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Is Cuba a Safe or Dangerous Country?
Cuba is generally a safe country with almost no violent crimes, organized gang culture, teenage delinquency, drugs or dangerous zones. There is a strict and prominent policing known as the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) that keep the streets safe from violent crime. This does not mean you should let your guard down; it is still recommended to use your common sense as you would in any big city.
Crime and ScamsMost visits to Cuba are trouble free. Crime levels are low, and they are mainly in the form of opportunistic theft. Pickpockets and bag-snatchers are on the rise, especially in Old Havana, on public transport, at major tourist areas, and in nightclubs. Hi-tech items like phones and laptops are highly sought after in Cuba, so they are very attractive to thieves. Car-related crime and muggings occur rarely, not only in Havana but also in Santiago de Cuba and other areas. Be cautious in central Havana at night; it’s best to take a taxi than walking even if you are a few block away from your destination.
Transportation SafetyIf you are taking, use a dial-a-taxi service instead of flagging down one as you may get in a fake/unregistered taxi. Licensed taxis have a visible company logo on the rear passenger doors. Public transport is badly maintained and roads are poorly lit and sign posted. Watch out for cyclist, potholes, and cars that stop without warning to pick up hitch-hikers.
Natural DangersDue to the country’s location, Cuba has a hurricane season that runs from June to November. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Cuba is overall a safe country. Taking normal safety precautions are recommended as you would in any other country. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other country. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. The theft of hi-tech items is increasing. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Muggings have happened in urban areas. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables. Avoid walking alone after dark.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Bag snatching is common, so make sure you carry your bag facing away from the street and preferably always close to you. If you are booking a car, book it directly with an actual car rental company as there are reports of internet scams. Some rental companies in Cuba are Via, CubaCar, and Rex. Cigars are the most popular product for visitors. Make sure you buy cigars in official shops; do not trust the tobacco factory where you are taken to during your guided visit by your tour guide. Credit card scams are also common. Never leave your card out of sight, and withdraw money from reputable banks or hotels.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
There are unlicensed taxis, so make sure you pre-arrange a ride or use radio taxis from places like a hotel when possible.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
The hurricane season in Cuba normally runs from June to November. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorist attacks are unlikely in Cuba. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Many women travel safely without any issues. Cuba is a country with a high degree of feminine integration into the society and there is little gender discrimination.