Can you just pitch a tent and camp in Cuba?

Question: I am planning a trip to Cuba and would like to know if there are any laws concerning camping (tents). Are there specific camping sites, or can you camp just anywhere?  And for hiking, are there any regulations here?

Answer: Unlike countries like Canada or the U.S., in Cuba, one can’t simply take one’s backpack and tent and “get lost” in, say, the Sierra Maestra mountains for a few days.

In a July 2011 phone consultation with Cubamar Viajes, a Cuban Travel Agency specializing in Nature, Adventure, Youth Tourism and Socio-Cultural Interchanges, they explained that open hiking and camping by visitors is prohibited in Cuba. One of the main reasons has to do with Cuba’s laws for protecting the environment and for ensuring that these are enforced. Thus, hiking and camping can occur only in specified areas.

For visitors to Cuba who are interested in hiking and camping, it is important to contact a service provider on the Cuban end. Although not the only such agency, Cubamar Viajes would be a good place to start. Their website is www.cubamarviajes.cu and you can access it in either Spanish or English. Their contact information, including email address, is listed below:

Cubamar Viajes
Calle 3ra
e/ 12 y Malecón
Vedado – Municipio Plaza de la Revolución
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telephone (+53-7) 833-2523 / 833-2524
Fax (+53-7) 833-3111
E-Mail: cubamar@cubamar.mit.tur.net
E-Mail: cubamar@cubamarviajes.cu
Internet: http://www.cubamarviajes.cu

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