Does Cuba have WiFi? Yes, but not as freely as we are used to. During our three week trip, we logged on to the internet and WiFi in Cuba six times. WiFi access in Cuba differs to access in Europe / USA / most of the rest of the world because:
There is no free WiFi in Cuba – it is expensive
Internet access in Cuba is restricted
Cuba is a great holiday destination but still a communist country
How to Get Internet and WiFi in Cuba
To gain access to WiFi in Cuba, purchase a card from a ETECSA telecommunications centreor a hotel which has WiFi accessibility. The card should cost 4.50 CUC / $4.50 / £2.93 and gives you one hour of online internet access in Cuba.
ETECSA Telecommunications Centre v Hotel
Not all towns have a ETECSA telecommunications centre and not all hotels have WiFi. You’ll spot the ETECSA centre because there will be a line of locals queuing or leaning against the wall. Gringos don’t have to queue for some reason so if you can get over theembarrassment you can shuffle past the line of locals. There will also be a massive pylonon top of the centre. *Update, this rule doesn’t apply for Havana’s Obispo street centre, we were snubbed and made to join the line which is fair play. There are also computers for use (with the card) in the ETECSA telecommunications centres.
Update: WiFi in Cuba 2016 / 2015
As of 2015, the ETECSA has opened eight Pay – For WiFi Hotspots across parks all over the island at a cost of 2 CUC per hour.
Pinar del Rio
Ciego de Avila
Las Tunas, Matanzas
Have you seen any, tell us about it in the comments below, we’re excited!
Hotels With Internet Access in Cuba
The more expensive hotels in the likes of Havana and Trinidad, tend to sell the cards but you must buy a drink with it so your 4.50 CUC card for one hour of WiFi becomes 7.50 CU. If you add a drink charge to it (the hot chocolate in Iberostar, Trinidad is lovely though and the air con is desirable). This rule is per card so if you buy two cards you are required to purchase two drinks. Wow, different story in Havana! Hotel Sevilla charges 8 CUC / £5.23, don’t be a mug! You use the same card so buy one at the centre if you can afford the time and just use it in the lobby (we weren’t questioned when we did this). Fun fact – this hotel has a pool that cheapos like us can use for 15 CUC / £9.81 (you get 12 of this back to use as credit at the bar). Iberostar Parque Central is not as kind than the one in Trinidad, non-residents have to use the business centre, they obviously don’t want the riff raff messing up the mugs.
One Hour Card v Thirty Minutes
The ETECSA telecommunications centre in Havana advised that you can’t use the thirty minutes cards (which are white) in hotels, they said it was for PCs in the telecommunication centre only and that the one hour cards (blue) were for hotel WiFi. This is untrue in our experience; we used both the white and blue cards in hotels for both WiFi and PC use. However, it may be a government rule they have to follow.
Cuba WiFi Access and Quality
Accessibility is not only restricted to where you log on but the strength of the WiFi is not always great. It’s often slow and can stop working. Apparently it had been down for four days in Cienfuegos. I did lose a lot of time online because the network dropped and I could not log out. In Trinidad, Iberostar showed excellent customer service and gave me my money back. I’m doubtful this would happen in the telecommunication centre! When we tried to use Iberostar in Havana we were told that the WiFi was playing up in the business centre.
How to Log On Using Nauta WiFi
The card has a log on code and password which you score off. When you select thenetwork you will be asked for these. Type both in and hit accept then done. That should be you online.
How to Log Off Using Nauta WiFi
Type 220.127.116.11 into the search bar (if it takes you to a Google search of 18.104.22.168 ignore this and try again). Here you request to log off and click ‘cerrar sesión’. If you have not used your full one hour then the credit will be available for you to use again.
This is the only way to connect to the internet and WiFi in Cuba (2016) so please don’t fall for any scams telling you different! A man was trying to sell us cards outside the centre in Havana, no thanks pal!
Time Saver Tips – Before
Before you fly to Cuba, copy and paste information from online (Two Scots Abroad‘sCuba backlog obvs) into an email and email it to yourself. Make sure you open them when you have WiFi at home and they should be in your account ready to refer to
Screen print Tripadvisors suggested restaurants! Remember to scroll down so you capture the address
Time Saver Tips – During
Write a list of priorities before you log on so you don’t get sucked into Facebook stalking (thanks to Sam for this tip)
Type messages into your notes app and then copy and paste over to your email, text, Whatsapp. This will save you time
Edit photos using offline apps before posting / emailing
Set the timer on your phone as soon as you log on. Time flies when you are having fun
Or be like me and embrace the holiday away from social networking, blogging and emails!
Places With WiFi in Cuba
Here is a list of the known places where you can access WiFi in Cuba. If there are any that I have missed, do tell us and I will add. I appreciate that I am no longer in Cuba and as Dylan says ‘times they are changin’
ETECSA Telecommunications Centre, Calle Obispo
Iberostar Parque Central (guests only in lobby, non guests use business centre)
ETECSA centre, close to main street
Playa Larga (Bay of Pigs)
No WiFi (we couldn’t even get access to the bank!)
ETECSA at Parque Central
Iberostar Parque Central (must purchase drink to use, sells cards)
Cuba Public WiFi: Pay – For WiFi Hotspots in Public Parks
Pinar del Rio
Ciego de Avila
Las Tunas, Matanzas
WiFi in Cuba Resorts
I would take the advertisement of internet access in Cuba resorts cautiously. We did have two computers to access the internet on at our resort, Brisas del Caribe, in Varadero but access was temperamental.
WiFi in Varadero
Varadero is a extremely popular package resort area of Cuba, Google is awash with question regarding free WiFi in Cuba, internet access in hotel bedrooms etc for this area. For now, you just have to accept that WiFi access is not a definite! According to tripadvisor there is access to the internet in the following places in Varadero.
Blau Marina (4.50 CUC/h)
Blau, Varadero (4.50 CUC/h)
Iberostar Varadero (5 CUC/h)
Iberostar Laguna Azul (5 CUC/h)
Melia Las Americas (5 CUC/h)
Melia Sol Palmeras (7 CUC/h)
Memories Varadero (4.50 CUC/h)
Ocean Varadero (4.50 CUC/h)
Paradisus, Varadero (4.50 CUC/h)
Royalton Hicacos (lobby bar and pool)
Villa Cuba (4.50 CUC/h)
Roc Barlovento (4.50 CUC/h)
Casas Particulares and WiFi
Casas particulares are a common type of accommodation in Cuba. This is when travellers stay with locals as opposed to hotels or hostels. At present, there is no WiFi in casas particulares.
Fancy living with a local check out our guide on casas!