Packing is never the most exciting part of travel if you ask me.
No need to purchase a whole new wardrobe, instead I encourage you to pack items that you can give away.
Most travellers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You’ll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips.
Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip:
Warm as well as light clothing. Central America is often assumed to have hot weather, but it can get cold in the countryside, mountains and at night in the winter so we suggest you check the expected temperatures en-route and bring clothing that you can layer
Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings
Sun protection – hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments
Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, travel insurance etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary
Reusable straw can be handy
Electrical adapter plug
Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and Band-Aids
Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
Travel beach towel
Tissues &/or toilet paper &/or wet wipes
Toiletries. We recommend you to take your own supply of shampoo, soap and toilet paper to use in the guesthouses and public toilets. We also encourage women to take their own supply of sanitary items as these items are not widely available for purchase in Cuba
For going out in the evenings, casual dress is acceptable everywhere although one collared shirt for males is recommended, otherwise there’s no need to bring clothes or footwear especially for this.
Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate and maybe a phrasebook when you are out and about.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your safe if available. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
Doing your laundry in Cuba
A laundry service is offered at some guesthouses when you are travelling in Cuba. You might need to wait for a two-night stop to make sure you get the clean clothes back in time. Ask for your tour leader to help you arrange this or you can talk directly to your casa owner and request the service. Prices vary from place to place, but you can expect to be charged around EUR 5-10 per kilo.
Camera – would recommend to pick your favourite and bring just that with a lens or two. Nothing too big, telescopic and definitely NO DRONES! Also, we do a lot of walking, so you probably don’t want to lug a tripod around.
Spare battery, Memory cards, Battery packs, charger let’s hope go without saying.
Camera bag and daypack.
We included a packing list at the end to make it easier to plan.
Gifts to consider
Given the difficulty of securing basic goods in Cuba, surplus items that you have at home such as soap, shampoo, perfumes, sewing kits, toothbrushes and pens or pencils are warmly accepted. We do encourage you to discuss gift giving with your leader so that items can be distributed to organisations or people in need.
If we put all this together, I’m sure you are thinking – Jesus, woman! You said travel light, yet with everything it sounds like I’ll need to pay for excess luggage. – But if you priorotise your needed items, I ensure you, my bag normally is only around 23kg, at least at the start of the trip. And around 10kg on the way home.
If you are ready to go, check out our tour itineraries for Cuba!