Calling Cuba from the United States can seem complicated, but with the right information, it's easy to stay connected with friends and family in Cuba. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about calling Cuba from the US, including a brief history of US-Cuba telecommunications, the different calling options available today, and tips for getting the best rates when calling Cuba with services like how to call to Cuba.

A Brief History of US-Cuba Telecommunications

After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, telecommunications between the US and Cuba were severed. For over 50 years, direct calls between the two countries were blocked. Americans had to book calls through third-country operators, and connection quality was generally poor.

In 2015, the US and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, allowing US providers to start offering direct telecommunication services to Cuba. As a result, it's now easier and cheaper than ever for Americans to call Cuba using services like how to call Cuba.

Several US providers now offer calling plans that allow you to call Cuban landlines and mobile phones directly from your home, office, or mobile phone. With an increased number of fiber-optic cables between the US and Cuba, call quality has also significantly improved over the past few years.

How to Call Cuba from the US

There are a few different options for calling Cuba from the United States:

Using a phone card

One of the most affordable ways to Call to Cuba is to use an international calling card. Many providers like Callmama offer calling cards with low per-minute rates to Cuba.

To use a calling card:

  • Purchase a prepaid calling card online or from a convenience store. Compare rates between providers to get the best per-minute rate.
  • Dial the access number on the back of the calling card.
  • When prompted, enter your card's PIN number.
  • Then dial the country code for Cuba (53), followed by the area code and phone number.

Calling cards allow you to call both landlines and mobile phones in Cuba. The main downside is having to dial an access number and enter a PIN each time. But rates are usually several cents per minute cheaper than other options.

Using your mobile phone

If you have an unlocked GSM phone, you can likely use it to call Cuba by purchasing an international roaming plan from your provider. For example, T-Mobile and AT&T offer Cuba roaming passes for around $5-10 per day.

While roaming, you'll be charged international calling rates to make Calling Cuba cell phone. These rates are typically expensive (around $1-2/min), so factor this into your overall costs.

Some US mobile providers also offer monthly international calling plans that include discounted rates to Cuba. For example, the T-Mobile Stateside International Talk plan includes unlimited calls to landlines in Cuba for $15/month.

Using VoIP services

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services allow you to make voice calls over the Internet. Services like Skype, WhatsApp, and Google Voice offer low-cost options for calling Cuban mobile and landlines.

To use VoIP to call Cuba:

  • Download the app or set up an account with a VoIP provider. Popular options include Skype, WhatsApp, and Google Voice.
  • Purchase credits or a subscription plan and/or verify your account.
  • Dial the Cuba country code (53) and the full phone number.

Rates for calls to Cuba are often around 1 cent per minute on VoIP services. Connection reliability can vary, but overall call quality is often decent. One limitation is that some VoIP services don't allow calls to Cuban mobile numbers.

Using a landline with international calling

If you have a landline phone account with international calling capabilities, you can dial Cuba directly in most cases. Contact your phone provider to add international calling to your plan if it's not already included.

Then, to place a call, dial 011 (the international exit code), followed by 53 (Cuba's country code), the area code, and the Cuban phone number.

Calling Cuba from a landline with international calling enabled is one of the most convenient options. But per-minute rates are higher than options like calling cards and VoIP services. Expect to pay at least 50 cents per minute.

Tips for Calling Cuba

Here are some tips to keep in mind when calling Cuba:

  • Dial Cuba's country code correctly: When calling Cuba from the US, always dial 53, not 539. 539 is the old country code that applied when calls had to be routed through third countries.
  • Know the difference between mobile and landline numbers: Cuban mobile numbers start with 5, while landlines start with 7. Rates are often different for calling mobiles vs. landlines.
  • Factor in time differences: Cuba is in the Eastern Time Zone, the same as New York, Miami, and Atlanta. Schedule calls during mutual waking hours.
  • Have patience with connection time: It often takes 10-15 seconds to connect calls to Cuba. Allow a few rings before hanging up.
  • Get the best rates: Compare rates between calling cards, mobile plans, VoIP services, and landlines to find the cheapest option for your needs. Calling cards and VoIP tend to offer the lowest Cuban calling rates.
  • Consider international plan add-ons: If calling Cuba frequently, add an international calling plan or Cuba add-on to your mobile or landline account to save substantially over pay-per-minute rates.

FAQs About Calling Cuba

Is it legal to call Cuba from the US?

Yes, it is perfectly legal for US citizens and residents to call Cuba since the Obama administration lifted telecommunication restrictions in 2015.

Can I call Cuba using WhatsApp or FaceTime?

Yes, VoIP apps like WhatsApp and FaceTime allow you to call Cuban mobile and landline numbers over the Internet. Video calls are also possible.

Do I need an international plan to call Cuba from my mobile?

In most cases, yes. Your regular mobile plan likely does not include calling Cuba. Add an international plan or Cuba roaming pass to call at local rates.

Are there still blackout periods when I can't call Cuba?

Occasional service disruptions still occur but there are no longer regular blackout periods for calling Cuba from the US.

How much does it cost to call Cuba?

Costs vary widely. With calling cards or VoIP you can call Cuba for as low as 1 cent per minute. Calling from a landline or mobile without an international plan costs around $1 per minute.

Can I call Cuba from the US using a satellite phone?

Yes. Satellite phones can be used to call Cuba from anywhere in the US, outside normal mobile network coverage. Expect very high per-minute rates unless you have a Cuba calling plan.

Stay Connected to Loved Ones in Cuba

Calling family and friends in Cuba is easier and more affordable than ever for Americans. With the increase in telecommunication services between the US and Cuba in recent years, there are now many convenient and low-cost options.

Do some comparison shopping between calling cards, mobile plans, VoIP services, and landlines to find the best match for your needs. Follow these tips for smooth calls and staying connected with your loved ones in Cuba. With the right approach, calling Cuba can be simple and inexpensive.