What’s the Internet like in Cuba?
The Internet in Cuba is limited by the very slow speed of the line. There is currently NO Broadband in Cuba, therfore you'll be re-introduced to dial-up speed (remember that?)
Are there Wi-Fi Hotspots in Cuba?
There are very very very few Wi-Fi hot spots in Cuba, and those that do exist are very very SLOW indeed! In Cuba, there is little to no Wi-Fi available. Only in certain hotels in Havana might you get a Wi-Fi signal, and it is slow & expensive. Do not rely on finding a Wi-Fi hotspot in Cuba
In the past, there has been NO data connection for mobiles, so surfing on your mobile / iPhone/ smartphone or iPad is not a viable option either.
Internet Café / Hotel
Most tourists either use a PC terminal in their hotel or visit the ETESCA telephone offices, where there are a few PCs available for tourists to use the internet.
Either way, you will need to buy a 30 minute internet card for 3CUC (approx. £2) or a 1 hour card for 6CUC (approx £3.90). This gives you an account number and PIN. You can use a much or a little time as you like, and you may visit the internet as often as you like. The card is valid for 1 month, and your time will be logged automatically as you use the card.
The problems are:-
1. Internet in Cuba is Dial-up (not broadband) and incredibly SLOW!
For me to check my Facebook page generally take 15-20 minutes of internet time.
2. If there is a thunderstorm, the network often goes down.
The internet in Cuba is currently all via satellite, so is vulnerable to atmospheric pressures.
3. There are often long queues to use the internet.
Availability of PCs is limited.
In Viñales, (our home town), there are only two PCs available in the ETESCA office. There are lots of tourists who, like you, want to be spontaneous and use the internet to book hotels as they go.
But I don’t think that some of them understand that having bought an hour’s card, that they don’t have to use the whole of the hour at one time - so they sit on the PC for a whole hour.
4. The internet card is not always universally accepted.
The card you buy at a hotel may not be used in the ETESCA office, or vice versa.
The ETESCA card may (or may not) be used in other ETESCA offices in other towns, (in some towns they do work and in others they don't - I don’t know why – its Cuba!)
5.The ETESCA office closes for lunch, and in the evenings.
And whenever else they seem to feel like it…
One of the key attractions of visiting Cuba, is that it is locked in time - but that doesn’t just apply to the 1950 cars!
Unlike Europe & Asia, the internet is NOT so abundantly available. We tend to take it for granted in the West – in Cuba it’s just plain frustrating!
You want to be enjoying your holiday, not spending it waiting in longs queues waiting to use a slow PC.