Google Maps screenshot of Cuba

Use Google Maps to Plan Your Trip to Cuba

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Google Maps is a helpful travel tool in any country, but especially for traveling in Cuba. You can save lists of places, plan walking routes, and most importantly, access maps offline, which is a life saver when you don’t have a network connection. 

Since internet access is limited in Cuba—you’ll likely only have it at your hotel/B&B—we recommend using Google Maps both in the planning phase ahead of your trip and as a navigation tool while you’re there. In this guide, we’ll explain how to use Google Maps in Cuba, including how to download them offline and share them with others. We also share links to our curated Google Maps for Cuba to help you plan your trip and easily navigate once you arrive.

Does Google Maps Work in Cuba?

Yes, the Google Maps app works in Cuba, but you’ll need to make sure to download maps offline ahead of time. Downloaded maps provide location information for restaurants, stores, parks, streets, historical sites, and anything else you might need to find.

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Our mission is to provide clear, accurate information on Cuba travel for Americans. Check out our article on visas or visit our site for more!

Google Maps Offline Mode

Prepare for your trip with Google Maps by using the “download offline” feature, which allows you to select areas to download on your phone’s storage. This allows you to see detailed map data and labeling for streets, businesses, monuments, etc.—just like the online experience.

This feature is quite handy when wifi and cell reception is limited (which will be the case in Cuba) or you’ve turned on airplane mode (which we recommend doing). Even when offline, your phone’s GPS still works, so Google Maps can still pinpoint your exact location.

In Cuba, the roaming rates for U.S. cell companies are high—much higher than normal rates. When wifi is available at your lodging (which is generally is), it’s often slow and spotty and certain content is blocked so it’s safe to assume you will be disconnected most of the time. In this context, a working offline map is an invaluable tool. 

Downloading Offline Maps

The basic steps of downloading maps offline in the Google Maps app are pretty simple. As you pick the area to download, one thing to consider is size—if storage on your phone is an issue you can zoom in to reduce the amount of data downloaded, saving your phone’s storage space. 

Creating Google Map Lists 

The Google Maps app allows users to place pins on certain map locations with a feature called “Lists”. These pins save to your phone and are viewable in offline mode. Creating a list of pins with activities on your itinerary ahead of your trip will make it easier to navigate from place to place during your travels. 

Sharing Google Maps

Map lists can be kept private or shared, so if you’re traveling with a group, it’s easy for everyone to use the same map. You can also invite friends to edit to make planning collaborative. 

Booking Lodging? Taxis? Activities? Restaurants?

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Our Curated Google Maps for Cuba

Our team keeps a meticulously curated and constantly expanding collection of Google Maps for anyone to use. These maps are designed to be used while planning, and since they can be saved in the Google Maps app and viewed in offline mode, they’re also a useful navigation tool while traveling in Cuba.

Our maps are organized by category—want to find Havana’s top restaurants without manually searching the web and creating your own list? Just use ours! We curate lists for architecture, food and drink, art, music, kid friendly activities, even touristy places—and much more so you can find your interests and know what to expect. 

More Cuba Navigation Tips

Take Screenshots: When traveling, you never know when your phone will be able to connect to wifi or cell reception. It’s always a good idea to take screenshots for quick, foolproof access to phone numbers, addresses, maps, confirmation numbers, etc.  

Save As You Go: When perusing maps ahead of your trip, make it a habit to save locations as you explore. Chances are you’ll want to refer to them later, and if you have them saved it will make it easier to find them later. 

Save Multiple Map Lists: If you have lots of places saved in a map list, dont be afraid to make multiple lists separated by theme. 

Find Like Minded Travelers: When searching Google’s reviews, if you see a reviewer who you like or leaves helpful, detailed reviews, check out what other places they have reviewed to see if you might like those places as well. 

More Cuba Travel Tips

Our team is dedicated to helping U.S. travelers plan safe, legal, independent Cuba travel. In addition to our curated maps, we offer free phone consultations, customizable itineraries (coming soon) and helpful guides and articles

Using a VPN in Cuba

Certain content is blocked in Cuba, including access toGmail, Skype, the New York Times, and many other U.S. media networks. But don’t worry, if you need to get around these firewalls for work or to check email, you can download a VPN (virtual private network) ahead of time which will route your connection through another country where the content isn’t blocked.

Before your trip, make sure to download a VPN on your phone and fully set it up. Then, when you connect to wifi in Cuba, you should be able to turn on the VPN and connect to a location outside of Cuba that doesn’t block the content you’re looking for. 

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