One of the first things people think about when heading to Cuba is WiFi. Having access to communicate with our loved ones, and of course, posting our travels in real-time is essential — for many of us. As a U.S. citizen traveling to Cuba, currently, Verison and Sprint are the only companies offering roaming services to its customers and can charge upwards of $2.99 a minute for talk and $2.05 per megabyte. Sounds pricey.
Since the U.S. embargo was lifted, however, the wifi options have gotten better over the last three years with Google even lending a hand.
Here are a few things you should know about the wifi options in Cuba.
Wifi Comes At a Cost
There is no such thing as “free” wifi in Cuba unless your Airbnb or hotel provides it, and that’s usually in one-hour increments or less. If you’re like most people, going a day without connection to the outside world isn’t an option, so Cuba internet cards will be your best option depending on your use.
With your passport, you can purchase pre-paid internet cards with one-hour cards priced at 1.50 CUC and five-hour cards priced at 10 CUC. These cards are sold at ETECSA offices across the country. You can buy up to three cards (per passport) during each purchase. Be sure to purchase what you think you’ll need for the duration of your trip since lines at the offices can be long.
Where Can You Use The Cards?
Some hotels offer open ETECSA hotspot connections where you can use your internet card, but others offer only private connections — meaning you can end up paying up to $15 CUC for one hour of WiFi and may even have to make a purchase if you’re at a hotel.
You can access most ETECSA hot spots throughout Cuba at parks. You can take a look at this list to see where hotspots are located.
Select ‘casa particulars‘ offer WiFi hotspots to their guests. If an in-home wifi option is a must for you, check-in with your host to find out if they offer wifi options.
Anything Else I Need To Know?
Be Sure To Log Out
Each pre-paid card will have a username and password that you will use to log into the ETECSA hotspots. You can use the cards on your laptop and your phone. Once you’re ready to finish your session, be sure to log off, so you don’t lose the time!
If you’re expecting a wildly fast internet or a connection that might not go out on you from time to time — you’re in for a rough time. Remember to keep an open mind while you navigate Cuba. Instagram will be here when you get back. We promise.