Are solo holidays to Cuba a good idea? Fun? Even for women, is it safe? After living in Havana for closer to two years, as a woman from Norway, let me help you out with your decision.
Yes, solo holidays to Cuba are a good idea, fun, and safe, including for women.
I have been traveling solo to and around Cuba for more than three years while living in Havana for almost two, and I can testify that Cuba is a great solo holiday destination! Here are all the amazing things Cuba can offer you as a solo traveler in 2022!
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Unique Solo travel to Cuba!
First up, Cuba is a super popular tourist destination in general.
Apart from being a safe travel destination for solo travelers (more about that later), Cuba is also an open and incredibly social society despite the political conundrum.
So much so, that if you prefer to be left alone minding your own business on your holiday, you might struggle a bit with that!
People will approach you and talk to you in the streets, particularly if you are walking alone.
There are also plenty of things to do and see, day and night, and it is getting increasingly easier to travel on the island!
Why Do A Solo Trip To Cuba?
Cuba is perfect for all the perks of solo travel, like meeting new friends, managing your own itinerary, socializing with whomever you want whenever you want (or not), and changing your mind at any time!
As Cuba is one of the safest countries in the region, you don’t need to worry much or take any extensive measures to stay safe traveling solo. Petty and violent crimes alike against tourists are very low in Cuba.
As a solo traveler, you tend to be more open to connecting with your surroundings and the people you meet, and this is particularly rewarding in Cuba.
Being a unique country with a long and complicated history, you will learn a lot and probably expand your perspective even more traveling solo in Cuba, and getting to know the local culture and life in 2022!
The first impression of Cuba is often the vibrant culture, music, dance, and street life. There are a lot more layers to Cuba though, which you will learn if you spend some time talking to people, and really taking in your surroundings.
The Santeria religion is omnipresent, guiding most Cubans in their everyday life. You see it through people in white in the streets, and shops selling religious relics, tokens, and flowers.
Life in Cuba in 2022 is hard after the pandemic, 60 years of sanctions, and ongoing internal reforms that affect everything. Visiting the country with an open traveler’s mindset will be incredibly valuable to dig a little deeper!
Best Holiday Destinations In Cuba
The two most known and popular holiday destinations in Cuba are the sizzling capital Havana and paradisiacal Varadero, but that is just the tip of the iceberg of amazing Cuban holiday destinations you should visit!
You have the stunning green cigar-making Vinales Valley, colonial city Trinidad also called “the museum of Cuba”, and La Perla del Sud, the beautiful Cienfuegos town.
The Bay of Pigs and Playa Giron were the scenes of the failed US invasion in 1961, and Santa Clara city is the place of the decisive battle before the Cuban revolution in December 1958.
Also read: 10 Perfect Day Trips From Havana Cuba 2022!
Towards the east, Camaguey and Bayamo are two of the seven original settlements founded in Cuba by the Spanish.
Bayamo was destroyed by a huge fire in the fight to free the city from Spanish oppression, which made the city famous (and also destroyed all the original architecture of the city).
On the eastern tip, you find Baracoa, the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba, and Cubas’s second largest city Santiago de Cuba.
Lastly, the vast Sierra Maestra mountains, where Fidel Castro had his resistance headquarters in the last years before the revolution.
This was just a quick intro to the unique destinations in Cuba you can visit, and you can read more about each one of them if you want to!
Map Of Cuba And Popular Holiday Destinations
Solo Female Travel To Cuba
In addition to all the amazing rewards of traveling solo in general, traveling to Cuba alone is also a great experience for solo female travelers.
Women can feel safe traveling in Cuba, both walking the streets at night, and traveling domestically.
That said, the Latin culture in general and Cuban culture, in particular, can be overwhelming for some! You will get a lot of attention on the streets of Cuba, both because you are a foreigner, and because you are a female foreigner.
This is not dangerous. But whether you like it or not will probably depend on what you are used to, and you might find it annoying.
The attention ranges from catcalling to compliments to random comments, things that other places are considered harassment, but are still normal in Cuba.
Just be prepared, and you will be fine. It has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with the Cuban culture.
Also be aware of the term jineterism, which is a word commonly understood to refer to prostitution and prostitutes, but encompasses a lot more.
They could be called “street hustlers”, but jinetero/a (both genders) is a word used for anyone trying to earn money from tourists all across the spectrum.
Many websites warn you about jineteros, but I would like to nuance the picture a bit.
Jineteros are not dangerous, maybe annoying and a bit pushy, but be aware that their aim is simply making ends meet and earning some extra money selling services or merchandise (wages in Cuba are low).
As a solo traveler, you are more likely to get attention from jineteros while walking the streets by yourself. If you don’t want their services, simply ignore them or say no (and mean it).
There is also still sex tourism in Cuba, mainly in the form of holiday relationships, where the foreigner spends time with the Cuban jinetero/a and normally ends up paying for restaurants, gifts, and activities.
So if you meet someone that wants a fast rollercoaster romance with you in Cuba, it is highly likely that this is their goal. I am not saying don’t do it (and there are exceptions), but I am saying it is an advantage to be aware of what this probably is (and what it probably is not).
Solo Luxury Trips To Cuba
Traveling solo means that you only need to focus on your budget, your goals, and your priorities. If your dream holiday is a pampering all-inclusive resort, there are plenty of options for solo luxury trips to Cuba!
Most of the biggest cities and famous beach areas have a variety of high-end luxury hotels where you can bask in pampering service and amenities.
The best cities to find luxury hotels or high-end casa particulares are the big cities, like Havana, and Santiago de Cuba.
Also on the Cuban keys, where there is nothing but hotels, resorts, beaches, and Caribbean chill. Check out Varadero, Cayo Santa Maria, and Cayo Coco!
Amazing Luxury Hotels In Cuba
High-End Casa Particulares in Havana
There are a number of luxury casa particulares in Havana, with high star ratings from international guests! You can find private casas with a pool, jacuzzi, stunning views, and top amenities to make your holiday perfect!
Note: if you are an American citizen, you need to be aware of the Cuba restricted list from the US government regulating where you can stay or eat in Cuba. Hotels and resorts that are owned by the Cuban government typically are on this list.
Perfect Mixed Small Group Tours To Cuba
Even for avid solo travelers (or first-timers), sometimes it is nice to have some security and social life for free while traveling. Doing a small group tour to Cuba will give you that, as well as freedom and flexibility to do your own thing!
The best small group tours and tour companies that operate in Cuba have itineraries from a few days to a couple of weeks.
The tours will be a perfect mix of organized activities and free time, and you are free to choose your own adventures in all the destinations you visit.
This way you can make friends with lots of travelers from different countries, get some guidance on what to do, and spend time exploring on your own with all the solo travel perks you love!
G Adventures is a small group adventure travel company, with tours all over the world. The focus of G Adventures is responsible travel, environment, and local resources and initiatives! G Adventures has 10 different small group tours to Cuba, giving you the best of everything on the island!
Also read: Amazing Small Group Tours To Cuba In 2022!
Backpacking Cuba Solo
Backpacking Cuba solo has never been easier, and bus transport between domestic destinations is a lot easier than a few years ago. The Viazul bus service has online secure booking and low prices from a western perspective.
Or you can book a seat in a taxi collectivo, traveling in a normal taxi but sharing it with other people traveling to the same destination. A great place to meet new friends!
Research Your Flight Options!
Hitchhiking Cuba Solo?
When you travel around Cuba, you will see people on the roads and highways hitchhiking everywhere, this is still normal here. There is no real problem with hitchhiking and safety.
Cubans hitchhike because it is cheap, and this form of transport is common. As a foreigner, however, this might not be as easy. The reason for this is that Cubans might be suspected of running an illegal taxi, which is a crime.
If you still want to try, set up base on the highway in the direction you are going and wave a bit of money in the air. Maybe someone will stop to pick you up, or maybe not.
But regardless, be prepared to test your patience!
Perfect Accommodation For Single Travelers
Being a popular destination for both backpackers and luxury travelers and all in between, there are also accommodations for single travelers in all styles and price ranges.
Hotels, hostels, and private casa particulares will take care of your personal travel needs, whatever they are.
Hostal Balcones Muralla is a budget casa particular with exceptional reviews, located in Old Havana. Beautiful interior, walking distance to Plaza Vieja, El Capitolio, restaurants and bars, and all the famous sights of Old Havana!
Is It Safe To Travel To Cuba Alone?
As tourism is Cuba’s most important source of revenue, crime against foreigners is not taken lightly.
This means Cuba is one of the safest destinations in the region for travelers, including female solo travelers.
The reason for this is that penalties are severe for crimes against tourists, there are long prison sentences even for petty criminal offenses. Be advised, that among Cubans in Cuba, the crime rate is higher.
There are of course incidents, so be normally vigilant as you would be anywhere, with your valuables, money, and general awareness.
Annually there are also a few more serious incidents against tourists, but the statistics in on your side, so be smart and don’t worry.
Cost Of Solo Travel To Cuba
A holiday to Cuba can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be, or as your budget allows.
On this island are incredibly luxury hotels available, side by side with hostels, small hotels, and Casa Particulares, privately owned rental homes.
For really cheap accommodation in shared rooms or dorms could be all the way down to around €10 per night if you are up for that (or even love it?). For a private room in a cheap hostel, prices start at around €20.
A daily budget for a cheap solo vacation to Cuba including food, some transport, a museum or two, and a cerveza will land around €70-100 per day.
Budget accommodation typically is around €50-100 per night, sometimes including breakfast.
Budget solo day cost in Cuba will land on around €150-200, including lunch, dinner, a paid activity, and transport.
And from €150 and up, you get really good hotels and probably a mansion of a casa particular if you want to!
Luxury solo day budget, if you include lunch, a really nice dinner, a few drinks, transport, and some activities, will land on from probably €350 and up indefinately!
Shopping For Groceries In Cuba
There are no supermarkets or grocery stores in Cuba, not in the way that you are used to. In the state-run MLC stores (that only accept credit cards) you can find foodstuffs, mostly canned, bottled, and dry things.
Expect that there probably will be lines to get in. Apart from that, you will find fruits and vegetables sold on the streets, as well as pork meat, and occasionally cheese and ham (one type).
What you are able to buy is what is in season.
In sum, the food shopping situation in Cuba in 2022 is a bit tricky. This is why having at least breakfast included where you stay is a good idea.
Also, it will be easier for you to eat your meals at paladares, privately owned restaurants, than shop for food and cook at home.
If you want to expand your Cuban experience, you can find a market, have a chat with someone, hacer las colas (stand in the lines), and get what you need to cook at home at a lower price than eating out.
Best Way To Travel Solo Within Cuba
While in Cuba, if you want to travel around and explore more than one destination, there are various ways to go about that.
The Viazul bus from Havana to Vinales is $12 and three and a half hours, while Havana – Varadero is $9, and around four hours.
Traveling the long stretch between Havana and the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba by Viazul bus will normally take around 17-18 hours ($56), so that is a long-haul experience. It is also the cheapest.
Finding a taxi will be a faster, and more expensive solution. If you are a group of travelers booking together, it will be cheaper and you can get help from your hosts or hotel to do a booking. The price of Havana – Santiago de Cuba probably would be around $400.
PRO TIP: If you feel adventurous, try taking the local buses, the guaguas, or the rutas; mini-buses that do fixed routes in the cities. The price is two or five CUP, which is 20-50 cents!
You may also find domestic flights, but it is hard, if not impossible to book a domestic flight in Cuba online.
I have never had a domestic flight in Cuba, but you may consult Cuba Star Travel which displays schedules and offers bookings via phone or email.
You can also consult CubaTour national travel agency.
What Is The Best Time To Travel To Cuba?
The high season for travel to Cuba is around Christmas and in the summer months. December and January are the coldest driest months, while July and August are the hottest and most humid months.
In the summer there are definitely most tourists, and the prices are highest, the queues longest, and the heat can be a challenge. In the winter, the sea can be just a bit too cold, and you might need a jacket in the evening.
The wet season, also referred to as the hurricane season in Cuba runs from May through November, with the most thunderstorms and occasional tropical storms in August and September.
Personally, my favorite months are April – May, and the end of August through October. These periods have the fewest tourists, still nice weather (if you don’t mind the rain showers), and nice temperatures in the sea!
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Wrap-Up Solo Holidays To Cuba!
As you see, there are many good reasons why Cuba is an excellent solo travel destination, including for solo traveling women!
Do you have any additional questions about traveling solo in Cuba, don’t hesitate to send me an email, and I will do my best to give you an answer or find out what you need to know!