Due to the US embargo Cuban pharmacies tend to stock a limited range. Travellers should bring their own medicine kit – equipped with the basics – as well as any necessary prescription drugs. Pharmacies may not stock high-factor sun screens so be sure to bring your own from home if required.
No vaccinations are legally required when visiting Cuba, however the Tropical Medical Bureau recommends all travellers receiving Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A. Cuba is not a malarial zone, although it is still recommended that travellers use DEET insect repellent and take the usual precautions in regards to mosquitos as there are the occasional outbreaks of dengue fever.
Travellers should never drink the tap water in Cuba. Only boiled or bottled water should be consumed and ice in drinks should be avoided. As always with travelling abroad, there is a slight risk of food-poisoning. Although reports of food poisoning are few and this can generally be avoided by following common sense.
There are English-speaking health clinics designed specifically for tourists in the major Cuban cities, however these can be quite expensive so we recommend all travellers purchase travel insurance. For more information about the tourist medical services available in Cuba see http://www.servimedcuba.com/.
For further information regarding health precautions when travelling to Cuba, we recommend that you visit the Tropical Medical Bureau webpage (http://bit.ly/1rwGJqq).
Cuba is considered a safe country. The most likely danger or annoyance travellers will encounter are peddlers, known as jinteros, who hang around tourist spots selling cigars or offering to make arrangements for unsuspecting visitors. Jinteros tend to be less of a danger and more of a mere annoyance. Avoiding eye-contact and a simple but firm response of “no, thank you” often works.
There have been a few rare reports of muggings around Centro Habana, so travellers are advised to be cautious if in this area at night. Pickpocketing tends to be the most serious crime travellers may experience in Cuba, however this can generally be avoided by taking the usual precautions you would take in any city at home. Do not leave valuables alone in you room and use the safe if there is one provided.