Cuba is generally a very safe country to visit; in fact it's one of the safest destinations in all of the Americas, crime rate is very low. Tourism is very important to Cuba's economy so strict and prominent policing and guarding make the streets and hotels places where tourists usually feel safe. But "safe" doesn't mean 100% crime-free so you should still use common sense and pay attention to your belongings like you would do at home or in any other countries.
All hotels in Cayo Santa Maria provide an in-room safety deposit box to store your important documents (passport, tourist card, airline tickets), cash, jewelry, electronics, etc. They have a digital keypad; you choose your own 4-digit code. USEFUL TIP: After selecting your code, do first a locking/unlocking test with the door opened!
Every all-inclusive resort in Cayo Santa Maria have uniformed security personnel 24/7. They also have fire alarms and fire extinguishers, and safety programs and procedures are in place. But safety may lack in some adventure tours or activities so it's important for travelers to use good judgement.
Most crimes in Cuba are neither confrontational nor physically-threatening, such as: pickpocketing, purse-snatching, solicitation, and prostitution. Violent crimes against tourists are extremely rare and are very severely punished. Many Cubans are "entrepreneurs" and may try to sell you something of offer their assistance, but hustling and solicitation is usually non-insistent and not intended to be threatening. Cuban people are mostly friendly, open and helpful.
Here are some the most frequently reported dangers or annoyances in Cayo Santa Maria:
Mostly to sell cigars, rum, lobster meal, or taxi service. If you're not interested simply say no with a smile, hustlers are usually nor insistent or aggressive.
Pickpockets and snatch & grab:
This is extremely rare in an uninhabited island such as Cayo Santa Maria, but it may occur during an excursion, mostly in downtown areas, crowded places or during special events, festivals or fiestas.
Mostly theft of unguarded belongings on the beach.
Red flags on the beach:
The sea can sometimes be more dangerous due to higher surf, strong currents or undertow, especially during bad weather (strong winds, tropical storm or hurricane). Green Flag: Low hazard calm condition, Yellow Flag: medium hazard moderate surf and current, Red Flag: High hazard high surf and strong currents.
Overweight baggage charges:
In Cuban airports, some check-in agents may try to make you believe that your checked baggage is overweight, charge you the excess fee, and then keep the money for themselves. If you're almost certain that your baggage don't exceed the allowed limit, ask to speak to a supervisor, chances are the agent will quickly apologize saying that it was a mistake.
Theft in checked baggage at the airport:
Theft of items from checked baggage by airport employees has been reported, altought rarely. Don't pack valuables or small electronics in your checked baggage. What we usually do is to put a "tie-wrap" on our suitcase zippers, of course they can cut it if they really want to open the suitcase, but chances are they might simply swith to another suitcase easier and faster to open.
Cigars sold on the street or beach and by bartenders or taxi drivers are counterfeit, even if they have the proper label and seal of a well-known brand. They will most likely tell you that the cigars were taken from someone they know who work at this cigar factory, it's never true. It doesn't mean though they're bad cigars or they aren't a great deal, but simply that they are fake.
Electrical outlet confusion:
ELectrical current is 220V in every hotels in Cayo Santa Maria, but the electrical outlets are not always labelled. Plugging a 110V-only device will damage it. See the Electricity section for more details about converters, transformers and adapters.
Lily & Normand