Cuba is known for the warmth, graciousness and friendliness of its people and its relative personal safety “on the street”. In fact, one of the features that attracts many people to Cuba and keeps them coming back is the openness and approachability of Cubans – of all ages – and the ease of entering into conversation about most topics.
Cubans are by and large helpful, whether you are trying to find something whether it be a bus station, museum or store, or trying to figure out a road map, or wondering what a particular item is in an agricultural market, or feeling a bit lost, or having a problem. Whether it’s an opinion or a direction or a problem that needs solving, you’ll find no shortage of help, although sometimes ten people will give you ten different viewpoints. It’s part of the delight of human interaction in Cuba.
However, during the past several years, simple robberies have increased and snatching of purses, cameras, money belts, fanny packs, and jewelry and watches do occur especially in tourist areas. Often, using “common sense” is enough to avoid this situation, such as avoiding streets without lights, or wearing your purse with the strap crossing your chest rather than “delicately balanced” on your shoulder, etc.
When out and about in the city, your hotel registration card and/or photocopy of passport are sufficient for identification; you don’t need to carry your passport. It’s also best to carry only what money you’ll need for the day. Other funds, important documents, drivers’ license, flight tickets, etc. can be locked in your suitcases or in the small wall safes that are available, at a modest cost, in many hotel rooms.