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Which things should I bring to Cuba?

Which things do Cuban people need ?
8 years ago, February 27th 2007 No: 1 Msg: #11202  
Next Monday we will start to Cuba. I tried to dig out my old knowledge of Spanish in order to find closer contact to the Cuban people. Are there any gifts, which we can take with us to give away to people who will do us little favours? What are useful or necessary things you cannot find in Cuba? Reply to this

8 years ago, March 3rd 2007 No: 2 Msg: #11308  
B Posts: 138
I've heard that basic toiletries like shampoo are expensive so that is something they would definitely appreciate and use. Reply to this

8 years ago, October 31st 2007 No: 3 Msg: #21764  
Muscito repellent, the strongest you can find!!!
It's just incredible, I think the musquito's have an addicion 2 rum (ron in Cuba).
This little vermine didn't mind biting me dispite my spray.
Finally we got one from the hotel, it was effective for about 10 minutes.
Sunblok, of a high factor, 40 or 50. The sun is a killer there.

Have Fun Reply to this

8 years ago, January 3rd 2008 No: 4 Msg: #24994  
Cubans are some of the most friendly and warm people you will every meet, but unfortunately they do lack even the basics which we take for granted. We always take an extra duffle bag full of stuff - but not necessarily for favours really - just to help them out. You will find that most of the people there are not expecting things ( at least from my experience) but are extremely appreciative.

I would suggest taking all kinds of stuff from the drugstore - even if it's just sample sizes if you are limited on space. They really need aspirins or any over the counter type meds, soap, toothpaste & brushes, disposable razors etc. etc. Just think of basic stuff that everyone needs.
And then I always take some neat stuff for people's kids (just from the dollar store) and if I have any old clothes that are in good condition - I will pack that.
And chocolate is much appreciated and ANY kind of magazines - they like to see what's going on.
Depending on where you are going (not sure if you are going to a resort) - be careful at first when giving stuff to people if you are out in the open. Some employees do spy on others so it is best to be discreet - Castro developed another weird policy a few years ago and said people were not allowed to accept gifts from Westerners - most of them don't care, but I'm still careful since I wouldn't want anyone to get into trouble or loose their job.

Reply to this

8 years ago, January 19th 2008 No: 5 Msg: #25672  
B Posts: 18
It's probably too late to tell you what to take, but just in case someone else should read this post:

Hit up Costco or the equivalent for pens, crayons, notebooks, paper, scissors, needles, thread, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs...basically anything school supply/personal grooming.

The women will appreciate eyeliner, mascara, or nail polish (or makeup of any kind, really). Bring some shampoo/body wash/lotion/little soaps (the hotel size) to give away, too. You can also do this if you're staying in a hotel with toiletteries.

Take some clothes you won't mind parting with. Wear them while you're there, and then leave them. There is a massive need for clothing in el Oriente, especially after hurricane Noel.

There are plenty of places that will accept donations if you're not comfortable handing them out on the street. In fact, I suggest doing most of your giving through these guys. Handing someone a gift on the street is nice, and people usually have the best intentions when they do so, but don't forget that Cubans are very dignified people. It's important to emphasize our solidarity over our charity. Reply to this

7 years ago, October 8th 2008 No: 6 Msg: #51172  

7 years ago, October 8th 2008 No: 7 Msg: #51174  
I have never been to cuba in my lief and now i am reading about it. I feel quite sad going there now as it seems very depressing. I talked to my gf and I will be bringing $100 work of over the counter medecine. I am debating on what to bring:

10 x 16 tablets ibuprofen (Advil) @ 3.49
10 x 10 tables Acetaminophen (Tylinol) @3.49
10 x 24 tables acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) @ 3.69


2 x 200 tablets ibuprofen (Advil) @ 12.49
3 x 200 tables Acetaminophen (Tylinol) @9.99
3 x 200 tablesacetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) @ 9.99

option B is the much better option, but i am afraid that will be weird giving a big box of tablets. Will I get arrested?
Also, I would bring pencils and stuff, but i am afraid someoen will beat me up there for giving them stuff when they are not bums.

Please assisit, I need to make this purchase by Oct 10th. Sorry i may have posted this a few times because i do not knwo what i am d doing. Reply to this

7 years ago, October 17th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #51879  

6 years ago, November 30th 2009 No: 9 Msg: #94898  
B Posts: 229
Hola. I really feel like I need to comment on this. The only Cubans who ask tourists for items were those with shady intentions. Everyday Cubans are intelligent, well educated, interesting and happy people. They would never resort to begging or asking tourists for items they already have access to...and yes they have access to them, but can't admit it. Those asking for pens and shampoo are only interested in trading them for other items on the blackmarket...so please please don't bring random items to hand out to strangers!

I met some really great Cuban people on my travels, so I decided to give my personal items to them when I departed. For example, I visited an elementary school and did a quiz about Canada. The prize for correct answers was funky fun pens I had on me. The kids who won them quite obviously coveted those pens and won't be trading them anytime soon.

I left my spanish-english dictionary to my casa particular owner so she could learn some english words. She was so very excited and was studying the book feverishly before I left. She'll never part with that little book.

I met a really old guitarist whom I talked to for sometime at a cafe, he went home and returned with a copy of his CD for a band he played for years ago. He wanted to give it to me, but I gave him $12 cuc for it. I even had him sign it for me. Later I found out he was incredibly famous! So very cool to have gotten to know him and enjoy his music. Reply to this

5 years ago, April 7th 2010 No: 10 Msg: #108154  
I was in Veradero, 2 years ago. We all took something different.

I had a whole bunch of Crayola Crayon 8 packs, some wonderfully fun Glow sticks, and glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets. I also brought glow in the dark lizards, and glow in the dark stars and planets that could be made into mobiles. I brought small samples of perfumes, body lotions, disposable razors, bandaids, feminine napkins, Baby powder, small glycerine beauty soaps and dove soap, purse sized packages of cleaning wipes such as lysol, Mr. clean kitchen wipes, baby wipes, nail polishes, glittery makeup - they seem to be into glitter makeup but that may have changed in the past 2 years. I also wish I had of brought more hats. I had a red "Canadian" beer hat and gave it to our dinner server guy. He wore it every day as he did garden work outside, and thumbs up every time I saw him. He loved it. It wasn't a baseball cap, it was a beach hat sorta hat with the "Canadian" beer logo embroidered on it. I left a couple of really nice cotton sweaters, and a couple of t-shirts. Some people were giving their rock concert
t-shirts that were in great condition.

We also brought Barbie dolls and clothes, colouring books, sticker books, sketch books, magic markers, laurentian coloured pencils, lots of fun chocolates, smarties, reeces, packages of werthers and other candy, red licorice sticks and rainbow licorice laces, small toothpastes, lozenges, aspirin, tylenol, small good named brand shampoo and conditioners, hand and body lotions, scented candles, and I also left some of my jewellery with some of my favourite people there.

I always gave to those people who took very good care of me in the hotel and throughout the resort I stayed at. I only gave money to some of the people at the washroom break areas on our bus trip to Habana. I was surprised to have given the washroom attendant 3 pesos, because she made sure my washroom stall was clean, and that I had toilet paper. She was ecstatic. I didn't think it was very much money but she was so excited. Make sure you take along a pocket size package of Lysol wipes to clean toilet seats if you are considering using some of the country amenities. It might be a good idea to keep some tissue of some sort in your pocket or purse.

I am certainly looking forward to heading back in May this year. Reply to this

5 years ago, April 7th 2010 No: 11 Msg: #108156  
The most important things they need is medicine like Tylenol, because medicine is VERY hard to come by over there, I'm going in 2 weeks and I'm bringing Children Tylenol, Tylenol, and first aid kits, and Spanish instructions of how to use them all Reply to this

5 years ago, April 12th 2010 No: 12 Msg: #108553  
That's a great suggestion Debonaire440. I am hoping to go there myself soon and I will try that. Where do I get Spanish instructions in Canada? anyone know? the Pharmacist perhaps? Reply to this

5 years ago, July 23rd 2010 No: 13 Msg: #116341  
N Posts: 1
was just in Cayo coco last month. Deoderant is desperately needed. The national supplier went out of business, so it's costing crazy amounts (one residant told me 5 CUC's) for a stick which is a month's salary(if you're not getting tips at a resort). Also many people have mp3 players, but love to swap music, and mp3 speakers (usb charge) make you a huge hit with the young people!
sports equip is also very pricey so pack a few soccer balls and a dollara store pump. don't forget the needles to fill them :-) Reply to this

5 years ago, September 30th 2010 No: 14 Msg: #120079  
We are heading to Cayo Largo soon and are thinking about possible extra items to bring along. I totally understand what Cabochick is saying about the fact that Cubans have no real need for charity, but then again, the US embargo makes it very difficult for Cubans acquire important everyday items and over-the-counter medical supplies. This seems unfair to me and so I want to thumb my nose at the embargo and do something to help out. From what I read above, a trip to Shopper's Drug Mart should do the trick, and we will squeeze in what we can under the excess baggage limit. Deoderant is a good idea my t mouse, (not too heavy!) and extra advil, gravol, immodium and pepto-bismal are always good to bring along on a tropical holiday, from my experience. 😊 What I don't use myself I'll leave behind (hopefully ALL of it... knock on wood). Reply to this

5 years ago, October 16th 2010 No: 15 Msg: #121137  
the cuban people are given most basic things in live and have great healthcare.

Unfortunately eye glasses must be bought.

I bring the dollar store cheater glasses with me and are $1.00 a pair. for the elderly and
I bring kids stuff like coloring books and crayons Reply to this

5 years ago, October 22nd 2010 No: 16 Msg: #121542  
Hummm.........eyeglasses don't weigh much. I carry several pairs of dollar store glasses for myself. Guess I can leave them behind when I depart. Reply to this

5 years ago, December 4th 2010 No: 17 Msg: #124175  
Bring lots of gifts for the females in Cuba, they will LOVE you for it, if you know what I mean. Anything in terms of perfume, beauty products, deodorant and ADVIL for that time of the month. I went there will my brother and let me tell you, we were offered many different proposals when we showed them our goods!

It's tons of fun!!!! Reply to this

5 years ago, February 4th 2011 No: 18 Msg: #128187  
N Posts: 1
If you need a translation for dosages for a bottle of tylenol, advil, etc., google 'english to spanish translation' or something similar. You will find a variety of sites which allow you to enter (type) your English phrase and translate it into Spanish. You can either listen to the translation or you can copy and print the typed translation to include with the medicine. Reply to this

5 years ago, February 4th 2011 No: 19 Msg: #128189  
just got back...........pens are a biggie.....everyone asked me for pens, fortunately i had a bunch...........and reading glasses, i gave away about a dozen of those.i left the magnafication size sticker on them.....cheap walmart binoculars are great for the fishermen......i give those away in whatever country i'm in......but the biggest and best thing i did for the locals.....was pictures........they dont have the bucks for a camera nor the trip to the photo store to make them into pics...........since i already have the camera, it only cost me a few pesos to get prints made..........the familys just love pics of thier kids, ect...........take pics, go to the photo store, 10 minuets later the family has a life time memory in thier hands..............yahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh............viva la revolution.....potatohead Reply to this

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