What kind of electrical outlets and plugs are used in Cuba?

The voltage of the AC power plugs and outlets in Cuba is mainly 110V. To a lesser extent you can find 220V plugs and sockets as well. The frequency in both cases is 60Hz.

All Cuban homes have 110V outlets and plugs. Additionally, some households have a secondary line carrying 220V, but this is really not the norm. As I said before, the norm in regular Cuban houses is 110 volts.

You are more likely to find 220V sockets in hotel (resort) rooms. As a matter of fact, hotel rooms are usually equipped with both 110V and 220V outlets; so, make sure to plug your laptop, cellphone and other electrical appliances in the right socket.
A quick interruption to let you know that I also wrote an article covering the kind of cell phones used in Cuba. Follow the link if interested.
Advice 1: It is very handy to carry a 220V to 110V converter in case you need to down convert your outlet voltage.

This way, you don’t even have to worry about picking the right socket: the converter will make sure to always deliver the proper output voltage at 110V.

There are two main types of plugs used in Cuba: NEMA 1-15 and NEMA 5-15. Both types are standard in North America; namely the United States and Canada. See images of the two types of plugs below: 
NEMA 1-15 plug with two flat parallel prongs
NEMA 1-15. This plug has two flat parallel prongs.
NEMA 5-15 plug with two flat thick blades and one round earth pin
NEMA 5-15. This plug has two flat thick blades and an extra round earth pin.

One thing you should know is that power surges and voltage drops are quite common in the regular Cuban homes. Power outages are also common.

Power outages are dangerous; because in the first few seconds after the service is restored, the voltage spikes above its normal level, possibly damaging the electrical devices still hooked to the outlet.

Voltage drops are also a problem, because devices will receive less power than they should and this will eventually affect them.

Advice 2: Get a power surge/voltage drop protector (NEMA compatible)

An interesting situation arises if you are trying to hook your 3 pin laptop plug (NEMA 5-15) into an outlet that only has two slots (NEMA 1-15). I guess you can cut the round earth pin; but we don’t want to mutilate our laptop plug, don’t we? In this case, you might need a 3 Prong to 2 Prong Adapter, like this one:


I must say you can get by without the 3 Prong to 2 Prong Adapter. It would be better to get a surge protector that’s compatible with NEMA plugs and that also integrates a 220V to 110V converter. The Amazon product below is one good example of it.

This one has two added bonuses: first, it has a couple of USB ports to charge your cellphone, table, camera, etc.; second, it can be used not only in Cuba; but anywhere in North America, the UK, Europe and Australia.


Finally, if you think the voltage converter is too much, a simpler choice would be to get a NEMA compatible surge protector with USB ports, like the ones below. They’re cheaper, because they don’t integrate the AC converter.


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