Calling Cuba from the United States can seem complicated, but with the right tools and information, it's easy to stay connected. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about cheap calls to Cuba, from the best calling options to tips for getting a clear connection.
Overview of Calling Cuba From the US
After over 50 years of severed diplomatic ties, the US and Cuba have reopened relations. It's now legal for US residents to calling cuba, but special services are still required. That's because Cuba uses a separate network that doesn't connect directly to the US phone system.
There are a few different ways to call Cuba:
Landline-to-landline calls use international calling plans or prepaid calling cards. Rates start around 1 to 2 cents per minute.
Cell phone-to-cell phone calls can only be made through third-party connection services. Prices are higher than landline calls.
VoIP calls made through apps and software offer the cheapest connection option at just pennies per minute.
Satellite phones are very expensive but offer a guaranteed connection. Rates start around $6 to $15 per minute.
No matter which method you choose, you'll need to follow Cuba's dialing format to complete calls properly. Read on to learn more about dialing, prepaid cards, VoIP services, and other key tips for calling Cuba.
How to Dial Cuba From the US
To call Cuba directly from a US phone number, you need to dial cuba cell phone number:
011 + 53 + Area code + Local number
011 is the US exit code for international calls
53 is Cuba's country code
Local Cuban numbers are 8 digits long and include a 2-digit area code
For example, to call a Havana landline from a US cell phone, you would dial:
Here are a few other dialing notes:
Cuba area codes are correlated to provinces, such as Havana (7) and Holguín (24).
Cuban cell phone numbers start with 5 instead of 0 after the area code.
You can call Cuba toll-free numbers from the US by dialing 011-53-800-XXXX.
For calling card access numbers, dial 011 + 53 + 866/867/868 + PIN.
Now let's look at some different calling options and how to use them.
Using Landlines to Call Cuba
Calling a Cuban landline from your regular best calling card to Cuba is one of the most straightforward options. However, it can also be one of the most expensive at up to $2 per minute.
To make landline-to-landline calls directly through your phone company, you'll need:
International calling plan - Most major providers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile offer monthly international packages. This enables direct dialing to Cuba without any extra fees.
Pay-per-minute rates - If you don't have an international plan, you can still call Cuba and simply pay higher per-minute rates. Confirm exact rates with your provider first.
Prepaid phone card - Another option without a monthly plan is to use an international calling card. Topping up the card balance in advance lowers your per-minute cost.
When evaluating landline calling costs, prepaid phone cards usually offer the best rates. Let's take a closer look at how these Cuba calling cards work.
Saving Money on Cuba Calls with Prepaid Cards
Prepaid international phone cards allow you to call Cuba for much less than typical landline rates. With a prepaid card from Callmama, for example, calls to Cuba cost as low as 1.2¢ per minute.
Here is an overview of how prepaid Cuba calling cards work:
Purchase - Choose your desired talk time amount to add money to the card balance. You can re-load the card anytime.
Dial access number - Call the access number to connect to the prepaid card service (using the 011 format from US numbers).
Enter PIN - Each card has a unique PIN number. Enter it when prompted to access your account balance.
Dial Cuba number - After entering your PIN, dial the Cuban number directly. Enjoy discounted call rates.
Check balance - Most providers have an automated system to check your remaining card balance.
Prepaid cards are excellent for infrequent Cuba callers who want low per-minute rates without a monthly contract. But for frequent calls, VoIP apps and software offer even better value.
VoIP Calling Apps Provide the Cheapest Cuba Call Rates
VoIP stands for "voice over internet protocol" and allows you to make voice calls via the internet. VoIP services let you call Cuban numbers for just pennies per minute from application software or a mobile app.
For example, Callmama's VoIP app offers unlimited calls to Cuba for just $2.99 per month. Individual call rates are just 1¢ to 2¢ per minute.
Here are some key benefits of VoIP calling apps for Cuba:
Low per-minute rates - VoIP calls are much cheaper than landlines or cell networks.
Smartphone convenience - Make calls worldwide right from your mobile device.
Keep your number - No need to change your phone number.
Call quality - Apps use compression to optimize call clarity.
Unlimited plans - Flat monthly fees for endless talk time to Cuba.
VoIP apps provide the best overall value for regular calls to Cuba. The only catch is that you need a stable high-speed internet connection to use them.
Tips for Ensuring Good Call Quality in Cuba
Between network connectivity challenges in Cuba and the long distance, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain a clear phone call.
Here are some tips for making sure your calls to Cuba sound great:
Use VoIP apps whenever possible - They are optimized for call quality.
Check your internet speed - For VoIP apps, aim for at least 3 Mbps upload/download.
Try different locations - Move to reduce background noise and access better WiFi/cell signals.
Schedule calls carefully - Avoid peak congestion periods like evenings or holidays.
Keep calls short - Long calls have more opportunities for distractions or glitches.
Be patient - Network delays might cause some lag or choppiness.
Contact support if needed - Most providers have tech support to troubleshoot issues.
With the right tools and preparation, you can enjoy clear phone calls to reach your loved ones in Cuba.
Can I Text Cuba From the United States?
Many people are used to texting for easy communication these days. However, direct SMS text messaging is not possible between the US and Cuba.
That's because they use separate cell networks that don't interconnect directly. But there are a couple of potential workarounds:
Messaging apps - Apps like WhatsApp, Signal, and Facebook Messenger allow you to send messages over data. As long as both parties have internet access, you can communicate freely.
SMS forwarding services - Some VoIP providers let you send texts online that will be forwarded to the recipient's phone as regular SMS. The recipient doesn't need any special apps, but availability is limited.
Email - If texting isn't possible, email still provides a simple way to exchange messages without relying on phone connectivity.
While texting has some limitations, tools like messaging apps make it easy to stay in touch with Cuba without long-distance charges.
Can I Use My US Cell Phone in Cuba?
In theory, yes - US cell phones can connect to Cuban cell networks. But you'll face extremely high roaming fees, making it impractical.
Instead, here are better options for cell phone usage in Cuba:
Rent a local phone - Some providers offer cell phone rentals in Cuba for reasonable weekly rates.
Buy a Cuban SIM card - Swap out your US SIM for a local Cuban SIM to avoid roaming fees.
Use VoIP apps - As long as you have Wi-Fi access, VoIP apps let you call and text cheaply.
Enable airplane mode - Turn off cellular data roaming but keep using Wi-Fi to stay connected.
With some preparation, you can use your smartphone in Cuba without costly cell data or voice roaming fees. Don't forget to turn off data roaming before traveling to avoid surprise charges.
FAQs About Calling Cuba From the US
Are there restrictions on who I can call in Cuba?
US phone companies are no longer legally prohibited from connecting calls to Cuba. However, the US still maintains trade restrictions under the Cuba embargo. It's recommended to avoid calling companies or organizations that are owned or controlled by the Cuban government, military, or security services. When in doubt, keep calls personal.
Can I receive calls on my US number from Cuba?
Yes - there are no technical restrictions on receiving calls from Cuba to US numbers. Your friends or relatives in Cuba can call your regular mobile or landline US phone. They'll just need to use Cuba's international calling format. Incoming calls don't cost you anything.
Do I need a special phone to call Cuba?
You don't need any special hardware to call Cuba from the US. Any telephone or cell phone will work. For the cheapest call rates, a smartphone is recommended to install VoIP calling apps. But landlines, simple cell phones, and even satellite phones can all dial Cuban numbers.
Are there still connection problems calling Cuba?
While phone connections are more open these days, underlying telecom infrastructure challenges in Cuba can sometimes disrupt calls. Be prepared for occasional delays, static, or dropped calls. Using VoIP apps helps provide the clearest connections by optimizing voice transmission over the internet.
Stay Connected Affordably With Callmama
We hope this guide gave you all the tools you need to call Cuba conveniently and affordably from the United States. With the right prepaid cards or VoIP apps, you can connect with loved ones in Cuba for just pennies per minute.
Callmama's calling services provide top-quality call clarity starting at just 1¢ per minute. We also offer convenient VoIP mobile apps, unlimited calling plans, and 24/7 customer support.
Visit us anytime to sign up and start calling Cuba today! Calling the island nation is easier and more budget-friendly than ever with Callmama.