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.