Forget the myth that Cuba has no internet and join us in the year 2021. Although Cuba is still way behind the rest of the world in most aspects of life, it is slowly progressing. Slowly.
Anyway, Cuba does have access to internet and probably more than you think. The connections aren’t always speedy and reliable like back home, but if you need to check your emails and Instagram, you won’t have any issues. You just need to know how, so click here and I’ll explain.
For those already prepared and raring to go, you’ll want to download some essential apps before you travel. Due to censorship – especially if you have an iPhone or anything Apple – it often isn’t possible to download new apps once you’re physically on the island. So read on, come prepared, and thank me later.
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1) Express VPN
A personal favourite and must-have, depending on your requirements. If you will need to connect to your bank, PayPal, download anything from the App Store (iPhone), buy anything online from back home (e.g. mum’s birthday card that you forgot to post), download Netflix shows, or use AirBnB for accommodation/Experience/Adventure etc, you will need a VPN.
For a decent VPN you will need to pay, and the quality depends on the price. I use ExpressVPN and I can have it connected on 5 devices at the same time. It’s the only way I’m able to check my UK bank, use PayPal/Spotify/Netflix etc etc. It’s worth the money.
maps.me is number 1 on my list because it’s seriously the most useful. It allows you to use GPS without being connected to the internet. It’s accurate, mostly up-to-date and having the GPS is a real life-saver.
How to use: first download the app to your phone, then zoom in on Cuba and download the country too.
3) GOOGLE TRANSLATE
Again, this works off-line so will be very handy if you don’t speak much Spanish. Whilst there are many Cubans who speak English, don’t rely on it & DON’T get annoyed when they don’t speak your language. You’re in their country, remember!
Zapya is great if you might want to share photos, music or files with your new Cuban friend. It’s the only way of digitally ‘sharing’ with them without being immediately connected to the internet. It works with both Android and Apple.
5) A LA MESA
A la Mesa is a great way to find local restaurants in most towns on the island. Havana especially has a real mix of hidden gems and over-prices tourist traps. A La Mesa really helps give an overview of a local restaurant, with contact information and prices.
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