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10 Issues to Know About Journey to Cuba

10 things to know about travel to Cuba

Havana, Cuba (Credit score: Cuba Candela)

Now could be one of the best time in historical past to go to Cuba! U.S. regulation nonetheless requires that American journey to Cuba fall beneath one in all 12 approved classes, however latest confusion round these journey guidelines has led to a discount in crowds. In the meantime, Cuban lodging, infrastructure and companies have been steadily bettering. In 2019, you possibly can nonetheless see Cuba because the hidden gem it has lengthy been—earlier than it modifications.

Listed here are 10 issues you should find out about journey to Cuba earlier than you go:

Car in Havana (Credit: Cuba Candela)

Automotive in Havana (Credit score: Cuba Candela)

1. The commonest journey authorizations are “people-to-people” (journey with an organization) or “help for the Cuban individuals” (journey by yourself)
As famous above, American journey to Cuba should fall beneath one in all twelve approved classes. The people-to-people class of journey usually manifests as a gaggle tour run by a U.S. firm. Nevertheless, that “group” might be 200 individuals, two individuals and even only a single individual. The hot button is that you just journey with a licensed U.S. firm, akin to a tour operator or cruise line, which can maintain all necessities for journey in your behalf.

Journey beneath the help for the Cuban individuals is undertaken on a person foundation. This class requires a “full-time” schedule of actions that “doesn’t embrace free time or recreation in extra of that per a full-time schedule,” a requirement supposed to stop People from visiting Cuba as “vacationers” and spending time at government-owned seaside resorts. As a substitute, permitted actions embrace staying in a non-public house akin to an Airbnb, consuming in non-public eating places and buying at non-public companies.

The important thing for the help for the Cuban individuals journey license is to doc that you’ve supported extra sorts of private-sector Cuban entrepreneurs than simply the three particularly listed within the U.S. Treasury laws famous above. Examples of different non-public companies that you just would possibly encounter and help in Cuba embrace taxi drivers (akin to convertible automobiles) and Airbnb experiences run by native hosts (or related privately run actions present in Cuba). Vacationers using the help for the Cuban individuals license should retain information of compliance for 5 years after journey to Cuba. These information are topic to audit by U.S. Treasury.

On getting a journey “license”: Journey authorizations are referred to as licenses, offered on a “normal” foundation, which signifies that they’re self-authorized, with no course of to finish or documentation to undergo the U.S. authorities for approval. That mentioned, do anticipate U.S. Customs officer would possibly ask why you have been in Cuba whenever you return to america. Be ready with a 1-2 sentence response. Don’t say you have been a “vacationer,” as “tourism” to Cuba is strictly prohibited, and this self-disclosure might get you in hassle, as might mendacity to a Customs officer.

Cuban visa (Credit: Cuba Candela)

Cuban visa (Credit score: Cuba Candela)

2. Getting a Cuban vacationer visa is simple
The Cuban vacationer visa is a completely separate doc from the U.S. journey license mentioned within the part above. Acquiring a Cuban vacationer visa (additionally referred to as an entry allow, vacationer card or journey card) may be very straightforward. For many vacationers, together with Americans born in america, there’s no course of required. You don’t have to ship in your passport or contact the Cuban embassy.

The visa will be bought straight out of your airline on the day of departure with a bank card. It may also be ordered prematurely on-line. Tour operators and cruise strains may also organize the visa prematurely. Filling within the visa takes lower than one minute and will be accomplished on the flight to Cuba.

Three. Attending to Cuba is simple
Reserving a flight to Cuba is as straightforward as reserving a flight to another vacation spot. On the time of reserving, you’ll be requested to supply the approved class of journey mentioned in merchandise #1 above. Main U.S. airways—together with American, United, Delta, and JetBlue—fly direct to Havana. You may additionally now e book a cruise to Cuba. 

Flower cart (Credit: Cuba Candela)

Flower cart (Credit score: Cuba Candela)

Four. Cuba is protected to go to
In January 2018, Cuba was awarded the Excelencia Award because the “Most secure Nation” on the earth for vacationers to go to on the annual Worldwide Tourism Truthful in Madrid, Spain. A March 2018 examine confirmed that of almost 500 U.S. vacationers who visited Cuba in 2017 and 2018, 99% felt “protected” or “very protected” whereas in Cuba. Lower than 1% felt unsafe and 0 respondents felt very unsafe.

5. There’s no improper time to go to Cuba
Think about the next tradeoffs:

  • December-March: Peak season (superb climate, extra crowds, greater costs)
  • April/Could and November: Shoulder season (nice climate, fewer crowds, decrease costs)
  • June-August: Summer time season (sizzling climate, fewer crowds, decrease costs, think about hurricane insurance coverage)
  • September-October: Off-season (fewer crowds, decrease costs, purchase journey insurance coverage)
Viñales (Credit: Cuba Candela)

Viñales (Credit score: Cuba Candela)

6. The primary cities it is best to go to are Havana, Viñales and Trinidad, in that order

  • Havana: Cuba’s capital metropolis, since 1592, is the most important metropolis within the Caribbean with spectacular coastlines and grand avenues filled with traditional automobiles and salsa music.
  • Viñales: A small city positioned within the stunning tobacco-growing area of Cuba surrounded by limestone mogotes (mountains). A magical place.
  • Trinidad: A colonial mountain village with pastel-colored houses and charming cobblestoned streets.

7. U.S. playing cards don’t work in Cuba, so it is best to carry loads of money
U.S. credit score and debit playing cards don’t work in Cuba. The overseas trade charge for USD is 13%, whereas the charge for Euros is Three-5%. In case you carry Euros, it can save you Four-7% of the quantity exchanged.

Cigars (Credit: Cuba Candela)

Cohiba cigars (Credit score: Cuba Candela)

eight. You may carry again cigars and rum
There are not any Cuba-specific limits on the cigars and rum you possibly can carry again for private consumption. Nevertheless, the usual $800 Responsibility Free exemption and regular tax-free limits on alcohol and tobacco do nonetheless apply. 

9. Wi-Fi remains to be restricted, however you should use textual content roaming to speak
Whereas Wi-Fi has improved considerably in Cuba over the past three years, it is best to plan to be offline and embrace the digital detox! In case you’d like to make use of textual content roaming in your U.S. cell phone to speak inside Cuba and to buddies/household within the U.S., charges are ~$zero.50 per message.

Vital: Flip off information roaming and watch out with voice roaming as each are (typically) extraordinarily costly.

Cuban family in Viñales (Credit: Cuba Candela)

Cuban household in Viñales (Credit score: Cuba Candela)

10. Cuba is a family-friendly journey vacation spot
Cuba’s world-famous hospitality, protected ambiance, and array of vibrant family-friendly actions make it an unimaginable vacation spot to discover along with your family members. In Cuba, you’re finally unreachable. Distractions soften away and also you’re offline, totally current, captivated, and exploring collectively—all of the substances for a magical journey full of significant conversations and household bonding!


For extra on visiting Cuba with Cuba Candela (Chad’s firm), go to cubacandela.com.

Chad Olin

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