Being a digital nomad in Cuba is challenging, but depending on the nature of your work it is possible. It mostly depends on your internet needs: the more internet you need the more difficult it will be. You’ll also have to be patient, and be armed with a good VPN.
Will I need a VPN?
YES! A VPN is a virtual private network, it helps mask where you are browsing from. If you want to log in to your bank, or engage with some of Google’s services, or the App Store or many many other things (you’d be surprised) you’ll need a VPN to mask the fact you’re browsing from Cuba.
We recommend ProtonVPN for being easy to use and inexpensive (and it works in Cuba), but there are many options out there.
Best ways for digital nomads to work online in Cuba
Getting online in Cuba is an art. For the sake of brevity, we’ll assume you know how the process works. If not, read here how to get online in Cuba.
Top Digital Nomad solution: Find a 4G sim card and hotspot from wherever
This is what many expats in Cuba do if they do not have an office. Its not cheap and you might find it hard to find a sim that has 4G enabled. This makes most sense if you’re planning to stay in Cuba for a few months.
Find a Casa Particular with Internet
There are a few casas with internet available at all hours. Now this internet will either be “stolen” from a public park or will be one of the new Nauta Hogar services that ETECSA is rolling out. The quality of this internet can be variable, but if you’re lucky you’ll barely notice you’re in Cuba. If it goes away, it isn’t really your host’s fault.
Join other digital nomads in Cuba in hotel lobbys
Hotels can be divided into two categories: those where any internet card or Nauta log in in is sufficient, or hotels that need a hotel specific internet card. The latter are more expensive. Both places they’ll expect you to buy a drink or some food every few hours.
In Havana, you can log in using any internet card at the Lobby/Bar of the Hotel Presidente or the Hotel Sevilla for example. You’ll need a special card for the Habana Libre or Capri.
Unfortunately many of these spots are tough if you need to charge your laptop. Capri has one or two plugs which are usually taken, and Presidentes staff won’t let you charge your laptop. I recommend you use your lunch break to charge your laptop while you eat.
Work from an ETECSA internet cafe
These internet cafe’s are known as “Sala de Navegacion”. Generally, they’ll have computers, so you can bring a pen drive and get online with your own files. Probably best if you want upload heavy files and you can’t be bothered carrying your laptop. The internet is normally relatively fast, the computers unfortunately less so. If you sit down and your computer is really slow, log out and switch to another one. Chances are it’ll be better.
In the Miramar business center they have the best of all worlds: both computers and WIFI and a place to plug in your laptop.
Just work offline
Do you really need internet? It might be so bad its worthless anyway. If you’re writing or doing something else on your computer it might be worth going to place with a chill vibe and good coffee. Like Cuba Libro.
What’s the internet like out of Havana?
Funnily enough in places like Viñales or Trinidad there’s less people using the internet than in Havana. Which means that internet outside of the big cities is often better than in them.