Safety in Havana: Travel Safety Tips & Local Customs

How safe is Havana for travelers? Find out about medical services, hassles and the effect of tourism on Cuba’s capital city from our local insider, Caroline.


How Safe is Havana?

Generally speaking, Havana is a very safe city. The heavy police presence is there to prevent tourists from being hassled by hustlers and solicited by prostitutes, while the thought-police (or Communist Defense League), are the regime’s eyes and ears and are there to ensure that there are no liberal tendencies incubating.

Crime in Response to Tourism

The tourist influx has seen a rise in street crime, especially in Old Havana.

Always keep your valuables locked in your room and be mindful of the usual tricks aimed at separating you from your wallet.

Try to avoid taking pictures around uniformed guards or military installations.

Hustlers in Havana

Avoid and be firm with hustlers, known locally as jiniteros (jockeys), who will try to lure unassuming tourists into Havana’s seedy underbelly.

Getting Sick in Havana

Should you fall ill, you could do a lot worse than Havana.

Cuba's medical services are excellent, and most treatment is provided free to foreigners at local clinics, hospitals, and hotels; although getting the drugs you need may be another matter entirely.

Waiting Around in Cuba

Waiting is something that Cubans excel at: waiting for buses that never come, waiting for rations, waiting to see what will happen now that Fidel has finally gone.

Everything from ordering a meal, to waiting in line at a museum, to paying your bill at a hotel, requires patience – in spades.

Heading to Cuba? Download our FREE Insider’s Guide!

Put down the cigars and step out of the vintage cars! Explore historical sites of revolution, taste peso food, or go diving among vibrant marine life.

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