After Donald Trump’s announcement, are U.S. citizens still allowed to go to Cubat?
Yes — the travel rules put in place by the Obama administration remain in affect until new rules are written and published by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a division of the U.S. Treasury that deals with Cuba travel regulations. Although U.S. law prohibits U.S. citizens from spending money in Cuba for the purpose of tourism, there are broad exemptions for groups who partake in travel for educational, religious, humanitarian, business, and other purposeful travel. The U.S. has designated twelve sanctioned categories that fall under the “general license” for travel to Cuba.
The changes laid out by the directive of the Trump administration (to be released in mid-September, 2017) is expected to restrict the rules slightly, prohibiting individual travel but still allowing groups to visit Cuba under the educational “people-to-people” category. In addition, groups will be required to have the sponsorship of a Cuba travel organization (like Bridges Cuba), a full time schedule of cultural and educational activities, and an accompanying guide from the sponsoring organization.
What are the requirements of a people-to-people educational trip?
As of summer 2017, the latest guidelines for people-to-people educational travel to Cuba stipulate that participants must engage in a full-time schedule of educational activities that promote meaningful interaction with Cubans, and must retain records of the details of their trip for 5 years. If you travel with Bridges Cuba, we make sure your trip itinerary fits the requirements and provide you with the proper guidance and documentation to ensure your trip fits within the current laws regarding travel.
What activities can I plan in Cuba?
We create customized itineraries that mix museum visits, guided tours, music and other artistic performances, gallery walks, and meetings with specialists on almost any topic. Your trip can focus on one theme — like art, architecture, design, agriculture, economy, history, language, dance, and music — or it can include a variety of activities for a panoramic view of contemporary life.
Will I be required to travel with a larger group?
We are in the process of developing select itineraries for group trips, but currently we only work with groups made up of friends/family that are planning a trip together.
How much do trips cost?
Trip cost varies greatly depending on the number of people, transportation needs, the duration of the trip, and the types of activities you’d like to plan. We’re able to tailor our trips to almost any specifications, including budget restrictions. Getting in touch with us is the best way for us to give you an sense of the best options for your budget, interests, and travel style.
Does the Cuban government restrict travel for Americans in Cuba?
No, the Cuban government issues the same tourist visa to U.S. travelers that it doers to other foreign visitors, and place no restrictions on where you can go or what you can do on the island. Cubans are generally welcoming of all foreigners, and are particularly fond of Americans who travel to the island.
What travel costs do your tours cover and what will I have to pay for myself?
Generally speaking, our trips cover the cost of accommodations (including breakfast), guides, ground transportation on the island, and all entrance fees and activity costs. For our multi-day people-to-people tours and our Havana based day tours, we offer lunch and dinner reservations at the island’s best restaurants, which guests pay for themselves, as well as any drinks, souvenirs, and tips for guides and drivers.
Do I need any special inoculations in order to travel to Cuba?
Travel to Cuba doesn’t require any special vaccines beyond what is recommended for travel to other countries in Latin America. Please visit the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s Cuba travel page for more details.
Should I purchase trip insurance? Will I be covered in the event of an emergency in Cuba?
While Cuba includes basic travel insurance for all visitors to the island, we suggest purchasing travel insurance with a U.S. provider. Here is a list of options.
What documentation will I need to be sure my trip is legal?
In order to travel to Cuba all you will need is a valid passport. Bridges Cuba will provide you with your full time itinerary and other travel documents you will need to keep for your records. U.S. law requires travelers to Cuba to retain these records for five years.
How much luggage can I bring to Cuba?
Each airline has different luggage requirements and fees. Please consult your airline to find out what their rules are.
Can I make purchases using my credit card in Cuba?
No. While some movement has been made to improve credit card services for U.S. bank account holders, there is currently no way to take out money from a debit/credit card in Cuba. We recommend bringing cash to cover all expenses, and will gladly advise travelers on how much is appropriate to bring.
Will I have access to the internet?
There is currently limited internet availability in Cuba. There are a growing number of public wifi access points which require the purchase of a card which provides one hour of use. There are also several hotels with internet services, but access to the internet will be significantly more difficult than in the U.S.
How safe is Cuba?
Cuba is one of the safest countries in Latin America. Crime is low by U.S. standards and travelers are encouraged to use the same precaution they might use anywhere when visiting a new place.
Will I be able to purchase toiletries and other medications in Havana?
We recommend that travelers bring all toiletries, medications, and other personal items as they are often very difficult or impossible to find in Cuba.
Am I allowed to bring home rum and cigars?
Yes, the U.S. government recently removed the limits on alcohol and tobacco products, as long as they are for personal use and not for commercial resale.