If you ever travel to Cuba, you’ll notice that the Internet is like rocking horse manure. Even though they do have a cell phone network, which you’ll be charged excessively to use, there is no data through the network. If you want to get connected, it’s like going back to AOL.
First, you need to buy an Internet access card that cost 1.50 CUC (about a $1.50). This gives you one hour of Internet at any hotspot in Cuba, most of which are in Havana.
Then comes the task of finding a hotspot, none of which are labeled. Fortunately many parks are hotspots, along with some intersections. Moreover, as it gets later in the day, you’ll happen across an odd scene, groups of people all looking at their cell phone. This is an obvious sign you’re in a hotspot.
(I say odd, but as I am writing this, I realize you can’t swing a dead cat here without hitting at least a dozen people on their cell phone. Makes me think who got it right?)
The final undertaking is actually getting and staying connected. If you found a hotspot by searching for the crowds, good luck, it’s overcrowded. You might as well light up a cigar; you’re going to be a while. Also, I believe the Cuban government gives priority to Cubans. I have no proof, but while I was struggling to get and stay connected I saw many Cubans face timing with ease.
It’s better to find the hotspots, remember where they are, and visit in the early morning when very few are connected. Then you should be able to check Facebook, send tweets and read emails with comfort.
Havana is changing fast though! Now that I am planning a return visit for next winter, I have to wonder if connectivity will improve by then. Part of me wishes it will not. Traveling while being so far removed from the constant nagging of social media was blissful.