It can feel like a bit of a contradiction to talk about the best Cuba apps to help you plan your holiday, since the country is not really surfing on the world wide web… they’re barely splashing in the shallows. The internet is not a big part of day-to-day life for most people in Cuba, and it will be no different for you when you’re there. There are very few places to access the internet on the island, aside from a few internet kiosks and offices. It’s not as though you’ll be able to use a cafe’s free wi-fi, because they won’t have any. Internet usage is strictly regulated and very few private homes have it. Your smartphone will work in Cuba, although it’s not wise to use it, since the data roaming costs will quickly make your holiday budget go way up. It’s best to keep it for emergencies, and to wait until you get home until you bombard social media with all those photos of you posing with a glass of rum and a cigar. So while you won’t be online with your smartphone all that much while travelling through Cuba , there are more than a few handy apps that can be utilised to help you make the most of your time in this glorious destination. Since you can’t easily do so while in Cuba, be sure to download all these great apps before you leave home!
Havana Good Times: For a Good Time
One of those Cuba apps that does exactly what the name suggests. Havana Good Times is all about showing you where to have a good time in Havana. It’s basically an exhaustive entertainment guide for the Cuban capital, researched and written by Conner Gory – a writer who has lived in Havana since 2002. Gory updates the app’s content at least four times a year to cover venues that might have opened or closed, as well as covering festivals and special occasions. In addition to covering your entertainment needs, the app also has extensive information about the best places to eat and sleep in Cuba’s vibrant capital.
Cuba Apps to Ensure You Won’t Get Lost
Most smartphone mapping systems are designed to be used live – as in you’ll need an active internet connection. This really isn’t practical when you’re in Cuba, but Galileo Offline Maps is, rather unsurprisingly, a map designed for offline use. You download the app prior to your arrival, select Cuba, and a detailed map is downloaded and made available for offline use. The maps are remarkably detailed, showing pretty much every street you might ever need to go down, as well as highlighting points of interest. The maps are configured to be downloaded quickly and not take up a lot of space.
Dance Like an (Almost) Expert
Music is absolutely everywhere in Cuba, and most bars and cafes also feature dancing when the sun goes down. If you go to a nightclub you’ll generally find that there’s a live salsa band who will play for a few hours before the DJ takes over. You don’t need to feel embarrassed if you have two left feet, and you can learn a lot simply by watching the locals – many of whom have been dancing since they learned to walk. If you want to look somewhat polished before you hit the dancefloor, then try Pocket Salsa Free. It’s one of the more fun Cuba apps, and it shows you the basic dance steps with some easy to follow videos. It’s like your smartphone is teaching you how to dance.
A Private Translator
Once you get away from the tourist heavy haunts in the larger cities, you’ll find that English is not so widely spoken. This is all part of the fun of a holiday, and yet it can be slightly annoying when you need to ask an important question – like where you can get a taxi back to your home. Jibbigo is an offline translation tool where you say something in your own language, and the app then reads out the translated phrase in the target language, so your phone essentially asks the question for you. It’s remarkably refined, and the English to Spanish version has been around since 2009, meaning it’s been considerably refined over the years. It’s one of those brilliant Cuba apps that will make your holiday even easier.
The Sounds of Cuba
While it’s not an essential part of holiday planning, acquainting yourself with the music of Cuba is a great way to get in the holiday mood. It also helps when you’re back home and are already missing the sights and sounds of Cuba. CubanFlow is a well-curated playlist that showcases both established and emerging artists, with new selections added all the time. Perhaps you can pair it with the salsa dancing app so that you’ll feel like a local before you even get on the plane.