Can You See Cuba from Cancún? | Cancún and Playa Del Carmen Area Travel Site (2023)

Can You See Cuba from Cancún? | Cancún and Playa Del Carmen Area Travel Site (1)

Perhaps you have heard stories about people seeing the dancing lights across the water, displaying a lively city in another country. However, if you think you have seen an entirely different country from across the bay, you either have excellent eye-sight, or your eyes are playing tricks on you.

Can you see Cuba from Cancún? It is highly unlikely that the naked eye can see Cuba from Cancún, with 140+ miles between Cancún and the tip of Cuba and 316+ miles between Cancún and Havana.

If you have heard the myth of seeing the dancing lights of Cuba far off in the distance while standing on Cancún, you have been tricked. However, this guide will break down all of the transportation methods and hacks for getting the most out of these two getaway destinations! Just because you cannot see one from the other, does not mean that they’re not close enough to be simultaneously enjoyed.

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The Reasons You Cannot See Cuba From Cancún

Not only is the distance between Cuba and Cancún too great for the naked eye to see one from the coast of another, but you are also combatting the curvature of the earth.

The main reasons you cannot see Cuba from Cancún are:

  • It is 143+ miles from coast to coast between the two.
  • Humans can see about 3-miles away on a clear and sunny day; however, they cannot see it in exceptional detail. For instance, you certainly wouldn’t notice a rabbit moving from 3-miles away, but you could easily see the foggy horizon in the distance.
  • The curvature of the earth is a significant factor here. The human eye could potentially see for dozens of miles – without the curvature of the earth. Since the world is round, it considerably hinders your viewing abilities. At a 5-mile distance, the earth would experience a curvature of about 16.67-feet.
  • Don’t allow this to trick you into thinking that elevation is everything. Sadly, even if you were standing on the tallest building in Cancún, you still would not have the eye-strength to see 140+ miles.

How to Get from Cancún to Cuba

You may assume that a ferry would be the most straightforward method for traveling between these two local countries. Unfortunately, there is no ferry service between these two countries. The roughly 100-mile distance between Cancún and Cuba may seem minuscule; however, it is too far for a ferry to travel on a single tank of gas.

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The only way to get from Cancún to Cuba is by air! Here’s what you need to know:

  • Interjet is a popular and affordable Spanish airline that offers several daily trips to Havana.
  • Your ticket will be roughly $100 one-way.
  • At the Mexican airport, you will need to get a tourist visa to visit Cuba. You can do this even if your plane tickets have already been purchased.
  • The visa will be around $15-$20 USD (300-350 pesos), and you can pay in cash. There will be a line for the visa nearby the airline you have selected to fly. You can also Apply Online with iVisa and have the option to pay $75-$95 for expedited shipping or rush order.
  • You will then check-in for your flight as usual; however, you must show proof of your return flight or evidence for this being a round-trip.
  • You will fill out a currency declaration form at the Mexican gate before you board your plane to Havana. You do not need to declare anything if you are carrying under $10,000 worth of goods.
  • Your flight will be about an hour.

After Arriving in Cuba

Once you have arrived in Havana (or wherever your desired Cuban destination is located), you will:

  1. Go through passport control. You may need to show evidence of health insurance or travel insurance at this point (a paper copy will work fine).
  2. Your passport will be stamped along with your tourist card.
  3. Pass through customs. There may be a customs form to fill out at this point or while you are standing in the baggage claim area. Since you are most likely on vacation, you will probably not have enough goods to declare anything to customs, which will spare you a painfully long line.
  4. Now, you are officially in Cuba!

How to Exchange Currency

You can exchange your currency at any:

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  • Airport
  • Bank
  • Official Government Currency Exchange Houses (CADECA)

As well as most:

  • Hotels and resorts
  • Shopping centers

You will simply bring your currency to the representative at that establishment and let them know what currency you would like to exchange for.

Important Currency Note – Cuba and Mexico both use pesos as their currency; however, they are distinct to their nation, and you cannot use Cuban pesos in Mexico or Mexican pesos in Cuba.

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Fun Things to Do in Cancún

While staying in Cancún, there are a plethora of fantastic activities that you and your travel group can enjoy! Just a few of the local favorites include:

  • The Cancún Underwater Museum – A once-in-a-lifetime experience to swim through 500 underwater sculptures. This museum is a diving experience that connects art to nature.
  • The beach – Some of the best are:
    • Playa Caracol
    • Playa Langosta
    • Xcaret Park (eco-archaeological park and beach)
    • Isla Contoy – A beach island known for its birds
    • Playa Tortugas
    • Xacel
    • Playa Delfines
  • Visit Chichen Itza – A UNESCO World Heritage site. This is an ancient Mayan city that dates back to the 15th century.
  • Swim in a Cenote – With over 30,000 cenote oasis-pools in Cancún, these are crystal clear bodies of water, often hidden in a cave and tree-filled jungle. You can relax in the most serene cave swimming known to Mexico and combine this with your trip to Chichen Itza.
  • Ruins of Tulum – Tulum is only 81 miles from Cancún (about an hour and a half).
  • Enjoy the Nightlife – Cancún is a party-town, so enjoy it for what it is! Some of the best night clubs to check out are:
    • Coco Bongo
    • Cuncrawl
    • Cancún Vibes
    • Mandala Cancún
    • H Roof

Fun Things to Do Once You’ve Arrived in Cuba

Just to name a few ideas for your wanderlust adventures, the most popular activities in Cuba are:

  • Exploring Old Havana – Filled with unique architectures, beautiful colors, and enchanting smells.
  • Viñales Valley – A stunning valley near the mountains of Sierra de los Órganos.
  • El Malecón– A coastal city with an incredible seawall.
  • El Capitolio – A historical landmark and government building in the center of Havana.
  • Take a Food Tour – Compare it to the flavors of Mexico!
  • Museum of the Revolution – Located in Old Havana.
  • La Cabaña – An 18th-century fortress that is one of the largest in the Americas.
  • Varadero beach – A paradise on earth.
  • Try Cuban espresso – See what all the fuss is about!
  • Peninsula de Zapata National Park – If you need a taste of nature.
  • Find the El Morro Castle – A 1590 castle worth exploring. Also, a beautiful place to begin your visit to Havana, located just along the coast.
  • Enjoy a Tropicana Show – This is the cabaret of Cuba! Get a taste of the Cuban style for a post-dinner show. You can then dance the night away at a local club, using all of the Cuban dance moves you’ve just learned!

Whether you are simply eye-balling Cuba from the coast of Cancún, (or you want to explore both destinations), the options are versatile and each worth experiencing.

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In Conclusion

Sadly, you cannot see Cuba from Cancún. But that does not mean you cannot enjoy these destinations any less! In the scope of the entire world, 100-miles is incredibly nearby in proximity. If you are visiting one place, it is well worth considering a day-trip to the other!


Can you see Cuba from Cancun Mexico? ›

No, you cannot see Cuba from Cancun or vice versa from the naked eye. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the distance between the two destinations is drastic. The difference is 230+ kilometres between Cuba and Cancun, but that's not the only reason.

How long is the boat ride from Cancun to Cuba? ›

From Cancun to Havana Cuba is just 275 nautical miles or a quick 1 hour 10 minute flight. The pandemic's toll on the global tourism industry continues, our go-to airline in Mexico – Interjet – has ceased operations to stave off bankruptcy but expects to resume operations in 2022.

How far from Cancun is Cuba? ›

The shortest distance (air line) between Cancun and Cuba is 474.91 mi (764.29 km).

What part of Mexico is closest to Cuba? ›

The Yucatán Channel separates Cuba from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and links the Caribbean Sea with the Gulf of Mexico. The strait is 217 kilometres (135 mi) across between Cape Catoche in Mexico and Cape San Antonio in Cuba.

How far is Cancun from Cuba hours? ›

The total flight duration from Cancun, Mexico to Havana, Cuba is 1 hour, 8 minutes. This assumes an average flight speed for a commercial airliner of 500 mph, which is equivalent to 805 km/h or 434 knots. It also adds an extra 30 minutes for take-off and landing.

Can you see Cuba from a cruise ship? ›

To answer the original question, Yes, you will most likely see Cuba and if you take a portable tv you can watch Cuban TV. If you are going towards Labadee, you will probably not see Havana as it is near the western tip of cuba. Most ships don't pass close enough on that side.

Which is better Cancun or Cuba? ›

To sum up, I would say that Cancun (and Riviera Maya) is a better destination in terms of hotels, food, attractions and value. However, Cuba is a very special country and visiting Havana (2.5 hours driving from Varadero) is a unique experience.

How far is La Havana from Cancun? ›

Distance from Havana to Cancún is 509 kilometers. This air travel distance is equal to 316 miles. The air travel (bird fly) shortest distance between Havana and Cancún is 509 km= 316 miles.

How far is Havana from Cancun? ›

Distance between Cancun and Havana is 509 kilometers (316 miles).

Is Cancun closer to Cuba than Key West? ›

Q: Two peninsulas, Florida and the Yucatán, embrace the Gulf of Mexico, with Cuba at its entrance. What's closer to Cuba: Key West, Fla., or Cancún, Mexico? A: According to Google Earth, Key West is 94 miles from Cuba, while Cancún is 128 miles from Cuba.

Is it better to go to Cuba or Mexico? ›

Mexico gives a better overall experience, which also means that when it comes to all-inclusive travel, Mexico is the better choice. Cuba is a very beautiful country with amazing sights and history, but compared to Mexico, there is not a lot to do. Mexico offers everything you may ever want in a travel destination.

How far is the closest point from Mexico to Cuba? ›

Distance from Cuba to Mexico is 2,555 kilometers.

The air travel (bird fly) shortest distance between Cuba and Mexico is 2,555 km= 1,588 miles.

How do I get from Cancun to Cuba? ›

Cancun (CUN) to Havana (HAV) flights. The flight time between Cancun (CUN) and Havana (HAV) is around 1h 25m and covers a distance of around 509 km. Services are operated by Neos, Viva Aerobus and Aeromar. Typically 13 flights run weekly, although weekend and holiday schedules can vary so check in advance.

How far is it from the tip of the Yucatan to Cuba? ›

Geographically, the Yucatan Peninsula is the easternmost part of Mexico and separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea. The northwest coast of the peninsula is 600 miles from New Orleans and the northeastern coast is about 150 miles from the western tip of Cuba.

Can I visit Cuba from Mexico? ›

Mexico is yet another country whose citizens are eligible for a Cuba Tourist Card. As a result, you do not have to go to a Cuban embassy to get your visa anymore. You can use the services provided by iVisa instead and apply online. That way, you avoid the hassle you find at an embassy.

Can you fly direct from Mexico to Cuba? ›

Aeromexico, and VivaAerobus operate direct flights from Mexico City to Havana.

Is Cancun better than Aruba? ›

If you are game for luxury resorts, white sandy beaches, and activities like snorkeling, go for Aruba. But if you are looking for a more economic option, where you can enjoy a blend of vibrant nightlife and historical sites, pack your bags for Cancun!

How far is Thailand from Cancun? ›

The distance between Thailand and Cancún is 15917 km. How long does it take to get from Thailand to Cancún? It takes approximately 24h 22m to get from Thailand to Cancún, including transfers.

Is it safe to explore Cuba? ›

Foreigners may experience violent crimes, such as assault, sexual assault and robbery. Pickpocketing, bag snatching and other petty crime is common, especially on public transport and intercity buses. It also happens at major tourist areas such as: Old Havana.

Can Cuba be seen from the US? ›

According to Live Science, the naked human eye can see the glimmer of a candle's light at 30 miles when it's dark, but since Cuba is a good 94 miles away from Key West, it's impossible to see the island with your own eyes at ground level.

Do you need special permission to go to Cuba? ›

If you want to visit Cuba as an American and do it legally, you will need to obtain a Cuban visa in advance. This is also called a “general license” and the Cuban government requires it to travel to Cuba. It can be a bit confusing, but calling it the general license is the way to go.

Which country is safer Mexico or Cuba? ›

Cuba is also one of the safest countries for travelers – although a place like Cozumel in Mexico is also considered very safe (see this post for a comparison of Cozumel and Cancun). Single female travelers, namely, feel totally safe in Cuba but not in Mexico.

Does Cancun still have a seaweed problem 2022? ›

However, when this seaweed lands on Cancun's beaches, it ruins their beauty and makes it almost impossible to explore water-related activities like swimming and snorkeling. Unfortunately, Cancun and other top travel destinations on Mexico's Caribbean coast are still facing this problem in 2022.

Is Cancun safer than Dominican Republic? ›

Both countries should be safe for travelers who stick to well-known tourist areas and activities. However, by the numbers, Cancun comes out ahead for safety. Mexico has a crime rate of 54.19 while the Dominican Republic has a crime rate of 61.02.

Is Haiti close to Cancun? ›

Distance between Haiti and Cancun is 1543 KM / 958.9 miles.

Is Cozumel close to Cuba? ›

Distance from Cuba to San Miguel de Cozumel is 959 kilometers. This air travel distance is equal to 596 miles. The air travel (bird fly) shortest distance between Cuba and San Miguel de Cozumel is 959 km= 596 miles.

Is Machu Picchu near Cancun? ›

There are 4114 km from Cancun to Machu Picchu.

What island Can you see Cuba from? ›

The fact that Cuba is only 90 miles away from Key West makes people sure that they could see Cuba as long as they had a high-powered telescope.

Which is safer Dominican or Cuba? ›

Both Cuba and the Dominican Republic are relatively safe countries for tourists to visit. However, Cuba is well-known for how safe it is for both locals and tourists. Between the two, Cuba has a better image of being a safe place to travel to. However, there's really nothing to worry about in the Dominican Republic.

How many days do you need in Cuba? ›

However, to experience Cuba at its fullest, plan on three or four weeks. This gives enough time to explore the entire island, including southeastern Santiago de Cuba, the easternmost city of Baracoa, and the Sierra Maestra mountains, including the trek up Pico Turquino—Cuba's highest peak.

Which airlines fly Cancun to Cuba? ›

Neos Air, VivaAerobus, and Aeromar operate direct flights from Cancun to Havana.

Can you travel back and forth to Cuba? ›

Americans can legally travel to Cuba by simply stating their reason for travel – usually when purchasing an airline ticket. By stating that your purpose of travel is to “Support the Cuban People,” you're able to travel quite freely, just committing to spend money at small businesses rather than government-run ones.

What US city is closest to Cuba? ›

Key West is about 95 miles (153 km) north of Cuba at their closest points. It is also 130 miles (210 km) southwest of Miami by air, about 165 miles (266 km) by road, and 106 miles (171 km) north-northeast of Havana.

What part of the US is closest to Cuba? ›

90 Miles to Cuba, Southernmost Point Continental U.S.A., Key West, F.L., Home of the Sunset".

Can I enter Cuba through Mexico? ›

What is this? Most travelers to Cuba get the regular or “green tourist card,” but if you're arriving on a flight from America, you'll need the pink tourist card. If you have a visa but you're flying to Cuba via Mexico or another country, you will need the green Cuban tourist card instead.

Was Cuba ever connected to Mexico? ›

Cuba and Mexico are Latin American nations with a common history of colonization by the Spanish empire. During Spanish colonization, Cuba was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of New Spain in Mexico City.

What Cannot go to Cuba? ›

Cuba has strict laws on the use, possession or trafficking of illegal drugs. Cuban courts are handing out severe penalties for those convicted of drugs-related offences. Pack all luggage yourself and don't carry items for anyone else. Cuba prohibits the import of all meat products and fruit.

Can you get in trouble for visiting Cuba? ›

US law states that US citizens can only travel to Cuba on a 'general license' based on one of 12 different approved categories, which include family visits, educational and religious activities, public performances and exhibitions, and the vague sounding 'support for the Cuban people.

Why US citizens Cannot go to Cuba? ›

The U.S. government state department placed an embargo on trade between Cuba and the United States of America in 1962. Until this day, it makes travel to Cuba harder than you might think, but not impossible.

What country originally owned Cuba? ›

From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain, and slavery was abolished in 1882, until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained independence in 1902.

Did the Mayans go to Cuba? ›

During the eighteenth century, Mayas arrived in Havana as prisoners of war captured while resisting Spanish colonizers on the Yucatan peninsula. Significantly and convergently, Mayas were also accompanied by Amerindians from the interior of Mexico.


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