in December and this is an incredibly useful post with lots of info. Thanks for sharing this, I think it will be good to have limited access to the ever distractive internet!

     
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  8. Dave from Daves Travel Pages

    Goof Wi-Fi is something we take for granted, and these tips will come in handy as the country opens up to increasing numbers of tourists. I guess the government there needs to make a decision whether or not to open up the internet for the people or not. It won’t happen over night, but i guess within a couple of years it will

     
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  9. Rachel

    Oh my goodness, that sounds like so much effort! I think I’d log off for a few weeks and go feral, my patience wouldn’t stretch that far at all! I know when we were in Myanmar last year I just gave up, it wasn’t that difficult to find it but actually getting on was virtually impossible (on my old laptop/phone anyway). I decided, sod it, the blog/email/information can wait: let’s go old school and travel off-line!

    Great tips though!

     
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  10. Laura Lynch

    You’ve given such clear instructions that I’m no longer worried we won’t figure it out, but I’m also just considering not bothering at all with the wifi while we’re there. It just seems so tedious.

     
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  11. Christa

    Sounds like such a hassle! I probably would have just given up after the first day 🙂 But at least if I ever travel to Cuba I can pack light and leave most of my electronics at home!

     
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  12. Dannielle Noonan

    This is so useful!! I’m going to Cuba in September and although I can’t wait to get away from my phone for a while, I’m having palpitations over what it’s going to do to my blog!! I guess all I can do is schedule. Thanks for the tip about preloading and taking pics of important info – I hadn’t thought about that!

     
    Reply
    1. TwoScotsAbroad

      I was advised strongly to schedule. I scheduled 1 post per week on WordPress and my friend shared on our FB for us (I made her admin). I scheduled a photo or blog post per day on FB and gave a length update when we logged on. For Twitter I randomly scheduled Tweets for Triberr and use the plug in Revive Old Tweets for myself which I highly recommend (Mapping Megan told me about it, such a time saver). I had to say goodbye to Pinterest and Instagram. Funnily enough Pinterest just took over FB as our biggest referrer this month so didn’t do too much damage. Let me know if you need any other advice and enjoy!

       
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  13. Tom

    I’m off to Cuba in a few weeks so these tips are great, thanks! Especially the one about saving screenshots of TripAdvisor screenshots – I’m quite happy to go two weeks without Facebook, but from what I’ve heard about Cuban food it would be a pain not to be able to access restaurant reviews etc.

     
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  14. A.M.Y.

    Good tips. We got by on the hotel cards and didn’t mind buying a drink to go with them. My best advice for anyone going to Cuba is to take a map with you – that’s the main thing we missed when we didn’t have an Internet connection.

     
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    1. Sabrina

      Hello, someone I know recommended maps.me app – you download maps on your phone and use offline so no need for Internet. I’ve yet to use myself, but plan to use when I go to Cuba in a couple of months.

       
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        1. Sabrina

          Thanks for the reply! Going for 10 days, planning to use Havana as a base with couple nights each in Vinales and Trinidad. Your blog has been so helpful with planning!

           
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  15. Vineet Parikh

    I wish i has read this post before i went to Cuba. Now that I’m back to my home, all i can do is relate to the information and smile.

     
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  16. Joyce

    This is great information. I’m heading to Cuba this week. I’ll be happy to report back. As a travel agent it’s important for me to be up-to-date on destinations and stay in touch with my clients/office. No digital detoxing on this/any trip.
    There’s been so much interest in travel to Cuba. I have to in the know. Yes, things will keep changing but i think slower than we expect/hope.

     
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    1. Gemma I Two Scots Abroad

      I think there was this ‘I have to get there before every American does’ panic as the relationship between the States and Cuba softened but I do hope that you are right that it happens slower than expected and that there is support for the Cubans. I am looking forward to hearing your feedback, and I hope you get to enjoy a mojito or two 😉

       
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  17. Nebelwald

    Interesting read. I am a Venezuelan now living abroad after realising the country faces a dismal future under the present Regime. About ten years ago a fibre optic cable was laid between Cuba and Venezuela for the purpose of “providing the Cuban people free access to the internet” or so said Vennie government press releases. According to Vzln and Cuban official versions this lack of internet access on the island was because of the “US Embargo”. Well, years afterwards internet availability in Cuba has shown no remarkable improvement and internet service in Venezuela just keeps getting worse and worse. Nobody ever talks about the cable. Vox populi has it that the cable was simply for the purpose of better and secure communications between the Havana and Caracas regimes for advancing the consolidation of “Cubazuela”.

     
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    1. Gemma I Two Scots Abroad

      Interesting, that’s the first I’ve come across this. I wonder how this will change for Cuba (and Venezuela) in the future. I found the 3.5 weeks in Cuba quite hard work, not because of the WiFi situation mind you, that was a nice digital detox, not ideal real life for Cubans and Venezuelans.

       
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  18. Jayne

    Fantastic article! Super helpful. We’ll in Cuba in 3 weeks. I use several Google products (ie gmail, docs, Google Analytics and Google AdWords) for work – while I plan on not working, it would be good to know if anything urgent came up that I could access these apps in Cuba. Do you use any of these and if so was there any problems accessing them?

     
    Reply
    1. Gemma I Two Scots Abroad

      I do use them but I mainly only used my iPhone to check in with family via FB and then the Macbook to book the all-inclusive part of the trip when we ran out of money (ironic I know, booking all inclusive as a the cheaper option over backpacking!)

      All websites worked fine that I tried though.

      It is a good excuse to have a digital detox. I’ve never read so many books (on my kindle on my phone…)

       
      Reply
  19. Mariam

    We are headed to Havana for a week Dec.17, 2016 and then a week travelling to Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Sancti Espitiu…
    My 18 year old daughter needs to log in to take some college tests online. Any recommendations of how to best do that?
    should she have her own computer and sit in one of the centers or in a Tourist Hotel? We will be staying in Casas Particularis/AIRBNBs.

     
    Reply
    1. Gemma I Two Scots Abroad

      Just like the article says she’ll need to purchase the cards and sign in at one of the WiFi spots. I would recommend using her own laptop at a hotel, the centres are very busy and not very comfortable. There’s always large queues there too. You won’t get WiFi in any of the casas. If there was anyway around sitting the tests I would try work that out before you go or it may add stress to what should be a relaxing holiday! The computer in our Varadero hotel did not work with the cards and there was no WiFi, just a heads up to be prepared. There is one hotel (Iberostar, you have to buy a drink as stated above) and one centre in Trinidad. I can’t speak for the rest apart from the list of WiFi hotspots detailed in the post.

       
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  20. Jill

    There is internet at resorts in Varadero included without needing a card. Outside of that you buy the card which is 2.00 not 4, lasts one hour as long as you log out. Go to http://1.1.1.1 click on submit and log out.

    It is truly that simple.

     
    Reply
    1. Gemma I Two Scots Abroad

      Our hotel didn’t have WiFi in Varadero, just two computers which sometimes worked and you needed cards for. Prices were correct at time of writing. I describe how to log in and out in the post but thanks for reiterating.

       
      Reply
    1. Gemma I Two Scots Abroad

      Someone asked that on a Facebook travel group I am part of but the answer seemed to be leaning towards no. Let me know if it works out differently for you. Locals use the login cards too though, it’s not just a tax on visitors.

       
      Reply

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