If you're going to Cuba

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Essential items for you

If you're going to Cuba... it will be hard to find many things that you take for granted in your home town. For example grocery and other shops have limited items and drug stores barely exist. If you’re on a prescription drug take enough for your visit. You won’t be able to replace it.

Many of the following items cannot be found in Havana or are sub-par quality and others are only sporadically seen. So here is a list of essentials to bring with you to avoid frustration and discomfort:

  • Beach towel and hat and sandals
  • Facecloths (not sold in Cuba)
  • Umbrella
  • Travel fork, knife and spoon
  • Baggies of all sizes (not sold in Cuba)
  • Pens and small writing pads
  • Scissors or Swiss Army knife
  • Bandaids, Advil and Tylenol
  • Flashlights, several (the streets are pitch black at night)
  • Instant coffee and creamer packets (for caffeine emergencies)

  • Cheap watch (it’s hard to find a clock in any place)
  • Sink plug that covers many sizes
  • Thermos for water on long journeys
  • Nail polish remover (impossible to find as locals snap it up quickly)
  • Sanitary items (take Kleenex packets too – many public toilets are lacking)
  • Hair brush and comb, hairdryer (110 volts except for major hotels where they often have 220 volts)
  • Sun tan lotions (poor quality if available) and burn cream
  • Shaving cream and razors (high priced if available)
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Camera and lots of batteries (if you can find them they are poor quality)
  • Condoms (if you’re fussy about quality)
  • Antiseptic cream (a big must – Polysporin can be a lifesaver)
  • What about clothing?

    The really hot months are from April to November. December to March are cooler by a few degrees and at night you may need a jacket or windbreaker. But overall whenever you are in Havana here is a list of essential clothing--cotton if possible due to the high humidity:

    • A good supply of underwear; cotton bras are also best (only polyester cheapies are sold in Cuba)
    • Pyjamas (pjs are not sold in Cuba--you would need to improvise)
    • Shorts
    • T-shirts and cotton shirts
    • Jeans and/or hardwearing travel pants
    • Swimsuits and beach coverup (the sun can be strong)
    • Good walking shoes and socks
    • Sandals
    • Dressier clothes for going out

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