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.
Meanwhile, here are some basic info that you’ll need to know before traveling to Cuba with Diabetes.
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.
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:
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.
Because for many of us diabetics, meal times are very important, here are the ones Cuban people practice:
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
One of our favorites! Wonderful Cuban-style cuisine on a beautiful terrace. They serve the dishes with white rice and viandas fritas, but you can ask to switch them out for delicious sautéed vegetables. Wide range of choices at good prices (4-7 CUC for a full plate).
Ad: Calle 8 between Calles 5 and 7. Tel: (+53) 78 30 07 93 Open: every day 12am-12pm
Large terrace, right on the Plaza Vieja. A wide variety of local dishes and good side options. Not as expensive as it looks. Probably the best option in this beautiful square.
Ad: Plaza Vieja, at the corner with Calle San Ignacio. Open: everyday until 12pm
On Linea avenue with a balcony seating (a bit noisy), the chef of this restaurant can make marvels out of anything. Most of the dishes have or can be ordered with vegetables on the side. Our favorite: the mixed skewers pierced into a huge half cooked pineapple.
Ad: Calle Linea, at the corner with Paseo. Open: everyday 11.30am 10.30pm
Fresh juice, fresh juice, and fresh juice! Fruits, vegetables, cereals, mixes, you can also create your own. And the menu includes nutritional information for every ingredient.
A good option for your breakfast vitamins. Or grab a sugar-free vegetable juice for an afternoon walk on the Malecon. Super affordable: 5-10 national pesos each.
Ad: Calle 6 at the corner with Calle 3 Open: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm
For more diabetes-friendly addresses in Cuba, download our Cuban & Diabetes food chapter right here:
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.
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.
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 Diabetes. Keep it always accessible on your phone by downloading our travel guide.
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:
To view our itineraries and some free sample pages, click below: