TRAVELING TO CUBA
WITH DIABETES

Travel Cuba Diabetes

Let me guess: You’re about to fly off to Cuba and now you’re wondering how you’ll manage your diabetes during your trip? You’ve come to the right place: our writers have prepared a whole Travel Guide to Cuba with diabetes, of which you can find some extracts here. 

Traveling to Cuba with diabetes only requires a tiny but of organisation and preplanning. And that’s exactly why Sweet Trip is here. 

You can download our full guide to Cuba with diabetes right here and take it with you during your trip. You’ll find inside 3 complete chapters about: Diabetes-friendly Cuban food, Medical care in case of trouble while in Cuba, and a special Tourism chapter to discover the island.

COMPLETE TRAVEL GUIDE TO CUBA WITH DIABETES

Meanwhile, here are some basic info that you’ll need to know before traveling to Cuba with Diabetes. 

DOWNLOAD YOUR DIABETES TRAVEL LETTER

Before flying off to Cuba, don’t forget to download your diabetes travel letter and ask your doctor to fill it in. It will allow you to get through airport security gates and custom screenings with all of your diabetes supplies without any problems.

Diabetes travel letter template free

Enter your email address here and immediately receive your Diabetes Travel Letter Template:

If you need more information about why you need a Diabetes travel letter to travel by plane with your diabetes supplies, read the following article:

DIABETES TRAVEL LETTER

Why you should always carry one and what it is supposed to mention

DIABETES-FRIENDLY FOOD IN CUBA

If you’re already familiar with Cuban history, it will be easy for you to understand that its traditional cuisine is a mix of numerous influences: Creole, African, Spanish, and even Chinese! With that being said, you may be disappointed by the monotony of the Cuban diet: there are few spices available, the flavors are somewhat repetitive, and the choices are limited. But rest assured, there is still plenty to set your taste buds free while traveling to Cuba with diabetes!

In order to enjoy the best of Traditional Cuban Food without feeling guilty, and to keep your blood sugar levels within a reasonable range, you’ve just got to plan your meals ahead a bit, know what you can expect to see on your plate, and order accordingly! This article and our full chapter on Cuban Food with Diabetes will provide you with the necessary nutritional and tasty tips.

AT WHAT TIME DO WE EAT IN CUBA?

Because for many of us diabetics, meal times are very important, here are the ones Cuban people practice:

  • Breakfast (Desayuno), is generally served between 8am and 12am.
  • For Lunch (Almuerzo), shoot between 12am and 2pm.
  • For Dinner (Cena), better swing by before 9pm if you want to find any restaurants open.

LOW-CARB CUBAN DISHES

Cuban food is not the most diabetes-friendly cuisine you’ll find around the world. It is indeed very high in carbs… Not to worry, we’ve found some delicious balanced meals that you’ll be able to enjoy worry-free over there! Here is a brief description of 5 of our favorite low-carbohydrates dishes that you’ll find in Cuban restaurants:

Diabetes-friendly cuban food

CAMARONES ENCHILADOS

Shrimp (camarones in Spanish) cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. In fact, "Enchilados" draws its name from the "salsa enchilada" sauce that you will be served in numerous local dishes. The sauce and the seafood are both very low in carbohydrates. You can therefore make a perfectly balanced meal of it by ordering, for example, the classic Ensalada Mixta as a first course, with a small side of white rice, for instance.

diabetes friendly cuban food

CHILIDRON DE CORDERO

This delicious lamb meat recipe was imported to Cuba by the Basque conquistadores from northern Spain, and it wasn’t long until it was adopted by the local Cuban chefs. The meat is left to simmer over low heat in a tomato, pepper, and onion-based sauce. Super yummy! And practically carb-free. An ideal way to balance out the meal would be to a have a small portion of rice, sautéed vegetables, and a handful of cassava chips on the side.

Low carb cuban dish lobster

LANGOSTA

The Cuban lobster used to be exclusively reserved for export, but is now found in numerous local restaurants. It will be served up grilled or enchilada (in tomato sauce) and at a much more affordable price than back home (approximately 10- 15 CUC in restaurants). Delicious and with no fault whatsoever, it will be a delight! Our suggestion: serve it up with a small portion of white rice, a side salad and a good glass of wine if you happen to find any!

cuban food low carbohydrates

MORCILLA

Of purely Spanish origin, the Morcilla is a cooked pork blood sausage. For those of you who know it, its equivalent would be the French black pudding. Very low in carbohydrates. Ideal for an appetizer or to stave off hunger between meals without causing your blood sugar levels to spike when traveling to Cuba with Diabetes.

Cuban tortilla diabetes friendly food

TORTILLA

The Cuban tortilla doesn’t have much to do with the famous Spanish tortilla. In fact, it is more of an omelette that you can find plain or arrayed with cheese, ham, vegetables or others. It can be found everywhere, especially in the local joints on street corners. The tortilla alone does not contain any carbohydrates and is a protein-only dish. A good option for staving off hunger between meals without being in trouble with you glucometer.

DIABETES-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN HABANA

It’s not always easy to find good side dishes in Cuba. Many restaurants only have rice and beans as options. We’ve been there and we’ve put togheter a list of helpful addresses to help you buy and eat healthy food during your Cuban stay:

For more diabetes-friendly addresses in Cuba, download our Cuban & Diabetes food chapter right here:

CUBAN FOOD AND HOW IT FITS IN WITH DIABETES

MEDICAL CARE WHILE TRAVELING IN CUBA

You will be in good hands. Cuba is one of the world’s most advanced countries in the field of medicine.The majority of healthcare professionals are or have been trained abroad. Medical studies are financed by the State, and the number of doctors per capita is the highest in the world. Numerous tourists come to Cuba from afar with the sole purpose of receiving treatment.

Now you just need to find out how it all works over there in case you need to refer to the Cuban healthcare system while traveling to Cuba with diabetes.

SERVIMED: MEDICAL SERVICES FOR FOREIGNERS IN CUBA

The Cuban government has set up the national company called SERVIMED (Tursimo y Salud – Tourism and Health) providing the necessary medical services to foreigners, thanks to a network of so-called ‘international’ clinics and pharmacies. They are the ones you should contact if you encounter any medical problems on your trip. 

The main criticism levelled at the Cuban healthcare system, and it is perfectly justified, is its lack of crucial infrastructures, supplies, and medications. The US embargo as well as the end of Russian aids at the start of the 1990’s particularly isolated the island from a medical and pharmaceutical point of view. Numerous medications developed in American laboratories are not commercialized here, and, although Cuba has its own medical and pharmaceutical research services, the island unfortunately isn’t self-sufficient in this field.

104: MEDICAL EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBER IN CUBA

This number (104) is valid throughout the Cuban territory to reach ambulance services, accessible via mobile phone.

CAUTION! The state of the medical ambulances system in Cuba and its reactivity can sometimes be mediocre. If you are able to, it is highly recommended to take a taxi or have someone drive you to the closest international clinic.

In case you need to talk with emergency services on the phone, you can refer to the following free page extracted from our full Medical Guide to Cuba with DiabetesKeep it always accessible on your phone by downloading our travel guide.

Medical emergency in Cuba diabetes
English to Spanish Phrasebook to talk with medical emergency services over the phone

HEALTHCARE WHILE IN CUBA WITH DIABETES

Our writers and researchers have been to Cuba in order to gather all necessary information for people traveling to over there with diabetes. They’ve come up with a full healthcare chapter in which you can find all the necessary information to deal with the slightest diabetes-related mishap during your stay:
  • Medical emergencies: how to act fast and where to go
  • Consultations: general and specialized in diabetology
  • Pharmacies: how to get your treatment, costs, paperwork, good addresses, etc.
  • Laboratories: how and where to do your medical tests
  • Medical vocabulary: useful sentences and English-to-Spanish diabetes dictionary
  • Local supports and guidance while traveling to Cuba with diabetes
  • Tips to stay safe while traveling to Cuba with diabetes

MEDICAL GUIDE TO CUBA WITH DIABETES

DISCOVERING HABANA WITH PERFECT BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS

Physical exercise has a key part in our diabetes management. Havana City is vast and abounds in tourist attractions as well as hidden nooks to venture into. You have got yourself the perfect opportunity to combine tourism with physical exercise. In case you’re short on time to get organized or if you’re lacking inspiration, we have put together some ideas for discovering the Cuban capital on foot, by bicycle or in the water.

THE BENEFITS OF WALKING FOR DIABETES MANAGEMENT

REMEMBER! Whether you have diabetes or not , the World Health Organisation advices adults aged 18–64 to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.

That means we all should walk at least 30 minutes a day. And the more we walk, the healthier we’ll be! Walking helps stabilize blood glucose and cholesterol levels, and substantially reduces the risks of developing complications, in particular with regard to cardiovascular diseases. The faster the pace, the more effective it is. And climbing some stairs adds to the effort!

In our Tourism Guide to Cuba with diabetes, we’ve included everything you need to keep exercising while discovering the wonderful city of Havana:

  • Walking itineraries taking you to Havana's main touristic sites of Havana
  • Free walking tours of the city with local guides
  • Bicycle tours and rentals information
  • The best beaches and swimming pools to go for a dip in Havana
  • Large-scale illustrative photos and plenty of fascinating cultural facts and stories
  • Yoga, jogging, gym and more!

To view our itineraries and some free sample pages, click below:

CUBA WITH DIABETES
TOURISM AND PHYSICAL EXERCISE

We hope this article has helped you out. Do not hesitate to leave your comments!
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