Written by Kieran Proctor

Don’t Travel To Cuba Without A VPN!

I can’t say this enough, but don’t travel to Cuba without a VPN loaded onto all of your devices. While ...

I can’t say this enough, but don’t travel to Cuba without a VPN loaded onto all of your devices. While I’m firmly of the view that you should never use your device without a VPN in any country, even at home, it’s a different story for Cuba.

In Cuba, your device will not function properly and most of your mobile apps will not work without a VPN. This is because Cuba is under sanctions from the USA. If you want your banking, travel, social media and messaging apps to work, you will need a VPN.

If you want to use foreign websites, most will require a VPN. If you arrive in Cuba without a VPN on your devices, you will need to go through the much more difficult process of adding a VPN while in Cuba.

If you arrive in Cuba without a VPN, you will find yourself caught up in a chicken vs egg scenario. You’ll need a VPN to access the App Store. But you’ll need to access the App Store (or Google store) to get a VPN.

Getting a VPN after arrival in Cuba is doable. But it’s a frustrating scenario, and I have provided a workaround here on this site. It’s much simpler to have one loaded onto your devices before you arrive.

The VPN I use and recommend

The Best VPN For Cuba?

The best VPN for Cuba is NordVPN. It’s what I’ve used on all of my previous long-term trips. And NordVPN is what I’m using on my current 3 month stay on the island. I’m writing this article now, from Nuevo Vedado in Havana, using NordVPN.

I use NordVPN over wifi and on Cubacel through my local Cuban SIM card in my phone. NordVPN is the only VPN I’ve found that always works, on Cuba’s unique wifi and cellular services.

I’ve been friends with foreign diplomats stationed in Cuba. And the different VPN’s that they have used were not as good as NordVPN. My NordVPN app worked, where their alternate VPNs did not.

Best VPN For Cuba
Using NordVPN on my laptop in the outer suburbs of Havana

Is NordVPN Fast In Cuba?

NordVPN is the fastest VPN in Cuba. The only limit to speed is your wifi or cellular connection. If Cubacel is slow that day, or 4G LTE is not available in your area, you will have a slower connection.

If Cubacel is running 4G LTE in your area and isn’t bogged down when you’re trying to use the internet, your connection will be fast. With 4G LTE your connection will be fast enough to stream Netflix while using the internet. The only limit to speed for NordVPN, is your Cuban connection to the internet (Cuban Internet Service Provider or ISP).

Ranked against all other VPNs on the market NordVPN is rated as the fastest VPN. NordVPN has the greatest number of servers based in the greatest number of countries around Cuba.

Can I Use NordVPN On Cellular And Wifi In Cuba?

NordVPN works on all devices and services that connect you to the internet in Cuba. With NordVPN in Cuba, I route my internet traffic through the USA for Netflix and Spotify.

For regular internet searches, I send my internet traffic through Argentina, Colombia or Mexico. I do this for internet searches and using other mobile applications, because it allows me to see what travel deals are coming up in each country’s search results and get better prices.

I use NordVPN on my laptop and on my mobile phone. I can use NordVPN over wifi or cellular and when my laptop is tethered to my mobile phone. NordVPN works in all circumstances in Cuba.


Can I Add NordVPN To A Device While In Cuba?

You can add NordVPN to your device in Cuba. I have articles on this site detailing how to add NordVPN to a device while inside Cuba. Yet, if you would like to see the process in action, you can watch my Youtube channel (@inlovelyblue) as I actually do it on an iPhone I bought for my friend Alvaro’s 74 year old grandmother.

Alvaro’s Grandmother was old and alone. The majority of her family had moved to the United States. So, we tracked down an iPhone on Cuba’s blackmarket and broke into the Apple App Store, using NordVPN to circumvent US sanctions.

She can now FaceTime, iMessage, WhatsApp or video call her relatives with any other apps that she decides to download. And Alvaro’s grandmother is once again connected to her relatives overseas, thanks to NordVPN.

Where To Get NordVPN For Cuba?

NordVPN is available at Or click the banner below.

Always have a VPN on your device when you land in Cuba.

Will My iPhone Work In Cuba?

Your iPhone and other Apple devices will work in Cuba. You’ll be able to access the internet and your apps will work like they do at home, provided you have a good quality VPN installed.

With that said, some models of iPhones do have problems with Cuba’s unique networks. If your iPhone isn’t working as expected, you need to do 2 things:

  1. Switch off ‘wifi assist’ (settings > mobile data > slide ‘wifi assist’ to off)
  2. Switch off ‘Location Services’ (settings > privacy & security > ‘location services’)

If, after doing the above two things, your iPhone or Apple device still doesn’t work, it means the VPN you have isn’t working well with Cuba’s unique infrastructure (i.e. ExpressVPN). And you’ll now need to go and get yourself NordVPN.

But, being in Cuba, you’ll now need to go through the process for downloading a VPN in a blocked country. You should have read this website before you went to Cuba and you should have just downloaded NordVPN in the first place. Good luck!

Does iMessage Work In Cuba?

iMessage will work in Cuba on a case by case basis. With the settings above (location services and Wifi assist off) and with NordVPN, my own iPhone 13+ works with iMessage. However, some older phones will still have trouble using iMessage while in Cuba.

You should have a backup messaging app setup. Don’t just try to rely on iMessage. And I recommend having WhatsApp loaded on your device. WhatsApp is the most popular messaging application in Cuba and the rest of Latin America.

You will need WhatsApp in Cuba to make restaurant reservations and to coordinate with tour guides and transport providers. Whenever and wherever you provide your phone number, be it a foreign number or local Cuban phone number, they will try to contact you via WhatsApp. Always have WhatsApp in Cuba!

Where Can I Get More Information About Cuba?

I’ve made my Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba available on this website. And I recommend you read it, before traveling to Cuba. It will help you navigate Cuba and Cuban society.

My Cuba travel guide will save you a lot of time and money on your next trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can arrive unprepared. Read the most complete Cuba Travel Guide.