Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 4
triplotte

Geocaching in Cuba?

Recommended Posts

hi guys, first time I'm posting here. I'm going to Cayo Coco for march break and I was wondering if we can bring our GPS over there... I red on sunwing.ca that it's illegal and that they can seize any handheld without restriction... I don't want that to happen to me, so I'm seeking some expertise here. Gracias amigos!

Share this post


Link to post

From what I have heard, NO. That type of technology will be confiscated until you fly back home.

 

But you should be able to find most of the caches without a GPS, the instructions are very simple.

 

Binrat

Share this post


Link to post

WOW thank you sooooo much guys... You are as quick as lightning!!! I'll call the cuban council tomorrow and I will post whatever they tell me... Gotta go watch Raptors Basketball now... Hasta la proxima!

Share this post


Link to post

OK folks here's what I got from the official Cuban Customs:

 

http://www.aduana.co.cu/regula3.htm

 

And if anyone could help me out with the interpretation of that regulation (since my english is not perfect) I would appreciate it...

 

So? Allowed or not?

 

Thanks guys and happy geocaching!

Share this post


Link to post

OK folks here's what I got from the official Cuban Customs:

 

http://www.aduana.co.cu/regula3.htm

 

And if anyone could help me out with the interpretation of that regulation (since my english is not perfect) I would appreciate it...

 

So? Allowed or not?

 

Thanks guys and happy geocaching!

 

It says that you are allowed IF you get a permit (from the "Hidrographical and Geodesical National Office") before you arrive in Cuba. No indication of how hard it is to get such a permit or how long it takes or how much it cost...

Share this post


Link to post

Ok merci! I guess I'll print the caches info and try to find 'em without my GPS. Thank you verry much everyone!

Share this post


Link to post

you might as well try in the mean time, couldnt hurt :)

 

They might get right back to you! your just used to capitalist beurocracy slowing things down.. they might get you a permit in 5 minutes :)

Share this post


Link to post

Sounds like an excellent opportunity to lose your GPS in a bureaucratic nightmare, never to be seen again.

Share this post


Link to post

A quick check shows a dozen or so caches on the whole Island. Not really a geocaching hotbed of activity for an Island this size.

Share this post


Link to post

A quick check shows a dozen or so caches on the whole Island. Not really a geocaching hotbed of activity for an Island this size.

 

Seeing as it is illegal to have a GPS....... Makes sense doesn't it.

Share this post


Link to post

A quick check shows a dozen or so caches on the whole Island. Not really a geocaching hotbed of activity for an Island this size.

 

Seeing as it is illegal to have a GPS....... Makes sense doesn't it.

 

And half of them by U.S. military personnel on a U.S. Military base. And the fact that vacation caches are generally frowned upon.

Share this post


Link to post

We did a one week vacation at a Varadero area resort in February, 2009. A pocket Query netted five caches available within the peninsula. We found four of them without taking a GPSr with us (the fifth was apparently muggled earlier last year). These caches were well described, and included nearby photos that assisted us to find GZ in every case. We were very pleased at having added 4 caches from Cuba to our geocaching adventures. (We've also done 9 caches in five countries of Eastern Europe, while participating in a tourist type bus tour). We will search out even one or two geocaches wherever we travel. It's a great way to find sights that the locals, and other tourists, believe are interesting; just as we cachers do at our own home locations. So! is there 'Geocaching in Cuba?' - certainly - but without the need of a GPSr.

Share this post


Link to post

We are planning to go to Cuba in November and are happy to leave the GPS turned off, however also plannig stopovers in Chile, Mexico,Peru and Brazil. We will need the GPS for those places, so will investigate the permit side or even pre-arrange from here for the GPS to be cared for while in Cuba by the authorities. That way we could take the memory card out to protect our maps, rather than being caught with it and not having the option.

Share this post


Link to post

No - put that in the too hard basket and posted our GPS to mexico, but that is another story.

 

When you apply for your visa, this would be a question to ask. Our guy played ignorant, and/or he did not understand what we were asking and did not understand the concept of geocaching.

 

Have recently purchased a book called "My Seductive Cuba" by Chen Lizra. If you are considering going to Cuba, I would recommend you get yourself a copy. It is quite up to date.

 

Have fun - love Cuba!

Cheers

Lyn

Share this post


Link to post

Did anybody look into the "Permit" thing. We're heading down in the spring and I'm looking to see if you can get a permit.

 

Imports and Exports

 

Articles prohibited from entry into Cuba include drugs, explosives, pornographic material, literature considered subversive, perishable food items, radio transmission equipment, wireless microphones, radio and TV receivers differing from household models, GPS devices, satellite receiver antennas and stations, air conditioners, and small appliances that draw heavily on electricity. Such items are routinely seized on arrival without compensation.

 

http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/report_rapport-eng.asp?id=69000

 

most importantly don't forget the requirement about Health Insurance to enter Cuba

Edited by t4e

Share this post


Link to post

We're heading to Cayo Santa Maria in November. Not bringing our GPSr but our iPhone. I hope they don't take it lol. There is one cache on the beach by our resort that we are going to do with or without the phone...

Share this post


Link to post

We're heading to Cayo Santa Maria in November. Not bringing our GPSr but our iPhone. I hope they don't take it lol. There is one cache on the beach by our resort that we are going to do with or without the phone...

You did read the quote in 18 didn't you... an I phone qualifies on several items on that list... radio transmission, GPS, sat receiver and such... I'd ask around, cell phones may be fine or not, but they might want to disect if for the other stuff. Perhaps.

 

Often rules don't change as fast on lists as they do in reality...

 

Doug 7rxc admitting having never gone there, but I can read!

Share this post


Link to post

Hmm I have read and read pages and pages (webpages) and it is very unclear about bringing cell phones with GPS into Cuba.... still searching... I'm going to e-mail the travel agent too...

Share this post


Link to post

We're heading to Cayo Santa Maria in November. Not bringing our GPSr but our iPhone. I hope they don't take it lol. There is one cache on the beach by our resort that we are going to do with or without the phone...

You did read the quote in 18 didn't you... an I phone qualifies on several items on that list... radio transmission, GPS, sat receiver and such... I'd ask around, cell phones may be fine or not, but they might want to disect if for the other stuff. Perhaps.

 

Often rules don't change as fast on lists as they do in reality...

 

Doug 7rxc admitting having never gone there, but I can read!

 

Sad to say I've read the page!

Telephone communication is a problem. Calls are often not answered, even at major institutions. Technical problems also exist. Calls may be connected to a different number than the one dialled. It often takes persistence to place a call to another city (particularly after rain).

 

Reliable cell phone service is available in most major cities. Canadian cell phones generally function. Canadians can use their own cell phone as long as it is compatible with North American standards.

 

They may arrange for cell phone service by contacting Cubacel at 05 264-2266.[/b]

 

However, the fact the phone has a GPS in, may be a different matter!

Share this post


Link to post
However, the fact the phone has a GPS in, may be a different matter!

 

Assuming they know that it does :P

Share this post


Link to post

So I can't seem to gather a consensus. I'm leaning towards the phones with GPS being ok based on the fact that the use the cell towers not satellites. Cuba's cell towers do not have this feature so we will have no "GPS" service on our phones but the phones are ok to bring with us. Just need to setup for international roaming because the rates can be rediculous! With one cache 3 KMs from our resort and the next one over 100 KMs we sure hope to get that one without GPS. The map and cache page make it pretty easy :)

 

Now here's the next question. Which travel bugs or coins should I send on a vacation in the sunny south? LOL

Share this post


Link to post

So I can't seem to gather a consensus. I'm leaning towards the phones with GPS being ok based on the fact that the use the cell towers not satellites. Cuba's cell towers do not have this feature so we will have no "GPS" service on our phones but the phones are ok to bring with us. Just need to setup for international roaming because the rates can be rediculous! With one cache 3 KMs from our resort and the next one over 100 KMs we sure hope to get that one without GPS. The map and cache page make it pretty easy :)

 

Now here's the next question. Which travel bugs or coins should I send on a vacation in the sunny south? LOL

 

Nice try. The iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4 have actual GPS hardware in them. They CAN get a GPS lock without using cell towers. Particularly the 4.

Being one of the most popular phones sold worldwide, it's a pretty safe bet they know that iOS devices can have GPS. Also they know the devices are media storage devices so you may find yourself there for a while trying to convince someone there is no media files (photos, music, movies) that contravene their import laws.

 

Take a look at the unlocked/no contract price points for iPhones and you really, really should leave the thing at home. The risk to reward is just way too high here.

Share this post


Link to post

So I can't seem to gather a consensus. I'm leaning towards the phones with GPS being ok based on the fact that the use the cell towers not satellites. Cuba's cell towers do not have this feature so we will have no "GPS" service on our phones but the phones are ok to bring with us. Just need to setup for international roaming because the rates can be rediculous! With one cache 3 KMs from our resort and the next one over 100 KMs we sure hope to get that one without GPS. The map and cache page make it pretty easy :)

 

Now here's the next question. Which travel bugs or coins should I send on a vacation in the sunny south? LOL

 

Ouch!

We`re staying in Varadero, so there`s over 10 within 10km.

 

I don`t think I`ll be bringing my GPS, just some cache pages and pictures

Share this post


Link to post

So I can't seem to gather a consensus. I'm leaning towards the phones with GPS being ok based on the fact that the use the cell towers not satellites. Cuba's cell towers do not have this feature so we will have no "GPS" service on our phones but the phones are ok to bring with us. Just need to setup for international roaming because the rates can be rediculous! With one cache 3 KMs from our resort and the next one over 100 KMs we sure hope to get that one without GPS. The map and cache page make it pretty easy :)

 

Now here's the next question. Which travel bugs or coins should I send on a vacation in the sunny south? LOL

When I made my first reply, I accepted the fact that GPS was not allowed. I was also pointing out the oft forgotten (if indeed known at all by many) point that 'cellular phones' are in fact cellular RADIO Telephones... the list strongly mentioned radio transmission devices as well as satellite transmitter/receivers etc. Granted the target was mostly against from orbit TV and sat phones etc.

I think they might be forgiving for cell phones, since even the locals seek better calling services and cellular can be that.

I'm not trying to say yes or no, but ASK. Fortunately, they value tourists, especially from Canada and Europe. Sometimes tourists can get things more easily than business people etc. They stay in tourist areas and out of trouble.

 

Good luck.

Doug 7rxc

Share this post


Link to post

So I can't seem to gather a consensus. I'm leaning towards the phones with GPS being ok based on the fact that the use the cell towers not satellites. Cuba's cell towers do not have this feature so we will have no "GPS" service on our phones but the phones are ok to bring with us. Just need to setup for international roaming because the rates can be rediculous! With one cache 3 KMs from our resort and the next one over 100 KMs we sure hope to get that one without GPS. The map and cache page make it pretty easy :)

 

Now here's the next question. Which travel bugs or coins should I send on a vacation in the sunny south? LOL

 

Nice try. The iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4 have actual GPS hardware in them. They CAN get a GPS lock without using cell towers. Particularly the 4.

Being one of the most popular phones sold worldwide, it's a pretty safe bet they know that iOS devices can have GPS. Also they know the devices are media storage devices so you may find yourself there for a while trying to convince someone there is no media files (photos, music, movies) that contravene their import laws.

 

Take a look at the unlocked/no contract price points for iPhones and you really, really should leave the thing at home. The risk to reward is just way too high here.

 

I stand corrected. Thanks np. This is more of a hassle than it's worth. iPhone stays home!

Share this post


Link to post

OK so where is this "Canadian Cuban Embassy" that we can ask for a permit? We're going to Varadero next month & I see there are now 50 Geocaches all over Cuba, around 10 on the Varadero peninsula itself.

 

We're also looking forward to traveling around Cuba, and having a GPS would be so sweet for that too, that's probably a bigger enticement to bring the GPS more than just for the Geocaching.

 

Most of the responses I get from Google queries are several years old, and I'm under the impression there have been some recent changes to Cuban policies. Are standalone GPS receivers OK in Cuba "now?"

Share this post


Link to post

We ended up bringing our iPhone 4 along with a tablet with GPS (from satellites) capability. They didn't even ask us to open our bags at the airport. I even brought a coconut home in my carry on - no questions asked. We are going back in November to get married and I'm going to bring my GPSr just to test the waters. The whole process entering and leaving Cuba was pretty relaxed and the people were all friendly! We didn't see any "cops with guns" the whole time we were there actually!

 

As for travelling around Cuba with a GPS I don't know if you'll be able to find maps will you?

 

Loved Cuba! Can't wait to return! Wish there were more caches to be found ;)

Share this post


Link to post

OK so where is this "Canadian Cuban Embassy" that we can ask for a permit? We're going to Varadero next month & I see there are now 50 Geocaches all over Cuba, around 10 on the Varadero peninsula itself.

 

We're also looking forward to traveling around Cuba, and having a GPS would be so sweet for that too, that's probably a bigger enticement to bring the GPS more than just for the Geocaching.

 

Most of the responses I get from Google queries are several years old, and I'm under the impression there have been some recent changes to Cuban policies. Are standalone GPS receivers OK in Cuba "now?"

 

Let me know if it goes alright(if you bring the GPS along), we're going to Veradero in March.

Share this post


Link to post

We didn't see any "cops with guns" the whole time we were there actually!

 

 

forget the cops, look for the snipers on the top of the hotel, seriously :lol:

Share this post


Link to post

Looked for them too. Didn't see any. The only police we did see were walking the streets when we were on the bus. They didn't even have guns on their hip. I don't get all the hype about "Watch out for Fidel's men with guns all over the place" We honestly didn't see any the whole time we were there and I did pay attention and look for them. We never felt intimidated once when we were there. We had this feeling of safety, like our own backyard - even when we left the resort. It was a great week away from it all!

BTW we were in Cayo Santa Maria - close to Santa Clara - not close to Veradero or Havana...

 

Back on topic... Good luck with your travels and let us know how it goes with the GPS in Cuba thing... :)

Share this post


Link to post

As for travelling around Cuba with a GPS I don't know if you'll be able to find maps will you?

 

You can get routable Cuba street maps for your Garmin here

 

http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/

 

Be advised that while those maps are routable they aren't "searchable" if they're anything like the ones I grabbed for Canada. Meaning, you can't search for "123 Somestreet" then route to it, because it'll come back with "street not found" Instead you can pan over to 123 Somestreet, stick your pointer where you want to go, & hit go. It'll then road route you there.

 

I'm certainly going to bring my GPS equipped Android smartphone with me & I'm pretty confident they won't care about that. But I'd LOVE to bring my Oregon 450 even more! Especially because it's more rugged & just plain more handy outdoors. I still haven't figured out what Cuba's CURRENT policy is on standalone GPSr's :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post

The Government of Canada still advises travellers not to import GPS devices into Cuba, when travelling:

 

Cuba Travel Advice and Advisories (Government of Canada)

 

Specifically section 4 Entry/Exit Requirements.

 

Imports and Exports

Articles prohibited from entry into Cuba include drugs, explosives, pornographic material, literature considered subversive, perishable food items, radio transmission equipment, wireless microphones, radio and TV receivers differing from household models, GPS devices, satellite receiver antennas and stations, air conditioners, and small appliances that draw heavily on electricity. Such items are routinely seized on arrival without compensation.

 

Cuban customs officials may also seize any imported item that they do not consider to be for the tourist's personal use.

 

Cuban customs may apply steep tariffs for travellers whose personal baggage exceeds 30 kg or who are carrying more than 10 kg of medication.

 

Donations of any type, whether by individuals, organizations, or businesses, must be coordinated through the Embassy of Cuba in Canada.

 

You may export from Cuba up to 20 cigars without documentation, or up to 50 cigars if they are in the original container, closed and sealed with the official hologram. If exceeding that amount, you must also provide a guarantee of origin certificate. Failure to comply with this regulation will lead to the seizure of the cigars without compensation. Art objects (including artifacts and paintings) purchased in Cuba must be accompanied by an export permit (usually provided by state-owned galleries). Otherwise, items must be registered with the Registro Nacional de Bienes Culturales, Calle 17, No. 1009 e/10 y 12, Vedado, tel.: (53-7) 833-9658.

I don't see anything there specifically calling out smartphones unless someone wants to get real technical on the radio transmission equipment definition (a cell phone transmits radio waves). You may want to ask the Embassy of Cuba the direct question and save yourself the grief. If anyone knows the policy, they should.

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba

 

388 Main Street

 

Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 1E3, Canada

 

Telephone

 

(613) 563-0141

 

Fax

 

(613) 563-0068

 

Internet

 

www.embacubacanada.net - cuba@embacubacanada.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

A followup, the website for the Cuban Embassy does NOT list any restrictions on GPS or electronics in the "Useful information to travellers" page.

 

Here's the relevant text on their site:

 

Customs regulations prohibit the introduction of pornographic materials, narcotics, drugs, live animals and firearms, although weapons for sport hunting may be authorized by the entity in charge of this tourist sport modality.

The export of artworks, antiques and other cultural assets legally protected is allowed, upon previous presentation of the relevant documents issued by the competent authorities, and such item are duly authenticated with the purchase invoice.

 

So it looks like it isn't a problem. Still, a phone call to find out wouldn't hurt. There are consulates in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal as well that could also help inform you.

Share this post


Link to post

Wow good research np! I think I'll email them before we go back in November. I'll keep an eye on this thread in the meantime incase someone beats me to the punch :anibad:

Share this post


Link to post

Wow good research np! I think I'll email them before we go back in November. I'll keep an eye on this thread in the meantime incase someone beats me to the punch :anibad:

 

i would not take for granted the reply you get from the embassy though

 

ultimately the border officials have the latitude to decide

Share this post


Link to post

My wife and I are headed for Varadero in February and I have a travel bug and a geocoin that I plan to plant into the geocaches there. I am a little concerned though, the terms state that anyone planting a Geocache has to be available to maintain it. Does anyone know how many of these caches are actually maintained and how many are just planted by tourists who may or may not visit the location again? I know of one at least.

Edited by Arctikkat

Share this post


Link to post

My wife and I are headed for Varadero in February and I have a travel bug and a geocoin that I plan to plant into the geocaches there. I am a little concerned though, the terms state that anyone planting a Geocache has to be available to maintain it. Does anyone know how many of these caches are actually maintained and how many are just planted by tourists who may or may not visit the location again? I know of one at least.

 

look at the CO profile and see where they are from, but it could be that they have someone there taking care of it, which is usually the way those caches away from home are approved, or maybe they visit the location frequently enough that satisfied the reviewer that would be taken care of

 

personally i wouldn't leave TB's there, i don't feel geocaching is too popular, except from tourists and for those more so taking into consideration the uncertainty of being allowed to have a GPS or not

Edited by t4e

Share this post


Link to post

I took an iphone with me as well as my Suunto Ambit:

http://www.suunto.com/global/en/Product-Families/suunto-ambit

 

It looks like a wristwatch, so it never got a second glance....then again, nothing I took got a second glance. Absolutely nothing, and I have a pelican case full of electronic equipment with me when I travel. Cameras, Scuba computers, PDA, and more, I even smuggled in two jugs of Clamato Juice, although I guess since it is legal it wasn't technically smuggling. I just snuck it in with my scuba gear which the airline doesn't appreciate all that much. :) I'd be pretty comfortable in taking a GPS and openly using it in Cuba, just maybe not near a military installation.

 

I also left a travel bug, I see it's over in Germany now, so I'm glad that worked out.

http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?guid=9a069672-42af-4667-b6d6-73149fad3420

 

Where you staying? We were at the Riu Varadero. If you like to use wash cloths when you wash your face you'd better take some with you.

Edited by Arctikkat

Share this post


Link to post

I think I just go with map, compass, and GSAK.... don't really want to hold our group up if a GPS is discovered.

 

We're staying on the Varadero Peninsula as well, not at that resort though, somewhere else.

Share this post


Link to post

I think I just go with map, compass, and GSAK.... don't really want to hold our group up if a GPS is discovered.

 

We're staying on the Varadero Peninsula as well, not at that resort though, somewhere else.

 

You shouldn't have much difficulty in finding the caches, I'd taken printouts of the caches I wanted to visit along just in case the iphone didn't work there and computer access was limited. Cubanet is about as slow as dial up, or worse. :)

 

Honestly, I didn't need a GPS at all.

Share this post


Link to post

You shouldn't have much difficulty in finding the caches, I'd taken printouts of the caches I wanted to visit along just in case the iphone didn't work there and computer access was limited. Cubanet is about as slow as dial up, or worse. :)

 

Honestly, I didn't need a GPS at all.

 

While researching caches in Cuba; I was surprised to see all the detail information about how to find caches; then I found out about possible restrictions on GPS devices!

 

If I cannot use GPS to find the caches; then I'd also prefer not to print a lot of paper before leaving. I found an alternative to paper-based geocaching in Cuba!

 

Earlier this week I figured out how to transfer GC webpages to my BB so that I don't need to print anything before I go.

Here is the procedure:

1) Open any GC cache page. Scroll *all* the way to the bottom of page to see "Published" log entry. This is necessary if you wish to be able to see all log entries; some do not load into webpage until you scroll down to view them.

2) In your browser; use "File" menu to save the current page to disk. Most browsers with create a file like GCxxxx.html and a directory like GCxxxx_files (details will vary by browser).

3) Connect BB to computer and transfer both the file and associated directory to root directory of your BB device.

4) Disconnect BB from computer.

5) On BB, open browser and type this website address: file:///SDcard/GCxxxx.html

Voila! You can view webpage without any access to cell towers.

 

Something similar should also work for iPhones; I'll leave that exercise for someone else do document.

Share this post


Link to post

Or.... You could use the GPS in the BB to find the cache...with or without one of the BB apps to save the cache information.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 4

×