Internet in Cuba
Easy access to Internet makes travelling & photography so much easier. You can check sunrise and sunset times, verify bus/train timetable on the fly, reserve hotels (or change reservations) during your travels, upload photos to the cloud for backup or share news with your friends on Facebook and so much more.
How to access Internet in Cuba?
But Cuba is communist country and so Internet is as limited and controlled by government as any other goods and services. Right now only one company, NAUTA, offers it.
In order to use it you have to buy a WiFi card for 2 CUC (which is 2 EUR at the time of writing). This card contains WiFi credentials (user and password) which entitle you to use WiFi for 1 hour.
You can buy WiFi card in many hotels, in ETECSA offices (which is telecommunications service provider in Cuba) or in black market, where it will usually cost 1 CUC more than official price. Buying the official way (through ETECSA) has its downsides – you will have to stand in a long queue and also you will be able to buy just 3 cards per person on a given day.
Where can I use WiFi?
The issue is that WiFi isn’t widely available. Many hotels have it now, as well as some restaurants and bars. But if you’re staying in casa particular most likely you won’t be able to access the Internet from your apartment. There are also several spots in parks that let you connect to Internet.
Most of the time connection isn’t great but at least for me it wasn’t terrible either. I was able to check emails or travel information without problems.
Make sure to manually log off
Also bear in mind that if you would like to use remaining time on the other day you have to manually log off from the WiFi network. To do that put 126.96.36.199 in your browser URL address and once the page loads click on the “Cerrar sesion” button.
If you forget to do this, your session will continue and will reach 1 hour limit without you using Internet.
Night in Havana
Havana, compared to European, Asian or American cities, is very dark at night. In Havana just a few buildings are lit in the night and you can see them in the photo below. It even sometimes happens that lights in the whole street don’t work at all.
Taking photo and post-processing
- Camera: Canon 5D MK IV (read my review)
- Lens: Canon 16-35 f/4 L IS USM (read my review)
- Focal length: 24 mm
- Aperture: f/4.0
- Exposure time: 0.8 s (“middle” exposure)
- ISO: 200
- Number of exposures: 5
- E.V. Step: 1
- Flash used: no
- Tripod: yes
- Filters: no
- Technique: HDR, tone-mapping
- Software: Capture One 10, Photomatix Pro 5.1 (Contrast Optimizer), Photoshop CC 2015, ON1 Effects 10.5
First take a look at Before & After comparison below. Quite a difference!
Dynamic range was very extreme in this case so I had to use HDR. Most of the photo is very dark but there are some extremely bright areas around light sources. So I took 5 exposures separated by 1 EV. I started editing by making lens corrections and removing chromatic aberration in Lightroom and then sent my 5 images to Photomatix Pro, where I used Contrast Optimizer tone-mapper to get naturally looking tone-mapped image.
If you would like to learn more about HDR photography, make sure to read my free HDR tutorial:
After that I opened the image in Photoshop and applied ON1 Effects 10 plug-in to increase clarity and boost saturation of blues a little bit.