Internet in CubaTuesday, 19 April 2016
Internet connections are strange in Cuba, it’s one of the things that is going to change rapidly if Cuba really does open up after Obama’s visit.
At the moment you’re not going to find Wi-Fi in your hotel room or in casa particulares – the Cuban B&Bs which are like Airbnb, but without an internet connection. Big multi-starred hotels often have Wi-Fi hot spots in their lobbies or business centres and you can buy an hourly card from ETECSA, the Cuban monopoly telecommunication provider. Sometimes non-residents can also buy a card and use the hotel Wi-Fi facilities although often at a higher rate than for the hotel’s guests, CUC$7 an hour is pretty typical, but it can be more.
◄ The other alternative is to look for a public Wi-Fi hotspot, a popular one in central Havana is at the junction of San Rafael and Ave de Italia. Pretty much where the old town blends in to central Havana. These places are easy to spot, just look for a lot of people standing or sitting around with smart phones, tablets or laptops.
I’m surprised nobody has set up some sort of open-air internet café? There’ll often be someone loitering around selling those one hour ETECSA cards for around CUC$3, although it seems that’s technically illegal!
▲ I didn’t find the connection at that hot spot very good, but a few days later in the main square of Santiago de Cuba the connection seemed much better. I could catch up with emails and download western newspapers.