PHONES • PUBLIC, LAND LINES AND CELLS
Like everywhere else on the planet, cellular phones have replaced land lines in Cuba. Every kid (and house owner) wants one; it has become a household item and for many, a status symbol : 2 million cells in Cuba in the last two years, as of Dec. 31 2016.
HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER
IN CUBA FROM A CELL PHONE TO ANOTHER CELL PHONE :
Dial the 8 digits of the number (starting by a 5). Example, I call Etecsa's cell number 264 2266 Because it is a cell, it has the mandatory 5 before, ie 5264 2266
IN CUBA FROM A CELL PHONE TO A LAND LINE PHONE :
0 + code of the locality ("area code") + phone number. Example, I call La Habana : 0 7 862-xxxx [Since 5 oct. 2013, no need to dial a "0" before the number.]
IN CUBA FROM A LAND LINE PHONE TO A CELLULAR :
First, dial 0 from La Habana or 01 from anywhere else on the island then the 8 digits of the mobile (cell). Example, I am in La Habana and I call Etecsa's cell : 0 5264 2266 Example, I am in Santa Clara, and I call Etecsa's cell : 01 5264 2266
IN CUBA FROM A LAND LINE PHONE TO ANOTHER LAND LINE PHONE :
0 + code of the locality ("area code" or codigo local) + phone number.
IN CUBA FROM A CELL PHONE TO A PHONE OFF THE ISLAND :
119 or the plus (+) sign, then the country code then area (city) code (except if calling a cell) then the phone number. If the cell phone you are calling from is attached to a (your) cell phone service provider abroad (and not temporarily using Etecsa's services), this call could be relatively expensive, because there will be the inevitable "roaming" charges. Roaming rates for Cuba check here >ROAMING RATES PER PROVIDER PER COUNTRY<
FROM OUTSIDE CUBA TO A CELL PHONE IN CUBA :
• from Canada and the USA : the code to call out of the country 011 + Cuba's country code 53 + the 8 numbers of the Cuban cell phone starting with 5 + seven other digits; the cell phone owner does not pay for the call
• from Europe, the UK, Scandinavia and Mexico : the code to call out of the country 00 + Cuba's country code 53 + the 8 digits of the mobile (cell) starting with 5; the cell phone owner does not pay for the call
MORE INFO : call Etecsa, the Cuban phone company (53) 5264 2266 (this is a cell because, of course, it starts with a 5).
COMMUNICATING FROM CUBA ?!
• Post on Conner Gorry's blog here
Two types of telephone calling cards are sold in Cuba. Both show one side with a picture of nature (or artist) and a gold micro-chip where the remaining value resides. The other side has instructions on its use.
|CUBAN PHONE BOOK • ON THE WEB
Looking for a phone number in Cuba ? Try the officlal web site (slow connection ...) http://www.pamarillas.cu/ [Site being rebuilt as of December 2013.]
Apellido is last name, Nombre is first name.
PUBLIC PHONES • CALLING CARDS
You can purchase a pre-paid calling card that can be used in any blue public ETECSA (the national phone company) phone, located everywhere in Cuba on street corners, in hotel lobbies, and the ETECSA office you'll find in every major city and at the airport on arrival, usually at the same counter where they exchange money.
|In Cuba, you can make calls from/to any specially-equiped public phone with the prepaid card. Two types of telephone calling cards are sold in Cuba. Either type shows one side with a picture of nature (or painting) and a gold micro-chip where the value resides. The other side has instructions on its use.
• Cards sold in cucs (Pesos convertibles) in values of 5, 10 and 20cuc are handy for both calls within Cuba (from 5 to 75 centavos depending on distance and time of day or night) and calls overseas (1,40 to 1,50cuc per minute depending on distance and service). These are used in a type of public phone with the card slot and value window at the top.
• Cards sold in Pesos cubanos (Moneda nacional) in values of 5, 10 and more are used in another type of public phone with the slot at the bottom.
When you insert either of these, the window shows the value remaining and you see it decrease as the call goes on. Cost is about 1,40 to 1,50cuc per minute (depending on distance and service) for calls overseas and only a few centavos for calls within Cuba.
These cards cannot be used in public phones which only accept Cuban pesos (Moneda nacional) in coins which are also everywhere in Cuba (usually, right by the Calling Card phones). Be advised that in small towns, there are no calling card phones so you should carry Cuban pesos in one-peso coins if you're traveling off the beaten path and, of course, you can't make overseas calls from a Cuban Pesos (Moneda nacional) phone, whether with a card or with coins.
• So, to recap, there are three types of public phones in Cuba : Peso coins only (local calls), Pesos convertibles calling cards (intra-Cuba and overseas calls), Pesos cubanos (moneda nacional) calling cards (local and intra-Cuba calls only).
• But wait, there's more ! There is yet another debit-type card (used by Cubans) which carries a code that must be dialed in before the number, the tarjeta de codigo personal propria. (Card using your own personal code.), for which owner dials 66 first, then the code.
• Bell Canada customer may still use the Canada Direct service which allows callers in Cuba dialing a number in Canada to charge the call to their Bell phone account. They have to dial 0800-22632 before the desired number.
• The so-called "reversed charges" service is still available by dialing 1 6969. The person you call pays for the call.
• Another new service has been made available in 2013, useful for family and friends abroad. Called AmundoCuba, an internationnal prepaid call card with a PIN, sold in increments of 5CUC (0 mins.) or 10, 20 up to 50CUC (117 mins) which comes to 0,42 to 0,50 centimes of Euros. More on this on www.amundocuba.com
|PRIVATE PHONES • CALLING FROM A CASA
• If you're calling long distance within Cuba from a private casa, the owner is billed for the call and the cost is quite low. If you're going to make many inter-city calls, you can offer the owner a few pesos. Even local calls are charged as ETECSA stopped providing unlimited service in Cuban homes in 1995. Instead, it offers 300 minutes a month for a set fee with a per-minute charge after that.
• If you're making overseas calls from a casa in Cuba, a service called Salida Internacional allows the owner to dial the required phone number outside of Cuba using the 119 service and charge 1,40 to 1,50cuc per minute and add it to your bedroom bill.
CELLS - PROGRAMS
Mobiles (cells) in Cuba operate under the GSM (900 MHz) standard over most of the island except with the GSM (850 MHz) norm in La Habana, Varadero, Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo.
• Visitors can bring their own cellular phone and activate it for use in Cuba through CUBACEL at ETECSA boutiques .
• GSM per-minute rates vary from 26 to 40 US cents per minute within Cuba and do not require a monthly fee.
Calling outside Cuba to around the world costs about $1,40 (American continent) to 1,50US/minute. Roaming charges Cuban page >here<
• If you expect to make a lot of calls to Cuba from abroad it would be wise to rely upon a debit service (crediting it with a ... credit card) like the Irish ezetop.com (among others - list below) which sell you time for 99 cents a minute and sometimes on rebate for 32 cents a minute during Holidays (as of Dec 2013). [Because of the embargo, Cuba's national phone companies (owned by the people at least on paper ; ) has to go through third-party providers which accept US-issued Visa and Mastercard.]
More Cellular Use & Activation details on Cubacel here. cubacel @cubacel.com
CELLS - PREPAIDS
Their own cell phone (GSM types) to one of 376 point of sales and use the prepaid time method sold in increments of 10, 20 or 40US$ value in 50 locations in La Habana and in various locations in most provinces except Granma and Santiago).
Calls cost 20US cents per minute (10 cents from 11:00 PM a 6:59 AM) within Cuba Etecsa FAQ here
To activate your cell, there are, like everywhere else on this planet, around the location of Etecsa offices, offers from cuenta propria permit holders (legal business permit) of private phone experts who can do the job faster than the Etecsa staff (where you have to wait a loooong time).
Most charge the same rate and do it on the spot. Believe you me, no Cuban cuenta propria wants to screw a traveler, unless he/she wants to be in a lot of trouble.
So trust these youngsters, they are honest and earnest.
Service activation costs 3US$ per day plus 36 to 60US cents per minute depending on time of day (8 am to 7:59 pm. for "Normal" rates and 8 pm to 7:59 am for "Reducido" rates).
• Another option is renting a phone for 6US$ per day, (Nokia, Siemens, Motorola, etc). You must add to that, the 3US$ per day activation fee and your calls cost 20US cents per minute (10 cents from 7:00 AM to 10:59 PM).
More on Prepagos and Rentals on Cubacel here.
CELLS - SMS
One advantage of buying a Cuban family member (friend or lover) a cell phone is being able to send text messages (SMS) to each other all the time. Since the service started in 2003, it costs 16centsUS for Cubans to receive messages (125 characters max.) originating in Cuba, as long as these Cubans pay a 9.95US$ monthly fee to Cubacel. On October 3, 2005, the Cuban Government and CUBACEL decided to raise the price for receiving/originating a text message to/from outside the country to 1US$ per message.
More on SMS messages on this Cubacel page here. cubacel @cubacel.com
SEND MONEY • THROUGH THE WEB
You can send money to a Cuban by using an Internet service which allows you to debit the amount from your credit card. You must register first, fax a photocopy of your passport and the company issues a card to the Cuban recipient who can use it in most large cities in Cuba to either withdraw the amount or spend it like a credit card in over 7,000 businesses on the island. Money sent by you is credited to the card within 24 hours in La Habana and within 10 days in other Cuban cities. Western Union offers the service in gazillions of towns around the world at a stupendous cost.
TRANSFER FUNDS • FROM A BANK ABROAD
Transfer funds to the Banco Popular de Ahorro in La Habana through the National Bank in Canada or the Havana International Bank or the HSBC in London (UK), the Dresdner Bank AG in Frankfurt, etc. Same process for fund transfers to an account at the Banco Metropolitano in La Habana from banks abroad. Notes here.
INTERNET • GETTING ONLINE • PUBLIC WI-FI
Since July 2015, anyone can purchase a temporary Nauta wifi account password to use with smartphones, portables and tablets. Above, screen capture of an account in use.
Some 314 wi-fi zones (as of Jan 2017) have been made available by Etecsa (Nauta's parent company) all over Cuba, mostly on pedestrian streets named bulevar, or in parks.
For 1,50 cuc per hour, available from Etecsa (Nauta, Telepunto, etc) offices in all major towns, users get a scratchcard revealing a password to be entered on the user's smartphone, tablet or portable computer valid for 30 mins., one hour or 5 hours to be used over the next 30 days. Rate is 10 centavos (10 cents) per hour for national connections. [Cost is 3cuc from scalpers who hang around spots or near the long waiting lines at Etecsa offices selling these Nauta cards.]
By the end of 2017, there should be close to 500 wifi zones + 655 Internet connection points on the island including wired Internet offices (Salas de Navegacion), computer clubs, hotels and airports available to visitors and citizens alike. See map below.
Since the start of wifi in 2013, some 11.2 million mobile Internet accounts have been purchased in Cuba.
List of wi-fi spots as of January 9 2017 - Updated list on the cubatotal web site here
LA HABANA (40 zones - 100 by December 2017)
• La Rampa (from the Malecón up to cine Yara in Habana Vedado),
• Parque Linea y L in Habana Vedado,
• Corner 13 y 14 in Habana Vedado,
• Parque Estadio LatinoAmericano in Cerro - Habana Vedado,
• Parque Trillo + Parque Fe del Valle (corner Galeano y San Rafael) in Habana Centro,
• Parque Coyula in Habana Miramar/Playa,
• Balneario Universitario 1ra y 42 in Habana Miramar/Playa,
• Parque 13 y 76 in Habana Miramar/Playa,
• Pabellones Central and 14 at Expocuba (Parque Lenin),
• Parque de Campo Florido in Habana del Este,
• Parque de Calabazar in Boyeros
• Parque de 51 + Punta Brava in La Lisa,
• Parque 51 y 76 + El Anfiteatro de Marianao
• El Paseo de la Villa Panamericana
• Parque 9 de Abril + Parque de Santa Maria del Rosario in Cotorro
• Parque Mónaco + Parque Cordoba in 10 de Octubre
• Parque Jose Marti in San Antonio de las Vegas
• Parque Santa Amalia in Arroyo Naranjo
• Parque las Madres in Regla
• Parque José Martin San Miguel del Padron
• Parque Hanoi + Centro Cultural in Alamar
• Parque Central + Parque Viondi in Guanabacoa,
PINAR DEL RIO (32 zones as of January 2017)Pinar del Rio
Cafeteria Las Cubanitas + Parque principal in Vinales
Parque Antonio Maceo, in Consolacion del Sur
Parque Centro Comercial + Cafetería CIMEX in Hermanos Cruz
Parque 26 de Julio, in Guanes
Restaurante y Área El Cobre, in Minas de Matahambre
Parque principal in Entronque de Herradura
Cafeteria CIMEX y Parque in Mantua
Cafeteria La Esquinita + Parque Martín Herrera. in San Juan y Martinez
Restaurante y parque principal in La Palma
Pizzería 23 y 24 y Parque principal in Los Palacios
Parque Centro Comercial in Guanabacoa
Parque principal in San Diego de los Banos
Parque Independencia + Parque Roberto Amarán + Parque San Luis + Centro Comercial Alameda + Parque Colón in
ARTEMISA (14 zones as of January 2017)
Bulevar (pedestrian street) + Parque de la Iglesia in Artemisa
Parque central in San Antonio de los Banos
Plaza de la Cultura + Pizzeria on the Parque in Bahia Honda
Parque principal + Restaurante El Cohinito in Bauta
Bulevar (pedestrian street) in Guira de Melena
Coppelia Helados (Ice cream parlour) in San Cristobal
Complejo gastronomico at K59 (kilometro 59 on the highway)
Parque central in Mariel
MAYABEQUE (14 zones as of January 2017)
Central park in Güines
El Bulevar (pedestrian) in San José de las Lajas
Parque central in Madruga
MATANZAS (22 zones as of January 2017)
Complejo Todo por Uno (shopping mall) in Varadero
Asociación Cultural Artesanos + Cafetería Plaza La Vigía + Centro de Artes Escénicas + La Libertad and Peñas Altas + René Fraga city parks in Matanzas
Parque José Antonio Echeverría in Cardenas
El bulevar (pedestrian street) in Colon
Parque central in Jaguey Grande
VILLA CLARA (18 zones as of January 2017)
Plaza de la Revolución Ernesto Guevara + Parque de los Mártires + Parque Leoncio Vidal + Parque de los Framboyanes + Estadio Augusto César Sandino in Santa Clara
Parque central in Remedios
El bulevar (pedestrian street) in Camajuani
Áreas Policlínico in Quemado
Parque principal in Placetas
Parque principal in Caibarien
CIENFUEGOS (11 zones as of January 2017)
Parques Martí + Parque Villuendas + Parque Imago in Cienfuegos + el Rápido in Punta Gorda sector on the Cienfuegos bay
Parque del Municipio in Cruces
Paseo del Prado in Aguada de Pasajeros
Bulevar (pedestrian street) in Cumanayagua
SANCTI SPIRITUS (15 zones as of January 2017)
Parque Céspedes (Carillo) + Casa de la Musica in Trinidad
Paseo in Casilda
Parque Serafín Sánchez + Plaza Cultural Yayabo + Paseo Colon + Complejo Gastronómico Mar Cielo + Complejo Gastronómico Pio Lindo in Sancti Spiritus
Parque principal in Yaguajay
Parque principal + Paseo in Cabaiguan
Paseo in Jatibonico
Parque principal in La Sierpe
Parque principal in Fomento
Parque principal in Taguasco
CIEGO DE AVILA (16 zones as of January 2017)
Parque Martí + Paseo calle D + Parque Máximo Gómez in Ciego de Avila
Parque Marti, Parque Moron, Parque de las Madres and Parque Maximo Gomez in Morón
Centro Cultural Auraca in Venezuela
El Bulevar (pedestrian) in Florencia
Parque Sergio Antuña in Ciro Redondo
CAMAGUEY (25 zones as of January 2017)
Casino Campestre + Parque Agramonte + Parque 28 de Septiembre + Plaza del Gallo + Plaza de los Trabajadores + Parque Céspedes + Centro Tecnológico + Asociación Hermanos Saiz + Recinto Santa Cecilia + Complejo Lago de los Sueños + Cafetería El Legandario + Complejo Mercado La Caridad in Camaguey
LAS TUNAS (18 zones as of January 2017)
Plaza Martiana + Parque Antonio Maceo + Complejo las Antillas + Tanque de Buena Vista + reparto Casa Piedra + finca rural El Cornito in Las Tunas
Parque Emiliano Salvador in Puerto Padre
Parque principal in Jesus Menendez
Parque principal in Manati
Parque las Madres in Amancio
HOLGUIN (12 zones as of January 2017)
Parques Calixto García + Julio Grave de Peralta + Parque infantil Rubén Bravo + Loma de la Cruz in Holguin
Plaza de la Cultura in Gibara
Parque principal in Banes
Joven Club in Mayari
El Bulevar (Pedestrian street) in Rafael Freyre
Parque principal in Antilla
Parque principal in Cueto
Parque las Auroras in Moa
GRANMA (26 zones as of January 2017)
Bulevar (pedestrian street) + Parque del Amor + Parque los Coches + Plaza de la Patria in Bayamo
El Bulevar (pedestrian street) in Manzanillo
Parque Calixto García in Guisa
Parque principal in Jiguani
Parque Ricardo de Céspedes in Niquero
Parque 24 de Febrero in Campechuela
Parque Municipio in Pilon
Parque Municipio in Yara
Parque Municipio in Rio Cauto
Parque Municipio in Cauto Cristo
Parque Municipio in Buey Arriba
Parque Municipio in Bartolomé Maso
Parque Municipio in Media Luna
SANTIAGO DE CUBA (24 zones as of January 2017)
Paseo Maritimo La Alameda (portside) + Parques Céspedes, Ferreiro + Plaza de Marte + Centro Tecnológico Enramadas + Centro EGREM Alegremonos + Cafeteria ON + Supermercado y Centro Multiservicio en reparto Versalles + Caguayo (Galeria René Valdès Cedeno) en Vista Alegre + Parque en reparto San Luis in Santiago de Cuba
Parque principal in Palma Soriano
Restaurante in Siboney
GUANTANAMO (21 zones as of January 2017)
Parque Maximo Gomez/Centro Comercial Caribe + Complejo Comercial Reparto Obrero + Parque Martí in Guantanamo
Parque central in Baracoa
Parque principal in Imias
Parque principal in San Antonio del Sur
Parque central in Caimanera
Parque Municipio in El Salvador
Parque Municipio in Manuel Tames
Area in Boqueron
Parque Municipio in Yateras (Palenque)
Parque Municipio in Niceto Perez
Parque principal in Costa Rica
ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD
Boulevard (pedestrian street calle Marti) + Parque Cotorras (parque Estudiantes) in the capital Nueva Gerona.
Parque Cine in La Fe
Click to enlarge
SALAS DE NAVEGACION NAUTA
can be found in every major town on the island. Hourly rates are 1,50CUC (same as wifi, using the same cards).
There have been 193 Salas (Internet connection rooms) installed since the Summer of 2013. One can access the Internet on a desktop computer in these Nauta offices with a debit card which the unused portion can be used elsewhere on the island.
These are open every day from 8h30 to 19h30 hrs. There is no high-speed Internet in Cuba so be patient. Best is to connect after 7 p.m.
|We show addresses of Nauta ("Etecsa") Internet offices on each of our City pages.
And other service ETECSA, Cuban telecommunications monopoly, more Cubans have internet at home which the owners casas particulares Cubans and others doing business on their own account or "cuenta propria."in a very short time, Cubans with connections have grown from mere thousands to some 800,000 in Spring 2015
80% of Cuban schools have at least one computer with Internet access although limited to Cuba's 10,000 (and more) web sites.
Most consulted web sites by Cuban wi-fi users in 2016 : 1. Cubadebate.cu, 2. Sld.cu, 3. Cibercuba.com, 4. Granma.cu, 5. Prensa-latina.cu, 6. Juventudrebelde.cu, 7. Cubasi.cu, 8. Cmhw.cu, 9. Cubisima.com, 10. cubava.cu, 11. Cubanet.org, 12. Scielo.sld.cu, 13. Cubaenmiami.com, 14. Cubatravelnetwork.com, 15. Beisbolencuba.com, 16. Radiohc.cu, 17. Radiorebelde.cu, 18. Radioreloj.cu, 19. Cuba.cu, 20. Cubawebdirectory.com
Details on nautacuba here.