Cuba is famous for two things, exquisite cigars, and terrible internet censorship. If you’re planning a trip down Cuba, you’re going to be in for a surprise.
Being one of the most highly repressive regimes for freedom of speech in the world, freely accessing the internet can be near impossible thanks to the countries terrible network infrastructure.
Even more shockingly, to this day, the Cuban government massively censors foreign contents and restricts any information that isn’t aligned with the socialist ideology.
Just to give you a perspective of Cuba’s repressive Cyberspace, if anyone is found guilty of violating Cuban laws, they can expect a 20-year jail sentence. This exactly why so many locals and foreigners traveling to Cuba are opting for reliable Cuban VPNs.
Keeping this in mind, In this blog, I’m going to explain the reason behind Cuba’s prevailing stance against online freedom and also share with you 5 best VPN for Cuba in 2019.
But first, a brief overview…
- PureVPN – A reliable VPN service with 2000+ global servers to help you bypass Cuban geo-restrictions.
- Surfshark – Cheapest VPN with 1,000+ secure servers to help you stay safe in Cuba.
- NordVPN – One of the most renowned VPN in the industry with over 5600 servers worldwide.
- ExpressVPN – A blazing fast VPN with over 3000 servers to help you stream Netflix in Ultra HD.
- CyberGhost – An affordable VPN service that offers 3200+ servers, encryption and privacy featrues.
5 Best VPNs for Cuba
Considering the ever-deteriorating condition of Cuban cyberspace, accessing or posting any content that might offend the Cuban government is not safe.
If you want truly unrestricted access to the internet, make sure you check out my hand-picked list of Cuba VPNs below:
PureVPN is an ideal choice for Cuba because it covers all key bases that you expect from top-rated VPN service. In fact, in my testing, PureVPN delivered excellent security, speeds, and unblocking prowess.
If we talk about features, PureVPN gives you access to 2,000+ servers in 140 countries, powerful encryption, and other amazing features capable of bypassing even the strictest of geo-restrictions.
In terms of privacy, PureVPN offers features like Ozone and Gravity to protect you from malware and malicious advertisements. Not only that, additional security features include a kill switch, DNS leak protection and more.
For any Cuban, these features can help unblock instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and popular VoD services like US Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
- 2,000+ servers in 140 countries
- Offers a variety of protocols including OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP
- Compatible on most devices
- Occasional problems connecting to certain servers
Surfshark is a well-rounded VPN in terms of security features. It is also among one of the cheapest VPN in the entire industry. Surfshark is an extremely popular choice for streamers especially due to its high speeds and top-tier encryption protocols.
In terms of features, Surfshark offers DNS leak protection, AES-256 bit encryption, multihop, kill switch, and even ad/malware blocker.
much like PureVPN, Surfshark also works exceptionally well with popular streaming media sites like BBC iPlayer and more.
If you fear you might be a target of cybercriminals or Cuban authorities spying on you, Surfshark is a complete package for best privacy on the web.
Last but not least, Surfshark is compatible with all major platforms and can be used on iPhones as well.
- Read Surfshark Review……
- Strong security features
- Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
- Superior unblocking capability
- Small server network
NordVPN, the Panama-headquartered VPN service, is arguably the most robust VPN as far as security and encryption is concerned.
To be more precise, NordVPN offers features like 256-bit encryption, internet kill switch, DNS leak protection and more to ensure your data is secure at all times.
The Double VPN and Cybersec features can keep you safe from hackers lurking around in Cuban cyberspace and public Wi-Fi.
Moreover, the 5600+ server park can get you through even the most stubborn firewalls denying access to users via any of its thousands of non-Cuba IP addresses.
Speaking of which, NordVPN is an absolute champ when it comes to unblocking notoriously geo-blocked streaming services like HBO, Amazon Prime, ESPN, BBC iPlayer, Sky, Sling TV, ESPN, BBC iPlayer, and even Netflix.
- 5600+ servers in 62 countries
- 6 simultaneous connections
- Enabling double VPN can reduce connection speed
ExpressVPN is one VPN service that needs no formal introduction. If you are familiar with the VPN industry, you know how reputable ExpressVPN really is.
Part of the reason why this VPN service is popular is because of its military-grade security and ultra-fast speeds. Speaking of which, ExpressVPN offers more than 3000 servers all over the world to help you unblock popular streaming services including US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and more.
Not only that, ExpressVPN’s 256-bit AES encryption, kill switch and DNS leak protection is perfect for people living in countries like Cuba, where online freedom still remains a fantasy.
The only factor that stops me from putting this VPN to the top of the list is its high price. If you can overlook that, you should definitely consider using ExpressVPN in Cuba.
- Fast server speeds
- True zero-logging policy
- Military-grade AES-256-bit encryption
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Expensive pricing plans
Last but not least, lets checkout CyberGhost. This affordable VPN service provider is headquartered in Romania and boasts a respectable server park and overall features.
It has optimized servers for torrents and streaming, which securely unblock apps like Skype and Netflix in suppressive countries like Cuba. There’s even a special more selection feature built into CyberGhost apps that can fine-tune the way you use VPNs.
Speaking of servers, CyberGhost’s servers park tends to fluctuate quite frequently, however, you can expect over 3200 servers at any given time.
Bets of all, you can connect up to 7 devices at the same time with CyberGhost and protect your entire house with just one subscription plan.
- 3200+ servers in 60 countries
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Works with Netflix and torrents
- Average speeds
Internet in Cuba
Cuba takes a heavy-handed approach towards freedom of speech. In fact, the constitution of Cuba itself outlaws freedom of speech if the government deems it going contrary to the socialist spirit which it adheres to.
The Cuban government completely disregards the right of individuals to privacy and speak freely on the web. There have been several instances of journalists being detained for short term as well as their legal harassment by the powers that be.
Even though Cuba doesn’t follow any systematic approach to censor content in the country, but by introducing hurdles to the internet technology and raising costs of internet excessively, the Cuban government aggressively controls internet penetration.
In fact, according to statistics, the internet penetration rate of Cuba is only 38.8%, which is staggeringly low compared to other countries.
So even though social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter might not be blocked, accessing these platforms can be quite spotty. Nonetheless, some websites are still legit blocked by the Cuban government itself.
Restricted Websites in Cuba
The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) published a report on blocked websites in Cuba. The majority of the blocked sites were independent news media outlets and sites having critical content of a political nature. Overall, 41 websites of different types are blocked in Cuba.
However, it bears mention that only the less secure HTTP versions of the sites were blocked and users could still gain access through the HTTPS versions. The popular VoIP service Skype is also banned, but WhatsApp and other alternatives are still working fine.
Visiting Blocked Sites and Services from Cuba
As I said earlier, you can access most blocked websites in Cuba by using the HTTPS versions of the sites, which you use anyway, because HTTPS is MUCH more secure than HTTP. However, you still run the risk of the ISP and government authorities detecting your activities.
However, when it comes to apps and software clients like Skype which are not dependent on HTTP, your only hope is using a Skype Cuba VPN. As long as you have a Cuban IP address, you won’t be able to get Skype to work.
Since most premium quality VPNs have servers located around in various parts of the world with minimal limits on Internet, you can easily change your IP address via a VPN in order to access blocked services like Skype.
How a VPN Cuba Benefits Citizens
Following are some of the key ways in which a VPN provides great value to users in Cuba:
- Masking IP Address: To start with, a VPN masks your IP address, rendering you untraceable on the web. This can hide your identity from the Cuban government, allowing you the freedom to openly post material on the web.
- Enhance privacy: A VPN enhances your privacy by making sure none of your activity or session logs are kept. With no logs, there is no way the authorities can track you down if they have some beef with you.
- Protection from cybercrime: VPNs use sophisticated encryption technology that makes your data unintelligible to any party other than the intended recipient of your communication. This means that confidential information such as credit card details, IDs, and passwords are enclosed in a tunnel of secrecy, guarding you against the exploits of hackers online.
- Unblocking sites and apps: A VPN can unblock apps like Skype and Netflix using its server network distributed in different parts of the world. So, if you’ve been having trouble accessing blocked services from Cuba, a VPN can solve the issue in a matter of minutes.
How is a VPN able to achieve these feats?
The magic behind a VPN is the use of a private and encrypted tunnel that reroutes all user-generated as well as incoming traffic to the end destination (the website you want to access). This alternative route basically provides you an invisibility cloak, since your digital footprint would no longer originate from the actual country you are located in.
That is the basics of VPN power. To find out more, you can consult my guide on What is a VPN.
Is it Safe to use Free VPN in Cuba?
There is little doubt that Cuba is one of the worst countries as far as online freedom is concerned. The government is obstructed by no legal barriers to conduct surveillance of innocent citizens and invade their privacy.
Moreover, with only a single ISP wiring the entire country to the Internet, there are high chances that all user data is open to access by the government.
Free VPNs, as a rule, aren’t equipped with the encryption and security mechanisms that can thwart the attempts of governments like Cuba to poke their noses in your data. In addition, some lesser-known providers offer free VPNs that are actually sham products for collecting user data and selling to authorities or advertisers.
Therefore, you should give a wide berth to free VPNs in Cuba if you value your privacy and security. However, if premium VPNs are too heavy on the wallet, there are some providers operating on the freemium model which are trustworthy enough.
Here is a list of some of my recommended best free VPN for Cuba:
However, all of these VPNs are limited to only a few servers and/or bandwidth limitations. So, for serious Internet use, you have no choice but to purchase a premium and trusted VPN for Cuba.
Popular TV Channels in Cuba
If you are traveling away from Cuba for a while, keep in mind that local TV channels probably won’t be available through TV broadcast or live stream in your destination country.
That is (you guessed it!) unless you use a VPN with servers in Cuba. Unfortunately, not many VPNs offer Cuban servers. PureVPN is one of the few among the list of top providers that have a server in Cuba. So, I would recommend PureVPN if gaining access to geo-restricted channels from Cuba is what you want.
Some of the most popular channels in Cuba are:
- Canal Educativo
- Canal Educativo 2
- Canal Caribe
- Tele Rebelde
How to Get Snapchat in Cuba
A lot of people traveling to Cuba often ask one question and that is, Can you use VPN in Cuba?
Well for all those curious folks asking, yes you can use Snapchat in Cuba.
For some reason, a lot of people are searching for a way to access Snapchat in Cuba. However, to my knowledge, Snapchat isn’t one of the blocked apps in the country.
If, for some reason, you are having trouble accessing Snapchat and suspect it is geo-restricted, then here’s what you need to do:
- Subscribe to a VPN from the list above
- Download and install it on your device
- Launch the VPN and enter your login details
- Connect to a non-Cuban server like the UK or Argentina
- Now start the Snapchat app and use it with no restrictions!
The exact same process can be used to access Skype in Cuba, which is actually blocked in the country at the time of this writing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since a lot of services are blocked in Cuba, I’m going to answer all of your VPN related questions specific to Cuba in this section.
Can you use VPN in Cuba?
Yes, you can certainly use VPNs in Cuba. In fact, there are no laws banning the use of VPNs which is why a lot of Cuban nationals and foreigners use VPNs on a daily basis to bypass geo-restrictions inforced in the country.
Does Skype work in Cuba?
Skype does work in Cuba, however, not in every part of the country. But this issue can easily be mitigated with a VPN as it enables you to bypass harsh geo-restrictions.
Does Netflix work in Cuba?
Yes, Netflix now officially available in Cuba, however, in order to unlock foreign libraries like US or UK Netflix, you’re still going to have to rely on VPNs.
Do Canadian cell phones work in Cuba?
Yes, you can use most Canadian carriers work in Cuba, however, roaming charges can be quite a lot. If you don’t want to break your bank, you can use a VPN and unblock calling apps like WhatsApp and Skype.
Is WiFi available in Cuba?
Yes, Wi-Fi is available in Cuba, but all internet services in Cuba are powered by a state-owned telecom company called ETSECA. Usually, Wi-fi networks in Cuba are offered under a brand name called “Nauta.”
VPN Cuba, or best VPN for Cuba, whatever you might want to call it, can be a beacon of hope for journalists and ordinary people that are stifled by the lack of online freedom in the country.
With powerful encryption by your side, you can not only keep your identity anonymous from government officials but also unlock geo-restricted apps like Netflix and Skype, Snapchat and more in Cuba.