Internet and WiFi in Cuba

How to Get Internet and WiFi in Cuba [2019]

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Does Cuba have WiFi? Yes, but not as freely as we are used to. During our three week trip (and the only trip I’ve never planned for, stupidly, I recommend buying the ), 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 was expensive
  2. Access to the internet 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

There are now three ways to access the internet and Wifi in Cuba. You can log on at (or just outside) the ETECSA telecommunication centres or new parks areas, in your hotel, or (and this is relatively new and not widely accessible) at your casa particular accommodation.

However to gain access via any of the three options above you need to purchase a card from an ETECSA telecommunications centre or a hotel which has WiFi accessibility.

The card should cost (2019 prices) 5 CUC/$5 for a 5-hour card and 1.00 CUC/$1.00 for one-hour internet access in Cuba (it has gone down rapidly since 2015 where it was 4.50 CUC/$4.50 for one hour) internet access in Cuba. Remember to take your passport (you also need this to exchange cash). A reader has recommended scrathing the card with a bank card and not a coin. Great tip.

There will be locals looking to sell cards in the streets at an inflated rate (common for tourists to buy from them now). Some of the bigger hotels give away free WiFi cards to customers (this is new!)

How to Get Internet in Cuba

ETECSA Telecommunications Centre v Hotel

Not all towns have an ETECSA WiFi telecommunications centre and not all hotels have WiFi (see below for information on hotels in Cuba with WiFi). You’ll spot the ETECSA centre because there will be a line of locals queuing or leaning against the wall. There will also be a massive pylon on top of the centre. There are also computers for use (with the card) in the ETECSA telecommunications centres.

*Update 2019, expect to wait in line for two hours at Havana’s Obispo street centre.

Update: WiFi in Cuba 2019

In Autumn 2018, there was a test run for free nationwide WiFi which was successful, albeit slow according to locals.

As of 2017 some casas particulares (local’s rooms for rent, click the term for details on how to find casas) have Wi-Fi. Cuba’s internet situation is changing rapidly. You do still need the card to log on though.

Cuba WiFi HotSpots

There are now hotspots throughout the country, here’s an extensive list created by ETECSA (the official list). These spots are to offer internet in Cuba for tourists as well as locals. As of Summer 2018, I’ve been advised by a reader that the hotspots are patchy at best but here are Havana’s hotspot locations for you to check out anyway:

  • Fe del Valle Park (Galeano and San Rafael)
  • Trillo Park
  • Pier. Exterior area Hotel Deauville
  • Pier. Exterior Restaurant Castro Poll
  • Infanta Park and Health. Municipality Centro Habana
  • Karl Marx Park. Havana Center
  • Boulevar-San-Rafael
  • Angeles-Star Park
  • La Pera Park
  • Park of the Martires Centro Habana

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

ETECSA Vinvales I Internet and WiFi in Cuba

Viñales – internet in Cuba for tourists, no different for locals

3G mobile in Cuba 2019

During December 2018, mobile 3G access was rolled out at a cost ranging from $7 for 600 MB to $40 for 4 GB.

During spring/summer 2017, visitors could purchase a SIM card before they touched down in Cuba and as long as they had an unlocked phone and have activated the Digicel Cuba SIM card. The sim card allowed them access to 3G data to stay connected and show off to their friends back home! Unfortunately, this service ended in May 2018.

Hotels With Internet Access in Cuba

The more expensive hotels in the likes of Cuba’s capital are the hotels with WiFi in Havana. The same goes for Trinidad. When we visited you had to buy a Nauta WiFi card there (or at one of the centres) before you logged in. It was also expected that you purchased a drink or food at the hotel for obvious reasons!

Today, many hotels like the Iberostar family are offering 30 mins to one hours worth of free WiFi access to use in the hotel common areas as a bonus for choosing to stay with them. For the rest of us who choose to stay in casas but would still like to access WiFi at a hotel, this is still an option. The tourism minister has pledged better access for four and five-star hotels in 2019 (what about the locals though?!)

Hotel Sevilla in Havana was one of the first hotels to offer WiFi access and it has a swimming pool which anyone can pay to use. It is cheaper for you to go with a Nauta WiFi card though so purchase at a centre beforehand then pay to use the pool for 15 CUC/$15 (you get 12 of this back to use as credit at the bar).

Hotel Sevilla Havana I Internet and WiFi in Cuba

WiFi in Cuba hotels – Sevilla

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

Tapping into that Cuba WiFi in Trinidad is expensive! Remember, Iberostar WiFi login is the same as below… 

How to Log On Using Nauta WiFi

The WiFi ETECSA card has a login 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 using Nauta WiFi. 

How to Log Off Using Nauta 

Cuba WiFi logout is simple. 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. So remember = 1.1.1.1. logout WiFi and save cash.

1.1.1.1 does not work? A reader has advised us that ‘forget this (WiFi)’ option did on the iPhone.

Internet and WiFi in Cuba
 ETECSA Nauta WiFi log in | 1.1.1.1 ETECSA wifi logout – WiFi Cuba essential

This is the only way to connect to the internet and WiFi in Cuba so please don’t fall for any scams telling you different!


Time Saver Tips – Before

You will not realise how much we rely on WiFi and 3/4G. With the touch of a button, we have instant access to bus times, weather forecast, flight delays, the closest emergency rooms etc. You may want to take note of the following before you go

  • Cuba TripAdvisor’s advice on restaurants. I really hate saying that as I love to get lost and end up where the locals do but the food is so hit and miss (and pricey) that we got bored of this option within a few days. Remember to scroll down so you capture the address. Alternatively buy a travel guidebook (not something I say often but it is a must in Cuba)
  • In case of an emergency, there is never help that far away so taking note of emergency rooms and doctors surgery is not required, any Cuban or hotel would be able to point you in the right direction but… you must have travel insurance. Cuba has a nationalised health care system (like the UK) and although it may be limited in some resources, the medical knowledge is up there with that of more economically developed countries. Cubans are very proud of their healthcare system. We use True Traveller for travel insurance (and I claimed while staying in Vancouver, they paid out fast and were very supportive). See if their prices are right for you too here
  • 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
  • Maps.me works well in Cuba (it worked offline in Canada too and I only had use of my phone when I had WiFi)

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! WiFi Cuba 2017? No thank you – I’ll read my book instead! Check out our book recommendations below
  • We always travel with a cell/mobile phone battery pack so when the battery runs low (from using maps, reading books, listening to music etc) we can plug it in and it gives the phone another charge.

Internet and WiFi in Cuba

WiFi in Havana Cuba – Thumbs Up!


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’

WiFi in Havana

  • ETECSA Telecommunications Centre, Calle Obispo
  • Hotel Sevilla – also has an outside pool (WiFi in Havana Cuba + tanning!) 
  • Iberostar Parque Central WiFi for guests only in lobby, non-guests use business centre

WiFi in Viñales

  • ETECSA centre, close to main street

Playa Larga (Bay of Pigs)

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

WiFi in Trinidad

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

Pay – For Cuba WiFi Hotspots in Public Parks 

This list of Cuba WiFi hotspots is now extensive and growing as the year goes on. Here is a selection of the 300+ internet hotspots

  • Pinar del Rio
  • Cienfuegos
  • Ciego de Avila
  • Las Tunas, Matanzas
  • Villa Clara
  • Mayabeque
  • Sancti Spiritus
  • For a full list and map check here, just use the drop-down to select your destination

As mentioned previously, some casas now have WiFi in Cuba.

WiFi in Cuba Resorts/WiFi in Cuba Hotels

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.

Buy the Guides


Playa Acon Trinidad I WiFi and Internet in Cuba

WiFi in Varadero

Varadero is an extremely popular package resort area of Cuba, Google is awash with a 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 definite! According to TripAdvisor, there is access to the internet in the following places in Varadero.

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

Our hotel, Brisas del Caribe had two PCs in the computer room which you could log on to, only one worked and it was sporadic.

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. Some casas now have WiFi!

This blows my mind.

You really don’t need to use Airbnb to book casas in Cuba (you can just rock up or ask around for available rooms) but I know some readers feel more comfortable seeing reviews and if you want to know if the casa has WiFi, Airbnb would be a good shout. Check out our referral code if you are new to Airbnb, you’ll get money off and we’ll get credit too!

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

Speaking Spanish is a great advantage in Cuba. We lucked out and travelled with a Brit who lived permanently in Mexico so benefited from her fluent Espanol when attempting to book casas and taxis. I would recommend taking a phrase book with you at the very least.

Take a Break

If you are looking to switch off and chill out here you will want to invest in reading books and/or download music and podcasts beforehand. Here are some Cuban based and nothing to do with Cuba books for you to consider

Books (read to get in the mood)

Books (poolside reads)

  • Marching Powder by Rusty Young, I loved this book. Set in a Bolivian jail which is more like a hotel for the rich, not so much for the poor offenders like British drug smuggler Thomas McFadden
  • Skagboys, Trainspotting, Porno by Irvine Welsh, can you do the three book Cuba challenge? Scottish writer, not for the faint-hearted
  • The Girl of the Train by Paula Hawkins, easy read, expect twists

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 holidaymakers 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 roundup 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? So when someone asks, why is there no WiFi in Cuba? You can assure them that there is, and the scene is changing rapido!

Final question – can I charge my iPhone in Cuba? Yes! Just remember your handy universal travel adapter with USB charging slots.

Did you find this useful?
Pin for others to read about Cuba internet WiFi too

Internet and WiFi in Cuba

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

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 115

  1. Hi again- well I live in Guantanamo and am very interested to see what the connection there is like when I get back next week. I’ll let you know 🙂

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  2. Hi,

    Sorry to take so long to get back to you – went to Habana again and yes the WiFi sucks – all indications are that Diez Canel is like Raul, afraid of information- latest news is that WiFi has been reduced in strength until Cuba can set up some kind of system where people will learn the benefits of communism … I am posting this from Peru where we got sidetracked for a month cause it’s dangerous to bad-mouth the government from a local connection.

    Meanwhile the WiFi in Guantanamo still works ok but since its a poor province few people have the & to connect. Suffice it to say that the new president wants to keep people ignorant – easier to control them that way. Whatever, I still choose to live in Cuba. I mean, Trump isn’t any better lol

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      Author

      Haha! I’m just listening to Trump on UK news…

      Thanks for getting back to me. Looks like Cuba continues to be a digital detox trip! Did you enjoy Peru?

  3. I’ve been coming to Peru since the 70s and this is an opportunity to show my Cuban wife the country – getting her a visa was, shall we say, problematic, but since I know how Peruvians think I was able to wade thru the bureaucracy of the embassy in La Habana. We spent a couple of weeks on the north coast – my favorite part of Peru, and just did Machu Picchu yesterday. In a few days we’ll be off to Lima, where I lived for more time than I care to remember lol

    Luckily my wife got a visa that lasts a year and is good for multiple entries. So we will come back in a few months so I can show her Paracas, Nasca, and Cahuachi – my other favorite places.

    Oh – another twist on Cuban internet – people who now have DSL in their houses sell time to their friends but the connection tends to be bad cause you are outside the house! Peru feels like London or Paris for us.

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      Author

      Haha! I bet it does. I really like Peru, lots to do for hikers and adventure sports types. That’s lovely you can freely take your wife now too. Have some ceviche (minus the cilantro) for me!

  4. One more comment on Cuban internet – I have a Cuban SIM card with Nauta and can access internet now with cellular data but I don’t cause the price is ridiculously expensive…

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      Author

      Oh thanks for that. We worked with a company but they pulled out of Cuban SIM cards at the start of the year!

  5. I’ve just been to Cuba. The thing with 1.1.1.1 doesn’t seem to work, and I lost a lot of time online – I think – because I couldn’t log out, even though I switched off Wi-Fi. But for 1 CUC per hour, I didn’t bother with it.

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    2. While in Havana where are the best places to purchase the internet card. ( Esteca spelling?). I’m going for jazz festival and am concerned that the lines could be very very long. And perhaps bandwidth might be bogged down? Any advice ?

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        Author

        Well, that sounds awesome! You do just have to appreciate the line culture in Cuba I’m afraid, they love a line! You can buy them in the hotels or from people on the street but you might have an additional price on it. Come back and let me know how you get on?

  6. When in Cuba just use the Nauta sim works well for data internet. it can covered most of places in Cuba but some location such as rural area has low network signals.

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  7. Hi Harvey D

    I am going to Cuba in March and having been doing a little reading about internet and WiFi. Where would I get the Nauta Sim? Can I purchase it prior to leaving for Cuba? Must I have my phone unlocked? Trying to figure out how to and where to get internet WiFi and if there are SIM recommendations.

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      Author

      Hey Mimi, the only sim operator that ran in Cuba that I know successfully worked closed down last year. Keep us posted! Cheers, Gemma

  8. Hey guys!

    I came back from a 3 weeks Cuba trip last week. In Havana (Calle Obispo) be prepared to wait in ‘line’ for at least 2 hours. I was there about 20 minutes before opening hours and there was already a line. And it still took me almost 2 hours to get the scratchcards. A 5-hour card is 5CUC by the way. And indeed don’t forget your passport!
    I found a creditcard or bankcard the best way to scratch the cards, because a coin or key will scratch of the ink and destroy the codes! Happened to many people there.
    It took me a while to figure out about the Cuban way of queuing. Cause at first when you think you’re almost there, people keep “skipping the line”. They were there already, but wait across the street in the shadow or elsewhere. When you arrive ask: “ultimo?” (Who’s the last one?) Then they will point out the last person in the queu, so it’s possible that that person is not really really standing in that queu, but has his place in the queu. (Does that make sense? English not my 1st language) This is the way to queu in Cuba.
    To end the session and not loose credit, 1.1.1.1 didn’t work for me (iPhone). I used ‘forget this (wifi) network’. This always seemed to work.

    Being disconnected for the most part was actually very peaceful 🙂

    I hope this will help other travellers! Enjoy Cuba!

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      Author

      This was an entertaining read and brought back fond memories, thank you! I’m going to update my article now. I really appreciate you sharing your experience. X

  9. We were in Cuba last two year ago and there was internet at resorts in Varadero included without needing a card.

    Valuable informational post. It will help everyone so much.

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      Author

      Oh that’s a massive form of progress! Was it included in the price of your hotel? This seems unusual, the first to experience it.

  10. This was a excellent informative post you have shared on this page about the internet and wifi in cuba but I came back from a 3 weeks Cuba trip last week. In Havana (Calle Obispo) be prepared to wait in ‘line’ for at least 2 hours. I was there about 20 minutes before opening hours and there was already a line. And it still took me almost 2 hours to get the scratchcards. A 5-hour card is 5CUC by the way. And indeed don’t forget your passport!
    I found a creditcard or bankcard the best way to scratch the cards, because a coin or key will scratch of the ink and destroy the codes! Happened to many people there.
    Thanks.

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      Author

      Thanks for the update! Yeah, those lines will drive every other nation crazy! Great tip about the bank card scratching.

  11. Hi,
    Great post!

    I will be in la Havana next week and wil have an important Skype call. Could you suggest me the best place for it?

    Thank you!

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      Author

      I don’t think there’s anywhere that you can 100% get a good line. Best try one of the hotels. Good luck!

  12. I’m going to Cuba in a couple days, for two weeks, and I’d like to be able to use the internet while there. I’m wondering if it’s safe to use the internet at the local wifi-spots.

    Do I need to worry about any hacking, viruses, or other malicious attacks on my devices? I know the government monitors the activities of people who use the internet, but to what extent? How much information/what type of information will they be able to collect from my devices? I hope someone has answers to these questions, because I’ve been a bit paranoid about all of this for a while. Thanks.

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      Author

      We never had any issue with hijacking but as the guide says we only logged on a couple of times. Cuba really isn’t the destination of choice if you need WiFi.

  13. We got the 1 gigabyte plan from cellomobile and it worked pretty good. They were the only ones offering something like wifi in your pocket. I think they charrge $150 but it was well worth it.

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  14. Hi! I am looking to travel to Cuba for the first time in a couple of months and thanks again for the useful article and all other comments. I am a heavy WhatsApp user, hence a few questions:

    1) does WhatsApp work in Cuba? What is the quality?
    2) is WhatsApp popular as a channel of communication both within Cuba and also for interaction with contacts outside the country?
    3) will WhatsApp run on WiFi only (at hotspots) or can you use mobile data to access it too (or is it too expensive)?

    Hope my questions do not sound too silly. Thanks!

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      Author

      Hey Luisa. Whatsapp should work. No idea about the popularity of use between Cubans. It is definitely expensive if you are using your own cellphone provider. Would not recommend that at all.

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