So you’re heading to Cuba. One of the last frontiers of American travel, the island nation 90 miles from our shores is no longer impossible to access and offers up a unique travel experience. A country in transition, Cuba has more modern amenities than you think, but it lacks many that we often take for granted (good luck with the ketchup). Lucky for you, in addition to the normal travel fare, we put together a list of some must-haves for anyone looking to visit the land of Castro, baseball, and cigars.
Trucker hat and sunglasses
Cuba is sunny and downright hot. Don’t underestimate Caribbean heat and don’t expect a lot of air conditioning. Sunglasses are a must, and a trucker hat offers the best breathability for headwear. Plus it looks a lot less goofy than those touristy straw headpieces.
GoPro camera and batteries
It doesn’t really matter which camera you bring, but make sure you bring one—chances are you will be taking a picture of something no one has ever seen before. A GoPro is a great option because it takes high quality video and stills, it’s compact, and it features waterproof housing that comes in handy when thunderstorms roll through. Bring your own batteries to save time and money—those little buggers are expensive down there!
External hard drive and power strip
You’re going to need a place to store all those images you’re taking, and with spotty Internet and lots of power outages, the external is your safest bet for securing your work. Also, many of Cuba’s outlets are 220 Volt, so bring a power strip to protect your electronics.
It’s a harsh reality, but your stomach isn’t going to like you the first day or two in a new country. Cuban bathrooms notoriously lack toilet paper, so if you don’t want to get caught with your pants down (literally), bring your own! Camping stores offer really discrete rolls like “Tissue to Go” that fit in your pocket.
Gold bond foot powder
When 90 percent humidity is normal, it’s tough to stay dry in Cuba for very long. Gold Bond is a great option for reducing wetness and odor in clothing and shoes, and will likely be the only way your shoes survive the trip.
When you’re on the move, you’re only as good as your backpack. Find something light, water resistant, and small, and your day trips become much easier. There isn’t a lot of theft in Cuba, but don’t leave your pack unattended; it will get stolen no matter where you are.
Last but not least: hot sauce!
If you’re like me, you will be thrown off by the lack of spice in Cuban food. The best bet to avoiding bland meals is to pack your own hot sauce. Cuban food is very tasty, but if you want to spice it up, it’s going to have to be on your own accord.