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.
It is 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 terrible network infrastructure.
Even more shockingly, to this day, the Cuban government massively censors foreign content. It also restricts any information that isn’t aligned with the socialist ideology.
Just to give you a perspective of Cuba’s repressive Cyberspace, violating Cuban laws can hand you 20-year jail sentence. This is how strict a Cuban law is.
Don’t worry, in this guide I will be showing you 5 best VPN for Cuba to keep your online identity hidden from the government and ISPs.
Let’s have a brief overview of VPNs that works best in Cuba…
- PureVPN – A reliable VPN service with 2,000+ global servers to help you bypass Cuban geo-restrictions
- Surfshark – Cheapest VPN with 1,040+ secure servers to help you stay safe in Cuba.
- Ivacy – Offers 1,000+ servers in 100+ countries with maximum privacy.
- ExpressVPN – A blazing fast VPN with over 3,000 servers to help you stream Netflix in Ultra HD.
- CyberGhost – An affordable VPN service that offers 5,500+ servers, encryption and privacy features.
- HideMyAss – One of the most renowned VPN in the industry that covers 190+ countries (2 servers in Cuba)
5 Best VPN Services in Cuba 2020
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. These features are capable of bypassing any website outside of Cuba.
Although it doesn’t have servers in Cuba, but it has virtual servers available in Haiti, The Bahamas, and Jamaica. These countries are close neighbors of Cuba. Once you connect to any of these servers, you can stream Cuban TV from outside the country with no barriers.
PureVPN has good security features that 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.
For more information on this provider, please read our PureVPN Review.
Surfshark is a well-rounded VPN in terms of security features. It is also among one of the cheapest VPN in the entire industry available at $1.99/mo. 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.
With 1,040 servers, Surfshark also works exceptionally well with popular streaming media sites like BBC iPlayer US Netflix, Hulu, and other services from within Cuba.
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.
Have a look at our Surfshark review for more information.
Ivacy is VPN with no dedicated server in Cuba. The closest server to Cuba within Ivacy’s network is Mexico where the provider has 2 servers. If you need to connect to a server with close proximity to attain good speeds, you can utilize the Mexico servers.
However, if your aim is to bypass censorship and make your online identity invisible to government, Ivacy offers 1,000+ servers in 100+ countries to do that. In addition, you can take advantage of Ivacy’s privacy-boosting features like kill switch, IPv6 leak protection, and DNS secure which ensure your protection from accidental leaks and interception attempts from unauthorized parties.
Considering the heavy internet regulation in Cuba, these features combine to give users a safe and secure experience when navigating through Cuban cyberspace.
Ivacy is fairly strong when it comes to unblocking streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and US Netflix. With AES-256 encryption, 5 simultaneous connections, and 30-day refund period, Ivacy is a valuable tool have for $1.99/month. Learn more about this VPN in our Ivacy review.
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 3,000 servers all over the world to help you unblock popular streaming services including US Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and more.
It may not have servers in Cuba, but from a Bahamas server you can stream all your favorite local content that you couldn’t stream outside of Cuba.
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. ExpressVPN is available for $8.32/mo.
Please refer to our guide ExpressVPN Review for more information.
Last but not least, lets checkout CyberGhost. This VPN Cuba 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 5,500+ servers at any given time. But in Cuba, it doesn’t have any physical servers. In Bahamas though, CyberGhost has 24 servers that will help you watch Cuban TV, News and Sports.
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. CyberGhost price is available for $2.75/mo with 45-days refund policy.
To know about this service, please refer to our guide Cyberghost Review.
HideMyAss or HMA is a UK-headquartered VPN service that is arguably the most robust VPN as far as security and encryption is concerned.
To be more precise, HMA offers features like 256-bit encryption, internet kill switch, DNS leak protection and more to ensure your data is secure at all times.
It’s strong encryption can keep you safe from hackers lurking around in Cuban cyberspace and public Wi-Fi. Moreover, the 1,000 server park can get you through even the most stubborn firewalls.
It also has 2 servers in Cuba and 6 Cuban IP addresses. By these servers, you can access the local apps and websites from anywhere in the world. It is available for $4.29/mo.
Speaking of which, HMA 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.
To know more about this service, you will have to refer our HideMyAss review guide.
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 and popular social media app ‘Snapchat’ 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 is by a Cuba VPN. As long as you have a Cuban IP address, you won’t be able to get Skype to work.
The same goes for Snapchat. It is also blocked in Cuba and requires the use of a VPN to access it.
How a VPN can benefit Cuban 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 Cuba 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.
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 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 Cuba VPN.
Popular Cuban TV Channels to Access from Outside 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.
Some of the most popular channels in Cuba are:
- Canal Educativo
- Canal Educativo 2
- Canal Caribe
- Tele Rebelde
That is, unless you use a VPN with servers in Cuba. Unfortunately, not many VPNs offer Cuban servers. PureVPN has servers in neighboring countries of Cuba that also helps in unblocking local content.
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 Cuba from the list above (I recommend using PureVPN)
- 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.
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 enforced in the country.
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.
Yes, Netflix is 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 VPN 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.”
Snapchat is currently banned in the country. You can only use Snapchat in Cuba by using a VPN service such as PureVPN that has 490 servers in US alone.
Yes, there is no such restriction in using Facebook from within Cuba. People of Cuba can easily connect to Facebook if they have an internet connection.
A VPN is the only beacon of hope journalists and ordinary people in Cuba to bypass geographical restrictions over the internet. As said earlier, Cuba has some strong restrictions that prevent normal users from accessing foreign content.
With the help of best VPN for Cuba and its powerful encryption by your side, you can keep your online activity hidden from the eyes of government and local internet service providers.