Time zone: GMT/UTC minus 5 hours
Daylight savings time: during northern hemisphere summer
Current time: 23:09
Currency: Cuban convertible peso
Dialling code: +53
Internet suffix: .cu
Cuba is a Caribbean island country with a tropical climate and socialist state. Known for its culture, history, political institutions, international relations, social welfare and low corruption rate, infrastructure is nonetheless underdeveloped and the country can suffer from hurricanes.
Overall security situation: mostly secure
Crime rate: low
Murder rate: slightly above the world average
Gun ownership levels: average in comparison to the rest of the world
Kidnapping hotspot: no
Maritime piracy hotspot: no
Do landmines/unexploded munitions pose a significant risk in parts of the country: no
Overall, Cuba is a relatively safe country from a security perspective. It benefits from a low crime rate, although there is some petty crime and limited violent crime. While the homicide rate is slightly above the world average it is still one of the lowest in the Americas.
Some elements of society have grievances with issues such as the political status quo, but the government is fairly controlling, thus lowering the risk of violent unrest. Demonstrations are generally infrequent.
Terrorism poses a very low and mostly theoretical risk. Otherwise there is little in the way of security concerns.
Aviation safety levels: potential concerns
Annual road fatality rates: low
Vehicles drive on the: right
Infrastructure quality: major deficit
Urban ATM availability: limited
Electricity supply: 110V/220V 60Hz
Electricity supply reliability: relatively consistent
Plug types: A, B, C and L
Plug type A (2 flat pins, not grounded/earthed)
Plug type B (2 flat pins and 1 rounded pin, grounded/earthed, socket compatible with plug type A)
Plug type C (2 round pins, not grounded/earthed)
Is tap water drinkable: yes but precautions are advised and/or occasional health scares have been reported which necessitate periodic care
Healthcare quality: extremely good healthcare provision
Infectious disease prevalence: extremely low
Travellers should consult a medical practitioner prior to their trip but the following vaccines may be considered before travelling to the country, depending on factors such as specific destination, planned activities, intended time and length of stay as well as personal medical conditions (in some cases no additional vaccines may be required at all):
- Cholera (usually only recommended for aid workers or those spending time in at-risk areas)
- Hepatitis A
- Rabies (usually only for long-term stays, or for those spending time in isolated areas or coming into contact with animals)
- Standard vaccinations (ie those commonly used in the developed world, such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tuberculosis and tetanus)
Malaria risk: none
Yellow fever presence: no
Dengue fever prevalence: frequent cases
Rabies prevalence: high risk
HIV prevalence in society: low
Hepatitis A prevalence: intermediate
Hepatitis B prevalence: low
Hepatitis E prevalence: highly endemic
Cholera status: periodic outbreaks in some areas
Chikungunya virus presence: not present
Zika virus presence: country is considered at risk of future outbreaks
Japanese encephalitis presence: no
Cutaneous leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Visceral leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Onchocerciasis presence: non-endemic
Schistosomiasis presence: none
Tick-borne encephalitis status: low/non-existent risk
Chagas disease presence: none
Typhoid fever presence: endemic
African trypanosomiasis presence: none
Plague status: not thought to be present
Rift Valley fever status: not present
Lassa fever status: not present
Polio status: not endemic
Ebola outbreaks: no
Meningococcal meningitis hotspot: no
Climate: tropical; moderated by trade winds; dry season (November to April); rainy season (May to October)
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
Natural disaster risk: moderately high
Natural hazards: the east coast is subject to hurricanes from June to November (in general, the country averages about one hurricane every other year); flooding; droughts are also common
Tropical storms: common
Volcanic activity: low/none
Previous earthquake(s) with over 1,000 fatalities: no
Government type: Communist state
Socio-economic development score: 7/10 (high levels of socio-economic development)
Adult literacy rate: 99.8%
Unemployment rate: very low
Civil liberties: highly restricted
Investment rating: sub-investment grade / speculative grade / junk status
Corruption levels: moderate
Same-sex sexual activity: legal
Death penalty: official punishment but not used in practice
Languages: Spanish (official)
Ethnic groups: white 64.1%, mestizo 26.6%, black 9.3%
Beliefs: Predominantly Roman Catholic but only nominally
- The following advice has been compiled by travel safety specialists and ex-special forces personnel.
- However, please note that it is of a general nature only and may not reflect the reality of your circumstances.
- Ensure you have proper insurance cover in place.
- Select good quality accommodation and properly prepare for any tasks, excursions or other activities you have to undertake.
- Be mindful of local laws and cultural norms, bearing in mind that they might be different to what you are accustomed to.
- Be prepared for potentially poor-quality roads and other forms of transportation.
- This can make it difficult to get around.
- Consider obtaining a high-quality vehicle that can handle difficult terrain if you intend to travel anywhere with particularly bad-quality roads.
- Bear in mind that traffic safety conditions may be poor.
- Try to ensure that any accommodation or workplace is located in a good quality building.
- Bear in mind that in the event of an accident or emergency, the emergency response services may have very limited resources available.
- Try to use reputable airlines.
- Check the safety records of any companies you use to charter flights.
- Check the weather forecast in advance of travel – particularly for domestic flights.
- Consider delaying your trip or using an alternative means of transport rather than taking a risky flight.
- Bear in mind that healthcare facilities and services may be significantly less extensive than more developed countries.
- There may be very limited facilities, staff, techniques and medications available, especially in more isolated or underdeveloped areas.
- There may not be adequate reliable blood supplies in local hospitals.
- Pharmacists and other sources of even basic medical products may be difficult to find.
- Aim to be as medically self-sufficient as possible, taking basic medical supplies.
- Research whether or not certain medications are legal in your destination(s).
- Take extra supplies of any routinely-taken medicines.
- It may also be advisable to have them accompanied by a note from your doctor.
- Avoid carrying medication for other travellers.
- In the event of serious illness or injury it may be necessary for a patient to be evacuated out of the country.
- Ensure that there is sufficient medical insurance in place to cover such an event.
- Find out whether or not there are any specific diseases in the location(s) you intend to travel to.
- Research the specific measures you should take to lower the risk of infection.
- It might be useful to seek medical advice prior to your trip.
- If possible, do this several weeks in advance of your travel, in case you need to obtain specific vaccinations, some of which can take time to be administered properly.
- Be careful with any cuts and grazes which might be more susceptible to infection in your travel destination than at home.
- Hygiene will be very important, but it can be more challenging to maintain good standards of hygiene in some parts of the world.
- Try to avoid venues which appear unsanitary.
- Be very aware of any medical symptoms which might arise, both when you are travelling and for up to a month after you return home.
- Seek medical assistance if you have any concerns.
- If rainfall, flooding, extreme temperatures or other types of severe weather are a concern, check the local weather patterns to find out if there are times of the year where the risk is much higher.
- Consider avoiding travel to at-risk destinations during these times.
- Try to stay in good quality accommodation.
- Take appropriate clothing and footwear.
- Take appropriate protection for any sensitive equipment you wish to bring.
- Note that storms, flooding and other types of harsh weather can overload infrastructure, lead to traffic jams and power cuts.
- Flooding and heavy rainfall can also raise the risk of landslides, as well as insect- and water-borne diseases in some parts of the world.
- As such, be prepared to delay, alter or even cancel travel plans to affected or high-risk areas.
- Research and familiarise yourself with your destination in advance of travel.
- Find out what the local criminal trends are and identify any potential hotspots, such as certain neighbourhoods.
- You may wish to avoid the higher risk areas, but this is not always practical.
- As such, in higher risk areas exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.
- Note that jewellery, watches, mobile phones, laptops or other items may mark you out as a potential target for petty thieves.
- Be careful with your wallet and cash.
- Note that crime trends can change, and the level of risk can become higher, after dark.
- In general, use your gut instincts and be prepared avoid situations, places or people that seem suspicious, odd or wrong in some way.
- Civil unrest can lead to road closures and even curfews, which can affect your travel plans.
- Be prepared for delays and route alterations.
- Avoid demonstrations as they can turn violent.
- If demonstrations take place on a frequent basis, research the trends which tend to accompany them.
- Where do they tend to take place? Do they tend to turn violent? Do attendees target specific types of building or representative interests associated with a specific nationality, industry, political group (such as party political offices, state buildings or foreign-owned businesses)?
- Once you have identified the sorts of risks, trends and areas of higher risk to be avoided you can start planning to minimise your exposure.
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