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★ Cuba Travel Guide
Source: © iStock.com/rgreatrix
Cuba Travel Risks, Dangers, Precautions
Cuba is generally considered a relatively safe destination. It has the reputation of being safer than Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.
Of course, one has to take a look at all the different types of risks associated with traveling to Cuba. Health risks are more elevated than physical aggression, while theft, sindles, frauds are somewhere in the middle.
Your top concern when traveling to Cuba should be health risks. But the level of risk varies from region to region and the big cities (including Havana) are relatively safe, less affected by epidemics.
The epidemics and contagious diseases in Cuba include: typhoid, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, cholera, tuberculosis, diphteria, yellow fever, chikungunya, malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever.
Although malaria and dengue fever are relatively rare and found mostly in wet green areas, you should take precautions against insect bites.
Chikungunya is another very dangerous (and potentially deadly) disease spread by mosquitoes and there has been an outbreak in Cuba in 2014. The epidemics and contagious diseases in Cuba include: typhoid, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, cholera, tuberculosis, diphteria, yellow fever, chikungunya, malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever.
Jellyfish are another issue to worry about at beaches - some are found in the sand and can cause painful stings. Don't pick up any jellyfish to avoid the stings/getting sick etc.
Opportunistic theft, pickpocketing are quite common. The main targets: foreign tourists.
Theft from- and of baggage during handling at airports is common. Make sure you remove all your valuables from check-in luggage and you lock all of your luggage.
The pickpockets mainly operate on public transport, around important attractions, bars and restaurants even, but are always on the lookout for victims wherever tourists gather.
Don't carry large amounts of cash and don't wear anything looking expensive - such as expensive-looking watches, jewelry. Be aware of the fact that in the middle of Cuba's modest life standard environment, the foreigner shows up as a rich "juicy" target.
Try to blend in better.
Theft from hotel rooms is very common
It's especially frequent in private guest houses, small hotels.
Never leave valuable items at your hotel (laptops, mobile phones etc.) and always lock your luggage when you leave it at the hotel.
Thieves and robbers frequently target rental vehicles and one of the most common ways they use is to puncture their tires. Naively, the foreigners either stop their vehicles and disembark or ask for help. But "help" might as well be a gang of thieves preparing an assault.
If you notice your car's tires may be punctured, especially if this happens in a remote area, then drive on, don't get out of your vehicle and most importantly - don't expose your valuables!
Bag-snatching, muggings also occur.
Don't leave your valuables in plain sight and hold on tight to your camera!
Don't leave your luggage unattended.
When you travel on the train or by bus, make sure you don't leave it out of sight.
Some of the most common frauds implicate fake taxi drivers and fake tour operators. If you take a taxi, make sure you take a real one, a registered one.
"Friendly" fraudsters often approach foreigners with various offers. Excuse yourself politely, avoid them from the beginning.
Never exchange money out on the street or with any individual and, never expose your wallet or large amounts of money in the open.
Consult this article on how to protect your money.
The so-called jineteros are "street jockeys" who specialize in tricking, swindling tourists.
There's an abundance of them in most big cities, especially in Havana.
The jineteros tend to act in group, hustling and harassing foreigners. Sometimes looking exceptionally friendly, they don't stop hustling the foreigners and many even resort to touching, grabbing and in many cases to physical assault too.
Although it's never good to confront them, it's important that you reject them categorically and, if required - leave the area to get rid of them.
Assaults during the night time are relatively frequent, especially in the big cities. It is recommended not to walk during the night in Havana, even at medium distances.
Don't get involved with "friendly"-looking people who will attempt to lure you into something. This is a common trap that's often used in Cuba and frequently leads to various forms of physical aggression.
If you rent a car, don't stop for hitch-hikers, don't take strangers with you in order to avoid any potential attacks. Fake hitch-hikers have been reported to have attacked foreigners multiple times.
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...