ORVIS GUIDE TO ADVENTURE
VISITING CUBA – WHAT TO PACK?
Pack your bags for visiting Cuba—there’s no time like the present to visit this island paradise. Think sunny and sultry; while the island’s average temperature is 75°F, it’s not uncommon for the mercury to soar into the 90s during high summer, with periods of rain followed by sticky humidity. Even Cuba’s winters are considered “hot” by most standards. Leave your denims at home and instead choose lightweight performance fabrics that wick away moisture from your skin and dry quickly, together with clothing and accessories that protect you from the scorching sun. You’ll also want to carry a lightweight outer layer for indoor venues (many are over-air-conditioned) and for chilly evenings. Check the forecast for your travel window and tweak your wardrobe accordingly.
And keep it casual: Cubans are a casual people to begin with, and dressing up not only marks you as a tourist, but will also make you look and feel awkward among the locals. If you plan to enjoy a show or dinner out, add a pretty scarf, a shawl, or other colorful accessories to refine your beachy sundress; or top a cool piqué polo with a lightweight travel blazer. Nor should your shoes be complicated: high heels and strappy sandals make navigating Cuba’s cobbled streets difficult—stick to flats, sneakers, or flat sandals you’ve already broken in. Pack garments you can press into service for more than a single purpose: a sarong or scarf doubles as a beach blanket or towel, or even a throw to cover your legs on the plane. Leggings make perfect pajamas, but double as comfortable touring bottoms topped with a tank and finished with your favorite sneakers. Maximize the space in your luggage with smart wardrobe choices.
Essentials - Clothing & Accessories
Tip: Light-colored clothing is best for combatting Cuba’s heat and humidity.
Strongly Recommended Products and Gear
Tip: Apply sunscreen first, and then bug spray. Repeat applications throughout the day.
Tip: Not only should you pack the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take routinely, but also bring medications for unexpected ailments, including Immodium or a similar preparation containing Loperamide, Ibuprofen, aspirin, Benadryl, Dramamine, and throat lozenges: you’re not likely to find them in Cuba.
Optional Products and Gear
Tip: Bring plenty of cash since your American-issued credit and debit cards will not work in Cuba.
Leave some room in your luggage for the locals: most Cubans are poor, and many things we take for granted—toiletries, fishing tackle, small articles of clothing, and other compact items—make meaningful gifts for people who do not have them. Pack a few to distribute during your stay: it’s a small, thoughtful gesture that will put a big smile on someone’s face.
You’ll also want to bring a little Cuba home with you, and now you can: the rules are relaxing, paving the way for Americans to import exquisite Cuban cigars and rum, along with original Cuban artwork and other memorabilia. Flatten a tote bag and put it in the bottom of your carry-on. On the return flight, check the carry-on, and put your Cuban goodies in the tote bag to carry onto the plane: these precious tokens of your trip will help you remember your Cuban adventure forever.
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