The world is a scary place, and with the increased threat of terrorism all around us it can seem like the only safe option is to stay at home. The tragic events that took place in Tunisia this summer were a stark reminder to everyone that we should never take our safety for granted. Besides the increased threat of terrorism in tourist-dense destinations, even the smaller-scale mishaps, such as a pickpocket stealing your passport, can ruin your hard-earned holiday.
So how should we respond to this fear?
Should we abandon our summer plans and give up on our travel dreams? Of course not! We just have to be a little savvy in our choice of destination. If you’re looking for a far-flung destination with sun, sea, sand, sights and safety, look no further than Cuba!
Is Cuba safe?
Almost everyone who has ever been to Cuba will tell you how safe it is – things don’t often go wrong, and if they do, it’s often because people have let their guard down and forgotten to use their common sense. More importantly, Cuba feels safe, particularly for women who are travelling alone, and for LGBT visitors who may feel threatened in other Caribbean destination.
Strict gun control policy
Cuba has strict rules for private gun ownership, and the gun crime statistics are so low that they are virtually negligible. And since Cuba is an island with strict border control, anyone with nefarious intentions would have a hard time getting in and out of the country.
High police presence
Even if you don’t see it, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to ensure tourists feel safe while visiting Cuba. Cuba relies on tourism to bolster the economy and bring in foreign money, so uniformed and plain-clothes officers are often deployed to tourist-dense areas to ensure petty criminals stay away. The police are highly approachable and will often be willing to help should you feel uneasy about a situation.
The Cuban people are warm and welcoming, and more often than not they just want the opportunity to show off their country. This can be jarring for some, particularly if you are used to people being reserved or distant. This isn’t to say you should become complacent and leave your common sense at home. The majority of crimes take place when you are distracted, or lured into a false sense of security.
A few small steps can help you stay safe and incident-free while on holiday in Cuba.
5 Steps to Staying Safe in Cuba
- Leave your valuables in the hotel and avoid wearing flashy jewellery or watches.
- Make a copy of your passport to keep in your purse or wallet, and leave the original in hotel safe, or hidden in your room if you don't have access to a safe.
- Keep an eye on your belongings while in crowded areas such as Old Havana.
- Avoid taking unlicensed taxis or hitchhiking. Both are common in Cuba, but best avoided.
- Don't let one too many mojitos cloud your judgement.