• Hold down Ctrl key and select the sections you want to print. If using a Mac, hold down the Cmd key.
  • Use Ctrl + A or on Mac, Cmd + A to select all sections (if you are using the Chrome browser).
  • Click "Apply" and the site will customise your print guide in the preview below.
  • Click the "Print" button and a print pop up should appear to print to your printer of choice.

Moving to Cuba

Many prospective expats considering a move to Cuba are deterred by its communist heritage and its uncertain international relations. The difficulty in meeting the requirements for settling in Cuba mean the country’s expat population is nowhere near as large as those of other Caribbean destinations such as Costa Rica. 

However, this should in no way dissuade an adventurous expat from moving to Cuba. Cuba is nothing if not an exciting, new experience. Those who take the plunge will encounter a political system that’s very different from the one they may be used to. Decades of American embargos on Cuba coupled with policies that have historically inhibited foreign investment have stunted economic growth.

In recent years, the country has been slowly implementing reforms to the economy. There have also been efforts to decrease the number of people in the state’s employ and increase involvement in private enterprise. Free-trade zones have opened up, and import-export laws have been relaxed. Greater numbers of Cubans in the workforce are self-employed and pay tax to the government. These changes suggest a bright future with many investment opportunities for expats. The biggest industries in Cuba are the farming and exporting of goods such as sugar, tobacco and coffee, and the tourism industry is growing. 

Cuba has also managed to build up reputable education and healthcare systems, and the medical tourism industry has played an important role in the country’s economy for a number of years. However, the poor infrastructure leaves much to be desired. There are very few international schools in Cuba – all of which are in the country’s capital, Havana.

On the whole, Cuba is a relatively safe country. The biggest dangers are from natural disasters and poor infrastructure. Expats should take note that the hurricane season runs from June to November, and extreme weather can be a safety issue. Crime, especially opportunistic theft, can be an issue, so expats should avoid walking around Havana alone at night and make sure to use only legitimate taxis and tour operators.

There are both pros and cons to choosing Cuba as a destination for an expat experience. While the country boasts a rich culture and interesting history, living in Cuba long term will certainly require a degree of adjustment. 

Fast facts

Population: About 11.5 million

Capital city: Havana

Geography: Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean. Most of the main island is relatively flat, with some hilled areas. The southwest of the island is home to the Sierra Maestra mountain range. 

Political system: Communist state

Major religions: Catholicism 

Main language: Spanish

Money: Cuban Peso (CUP) and the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), both of which can be divided into 100 centavos. Expats will be able to find ATMs in most urban centres.

Tipping: Tips are generally expected and appreciated in Cuba. A tip of 10 percent is considered the standard, with more being offered for excellent service.

Time: GMT -4

Electricity: 110V/220V, 60Hz. Plugs with two flat blades or two round pins can be used throughout the country.

Internet TLD: .cu

International dialling code: +53

Emergency number: 106 

Transport and driving: Cars in Cuba drive on the right-hand side of the road. The public transport system is good in urban areas, and taxis are abundant and reasonably priced.

Weather in Cuba

Cuba has a semitropical climate with two distinct seasons: a rainy season from May to October, and a dry season from November to April.

Generally the weather in Cuba is sunny, hot and humid. The average minimum temperature is 70°F (21°C), and the average maximum temperature is 81°F (27°C). In summer (June to August) the heat can get uncomfortably intense, with temperatures reaching 100°F (38°C) and high humidity. The sea breezes tend to make conditions more pleasant on the coast.

The rainy season is also hurricane season in Cuba and runs from July to November, with September and October being the months most likely to experience serious tropical storms. Thankfully, Cuba has a very good public safety record when it comes to handling adverse weather conditions.

Embassy Contacts for Cuba

Cuban embassies

Cuban Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 797 8518

Cuban Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7240 2488

Cuban Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 563 0141

Cuban Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6286 8770

Cuban Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 346 2215

Cuban Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 671 8300

Cuban Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 464 2210

Foreign embassies in Cuba

US Embassy, Havana: +53 7 839 4100

British Embassy, Havana: +53 7 214 2200

Canadian Embassy, Havana: +53 7 204 2516

South African Embassy, Havana: +53 7 204 9671

Expat Experiences in Cuba

When considering a move to a new country, there is nothing more useful than hearing real-life stories from the people currently living there. Read authentic expat interviews below, and please contact us if you have lived in Cuba and would like to share your own unique experience. 

Few people from the USA have as much on-the-ground experience in Cuba as Conner Gorry, a journalist and writer who has lived and worked in Havana since 2002. Read more about Conner's take on the challenges and triumphs of expat life in Cuba in her interview with Expat Arrivals.


Ton Haas moved to Cuba from his native Netherlands to teach industrial design at a university in Havana more than 10 years ago. He says Cuba isn't the easiest place for an expat to settle into – and you should only consider relocating here once you've done some thorough research. Read about his expat experiences in Cuba.