Drones are all the craze these days, and they can create some amazing images of your travels. They can come in all shapes and sizes, and because many got excited about them, there are now rules, regulations and even licenses in some places for their use.
When we discuss visiting Cuba, especially on a photography tour, many excited travellers bring up the question about their drones. Imagine capturing the perfect sunset moment from a rooftop bar, or a fleet of 1950s classic cars down the streets of Havana? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but drones are not allowed in Cuba at all.
Whilst your intention is just to capture the perfect moment, whether still or moving from a different angle, but, just like taking images of the army or police, it is also important to remember that there are certain restrictions when photographing personnel of the security forces. Such images must be taken with caution and respect for regulations in order to ensure an enjoyable experience without any legal repercussions.
DO NOT BRING YOUR DRONE TO CUBA!
The roles are…
Cuba: NO DRONES ALLOWED
Permit or License: NO DRONES ALLOWED
Tourism Board or a Film Maker: NO DRONES ALLOWED
Nationality: ALL NATIONALITIES
Prohibited Items: Narcotics, Explosives, Pornography, anti-Cuban Literature, Aerial Drones, Stand-Alone GPS Devices, Walkie-Talkies and Items Considered to be Weapons.
You May Have Seen Drone Footage of Cuba on the Web…
Yes, you are right, there are some videos on YouTube of aerial shots all around Cuba. Dig deeper and you will find that all these footages are from government sponsor posts.
If you somehow land a government contract to create promotional materials, then may be you will have a chance, but more likely not…
Are They Just Looking for DJI?
No, it’s all UAV’s and RPAS. No matter the size, make or brand, you are not allowed to bring an aerial drone because of Cuba’s drone laws.
No fixed camera? Doesn’t make a difference. Fixed camera or not, drones are not allowed in Cuba.
What To Do If You’re Traveling With One
Let’s face it, many travellers these days travel over a period of time or to several destinations. This means that you could find yourself on the doorstep of a country that doesn’t allow drones.
Don’t fret, there are options to consider. It just means that you have to plan your routes and travel in a way that you can keep your drone safe for a later day.
Option 1: Store it at any airport you are flying through, provided you are going back the same way. Most airports will store your items for around $5-$10 USD per day. It will be locked up and safe upon your return.
Option 2: If you are staying at the same hotel in the country before and after your trip to Cuba, you can easily leave your drone bag at the hotel. Many hotels will hold your stuff free of charge as long as you have a reservation upon return.
Option 3: You can take your chance – not an option we recommend! Take your drone to Cuba and once in customs declare the contraband item you are travelling with. There are stories where you found a helpful custom officer who’d store it for you, there are also stories of them just taking the Drone and not returning it to the traveller. So this option is risky.
Option 4: Leave the drone at home. I know this is not a fun option but its the safest one. Nobody want’s their drone taken away.
It’s Your Responsibility to Know the Cuba Drone Rules
With the use of drones growing it’s up to us, the drone users, to know what our rights are and what the rules are.
We need to follow the rules because some countries are looking at it as if one person messes up, it will mess it up for everyone. Don’t be that person who messes it up for everyone else! Know the rules before you travel and fly.
Remember: Drone laws are ever-changing so make sure you are up to date on drone laws in the countries you plan to visit.
Are you thinking of capturing the essence of Cuba on your next trip, why not join one of our photography tours with our local guides and amazing photography experts to help you create a stunning Cuba portfolio!