How safe is Cuba? The good news is that Cuba in in fact very safe indeed. Until recently. In general you’ll safe walking down the streets of Havana. So what more do you need to know?
The Lack of Street Crime in Cuba
It’s good to know that petty street crimes are rare in Cuba and are not a common occurrence. It’s a strange contradiction, how Cuba can feel all rather madcap on one hand and yet on the other, you do see a fair number of police patrolling the streets. Having said that, you should still take the proper precautions. Such as to never leave your bag or valuables unattended and where your backpack on your front and your shoulder bag slung across your body not to one side.
Additional Optional Precautions
If you are still concerned about the possibility of pickpockets and other occurrences such as these, you can of course invest in a travel money belt that is concealed beneath your clothing. In all honesty, such a precaution is unlikely to be necessary in Cuba, but if you go with this option, consider the accessibility of whichever belt you choose. Remember that Cuba is a cash-based society, and so you will need to access your money numerous times each day. So essentially, you don’t want to choose one that needs to be removed each time before it can be unzipped.
Wearing Expensive Jewellery in Public
Are you the type of person who likes to wear their jewellery everywhere, or a who can’t leave the house without strapping on an expensive watch? This might be a habit you’ll want to break in Cuba. As mentioned, actual street crime is rare and so it’s not as though you’ll be targeted for robbery on the basis of the perceived price of your accessories, but it’s more a case of standing out too much, since this type of fashion is a rarity in Cuba. Some of this has to do with the fact that the average yearly income in Cuba is low when compared to most other countries in the region of a comparable size, and so such accessories are generally deemed unnecessary.
How Safe is Cuba: Security in Your Accommodation
In which type of accommodation will you be staying while in the country? This is an important consideration when wondering how safe is Cuba. Like in any other destination, hotels will generally have room safes for their guests (or a hotel safe), allowing you to securely store any expensive items you might wish to keep extra secure.
If you’re staying at a casa particular, a Cuban homestay style of accommodation a room safe might not be available. Of course you can lock your door, but do you truly want to bring attention to the fact you have valuables worth taking? Remember to get travel insurance that covers you for full replacement of any personal items that are stolen. But perhaps the best idea is not to bring the expensive watches and jewellery with you in the first place.
Not Con Artists, Just Annoying
You might become suspicious of overly friendly locals who approach in the street in Cuba. Sometimes they’re just chatty locals but sometimes they’re a little more than that.
However don’t worry, they’re not con artists or attempting to lure you somewhere unsafe. They’re touts, and their motive is to get you to visit a certain bar, restaurant, or entertainment venue (and they’re often paid on the basis of how many people they deliver). So while this is not an attempted crime, it can be rather annoying. A polite “no” should be all you need though.
A little more extreme are folk often referred to as “jineteros“. They will sometimes pleads with you for money to help them better their life. They may sometimes invent a story about a sick family member or friend as a reasons for you to give them money.
How Safe is Cuba? A Final Word
Cuba is a relatively safe destination, but like any destination, Cuba is never going to be entirely free of crime. Happily, the level of crime happens to be much lower than in many other tourist destinations around the world. You still need to take the proper precautions, and so you’re not going to stroll down the street with your bag wide open and all your valuables on display. If you find yourself in a situation you feel to be unsafe, simply walk away in the other direction. No need to be polite. Sometimes it can be better to take a taxi back to your accommodation instead of walking through the dark streets. But this is more to stop you from becoming lost, as opposed to something unfortunate happening.
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