Drone Laws in Cuba (Regulations for Flying Drones in Cuba)

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While planning our trip to Cuba, the question was raised about whether we could bring our DJI Phantom drone along with us.

How cool would it be to capture those 1950’s classic cars on the streets of Cuba with a drone?  Well, much to my disappointment, drone use is not allowed in Cuba at all. Cuba’s drone laws are strict.

It may be our full intention to just capture some great footage of the old cars on the city streets along with some of the amazing coastline but the Cuban Government does not feel that way.

DO NOT BRING YOUR DRONE TO CUBA!


Cuba Drone Rules


Cuba: NO DRONES ALLOWED

Permit or License: NO DRONES ALLOWED

Tourism Board or a Film Maker: NO DRONES ALLOWED

Nationality: ALL NATIONALITIES

Considered: CONTRABAND

Prohibited Items: Narcotics, Explosives, Photography, anti-Cuban Literature, Aerial Drones, Stand-Alone GPS Devices, Walkie-Talkies and Items Considered to be Weapons.

Click to read: Best Drones For Travel From A Real Drone User

You May Have Seen Drone Footage of Cuba on the Web

You are right, there are some videos on YouTube of aerial shots all around Cuba. If you dig deeper, all these shots are only done from a handful of people who flew them for government use only.

If you have an in with the government or military maybe you have a chance but probably not even then. Other videos are from Cuban students working hand and hand with the government.

Are They Just Looking for DJI?

No, it’s all UAV’s and RPAS. No matter the size, make or brand, you are not allowed to bring an aerial drone because of Cuba’s drone laws. 

Many people wonder if their drones could be an exception without having a fixed camera installed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter. Fixed camera or not, drones are not allowed in Cuba.

What To Do If You’re Traveling With One

Downtown Havana Cuba

Being a long term traveler, or someone that likes to leave home for several months at a time, it is likely that you could find yourself on the doorstep of a country that doesn’t allow drones.

While this might seem like a disaster at the moment, you do have a few options.

  • Option 1: Store it at any airport you are flying through. Most airports will store your items for around $5-$10 USD per day. It will be locked up and safe upon your return. This is a great option because most flights are not direct to Cuba.
  • Option 2: If you are staying at the same hotel before and after your trip to Cuba, you can easily leave your drone bag at the hotel. Many hotels will hold your stuff free of charge as long as you have a reservation upon return. This is how I stored mine during our trip to Cuba.
  • Option 3: This option has mixed reviews and could end badly for you. Take it to Cuba and once in customs make it known that you have a drone (CONTRABAND). They have been known to store it for travelers until they depart. There are also stories of them just taking the Drone and not returning it to the traveler. So like I said before, this option is risky.
  • Option 4: Leave the drone at home. I know this is not a fun option but its the safest one. Nobody want’s their drone taken away.

It’s Your Responsibility to Know the Cuba Drone Rules

cuba drone laws

With the use of drones growing it’s up to us, the drone users, to know what our rights are and what the rules are.

We need to follow the rules because some countries are looking at it as if one person messes up, it will mess it up for everyone.

Don’t be that person who messes it up for everyone else! Know the rules before you travel and fly.

Remember: Drone laws are ever-changing so make sure you are up to date on drone laws in the countries you plan to visit.

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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.



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12 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Cuba (Regulations for Flying Drones in Cuba)”

    • Good luck. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what language you speak. Drones are considered contraband in Cuba, end of story. I have to say that this type of blatant disregard for laws is why there are so many strict drone laws in place around the world.

      Reply
  1. Hi, I just went to Cuba (November 2017) and brought my DJI Mavic Pro, flew it and had no problems. I wasn’t aware of these rules(yes i’m stupid) and Im probably lucky they didn’t catch me. The drone was in my carry on lugage in the small DJI bag. Maybe they didn’t recognise it as a drone..

    Reply
    • That is extremely foolish and irresponsible of you. As a drone user- especially one that makes videos for the internet as your youtube channel suggests- you should be up to date on all drone rules and regulations for travel. Irresponsible behavior like this is the reason why countries are imposing strict rules and regulations making it very hard for legit people to use drones for photography and video in some places. Please do your homework if you’re going to travel with a drone. Also something to note, you’re extremely lucky you didn’t get arrested. I’d be very cautious about publishing ANY of the content you got. It is not unheard of for people to be fined very heavily or even be arrested, after the fact.

      Reply
  2. Hehehe…there are some questions you suspect you know the answer to even without asking. That’s a shame, too, because it is a “target rich environment” for the photographer – aerial or otherwise!

    Reply
    • You cant suspect you know every answer while traveling with a drone, that will get you into trouble. It is 100% a shame and maybe they will change their views on drones in the next few years.

      Reply
    • You are right it’s better to know then to just show up and get it taken away. It’s a huge pain traveling with a drone, with rules changing daily. If I was thinking of getting one (now having one) I would not, Spend the money on something else.

      Reply
    • It’s 100% a shame, with classic towns that look like they are right out of a movie set to the beaches. It would be a drone pilots dream! Maybe they will change the rules in the next few years, but I think more countries are moving to the no drone rule. So get photos and videos while you can!

      Reply
      • I thought the same thing! Wanted to use it for blog posts then read exactly what prison life was in Cuba if I did so. It is really a shame!

        Reply
        • Ha! That’s a good way to put it and so true. Some countries are really strict about it and it’s our job to research and then abide by the rules in place. It’s just not worth it for a little aerial footage.

          Reply

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