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Getting a hard disk into Cuba?

Ok very funny question I know but I’m bringing an internal laptop hard disk to a friend in Cuba… its only a 320gb SATA and cost about the 50cuc mark…

Any idea how much tax we will have to pay? Or how’s the best way to bring it into the country? Should it go in case or carry on?

Any experience or advice would be brilliant!

If I were doing it I would just take it installed in a laptop. Take it out once there. Bring your laptop back home. Simple!


That’s a good idea but I don’t have space in my bag for my laptop (my laptop is huge!) but I do have an external SATA hard disk which I can take out and use the case. I guess I can say that’s for my personal use but would they make me show it on the way out? If I show them the empty case would that be Ok? I’d much rather be honest with them.

Is it legal to bring these into the country is what I really need to know? My research has pointed to “you can bring a gift to the value of 50cuc tax free” from the aduana website now depending on the current conversion rate the hard disk was £33 so that could take me slightly above the 50cuc mark. I’m more nervous about breaking the law

I don’t believe it is in any way illegal, but you may have to pay duty on it. Too bad your laptop is large, otherwise it would be easy. With luck, they won’t even notice it, but if you declare it (as you should to be strictly legal) I think you will likely end up paying. Can’t you just buy one there? (more and more items are now available in Cuba, and there is an active “on line” market for folks with internet access. Mostly resort workers selling iphones and such that they told gullible tourists they couldn’t live without!)

Buy a $20 external case for the hd and take it with your laptop or your smartphone. I always take an extra hd and never had a problem.

Thanks again for the help both of you :slight_smile: if I get charged tax that’s fine, I just didn’t want to get into trouble, I’ve never brought brand new electrical items into the country before. I am bringing my galaxy tab so I can get away with saying it’s for my own use if needs be, not sure how comfortable I would be lying to the important looking aduana but knowing that I won’t go to jail for smuggling a disk is a huge help :smiley:

This person does not work for the hotel and has never asked for anything before. The family have been saving up to pay back for the disk (not that I’d accept the money off them) so I know they’re genuine. I’m very cautious of the sob stories you hear oh too often. We’ve heard loads of the normal “my starving grandma would love that phone” “my son is ill and that iPad would make him better” so the fact that there’s a black market doesn’t surprise me!

One last question, as there are 2 of us flying, is it a 100cuc in gifts allowance (50cuc each)? Depending on the current exchange rate the disk can be either just under or just over the individual allowance.

have taken many hard drives to cuba, not a problem. Also get a bill made up for under 50 dollars. They will want to see the hard drive no matter in your carry on or your checked luggage. That is alot of money for such a small drive.

Hi Crabby

Thanks for the tip. I’ll print the invoice out and put it together in the case.

That’s the going price out here for a drive… in fact this one had £8 knocked off :slight_smile: