How Safe Is Havana For Travel?

Havana is the gorgeous capital city of Cuba, and it’s a pretty popular tourist destination and with all that the city has to offer it’s not hard to see why.

How Safe Is Havana For Travel?

Some of the most popular landmarks are the Museum of the Revolution and the Capitol building, as well as its beautiful beaches and amazing seafront.

There are many reasons to travel to Havana, and the whole of Cuba really, especially considering how many World Heritage sites there are on the island. 

However, some people can feel a little reserved traveling to Cuba as they fear that it is unsafe.

Throughout this article, we’ll delve in deep to see if this assumption is actually true or fair. How safe is Havana really? Continue reading to find out. 

Risk Ratings Of Danger In Havana

Risk Of Danger Overall – Medium 

Havana isn’t really known for being all that dangerous of a city, and so if you do travel to Havana I would recommend behaving as you would in any other major city.

You won’t need to stress too much, but it’s always good to be aware of your surroundings.

But to put your mind at ease a little, it’s important to remember that the city really heavily relies on tourism, and because of this the local authorities tend to be pretty hot on when it comes to criminal activity – especially towards tourists.

And the presence of the police is everywhere so you won’t need to worry too much during the daytime.

There are also quite harsh and strict sentences for those who do commit crimes against tourists which works well as a deterrent and helps keep the city safe. 

Taxi’s & Transport – Medium

I would always advise using a radio taxi that can be called from your hotel room if you need to get a taxi anywhere.

This is because you can find quite a few unlicensed taxi drivers on the island and you’ll want to avoid these where possible.

These official taxis will cost a little bit more, but I would always prioritize safety over money. 

You can also rent cars while you’re in Cuba, and you may also be lucky enough to get a vintage old American car that Cuba is famous for.

But you’ll want to concentrate on the roads if you do choose to drive yourself as there are many one-way roads, especially in Havana. 

You can also decide to take a scooter ride to your destination but keep in mind that if you do you must wear a helmet. 

Pickpockets – Medium 

As with many populated cities that are tourist destinations, you are likely to find pickpocketers in Havana which is something to watch out for.

Hi-tech gadgets are particularly at risk, so try not to flaunt your latest phone or camera too much or you may draw attention to yourself. 

In comparison to other Latin American countries though, Havana is quite safe for pickpocketing.

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make sure you’re aware of where your belongings are at all times.

Do not leave anything valuable unattended, or it’s not very likely to be there by the time you retrace your steps.

Bag snatching can also be common sometimes in Old Havana or on public transport, so try to keep a hand on it at all times. 

Natural Disasters – Low

It is unlikely that you’ll be faced with a natural disaster while in Havana, but nothing can ever be truly guaranteed.

If you are particularly anxious about natural disasters striking, avoid visiting Havana during the hurricane season when there is a small chance of earthquakes or tsunami waves.

As stated earlier, it is unlikely that this will happen, but if it does you must follow the local authorities’ advice. 

Muggings – Low

It is quite unlikely that you will get mugged, as previously mentioned, there are very harsh penalties set in place for crimes committed against tourists.

However, muggings and kidnappings do still take place in Havana, and there is the (slight/unlikely) possibility of becoming a victim by accident.

You should always take extra care while out in Havana at night time. Do not ever stop for a hitch-hiker while away as there is a reputation for 

hitch-hiker attacks.

Terrorism – Low

Recently, there have been no recorded terrorist attacks in Cuba, so it’s unlikely that this is something you’ll find yourself caught up in.

However, terrorism is a threat that exists globally so you must always be vigilant.  

Scams – High

Scams are something you must stay extra vigilant with during your visit. There are many popular scams in Havana. Some to watch out for are the following

  • Renting a car – Many rental companies will accuse you of damaging a rental car even when the car returns in perfect condition. 
  • Cigars – Only buy Cuban Cigars from official shops or it’s likely you’ll be paying for a fake cigar. 
  • Credit Cards – There are a few credit card scams out there so be careful with your information – do not share it with anyone. 
  • Taxis – Only book with registered taxis. 

Women’s Safety Risk – Low

Great news for women travelers is that the risk to your safety is very low. There is pretty much no gender discrimination in Cuba and little sexual harassment.

Of course, you should always be vigilant as always. But most comments about beauty from the locals are genuine and Havana is almost trouble-free when it comes to female visitors. 

Final Thoughts

So how safe is Havana? It’s pretty safe for tourists. It may be a little different for locals but in tourist destinations, especially those such as the capital of Cuba, tourists are very safe.

After all, the city depends on its tourism sector and so it’s not going to do anything to jeopardize the industry.

There are plenty of Cuban police officers on the streets of Havana, especially throughout the day.

And if locals are caught committing crimes against the visitors, they will be given very harsh sentencing which also helps to reduce crime in the city. 

However, with that being said, all cities come with some dangers and risks, and Havana is no exception.

You will want to take extra care of your belongings because if you misplace them for just a second it is likely that they will be snatched away.Y

ou should also always keep your credit card well out of sight and never share any of your details with any locals, no matter how friendly they may seem.

But for the most part, using common sense in the city, as you would with any other will keep you out of danger during your travels. 

Take care at nighttime, and never walk alone, as is standard practice with most unknown places that you go to. 

Other than that, there’s not much left to do, other than to enjoy your trip. And whether you spend that time soaking in the culture, the sunshine or both is completely up to you.

Either way, I’m certain you’ll have a great time and come back with many stories to tell. 

Jim Stanton
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