It’s not difficult to understand why Habana is such a popular tourist destination. With its elegantly-worn and colorful colonial-era buildings, vintage cars, interesting museums, and lively nightlife and music scene, this city provides a culturally enriching and exciting traveling experience.
If you’re planning a trip to Havana, you may be wondering if you’d be safe during your stay there. The short answer is that Havana is generally considered a safe tourist destination. In fact, it’s one of the safest countries in South America. Here’s some more detailed information about safety in Havana.
How Safe Is Havana?
According to the US Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Cuba is generally a safe country, Also, since tourism is an important contributor to the economy, the local authorities in Havana prioritize the safety of tourists, with the police maintaining a presence throughout the city.
It is interesting to note that Cuba, as a whole, is a safer country than the US. The Global Peace Index for 2022 (GPI), for instance, ranks Cuba as the 98th most peaceful country in the world, while the US is listed in 129th place. Reports from female travelers also indicate that Havana is a great destination for women who are traveling solo.
Crime in Havana
Tourists in Havana mostly only encounter petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, theft, and money scams. Visitors should watch out for bogus tour agents and taxi drivers. It’s advisable to only use established tour operators and registered taxis, as opposed to private vehicles.
The sale of counterfeit products in street vendor stalls, as well as official shops, is another petty crime to watch out for. Popular fake products include perfume, cosmetics, soft drinks, bottled water, and rum.
When shopping for Cuba’s famous cigars, visitors should keep in mind that the sale of fake cigars in Havana is rife. To ensure that they buy the real deal, tourists should shop for Cuban cigars at cigar factories, state shops, or state hotels. Real Cuban cigars are pricey and come in a box that contains a certificate.
Neighborhoods in Havana
While it is perfectly safe to walk around Havana during the day, it is best to be vigilant when walking at night in certain areas, such as central Havana, or to rather take a taxi. Visitors should also practice more caution when visiting certain neighborhoods, such as Calle Monte, Cuatro Caminoa, and Marianao.
Some of the nicest neighborhoods to visit include Old Havana, Vedado, Vibora, Sevillano, Miramar, and Playa. Old Havana is not only one of the safest areas in the city, but it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can visit interesting museums and famous sites like the Monastery of San Francisco de Asís.
Tips For Optimum Safety In Havana
Although Havana is generally a safe place, tourists can avoid becoming the victims of petty crime by following these tips:
- To avoid attracting attention to themselves, tourists shouldn’t walk around the streets of Havana with expensive jewelry or accessories.
- Hotel and guesthouse guests should lock up their valuables in a safe before leaving their rooms.
- When tourists fall victim to a robbery or mugging attempt, they should not put up a fight.
- It’s advisable not to get involved with drugs when in Havana. If caught while buying or using drugs, tourists can face a hefty fine or a jail sentence.
- Visitors should be on the lookout for counterfeit money when exchanging money or receiving change for a cash purchase.
- Since pickpocketing is a popular petty crime in Havana, visitors should not walk around with their wallets in their pockets.
- When driving around Havana in a rented car, it’s not advisable to stop for hitchhikers.