Planning a trip to Cuba? Here’s what to wear (and what not to wear!) in Cuba.

If you’re travelling to Cuba, you’re probably planning a few different holidays in one. 

It’s hard not to – Cuba has so many different sides, each with a totally different vibe and dress code. 

If you’re only heading to Havana or a Cuba resort, feel free to skip down to the relevant section.

Otherwise, this guide to what to wear in Cuba will make sure you’re covered in every part of the country you find yourself in.


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How do people dress in Cuba?

Like many countries, the standard dress in Cuba is typically jeans and a t-shirt or tank top. Most locals stick to this safe dress code every day, especially in the cities.

The clothing in typical, while pretty standard around the world, is typically tighter and brighter than you might see elsewhere. 

Cuban women aren’t afraid to show a little flesh and wear figure-hugging tops and jeans – often at the same time. 

Cubans also love colour! Cuba is a very colourful country! From the constant music and lively streets all the way through to the clothing, Cubans bring a rainbow palette to everything they do.

In fact, if I had to describe Cuba in one word, it would be “colourful”.

From time to time, you may also see local women wearing traditional Cuban dress. These usually involve bright, layered rumba dresses.


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A Cuban woman sits on the side of the street wearing an orange rumba dress and holding a fan
Everybody wears colour in Cuba!

How to dress in Cuba

Even though most people visit during the winter months, Cuba enjoys warm weather all year round.  

When planning your Cuba wardrobe, make sure you pack predominantly for tropical, sunny weather. That means travelling prepared for both the hot midday sun and occasional rain showers.

More than anything, you’ll want to wear comfortable clothing in Cuba. 

You may also want to take this chance to pull out your brightest clothes. There’s no such thing as too much colour in Cuba and dark, neutral colours will look out of place.
 


What to wear in Cuba as a woman

Packing for Cuba as a woman isn’t too hard. Most of all, it’s fun!

The ideal thing to wear in Cuba is a long, floaty dress – preferably in a bright or tropical print. 

If you’re not really a skirt kind of girl – I feel you! – trousers and shorts are fine too. I packed a mix of denim shorts and long, cut-off culottes that would keep me cool and covered.

Cuba is a very religious country, but it’s okay to bare your legs and shoulders. The locals do! The one time I would cover up is in the cities, when you want to draw less attention to yourself. 

Given Cuba’s difficult economic and political situation, avoid wearing expensive jewellery or flashy accessories. Feel free to dress colourfully, but avoid anything that might seem insensitive toward the locals.

Like anywhere in the world, it will also reduce your chances of being robbed.


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How to dress for Cuba as a man

Dressing as a man in Cuba doesn’t differ much from what you’ll want to wear as a woman. 

Jeans, loose trousers and short, plus some colourful shirts or t-shirts should make up your Cuba uniform. 

Cuban men tend to be very well put together, so don’t be shy when it comes to packing shirts and smarter trousers, too.

What to wear in Cuba resorts

Packing for a Cuba resort doesn’t different much from what you would pack for an island getaway in Ibiza or Greece.

Summery beach clothes are all you really need, but you may also want to dress up a little in the evenings. After all, this is Cuba!

I packed a couple of playsuits that helped me transition for day to night, and they were perfect for the all-inclusive part of our trip.

Again, colour is always welcome in a Cuba resort. You can also get away with more muted colours here, too, since most people around you will be tourists too.


What to wear in Havana

Most travellers who visit Cuba pass through the capital, even if only for flights. If you can, I’d recommend spending 24 to 48 hours in Havana to see this colourful, vibrant city.

While in Havana, it’s best to wear slightly more conservative clothing. As a woman, shorts are totally fine if you like. But I found I was a lot more comfortable in longer, lightweight trousers.

If you plan on visiting any churches, it’s always better to be dressed appropriately. 

What a man should wear in Havana Cuba follows pretty much the same rules. Remember: it’s okay to dress up a little, but avoid wearing anything too flashy.


laurel-cuba-bag
A playsuit and a cross body bag will be your best friends in Cuba!

Clothes to wear in Cuba

Now you know what the locals wear and what kind of clothing you’ll want to pack for Cuba, let’s run through everything you’ll want to take from head to toe.

I haven’t included quantities here because that will depend on your trip. No matter how long you’re staying or where you’re going, these are clothes you definitely want to pack for Cuba!

Tank tops and t-shirts

You’ll pretty much live in short sleeved tops during the daytime in Cuba.

Pack a mix of tighter tank tops and loose tees for both day and night.


Jackets and layers

Although Cuba is usually pretty warm, it can get chilly in the evenings. 

It’s a good idea to pack a few layers to wear in the evenings. I would pack a mix of casual hoodies or jackets and some more formal blazers or jackets.

Men may want to take a semi-formal dress jacket or blazer, too.


Skirts and dresses

Cuba is a fun place to wear a long, flowing skirt. 

Long dresses and skirts will keep you cool and covered under the hot Cuban sun. 

Have fun with bold and bright prints, too. Nothing will look out of place!


Loose trousers and shorts

It’s totally fine to wear either shorts or longer trousers in Cuba. 

When it’s hot, you’re more likely to want to wear something long and loose while you’re out exploring.

Shorts are generally a better choice for beach resorts. I would pack a couple of each, so you’re prepared for every scenario.

If you want to pack something that will fit in anywhere, it’s hard to go wrong with a printed playsuit. They’re basically what I live in while in Cuba!

If you were jeans a lot, you may also want to pack a pair. You definitely won’t need them, but you’ll fit right in with the locals if you do decide to wear them.


Footwear for Cuba

When you’re out exploring, you’ll probably want a comfy pair of shoes to run around in. 

Trainers are always a safe bet when it comes to choosing which shoes to pack, and it’s no different in Cuba.

Pack a pair that you can dress up a little too, if you can. It will come in handy!

The only other pair of shoes you need in Cuba is something suitable for the beach. 

A pair of comfy sandals are one of the best things you can pack in almost any suitcase. They’re great for exploring the city, chilling at the beach wherever else your trip takes you.

Most Cuban women wear sandals or flats at night, so you can happily leave the heels at home. If you do want to pack a pair, though, they wouldn’t be out of place.


Swimsuit and beach clothing

A swimsuit is pretty much an essential in Cuba! Even if you’re not planning to visit any resorts in Cuba, many city hotels have pools.

Pack a swimsuit or bikini so you can cool off when the midday heat gets too much. 

As an island, Cuba also has plenty of water sport you can try. If you fancy giving windsurfing, diving or snorkelling a try, you’ll need something suitable to wear in the ocean.


Accessories

I would avoid taking too many accessories to Cuba. 

The ones you’ll definitely want to pack are a sun hat and sunglasses. Choose something that goes with everything so you can wear them everywhere – you’ll definitely want them!

Aside from that, consider packing a few pieces of inexpensive dress jewellery. Once again, there’s no such thing as too much colour here!

Leave any valuable jewellery, including watches, at home.


Bags

You’ll really only need two types of bag in Cuba: something secure for exploring during the day and something small for the evening. 

For the daytime, I would recommend a theft-proof bag so you can enjoy Cuba without worry. 

Anti-theft bags have come a long way and there are now lots of stylish options to choose from. TheTravelon Tour Bag is small but full of space for day trips, but they also make a sleek Classic Backpack if you need a little more room.

For a more feminine option, the Signature Slim backpack looks like a regular backpack and the Essential North/South Bag makes a great day bag.


A Cuban man leaning on an old car wearing a printed shirt and hat
The locals in Cuba are very stylish!

What to wear when travelling to Cuba

When choosing what to wear to Cuba, it’s best to dress for the journey. Whatever you wear on the plane will generally be fine when you arrive. 

I usually like to wear yoga leggings because they’re super comfy and also covered up. Plus, they’re perfect if you’re coming from a cold climate because they’re great in any temperature!

The key to dressing on your journey to Cuba is to wear layers. You probably won’t need a jacket when you arrive, so a packable down jacket is always a good option for the plane.

You’ll also want to make sure you have somewhere safe to store your passport, phone and valuables. If need be, take a secure small bag such as the Pacsafe Citysafe as your personal item on the plane (and then use it while you’re in Cuba).


How not to look like a tourist in Cuba

It’s always nice to avoid looking like a tourist on your travels. Not only does it make you less of a target, but you’ll also have a more authentic experience.

I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one: it’s almost impossible to blend in in Cuba. 

No matter what you wear, unless you look Cuban, it’s unlikely that anyone will mistake you for a local. 

Still, there’s a difference between not blending in and really standing out. Some things you might want to avoid include velcro sandals, hiking boots, designer brands or local sports team merch. 

Really, though, you can pretty much wear whatever you want in Cuba.


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Alajode UK travel blog and vlog by a female digital nomad
Jodie Marie Dewberry

Jodie has been travelling the world full time since 2017, sharing the most unique places in the world along with tips for living as a digital nomad. She is a passionate wildlife photographer and has worked with a number of prominent travel brands, including airlines, tourism boards, hotels and tour operators.

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