It’s been well over a year since we posted our last post about traveling to Cuba, and we thought it was time to clarify some questions that so many of our friends and family keep asking. What are the policy changes under the Trump administration? Is it true that it’s harder now to visit Cuba? Are there less flights to Cuba? Is it still safe? There are still so many questions and concerns, rumors and here-say…meanwhile, here are the actual facts:
1. Can I still fly to Cuba?
Yes! Flights to Cuba from the U.S. are still very much intact. Some airlines have cut back flight frequency due to decreased demand, while others have added flights to reach more people that may want to go from different areas of the country. Below are the most current airlines flying to Cuba.
JetBlue – Flys direct to Havana from Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, New York and Boston.
Delta – Flys direct from New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Tampa and Orlando.
Southwest – Flys direct from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa.
United – Flys multiple cities direct.
American Airlines – Flys direct from Miami and Charlotte.
2. What is the new travel policy for visiting Cuba?
For most of the world, travel to Cuba is fairly simple. Few restrictions, if any, apply to your travel there. You just need to check with your Consulate as to any specific requirements. For Americans, it’s a little different.
If you’re an American, there are now eleven specific categories of approved travel to Cuba that you will need to choose from when you fly. Don’t worry or panic, it’s very simple and as long as you follow the plan, really quite easy. The Cuban government itself doesn’t really care about any of these…they simply want you to visit. This paperwork is only required by the U.S. government.
Of the eleven categories, there are two that are easiest and usually apply to most American visitors, although you should do your own research for your specific case. The first is if you are visiting family. If this is your case, you just check the box listed as “Family Visit” on the provided form at the airport you’re flying out of the U.S., and turn it in as you board. No other paperwork is required, besides the visa you purchased.
If you don’t have any family in Cuba, then the following option is for you: “Support for the Cuban People”. This option allows you to travel on your own, as long as you have and keep an itinerary of what you’re doing while you’re there, and you don’t stay in a government hotel (think…stay at an AirBnB or Casa Particular). The itinerary is only for when you return to the U.S., and just in case, you get questioned about what you did (never really happens). It’s that easy.
Some examples of “Support for the Cuban People” activities, could be: engaging with local businesses and entrepreneurs (such as artists, musicians, food vendors…think Airbnb experiences), even taking dance classes from a local (non-government) instructor count. Obviously, there are many options. Below is a sample of the Cuba Travel Affidavit:
3. Can I take a cruise to Cuba?
No. There are currently now no cruise lines embarking from the U.S. to Cuba. There are various ports around the world, more so in the Caribbean, that may do so in the future.
4. What else do I need to know?
Very important, don’t forget to take cash. Cash is still king in Cuba, and basically still the only king. ATMs are pretty much non-existent. So bring cash and exchange at the airport for Cuban CUC. If you wait, and try to exchange in Central Havana, you will waste a good part of your day in a very long line instead of enjoying the sites.
AirBnB and Casa Particular are up and running, and everywhere. We have stayed at well over half a dozen different locally owned apartments and they are far superior, even the semi-sketchy ones, to the government run hotels. The AirBnB’s are more comfortable, quaint, fun and usually serviced by incredibly friendly families that are more than willing to go the extra mile to feed you, transport you or help you around the city. Plus, you are giving back to families that could really use the help and the money! Plus, at this time, if you’re an American, you are not “allowed” to stay at government run hotels.
If you’re looking for a Havana Airbnb to rent now, we have finally completed the Project we have been working on for over three years, Jesus Maria 23. You can check it out on our Site page or on Airbnb here: https://abnb.me/pYbK09o8cZ
Most of all, travel to Cuba is safe! It’s wonderfully fun, incredibly culturally rich, and an experience worth having. Cuba is definitely open for business!