How to Go to Cuba Right Now

The Trump administration has again imposed new restrictions on going to Cuba. Here’s what it means for travelers.

Comments: 42

  1. As a leader of three debate programs in Cuba during the Clinton years as part of his "people-to-people"initiatives with Cuba, I applaud President Obama's loosening of the travel restrictions and hope that a new administration will follow his lead unlike what we saw in the period of 2001-08 under the Bush administration.

    I think that either a Sanders or Clinton administration would be good for relations but if a republican is elected, it could be a setback.

  2. I agree and believe a Sanders Administration to be more inclined to support unity and treat travel to Cuba like any normal travel experience in the Caribbean. For God's sake, it's only 90 miles from Florida! They are our neighbors. The USA needs to learn to be good neighbors -- North, South and off shore.

  3. I can go to Cuba "right now" and have already been there before without asking for anyone's approval or permission.

    No news to me.

    Eat your heart out, Land of Freedom and Democracy!

  4. On the flip side, I can enjoy a medium-rare hamburger anytime I desire. So I AM enjoying the Land of Freedom and Democracy!

  5. That is what democracy has become since government of the people by the people for the people vanished from the earth.

  6. Any American can go to Cuba merely by traveling first to another destination. Cuba does not stamp USA passports.

  7. You can also call the US from wifi hotspots in hotels or public wifi hotspots although the later are scarce. One can use iMessage, WeChat, or any other messaging app that also allows voice communications. There's always Skype too.
    Cuba is a wonderful place to visit. I was there last August, 2015, and 20 years ago when I flew in from Toronto. But until the sanctions are lifted, there will be no freedom to be a tourist, doing whatever you want or going wherever you want. Go visit before the American crowds arrive. Currently, there are many tourists from everywhere else but the US.

  8. Your post is beyond the pale.
    "there will be no freedom to be a tourist, doing whatever you want or going wherever you want."
    Do you even know what your talking about? This is exactly what the problem is. Please educate yourself before you consider speaking out about this. Your comments make you sound like a fool. I cannot believe you said, "freedom to be a tourist". Do you understand that Cubans are prohibited from the beaches, resorts, restaurants, museums that tourists get to see? And this is just the tip of the iceberg. How about being able to say whatever you want.
    My cousin works at one of the resorts on Cayo Coco. I paid for a weekend pass. After a week of staying with my family I needed a bed, a real shower and an actual toilet with a seat to use. My cousin couldn't sit with me on the beach or visit my room and he works at the place.
    And you are hoping the sanctions are lifted for freedom to be a tourist...congratulations on the most ignorant comment of the day.

  9. Visit Puerto Rico instead.
    They are US Citizens and the economy currently is in deep trouble.
    They could certainly use the tourist dollars.
    It is of course now stylish to visit Cuba, but that sad land is still under a strong arm dictatorship that oppresses large swaths of their people and jails protesters.
    Be patriotic and visit Puerto Rico!

  10. Cuba and it's people are beautiful, artistic, proud. Music and culture are everywhere. I think Havana has the potential to be the Venice of the Caribbean. I'll be returning ASAP.

  11. Fly anywhere out of the US. Buy ticket for La Habana. Done.

  12. exactly.

  13. Ridiculous ... this has always been a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment that some people can go to Cuba, yet others are restricted. This creates classes of citizens, which is unconstitutional.

    Just lift the travel ban completely, there are many places with worse governments than the one in Havana which we allow travel to (e.g., China, Russia, etc.)

  14. Maybe this time we can get past the "Ugly American" thing, especially when ordinary folks can go. I traveled across the Yucatan a few years back, taking buses wherever I wanted to go, meeting ordinary people and having a great time. To bad drugs and Americans buying them (if you use illegal drugs you are personally responsible for the deaths of many innocent Mexicans) have made it unsafe for me to do that again. Maybe I'll wander around Cuba, meet the people and show them that we don't all have cloven hooves.

  15. My preferred route would be the San Diego terminal (CBX) of Tijuana International. But, thats just me - Miami, New York, or MOntreal work fine too.

    The key is to book the ticket to Havana.

  16. The end of Cuba is near! as soon as McDonald's lands all will be lost. Wish I could go back one more time before Americanism lands never to leave again and I mean the bad type of Americanism.

  17. It couldn't get much worse, so I see the arrival of Americans as a good thing for Cuba -- they will have to improve their facilities and services.

  18. Will US armed forces members stationed at Gitmo be allowed to visit the rest of the island now on leave ?

  19. My wife and I just came back from Cuba. We went with Cuba Cruise from Montego Bay, Jamaica. The ship was a lovely plus. Cuba is an interesting place right now. Go and be surprised. The Cuban people are pretty friendly and aware of their plight. Most Americans only are familiar with Havana. Havana is the heart of Cuba and a great deal of this city is in shambles. Lots of broken down buildings with people living in them, but they seem quite to get by. If you want to see what socialism produces Havana is the new show place. It is not a pretty sight. There are some up scale neighborhoods but Verdad and Miramar but the infrastucture is weak. Things are cheap and no credit cards, you use CUC's convertible Cuban currency. Wandering around Cuba seems pretty safe. Go now, soon it will be just another tourist spot.

  20. Visited for two weeks in 1998. Bicycled from airport to low-income Havana neighborhood, stayed with a Cuban family for $15/night at a "casa particular." Delivered big bottles of aspirin to a clinic. Hung out with Cuban teenagers-- we joked about our respective governments. Took train to Santiago. Left bike with the family. Spent maybe $300 total, including food, lodging, transport.

  21. it was mentioned to bring British pounds or Euros, What about Canadian dollars and what is the exchange rate for them?

  22. yes, they take Canadian, big deal, you will get ripped off on the exchange rate.

  23. How will you get "ripped off" on the rate? USD are a bad idea because of the 10% penalty, but why CADs?

  24. For about $400 Canadian dollars you can fly direct to Cuba via Montreal, FYI. Canadians have been enjoying being tourists there for a long time.

  25. Just back from Cuba, which has its challenges for the US visitor but is totally amazing, especially at this moment in time. One note on the article: there is a cruise available now, run by a Canadian company on a Greek ship, that takes guests all the way around the island. Americans can easily fly to Montego Bay, Jamaica to board. The ship then stops at Santiago de Cuba (birthplace of the revolution, and ypur bus tour takes you up San Juan Hill), Havana (two nights; most non-Americans start/end their cruise here), Maria de Gorda (a protected bay and beach), and Cienfugos (Cuba's French city). The cruise at www.yourcubacruise.com was our choice for a first Cuba visit; we'll go back as soon as we can.

  26. For a visual overview of the history of travel to Cuba by Americans from the early decades of the 20th century to the present day, watch my feature-length documentary film, "Cuba, Libre?" (on YouTube and Vimeo).

  27. So this article did not answer the question of how someone traveling individually (i.e. outside the person-to-person tour) to Cuba will get a visa/tourist card. This is the big problem. How do you get one in the new easing of the travel restrictions? Even if you go from a intermediary country (and what are the Treasury Dept rules on this? That wasn't clear), you can't get a tourist card if you're American.

  28. That is an extremely romanticized photo you're running there.

    If you stay in a fancy tourist hotel you will never know the real Cuba
    or real Cubans. I realize things have changed since I went there in 1998, but
    staying an an apartment house with Cubans and no other foreigners, my experience was toilet flushing with a bucket,always lukewarm water, 5-pound weight loss in one month, two detainments by the police and a visit to the police station. I loved every minute and I wouldn't have stayed in a generic rich person's hotel for the world.

  29. I have to laugh at the concept of Americans being able to go to Cuba more easily, just wait till they get there! Bad service, bureaucratic rules about the most obvious services, horrible internet, resorts classified as 5 star but would barely make a 3 star elsewhere, bad food, the list goes on -- I just came back from a so-called 5 star and never again.

  30. Having recently gone to Cuba on a wonderful people-to-people tour through an organization I would offer the following comments to individuals intending to "do it yourself." Being able to speak Spanish is more than useful - especially outside of Havana. Also, many museums and historical sites do not have English signage or translations. Lots of Cubans speak some English, but not all of them, and especially not a lot outside the hospitality industry. Most credit cards are not yet operational so if you have not prepaid for things (as is usually the case with group tours) you will need a lot of cash - how much is up to you but it's a consideration. Many Cubans, because of experience or expectations, view American tourists as "economic opportunities." This is neither good nor bad but is a reality that is sometimes easier to deflect, avoid, or deal with if one is traveling with a group. My overall point is that the "tourist infrastructure" is still in a developmental stage and while it is certainly possible to do Cuba by oneself, be prepared that it is not going to be like traveling in other Latin American countries that have been hosting tourists for a long time.

  31. HI Jason

    would you mind giving me the name of the organization you went with?
    As I like to to the People to People travel . I am actually considering to do the Marathon in November there. Any help would be great Thank you Evelyne

  32. Thanks for a solid article. Clears up some questions. I like Robert Rausch's photo. The pastels are vibrant.

  33. The print version of this article says, "Every American dashing to Cuba these days seems to share a goal: to see the island 'before we ruin it.'" This unbelievable callous sentence has been removed from the online version and rightfully so. Would Ms. Burnett have shared the goal to see smoking stacks at Auchwitz or sit in the front of the bus in Selma or seen Christians torn apart at the Roman coliseum? Progress is ruinous? Cuban people are not monkeys in a zoo Ms. Burnett, and "we" (I assume she means Americans) are not going to ruin it. the Cuban dictatorship has done a perfect job of devastating the country and its people for the last 57 years. Three million tourists a year have not made a dent in it's condition.
    Thursday, in NYC, Cuban artist Tania Brugera, who lives in the island said in an interview, to tell people going to Cuba to stop projecting their fantasies on us."
    Yvonne M. Conde

  34. I just love it how the fanny pack brigade of Baby Boomer and smug Upper West Siders traveling to every Progressive's dream destination (From Chiapas to Cuba) think. These are the folks who think that because they went on a bicycle tour to Cuba, or went on some dictatorship sanctioned junket disguised as an educational "exchange" that all of a sudden they know, or have more right to voice their pro Castro sympathies, than actual Cubans who lost their homeland, had relatives executed, jailed, tortured, or Cubans who actually have lived under the violence (physical and spiritual) of the Cuban Communist party's fascist chokehold on the island. You do not know what real repression is.

    How can Americans rush to see the island 'before we ruin it' when the Castro dictatorship took a growing and prosperous Mid Century Cuban nation and ruined it themselves via 50 plus years of failed Marxist economic and Liberty killing policies?

    Stop projecting your Cuba fantasies on us, it makes you look like ignorant humans gawking at the animals at a zoo.

  35. I traveled to Cuba via Panama City on COPA four times in the last year. You simply pick up the Cuban visa at the COPA counter at your gate. It costs $20. Havana is well worth exploring and the rural areas offer a lot to do both physically and culturally.
    Reading as much about the country and it's history as you can before the trip will put a lot of what you see and experience in context.

    The casa particulares are, as others have said, the quickest way to meet locals and get the benefit of their insight and suggestions on what to see/where to go. I found both the food and lodging in these bed and breakfasts ranged from good to really good.

    Your phone won't work. Your credit cards won't work. Make paper copies of any reservation you have for lodging etc. Internet is slow and not always available. Be sure and take both flexibility and your sense of humor with you.

    The Cuban people that I have met were educated, friendly and eager to meet Americans. They have not been isolated from the rest of the world for the last 50 years, just from us.

  36. Hi Bob

    I would like to know if you have any recommendation for the Casa particulares and how I can make a reservation form the USA. Do you have any knowledge how I can sign up for the Marathon without going thru a organization in the USA.
    I am planing to go from November 15 to the 22 .
    Thank you in advance for your help :-}

  37. Bob,
    Were you able to purchase a ticket from Panama using an American credit card?

  38. Your post is beyond the pale.
    "there will be no freedom to be a tourist, doing whatever you want or going wherever you want."
    Do you even know what your talking about? This is exactly what the problem is. Please educate yourself before you consider speaking out about this. Your comments make you sound like a fool. I cannot believe you said, "freedom to be a tourist". Do you understand that Cubans are prohibited from the beaches, resorts, restaurants, museums that tourists get to see? And this is just the tip of the iceberg. How about being able to say whatever you want.
    My cousin works at one of the resorts on Cayo Coco. I paid for a weekend pass. After a week of staying with my family I needed a bed, a real shower and an actual toilet with a seat to use. My cousin couldn't sit with me on the beach or visit my room and he works at the place.
    And you are hoping the sanctions are lifted for freedom to be a tourist...congratulations on the most ignorant comment of the day.

  39. I can relate to that being black in America and riding through a white town and the cops get called cause someone said you look suspicious.

  40. Personally, other than the situation of an out and out war, I don't believe that the US government should have the ability to prohibit the travel of US citizens anywhere in the world. Are we to believe that Cuba is worse than Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Vietnam, Iran, etc?

  41. I am a nice Ghanaian gentleman, 45 years of age as a sales manager and i have worked for the past ten years without going on leave, so i decided to go on leave this very year and i plan to visit your country Cuba because i have heard a lot historical tourist about your country. how do i get tourist visa to your country? i am very serious and eager to visit Cuba, so kindly show me how i can tourist visa to your place. thanks