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GPS experience/allowed in Cuba?

+3 votes
Next month I’ll be visiting Cuba. I’m planning a MTB trip (in group) and offcourse I’ like to add 1 or 2 caches along the way. But I’ve heard this rumour that a gps unit isn’t allowed.

After some research on the webpage of the Cuban embasy, it said that pro gps units (geodating etc) need a permit. But they don’t mention a normal stand alone device. So I guess my cycling gps should be allowed?

Anybody here with some experience? I’ve contacted them, but haven’t received a reply yet...

asked Oct 22, 2017 in Miscellaneous by Sportilicious (1,930 points)

5 Answers

0 votes
Unless they have banned mobile phones then everybody is gong to be carrying a gps around with them anyway - so one safe option may just be to cache with your phone
answered Oct 22, 2017 by mole125 (Expert) (19,980 points)
As I clearly specified, the question is about a gps. I know you can carry a smartphone... But I don't use my Iphone on my MTB for obvious reasons. And furthermore I want to use my gps also because it's my spedometer, HR-monitor,...
Fair enough just pointing out the options - I do use my smartphone on my bike but then I doubt I do the same level of cycling as you!
+3 votes
Do not take your GPSr.  They are still banned, and you risk confiscation or other consequences.

Most if not all geocachers in Cuba are set up so one can find without GPS - heavy use of hints, spoiler photos, hidden at businesses, and so on. Print out listings or take a phone.

There is a current discussion on the geocaching forum with more tips.

From what I have seen in discussion, it is the Cuban authorities' definition of "pro GPS" that matters, and their default rule is, when in doubt, confiscate.
answered Oct 24, 2017 by hzoi (7,620 points)
edited Oct 24, 2017 by hzoi
Well I've mailed them, asking for a permit. Although technically I wouldn't need one.

"Satellite Positioning Systems (SPS, GPS) used to determine the geographical coordinates in a site, for hydrographic and geodetic purposes (by the National Office of Hydrography and Geodesy)." Need a permit. And I'm certainly not geodating with my cyclo gps :p

But I certainly want to use my gps, because it's a mtb-adventure. And not just a single eartcache pick up I'll be doing... (wich I know, can be done with a smartphone).

But the discussion doesn't really help me further. Few recent posts and none that actually tried to take a gps, so...
Your trip, your call. If the permit is granted, I'd take several copies of it. If denied, would not recommend taking it. Border inspectors tend to be universally free of understanding and leniency.
+1 vote
I did not take my GPS to Cuba when I went there a few years ago for exactly that reason and my impression is things have not changed so much. Maybe an option would be to buy a cheap and simple GPS (say, an Etrex, maybe even second hand) and just risk it being withheld? Anyway, Cuba is a great place to see, enjoy the site!
answered Oct 25, 2017 by Domino_67 (6,410 points)
0 votes
I would take my smartphone with c:geo, Good luck! :)
answered Nov 12, 2017 by Bernike (1,090 points)
+1 vote

UPDATE on this one!

Back from the MTB trip in Cuba. In short:
- Mailed 3 times without reply. (2 months to 2 weeks before depart)
- Took my Garmin Edge with me anyway,
- And so did 8 others (from a 16 person group).
- Everybody brought his own bike, so we were quite the eyecatcher
=> and nobody was stopped or asked about the GPS.

So basicly I think it's a bit over hyped...

(PS:Caching in Cuba, by either smartphone or gps, without planning in advance is simply impossible. I had wifi connection in 2 streets. And we biked 620km en did about as much by bus...)

answered Dec 14, 2017 by Sportilicious (1,930 points)