The Best VPNs for Cuba

article by Maria Perinic
October 27, 2019
Cuba is one of the most picturesque places the world has on offer and is definitely on many people's bucket lists. However, a visit to Cuba might come with a shock to visitors when they figure out that even getting an internet connection is a challenge in itself. As hard as it might be to even browse the World Wide Web, there is the problem of Cuba blocking many sites, leaving users in the dark as to whether the possibility of using WhatsApp in Cuba is even realistic.

You know things are pretty bad when you can count yourself lucky if you’re staying in a hotel that even has a Wi-Fi hotspot. Budget hotels, on the other hand, will not provide you with the same luxury. The problem is that even if you’re in a high-end hotel, chances are that the hotel Wi-Fi will not even reach your room, meaning that you will have to connect from the lobby. A VPN will be your best way of keeping your communications private in a heavily monitored Cuba.

Best VPNs for Cuba

While the Cuban government doesn’t have the money or resources to invest in internet filters or monitoring systems that countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran can afford, they do make it very difficult for users to even get online. This leaves people wondering:

  • Does Snapchat work in Cuba?
  • Does Viber work in Cuba?
  • Does Skype work in Cuba?
  • Does Facebook work in Cuba?

Although there are no blocks on any of these platforms, you will find that the internet service in Cuba is so slow that you will find them virtually impossible to use. In Cuba, the internet works at 1mbps at best, which means you will need to pack a whole lot of patience as well as a lightweight device and VPN that will not further slow down your internet connection.

#1 ExpressVPN

Express VPN 210X100

You can use ExpressVPN on any of the leading platforms like Windows, macOS, Linux, or even download the mobile app for your iOS, Android or Blackberry devices. With over 3,000 servers across 94 countries and 160 locations worldwide, you won’t have any issues in connecting to a private server whilst in Cuba.

Privacy is of the utmost importance, especially for professionals working in Cuba, like journalists and reporters. With jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN guarantees that your online data is beyond the reach of any government officials, ISPs or third-party snoops.

In terms of security, ExpressVPN offers users OpenVPN protocols, as well as DNS protection. Add to that military-grade encryption and the Network lock, and you have all the protection you need. The Network lock works just like a kill switch ensuring that all your online activity ends if your VPN connection fails.

Help is always at hand with 24-hour customer service assistance on hand should you need it.

Having numerous simultaneous connections is ideal, with the ability to keep your computer, laptop, smartphone and tablet protected at all times. Should you not be pleased with the service, there is also a thirty-day money-back guarantee which will see your money refunded, no questions asked.

For the best VPN for Cuba, we pick ExpressVPN. This is why:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Ultra-fast streaming speeds
  • Compatible with Android TV (Box) and Fire TV
  • Apps available for every device
  • Hides your streaming activity
  • No connection logs
  • No activity logs
  • P2P possibility
  • Ping times that are minimally affected
  • ExpressVPN works extremely well in high censorship countries
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Large international server network
  • 30-Day money-back guarantee
  • Outstanding customer service
  • 99% uptime guarantee
  • Up to five simultaneous connections

ExpressVPN also offers a special deal, get 3 months free and 49% savings with their annual subscription plan!

Want to know more about ExpressVPN? Find out everything you need to know in our detailed review.

#2 CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost offers users a large capacity of servers, with over 4,700 of them in 82 locations worldwide. This allows you the freedom of connecting to virtually any location you please. You should know that because the internet servers are so slow, to begin with, it is ideal to connect to the closest server to your location in order to achieve the best performance.

Having headquarters in Romania, your online movements will not be shared with anyone, keeping minimal data on record.

CyberGhost VPN neither observes nor records content like messenger chats, telephone calls, video chats, or other communication forms, nor stores IP addresses (not the ones the users are heading to, and not the ones users have, when logging into the CyberGhost VPN network). Furthermore, it’s not possible to record, which account logged into which server at what time or to connect a real person to a certain CyberGhost VPN account.”

There is 24-hour support in four languages and there is a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

More reasons as to why CyberGhost is great in Cuba:

  • Strict No Logs Policy
  • High speeds
  • Automatic Kill Switch
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 7 devices
  • Easy to use
  • 256-bit AES Encryption
  • Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
  • OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec and PPTP protocols
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Routers

Want to know more about CyberGhost? Find out everything you need to know in our detailed review.

#3 Surfshark

Surfshark VPN

This is one of our top picks for Cuba due to its speed and privacy policy, which states that Surfshark “do not collect IP addresses, browsing history, session information, used bandwidth, connection time stamps, network traffic, and other similar data.”

You don’t have to worry about your application crashing and being left in the dark in Cuba, as there is help on hand 24 hours a day throughout the whole year. This VPN service has over 800 servers in 50 locations, and was voted as the best newcomer VPN service in 2019.

The best part of Surfshark is that one subscription will come with unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can make use of that to protect not only your devices but your family’s as well.

Here are some more reasons as to why Surfshark is a top choice for Cuba:

  • Great download speeds
  • Zero logging
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited platform protection
  • Unlimited Server Switching
  • Some servers work with Netflix
  • Strong encryption
  • Torrenting allowed
  • CleanWeb feature
  • Unlimited devices
  • Whitelister feature

Want to know more about Surfshark? Find out everything you need to know in our detailed review.

#4 ZenMate

zenmate 210x100

ZenMate has fewer servers than other VPN companies mentioned in over 30 locations around the world, but it will keep your connection secure at all times. Having jurisdiction in Germany, one of the countries of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance might scare people off, but their privacy policy ensures that your online data will always remain your own.

“We do not store or log your personal data, which can be used to identify you or what you’re doing online. We do not monitor your online sessions. In fact – we can’t! Strict German privacy laws regulate our company’s use of your information. As we don’t store the data in the first place, this also means that we can’t be forced into giving away personal data to any government or sell it to any 3rd parties.” 

Here are some more reasons why ZenMate is a solid choice in Cuba:

  • High-speed servers
  • Kill switch
  • Works with Netflix
  • Simple to use
  • Strict zero-logs policy
  • Offers separate free ad-blocking software
  • Free version available
  • Always on switch
  • 7 days free trial
  • 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with all major platforms
  • OpenVPN, L2TP protection protocols
  • Identity shield

Want to know more about ZenMate? Find out everything you need to know in our detailed review.

#5 ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN 210x100 bg

The people behind ProtonMail, the world’s largest secure email service have introduced a VPN service that has around 500 servers in 36 countries worldwide. With jurisdiction in Switzerland, a country with one of the strictest privacy laws, ProtonVPN “we do not log user activity or share data with third parties. Our anonymous VPN service enables Internet without surveillance.”

A modern and easy to use interface is one of the highlights of this VPN, with the ability to connect as many as 10 devices with their Visionary plan. With many notable features, ProtonVPN won us over with Secure Core.

“Secure Core protects your connection by routing your traffic through multiple servers before leaving our network. This means an advanced adversary who can monitor the network traffic at the exit server will not be able to discover the true IP address of ProtonVPN users, nor match browsing activity to that IP.” 

ProtonVPN works well in Cuba due to:

  • Strong encryption
  • Forward secrecy
  • All major platforms covered
  • Strong protocols
  • Swiss Based
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • DNS leak protection
  • Kill switch
  • Tor over VPN
  • Easy to use
  • Professional support
  • P2P support
  • Up to ten devices covered
  • Quick country selector
  • Quick connect

Want to know more about ProtonVPN? Find out everything you to know in our detailed review.

Privacy Laws and Regulations in Cuba

The internet service in Cuba is provided by ETSECA, a state-owned telecommunications company, meaning that visitors and Cuban citizens alike need to purchase a Nauta scratch-off card in order to get online. You can do so by heading over to an ETSECA office and purchase one of these cards which will allow you access to public wifi. Users will be given a name and password and it costs around $2 per hour.

In Cuba, internet censorship is, unfortunately, alive and well, with this being one of the world’s most repressive environments when it comes to accessing information and communication technologies. Surveillance of ICTs is widespread, and speaking out against the Cuban government online can lead to fines, confiscation of equipment as well as detention.

There have been moves for Cuban citizens to gain access to global internet channels, with the government expanding the number of Wi-Fi hotspots, but the situation is still far from ideal.

Freedom on the Net 2018 states,

“Penetration rates and internet speeds continue to lag behind regional averages, and access to the global internet in Cuba is extremely restricted, due to high prices and government regulation of access points. Nevertheless, some openings have taken place over the past years, and more Cubans have gained access to the global internet or to other channels for sharing information with fellow citizens.”

The percentage of internet penetration may have gone up in the past few years, however, those figures are quite dismal.

“Due to second-generation cell phone infrastructure, most mobile phone users are unable to browse the web, but it is possible to send and receive international text messages and images with certain phones.”

All popular apps are functioning at the moment, but it was reported that in August of 2017, Skype, a popular communication tool, was blocked. The citizens of Cuba have had to resort to underground channels in order to download content from the internet.

“Cuban law places strict limits on free speech and outlaws independent media. Although many foreign news websites are accessible from internet access points, websites focused on Cuban news and websites run by Cuban dissidents are often blocked. Despite connectivity limitations, Cubans have been able to access content through improvisational underground networks and USB flash drives containing content downloaded from the internet.”

As you can see, the situation in terms of internet freedom is quite dire in Cuba, which is exactly why people wanting to visit the country need to invest in a VPN subscription in order to get the most out of your online experience whilst in Cuba.

Cuban Streaming Services

There are many people who leave Cuba but would love to tune into their favorite shows and news channels to find out what is going on in their home country. A VPN will allow you to connect to the region and tune into any of the following streaming channels:

Conclusion

Those visiting or living in Cuba will find that accessing the internet can be a frustrating and downright dangerous feat sometimes. Professional journalists, reporters, and bloggers will not be able to work freely without the use of a VPN, regular internet users will also want to rely on the protection of a VPN in order to access internet banking, social media platforms and other communication channels.

For the best VPN for Cuba, we recommend ExpressVPN due to speed, customer service, and security protocols.