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Cuba has always been a popular destination worldwide but it’s quickly becoming a hotspot for American travelers, too. Step back in time and visit this culture-rich country–keep reading to learn some packing tips on what to wear in Cuba!
Bonus tip: read this post to find out what to pack for Cuba in spring and summer!
What to Wear in Cuba
Written By: Christina DiPierro
What were three items you found absolutely essential to your trip? Why?
When you’re planning what to wear in Cuba, keep in mind that it was cooler in Havana than normal so you want to check the weather averages and forecast in advance. I found that I was most comfortable in my leggings with a tank top or tee with the sweater for extra coverage. The sneakers came in handy and I was grateful for them when I walk around Havana.
The city itself is relatively clean but many of the streets are cobblestone or are dug up for construction work so my strappy sandals were not ideal.
There are many things to do in Havana so bring comfortable shoes and be prepared to sightsee!
Describe the ideal travel outfit for a day sightseeing in Cuba.
During the cooler months the ideal travel outfit would be a pair of leggings or lightweight pants with a tank top, sneakers and lightweight sweater or jacket.
I also brought 2 camisoles (white & black) to wear on the plane and I ended up layering with them every day under my tops because it was so cool – they were lifesavers. In the hotter, summer months swap out leggings or pants for shorts.
Are there any clothing items to avoid?
Although it’s an island with lovely beach resorts, the overall feel is more gritty and urban. Their fashion reflects that feeling. Unless you plan to stay mostly at a beach resort I wouldn’t bother adding beach-y sundresses as you plan what to wear in Cuba. They won’t work well in Havana and the surrounding countryside, especially in winter months.
What was your overall impression of fashion in Havana? Do you recommend the shoes you wore on your trip? Why or why not?
I brought Superga light gray sneakers, a pair of strappy sandals and a pair of heels. I was happy I brought all 3 but you can easily avoid wearing heels in the city. Many Cuban women wore flats or sandals at night so I could’ve saved the space in my bag.
What was the weather like during your trip?
I enjoyed the blue skies and magnificent sunshine but the temperatures were cooler than normal. During the day temps were in the low-mid 70s and at night in the low 60s. There was a chilly breeze coming off the water that made it feel a few degrees colder.
What most surprised you about the fashion in Havana?
With the bright array of colors exhibited in the cars, building facades and murals all over the city I expected the clothing to be more vibrant, but it wasn’t.
There was a lot of black, gray, and jeans of all types. The Cubans, however, seemed to make up for the lack of color in their clothes with their animated and exuberant personalities. I was also surprised to see as much nail art as I did – they have embraced all kinds of nail art trends from crazy prints to nail piercings.
Is there anything you would’ve brought with you but didn’t pack?
A large scarf. I usually always travel with one and remembered why on this trip! Even when visiting tropical locations it can get chilly at night or there can be a cool breeze off the water during the day. A scarf is always practical. I’ll never make that mistake again!
How was the shopping?
The clothing shopping in Cuba is abysmal, except for crochet items and hats. If you are checking bags make sure to bring a change of clothes in your carry on because you’ll have a hard time finding much in the city.
There is a thriving art scene, however, with wonderful galleries and artists’ studios all over the city. In addition to a few photographs, I purchased a beautiful painting from a local artist in his studio.
Any additional tips?
Don’t wear clothing or jewelry that is too flashy. Most of the population is quite poor and you will look (and feel) very out of place in anything too ostentatious.
WHAT TO WEAR IN CUBA: CAPSULE WARDROBE
Travel Outfit Ideas
Share your tips on what to wear in Cuba in the comments!
For more packing list ideas, please read:
- What to Pack for Cuba in Spring and Summer
- What to Wear in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
- What to Pack for Isla Mujeres
- What to Wear in San Miguel de Allende: Escape the Winter in Mexico
Suggested Travel Resources:
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Author Bio: Christina DiPierro is co-owner of Adea, a luxury bodywear line for women, an avid traveler, and salsa dancer. She spent 8 years living in Florence, Italy, where she learned Italian, started her business, and developed a finer appreciation of pasta and wine. Currently a resident of NYC, she takes every opportunity to travel in the US and abroad.