5 Best VPNs for Cuba - Get Unrestricted Internet with a VPN!

In Cuba, even getting Internet access is a complex task that you need to prepare for, which you can read more about below. Firstly, let’s take a look at our list of the five best VPNs for Cuba.

Best VPN Cuba

  1. ExpressVPN - Lightning fast connections| Fully featured apps |24/7 live chat support
  2. NordVPN - Apps for all platforms| Advanced features | Servers in over 60 countries
  3. PrivateVPN - Easy to use | apps for all platforms | Servers in over 50 countries
  4. IPVanish - Fast connections | Easy to use | Servers in 60 countries
  5. PrivateInternetAccess - Strong on privacy | Apps for all platforms | Servers in all the most important places

Best VPN Cuba: Comparison

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a well-known service that is perfect for internet users in Cuba

  • Pricing

    From $6.67 / month
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN is an award-winning VPN that has helped to establish the gold standard for VPNs. With ultra-fast servers across 94 countries, you have plenty of options to alleviate some of the issues found in Cuba. And once you've established that coveted internet connection, you'll even be able to unblock otherwise inaccessible streaming services like Netflix US, hulu and other platforms whenever you want. 

Those that want added security won't be disappointed with obfuscated servers and a kill switch in case things go awry. You can try all of this without worry thanks to ExpressVPN's 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is a truly-superb VPN service for Cuba with tight security and privacy

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 / month
  • Available on

    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

When governments like Cuba are trying to hinder your online experience, you're going to want a no-logs VPN. Based in Panama, NordVPN promises exactly that, removing most of the barriers in place. You can access speedy servers in over 60 different countries, download torrents without prying eyes and even access Netflix US, BBC iPlayer and other popular streaming sites providing you have a subscription. 

Price to performance with NordVPN is undeniably good, offering strong OpenVPN encryption that guarantees your data will be safe when on both public and private WiFi. Packed to the brim with features, you can try NordVPN risk-free thanks to a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN ticks every important box for getting privacy and freedom online

  • Pricing

    From $1.89 / month
  • Available on

    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Amazon Prime
    • Hulu

Known for its award-nominated customer service, PrivateVPN lives by its name. It promises a zero-logs policy, meaning that it keeps no identifiable information of any customer and commits itself to transparency - perfect for residents and visitors of Cuba. The service is particularly good at unblocking streaming services, granting access to more Netflix catalogs than any other provider on this list and manages flawless HD, should the internet connection hold steady. 

Overall, PrivateVPN has everything you need to gain privacy and security in Cuba and you can dip a toe in with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

4. IPVanish

IPVanish is a US based provider with an excellent no logs policy ideal for privacy and unblocking

  • Pricing

    From $4.12 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • iOS

Despite being based in the United States, a place infamous for its intrusive stance on privacy, IPVanish offers an incredibly solid VPN. With no logs, government agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA) can't gain access to your valuable data. And you can be sure that if the NSA can't get hold of it, neither can Cuba. 

Servers in 60 separate countries give you plenty of room to choose where you want to route your connection, even unblocking streaming services and circumventing censorship should you encounter any. Granted, IPVanish is not the cheapest service around, but there is value for money that makes it well worth testing it with its money-back guarantee.

5. PrivateInternetAccess

PIA is a long-time Reddit favourite that provides high levels of privacy and security

  • Pricing

    From $3.49 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • MacOS
    • Android
    • Linux
    • iOS
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer

Another US-based VPN on our list, PrivateInternetAccess not only promises that it keeps no logs, it has actively proven that it doesn't in court. Admittedly, PIA doesn't have as many servers on its list as its competition with access to 30 countries, but it does sport strong OpenVPN encryption and relatively good pricing to make up the difference. 

It is guaranteed to help you with some of the issues you'll find when staying in Cuba, and you can rest easy with a risk-free money-back guarantee should you change your mind.

Cuba VPN Considerations

VPN Cuba

As hard as it is to get onto the internet in Cuba, it’s a shock that many websites are blocked there as well. Luckily, with a VPN you can unblock all these websites, and provide you with access to more.

In the following, we're exploring the reasons that you might need a VPN for in Cuba. Continue reading to find out what obstacles you might face and how a VPN can help.

Internet Access in Cuba

You may be lucky enough to be staying in a hotel that has a WiFi hotspot. However, if you’re staying in a budget hotel, you won’t have that luxury. If you’re in a high-end hotel, you won’t get a signal in your room. Instead, you’ll have to go into the lobby to connect. In most places, the internet is only available in specific locations in the street. That makes it difficult to use a laptop. You should plan on using your smartphone for internet access while in Cuba.

The Cuban government doesn’t have the resources to put the internet filters and monitoring systems in place, that China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia can afford. The government’s primary way to control the spread of dissent through the internet is to make it difficult to get online. Consequently, there are no blocks on access to social media sites. You can also access internet telephony apps in Cuba.Internet access in Cuba

However, the internet service is so slow that you’ll find WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger almost impossible to use. You indeed won’t be able to watch streaming video online. You need a connection rate of 3 Mbps to stream HD video and 2 Mbps for SD video. The Cuban internet system delivers 1 Mbps at its best rate.

Your main priorities when looking for internet access in Cuba are a lightweight device and plenty of patience. As there is very little internet traffic in the country, the government monitors everything. As such, you need extra security for your connections.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will keep your communications private while you’re in Cuba. If you crave entertainment, download movies and shows onto a tablet before you go. A VPN can protect you from prosecution when you use P2P networks to download copyrighted material. For more information see our best VPN for torrenting article.

Please note that ProPrivacy.com does not endorse or encourage the torrenting of copyrighted or illegal content.

Thanks to its contacts with China, the Cuban government promises to improve the quality of internet access in the country. The proposed imported technology may make the internet in Cuba faster, but it won’t make life easier for those who want to access foreign websites. Along with faster routers, the Cuban government will also be importing all of the blocking, filtering, and monitoring software that makes up the Great Firewall of China. China has the most restricted internet access in the world. As such, Cubans can look forward to more internet access difficulties in the future.

Nauta

Nauta

The state-owned internet service in Cuba is called Nauta. If the internet is available in your hotel, Nauta will run it. You can access the internet by Nauta cards.

The locations that sell Nauta cards are also homes to WiFi routers, so you can use the Nauta credit as soon as you buy it.

Getting Nauta Credit

You buy a pre-paid calling card at the front desk. This one has silver strips on the back, which reveal a username and password when you scratch them off. You can only buy cards with one hour of internet access, though you can buy several cards at once. You can use the cards at any WiFi hotspot because Nauta owns every hotspot. Be sure to carry a few cards around with you.

If your hotel has WiFi, there’s no guarantee that it will have connection cards available. Their supply is irregular, and many outlets run out periodically. You can go to another hotel to buy them, but you may need to buy a drink or a meal at the hotel bar to qualify to purchase the cards. The hotel may also limit your purchase to just one card.

If you can’t get a Nauta card from a hotel lobby, you’re in for a taste of local lifestyle. You’ll have to queue at a telecom office or newsstand in the street to get a card. Official sales points are few and far between. Waiting times are usually between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on the time of day. As these booths have no indoor areas, you’ll be queuing in the sweltering heat.Getting Nauta credit

As with any commodity that attracts long queues, Nauta is available from ticket touts who mill about close to the lines. A card costs $2, but you can cut out the queue by buying one from a tout for $3. This is a high price for an hour of lousy internet access. A trip to Cuba can end up being expensive.

Once you get to the front of the queue for a card, buy a ton of them. These cards are valuable commodities that appreciate in value by 50% as soon as you get hold of them. The average monthly salary in Cuba is $20, so this $2 card is an expensive luxury for the locals.

Avoid Queuing with a VPN

Avoid queueing with a VPN

One good aspect of the Nauta account management system is that it is also available in English. You can buy credit online, but only if you access the system from overseas. This function is available at www.etecsa.cu (ETECSA runs Nauta).

The website won’t let you pay for credit online while you’re in Cuba, but a VPN can get you around this problem. Connect to a VPN server in a nearby country – a server in Miami is always a good bet. This will make you seem to be in Miami, and the ETECSA system will allow you to pay for credit online and avoid queuing for Nauta cards.

Using Nauta Credit

The credit starts ticking down the first time you connect. Even if the service is impossibly slow, it will expire within an hour, regardless. Even if the connection doesn’t seem to be doing anything, your credit will still expire after an hour.Using Nauta credit

If you can’t get any service at all, it’s better to log off as quickly as possible and preserve your credit for another time. The credit lasts for 30 days from the first moment of connection. The logout option isn’t easy to find on the main Nauta screen. Enter http://1.1.1.1 in the address field of your browser to get to the logout screen quickly.

Connect Safely

The first thing you’ll see when you connect to the Nauta network is a warning message from your device. This tells you that you’re about to connect to an unsecure network. This is why a VPN is a good idea. The VPNs on our list have automatic WiFi protection. Make sure you have the VPN turned on before you connect to the Nauta network.Connect safely

The VPN software will apply encryption to your connection across the WiFi network. This is important because many sites that run https, such as all webmail systems, won’t let you in if you try to access them over unsecure networks. As such, you’ll run down your hour’s credit looking at a series of blocking messages.

ETECSA

There is a local alternative called ETECSA, but this is no use to you if you want to access the real internet. You will see a few internet cafes in the center of big cities, but these are ETECSA outlets.

The ETECSA system operates more like an intranet. It doesn’t give access to services outside the network. Instead, you can access state-controlled alternatives on this system. As such, you can access email on ETECSA, but only if you have an ETECSA email account. You can also send messages to others in Cuba with an email account on the same system.ETECSA

Sites that you can visit on the ETECSA network include government information websites, a government-run encyclopedia, and cached versions of foreign websites that support the Cuban government. You can’t access your Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail account through this system. You also can’t get onto overseas websites, such as the Wall Street Journal or the BBC.

Conclusion

Life can be tough in Cuba. High-speed broadband is something that people in many other countries take for granted, but that’s not the case in Cuba.Best Cuba VPNs Conclusion

The VPNs on our list work well in China, so if you intend to travel to Cuba regularly in the future, these services will continue to serve you well once the Cuban government upgrades its internet status from “almost non-existent” to “repressive.”

Written by: Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper is a techy geek with a social edge. Downshifting from a successful IT career in Europe, Cooper moved to the Caribbean and now keeps up to speed with Internet technology poolside.

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