Until December 2017, Cuba doesn’t have widespread internet around the country. But there is a connection, just avoid stupid questions when you arrive at your casa and ask for the Wifi password (I did that, and felt pretty stupid). How it works there is there are hotspots at every main square in every major city (or several in places like Havana) or big hotels (you will recognise these places when you suddenly see all cubans looking at there phones). To connect you must buy an ETECSA card which costs 1CUC/hour. There are 1/2 hour, 1 hour and 5 hour cards, but the same price applies for each (0,5CUC, 1CUC and 5CUC). These cards have an expiry date of 1 month and you can buy them on any official ETECSA office (you’ll find people who resell them to you, but they are really easy to buy officially so don’t bother the hassle), or in big hotels (but for a more expensive price). Remember to bring a Picture ID to get the card (passport not necessary). In big cities there is usually a long line, but in smaller cities it can be pretty fast (in Guantanamo I discovered there are offices outside the city where there is hardly anyone while at the city centre there is a long line).
After 5 weeks there I went through 12 hours of internet (but that will depend on what use you give it). Here are a few tips to make your card last longer:
- Prepare your posts in advance (if you want to update your instagram, my recommendation is leave your posts ready and stories prepared so you can just upload them once you connect).
- Download your WhatsApp messages, disconnect to read and answer and reconnect to send everything. If you have huge groups you will not spend most of your time connected to just for reading.
- If it’s going slow, don’t bother and disconnect as it counts per second (either working or not).
- Smaller cities usually have a better connection than bigger or more touristy places (the worst wifi I found was in Trinidad, while it was working fine for even skyping in places like Bayamo or Manzanillo).
- Use apps like maps.me to previously download the maps from where you’re going to go.
However, enjoy the fact of being disconnected in Cuba. We are so used of being connected at every minute, that having some time away from our phones can be pretty good.