In spite of economical sanctions and the political repression that still affects the country, Cuba fascinates travelers from around the world. The combination of nostalgia, adventure, beautiful architecture and rich culture make Cuba an appealing destination that takes you back in time. This is true even when it comes to accessing the internet in the island since the connections are very slow, just like they used to be in the times of dial-up internet. Although there have been some advances in the last few years, just over 32% of the population has access to the internet.
There are some unofficial internet connection services operating underground, but the majority of people have to settle for the services offered by ETECSA, the telecoms company run by the government. While it supports multiple WiFi hotspots, most people still only have intermittent access to the internet. Only a handful of organizations have websites and internet services. Although many individuals and businesses have email addresses, they don’t have easy access to the internet and usually take a long time to respond. Not all hotels offer the option to connect to the internet and in the ones that do, you will need to go to the lobby to be able to connect to it. In hotels or in the street (if you have patience to wait in a queue), it is possible to buy Nauta WiFi cards, but they are expensive.
Slow speeds and limited access are not the only issues that affect the internet in Cuba. While the Cuban government doesn’t have the technology and resources to implement heavy filters and to monitor the internet traffic in the way in which countries like China do, it has still managed to block certain websites and services including Freedom House and Skype. Websites and blogs that are critical of the regime are usually blocked too and although you may be able to access your Facebook and Twitter accounts (if the slow speed allows it), it is important to keep in mind that the government controls the internet and it keeps an eye on users’ activities.
Journalists and independent media outlets have come up with creative methods to distribute their content. In some cases they use email subscription services or use a data packet distribution system that relies on flash drives to share information. People in Cuba are also getting familiar with the advantages of using a VPN to get access to content. Many proxy websites are blocked, but the use of VPN services is more difficult to prevent and the security that they offer, make them a better option for people in Cuba. With a VPN it is possible to unblock content anonymously and since the traffic is encrypted, the government won’t be able to see what you do when you are online. Here are the best VPN providers to enjoy online freedom and privacy in Cuba.
ExpressVPN is known for its smooth performance and for offering one of the fastest services in the industry. Since the internet in Cuba tends to be very slow, it is important to opt for a VPN that doesn’t affect even more the speed of your connection. ExpressVPN is efficient and also very secure. It doesn’t keep logs of your activities and it has servers in over 90 countries, including many locations in the Caribbean and the United States, which would be convenient for users in Cuba.
Private Internet Access
ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN, but the price of the plans is on the high end. If you are looking for a solution that offers good quality but that is more affordable, PIA is what you need. Private Internet Access offers advanced features like Kill Switch and it also applies strong encryption to protect your traffic. While they only have servers in 25 countries, they cover key locations and offer many options to connect to. Private Internet Access also has a no logs policy that promises that your activities are not recorded or monitored.
VPNArea is known for its superb technology and security features. It is design to avoid detection even in countries like China, where VPNs are targeted for blocking, so it is certain to work well in Cuba. VPNArea has an extensive selection of servers in 69 countries. including locations that will allow users in Cuba to enjoy stable speeds. There are no logs kept and VPNArea supports features like DNS leaks protection, IPv6 leaks protection and Anti-WebRTC. You can connect up to 6 devices at the same time.
TorGuard stands out thanks to its stealth servers that allow you to avoid Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and firewalls so that you can enjoy the internet without restrictions. TorGuard also offers a free license of VPN software Viscosity, with the Anonymous plan. TorGuard has servers in over 50 countries and it doesn’t keep any logs at all. The high level of encryption, the good speeds and the advanced technology offered make this another good solution for customers in Cuba.
NordVPN offers a high standard of protection and it is also a zero logs provider that support advanced features such as double hop encryption and Tor over VPN. NordVPN is ideal for Cuba thanks to its strong commitment to privacy and its reliable service. The provider is based in Panama, which is another advantage as it is not subject to the surveillance and laws that affect other providers. NordVPN uses a high level of encryption to keep your privacy protected. You can connect to servers in over 60 countries.