Free Wifi in Havana

Yes, read that again: Free WiFi in Havana!

The internet in Cuba

Cuba has slowly opened up the Internet. First, there was the problem that all Internet communication should go via satellite and that made it slow and costly. Consequently, Internet access was slow and expensive.

Fiber optics

Then, in 2011 the optic fibre cable connecting Cuba with Venezuela stirred hope, but nothing much happened. Stories about sharks eating the cable and some government official buying the wrong cable explained nothing. Internet stayed slow and prices high. 1 CUC per hour in a country where average wages are about 30 times that amount (per month) means that an average Cuban paid 3% of his monthly income for 1 (ONE) hour of internet. (That all of this is plain bulsh#t must be clear… we explain it in our book)

In June 2015 Etecsa, the Cuban telecom monopoly opened up WiFi zones in every city. Prices went down to 1.5 CUC an hour in 2017 and to 1,- in 2018 if you could buy a scratch card. These cards are always sold out but can be bought on the streets for 2 CUC. The mechanism of this phenomenon is beyond the scope of this article, but some people are making big bucks here.

Free WiFi

‘Tomorrow I’ll take you to a free WiFi spot” whispered a friend of mine…

He sparked my interest… Free WiFi? WTF!!! In Cuba?!?

The next day we were on our way. First the bus, then an almendron and a short walk. After an hour we arrived at the studios of KCHO. And even outside the wall, there were many, many people surfing on their laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Kcho opened up his Internet connection and on the wall (on the outside) he explains the few simple steps to connect to his network. And it is Free!

No Free WiFi for you

Before you run off to Kcho to update your FB status, I have to advise you not to. The abundance of young Cuban intellectuals all sharing this connection makes it slow. Very slow. You as a tourist are more than able to buy a scratch card and use the paid link. Don’t take away the bandwidth for people that cannot afford to buy it! But if you want an enjoyable excursion here’s Kcho studios (located on the corner of 7A and 120.

Password: abajoelbloqueo(down with the embargo)

Free WiFi Kcho and Google
Free WiFi in Havana

Update April 2016:

Kcho now works together with Google… They opened the first Google centre in Cuba. 15 Chromebooks offer free internet! And it is broadband! On a critical note, the WiFi is free as in money but not free as in ‘do whatever you want.’ KHCO was a personal friend of Fidel and is monitoring content…

Update Feb 2018

Poof… Gone is Google and gone is the free WiFi… Good ETECSA (paid) connection though… Must have something to do with Trump and Cuban politics or the fact that KHCO was caught with a joint.

Sometimes the WiFi acces is free at ‘La Seguera’ the park at the intersection of 31 and 41. Must be an error but it works! Sometimes…

Want some more hidden information on Cuba? Keep reading our blog or buy our Book (and no, the book is not a collection of blog posts) 🙂

On the ‘get the book’ page we’ll give you a practical tip that will save you a few hours in Cuba.

Recommended reading:

How to survive the jineteros.

Tips and Tricks for WiFi connection

Wi-Fi in Cuba

wifi cuba
wifi Cuba

I published this post in 2014

It’s history now… for the latest on Wi-Fi and the Internet in Cuba click on the link.

Internet and Wi-Fi in Cuba.

Cuba is slowly opening up to the Internet. Penetration in the Cuban homes is about 0,5%, and most of those connections are illegal, very slow and expensive. If you have an online life style and cannot do without being constantly connected to your Facebook, just skip Cuba.

Cuba and the Internet

Getting on the Internet is a hassle. The telephone company Etecsa opened up some Internet access points. But cues are sometimes long, and it is expensive. You can buy scratch cards for 2 CUC per hour. The connexion is not very fast, that is an understatement, and sometimes it is just closed for no apparent reason.

Most 4-5 star hotels offer Internet access as well. Some of them even with a lobby wide Wi-Fi. Forget about wifi in your room. Which of course is slightly more expensive than the Internet access via Etecsa. Wifi access in a hotel will cost between 6 and 8 CUC per hour. You will have to log in with your device and don’t forget to log off after you’re done!

The public WiFi network

(updated June 2015)

There’s public WiFi now in all towns. It might take you some time to switch off all security settings on your phone or tablet, but you can connect. (Tips about security settings that you need to circumvent in our book :-). Ok, let us give you one… Set the time on your device by hand… Cuban systems and TIME are a tricky combination.

All cities now have WiFi in the streets! You have to buy an access card in an Etecsa shop, and they are always sold out. So it’s a lot easier to buy one on the street (price in store 2 CUC/hour, price on street 3). Somebody is making money :-).  More on this system in our book.

The WiFi zones are easy to find. It’s full of Cubans with smart phones, tablets and laptops surfing the net.

(updated December 2015)

In December the squares were full of people connected to Facebook or video chatting with relatives abroad. A whole new industry built around the WiFi squares.

Business and WiFi

People rent out their chairs, toilets, electricity. Vendors have drinks and food. The WiFi zones have become a social hub for the hip and happening. Even if you don’t want to go on the internet, get out your smart phone, start surfing and make some new friends.

Soon smart guys appeared with laptops with little WiFi antennas that extended the range of the zone. They sold access to the Internet for 1 dollar per hour, which made the net even more accessible for Cubans.

And then, one day, 90% of the people disappeared. The government found out that the smart guys with the laptops were making a profit… Poof: in one sweep all the young internet entrepreneurs disappeared and with them 90% of the users…

(update January 2016)

And then the prosecution of the private ‘Internet Providers’ stopped and the squares were full again. They are installing new WiFi zones and access to the world is getting bigger and faster!

The window to the world is opening for Cuba and what do people do? Like everywhere in the world… they like kitten videos on FaceBook…

For the internet junks: there is even Free WiFi in Havana!

Do yourself a favour, read some more posts on this blog and If you like what you read, buy our book. It comes with a 100% money back guarantee and will upgrade your stay!

We’ll give you a tip on the Get the eBook page that will save you a few hours in Cuba.