The following female packing list for Cuba in March was submitted by Chris. See all packing list posts here.
Since the embargo lift on Cuba in 2014, Americans are increasingly flocking to the country seemingly frozen in time. My father and maternal grandmother were born there, so it was an amazing opportunity to see the place they always spoke so highly of. My grandmother was even with us, and I’ll always treasure getting to hear her talking about where she used to go dancing and how she would sit on these steps, gossiping with her friends.
We went for a week in the Cuban winter, so days were in the 80s but nights got pretty chilly.
After spending two days in Havana, we spent one in Varadero (beach town) and two in Vinales (mountain village). So lots of walking, from the cobble-stoned roads in the city to dirt paths in the country. Also, lots of sweating—so breathable and lightweight fabrics are a must.
You can’t buy any toiletries there, essentially, so make sure you plan thoroughly! There is a very limited selection, and what they do have is significantly more expensive. We’re talking 20 USD for a tube of sunscreen.
We stayed in casas particulares (private rooms rented out), so I’m sure our experience may differ from those in hotels or resorts.
The following is what I brought (and/or wished I brought) on my trip to Cuba.
International carry on size rolling bag – I used my trusty Samsonite four-wheeled bag (in retrospect a backpack or convertible bag may have been better for the mountain village)
>>Browse through the best 22 inch rolling bags.
Eddie Bauer 20L packable backpack – alternative options include a string bag or light purse
Also, packing cubes! We used these to bring our clothes, then separate our dirty clothes, and to bring different clothes for day trips when we needed to change. I would also have brought a wet bag, since not everything dried in time to repack.
- Shorts (2 pair)
- Jeans (1 pair)
- T shirts (3)
- Tank tops (2)
- Exercise pants of choice (I used capri workout leggings for hiking)
- Hoodie/Zip Up (nights got chilly, and the AC didn’t have too many settings)
- Light jacket (for aforementioned chilly evenings)
- Summer dress
- Swimsuit and coverup
- Hat (I used a baseball cap)
- Sleeping clothes
- Thick socks for walking
>>Check out another reader’s packing list for Cuba in a 30L backpack.
- Walking sandals (I brought my Tevas for the beach and walking around town)
- Nice sandals (for nights out)
- Sneakers (I brought my trail running shoes and used them for hiking, as well)
IMPORTANT: some of these I really really regretted not bringing.
*Items on my person at all times, which came in handy frequently.
- Toilet paper packets* – not everywhere has it. Please, just trust me on this.
- Hygiene wipes*
- Wet Wipes*
- Hand sanitizer*
- Bug Spray*
- Body Glide*
- Dry Shampoo
Optional, but personally I wanted it:
- Clothing detergent
- Pain Reliever*
- Allergy Meds*
>>Check out the best toiletries for carry-on travelers.
- Books or E Reader, with everything already downloaded (there is rarely wifi, and if there is it isn’t strong enough for downloads)
- Purifying Water Bottle – we used Lifestraws and had no problems! However, bottled water was readily available if you are into that.
- Travel Towel – most swimming places made you pay a rental fee, if they had towels at all.
- Electrical converter – I think we may have been okay without this, but we used it anyway just to be safe since the voltages vary depending where you are. We used this one from Amazon that has room for all of our various devices.
If you have any questions about our trip, feel free to contact me! I wasn’t able to find too much online since it’s changing so much over there, so I’m glad to help out fellow travelers!
About the author: Chris is an airline deals junkie who is always looking for budget-friendly travel—and hates luggage fees. If you want to see many pictures of her dog, Fae, you can follow her Instagram at onedaymore08. Happy Travels!
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