Can Americans Now Legally Travel To Cuba? Here’s My Experience

Filed Under: Travel

As I mentioned in a previous installment, I spent two nights in Cuba late last week, and am trying to document the experience as much as possible. I flew Southwest from Fort Lauderdale to Havana on Thursday afternoon, so figured I’d share what the whole process of booking the flight, checking in, etc., was like, given that this is all still pretty new.

Most people don’t seem to understand whether Americans can legally visit Cuba or not, and what the process is like. Heck, on my return flight from Havana to Fort Lauderdale, the flight attendant even asked me whether Americans can legally visit Cuba as tourists, as he didn’t seem to understand.

So here’s my experience:

Can Americans travel to Cuba for any reason?

Yes and no. Technically Americans can only travel to Cuba for one of about a dozen approved reasons. This includes the following reasons:

family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.

In practice, most people traveling to Cuba as tourists choose either “Support For The Cuban People” or “People-To-People Exchanges” as the reason for visiting.

So technically you can’t go if tourism is your stated reasons, though in practice there are tens of thousands of American tourists going. That’s because they keep the categories intentionally broad, and you won’t generally be asked about the details of why you’re going to Cuba. Arguably when you’re a tourist somewhere you have “people-to-people exchanges” and also “provide support” to the people.

Without hesitation I’d feel comfortable recommending people visit Cuba as tourists and just state one of those as the reasons.


Do Americans need visas to travel to Cuba?

Yes, though in practice the visa is simply you paying $50 per person for a sheet of paper that you hand to the immigration officer on arrival. You can buy these visas in advance, though we didn’t, and I can’t imagine why we would.


We flew Southwest from Fort Lauderdale to Havana, and across from the check-in desk was a visa desk. We just asked for two visas (which we could pay by credit card), and $100 later we were in possession of them. The price is the same whether you buy them in advance or at the airport.


The whole process took a minute.

How does check-in work for flights to Cuba?

Southwest has a separate check-in desk at Fort Lauderdale Airport for flights to Cuba, located on the baggage claim level. It’s my understanding that all airlines have special check-in desks for flights to Cuba.


There was only a short line, and the associate asked us why we were traveling to Cuba (because they have to enter it into the computer). We said “people-to-people exchanges,” and that was the end of it. They’re not asking because they want to quiz you, but rather because they have to enter a reason into the computer.


He handed us customs and immigration forms for Cuba, and we quickly had our boarding passes.

If you’re connecting from another US city before taking your flight to Cuba, the people selling visas show up at the gate as well, in case anyone still needs to buy a visa.


What are the immigration forms for Cuba like?

There are three forms you need to have ready before arriving in Cuba — your visa and two immigration forms. Given how short many of the flights from South Florida to Cuba are, you might just spend half your flight filling them out.


Do you need anything special to board your flight to Cuba?

To board we had to present our boarding passes, passports, and show our visa forms to the gate agent. If you’re coming off a connecting flight you’ll want to go to the gate agent so they can verify your documents and stamp your boarding pass.


Will Cuban immigration ask you any questions about your visit?

I wasn’t asked any questions by the Cuban immigration officer. If they were to ask any questions, it won’t have anything to do with whether you’re traveling for one of the “approved reasons,” as that’s an American rule and not a Cuban rule.

Did immigration ask questions when returning to the US?

Nope, they didn’t ask anything, and it’s my understanding that they don’t generally ask which of the approved reasons you traveled for, etc. In fairness, though, I have Global Entry, so am rarely asked anything.

Bottom line

The process of booking a flight to Cuba is super easy. You can book the flight just like any other. Just keep in mind that the check-in counter will be separate from the normal ones, you’ll need a visa (which is as simple as you paying $50 at the airport for a sheet of paper), and at check-in you’ll have to state the reason you’re traveling to Cuba, though shouldn’t be asked any other follow-up questions.

So the process really is very easy…

To those of you who have visited Cuba, does this match your experience?

  1. I had no issues getting into cuba, but on the way back, I went to the Global Entry Kiosk, printed out my slip and then waited for the Customs agent who BUSTED my balls about going to Cuba. I stated “to support the cuban people” and then he asked me what organization did I help down there and what I did. I obviously was not prepared for this and had no answer, so he then chewed me out that you’re not supposed to be traveling to cuba for tourism. Nothing really came of it other than him really being a downer. I spoke to a couple others who got the same guy and the same thing happened, they were chewed out as well. My other friends who didn’t have global entry got a different customs agent who didnt even ask the reason they went down.

  2. With the changing administration I feel it is risky for me and my wife to travel to Cuba without being on an official package that meets those guidelines for two reasons which don’t apply to everyone:
    1. My wife works for the Federal Government in a non secure/non defense job but still goes under background checks. I believe they could investigate such a trip at some point in the figure when they look back 10 years at travel.
    2. We both have global entry and during a renewal that type of trip is something they might investigate and we don’t want to loose global entry.

    With the changing administration I could see the wind move back towards isolation and the entire federal security infrastructure could see such a trip is something to investigate and hold it against you.

    Now you might be able to claim it was a “journalistic activity” but for my family I can not risk it.

  3. I’m surprised you wouldn’t use the Journalist reason. This is what you do, after all. Why the “People To People” reason code for you?

  4. Lucky – when did you suddenly become a legal expert on US sanctions?

    You should be shamed of these remarks, “Without hesitation I’d feel comfortable recommending people visit Cuba as tourists and just state one of those as the reasons.”

    This is what I found on the OFAC website,

    “7. Is travel to Cuba for tourist activities permitted?

    No. Consistent with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), travel-related transactions involving Cuba are only permitted for the 12 categories of activities identified in the CACR. Travel-related transactions for other purposes remain prohibited.”

    So on the chance that you were stopped by CBP or ICE upon your return to the U.S…….you seem to have no problem lying to a federal agent. Is that what you are saying to your readers? Would you be able to articulate to a Customs Officer under the penalty of perjury that you qualified for one of the exemptions (support of the Cuban people).

    Not only are placing your readers in jeopardy who could be subject to civil fines from the Department of Treasury who administers the sanctions, but yourself as well when you’re Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check come up for renewal.

    I am simply blown away by your arrogance on this matter. And I say that as a gay man, a retired Federal Agent (who spent my career investigating OFAC violations and border crimes) and a traveler to 69 countries.

  5. Breaking: Credit card marketer with German passport travels to Cuba for 48 hours, complains about everything, and encourages others to break the law.

    As to others, “journalistic activities” is defined in the regulations. (515.563) Ben in no way meets those definitions (or any other well-established definition of journalist). Ford even less.

  6. Any thoughts if after Jan 18 under the new administration they will forbid travel to Cuba again? We all know the new president promised to revert many decisions made by the current one and he is not a friend of the regime in the island.

  7. @stevenkapellas – What does being a gay man have to do with you being blown away at Lucky’s arrogance, as you say? That has nothing to do with your argument.

    I happen to agree that he gave some bad advice – suspect at best – but if you ultimately tell somebody, “well Lucky told me I can go on his blog”, then you’d be a real idiot with nobody to blame but yourself.

  8. Why do half of you even follow Lucky’s blog? You complain about everything he does and then feel the need to let us know about how horrible he is. You are LAME!

    Lucky..Keep up exactly what you are doing and start blocking some of these idiots especially the fellow who said “And I say that as a gay man, a retired Federal Agent (who spent my career investigating OFAC violations and border crimes) and a traveler to 69 countries.” Really? There is so much wrong with this statement that I don’t have time to write a rebuttal.

    From, a gay man who left his TS/SCI government job due to people like stevenkapellas.

  9. Cool story bro:

    My parents are heading down there later this year….they’re going with a tour group, and it’s part of a “cultural exchange”. My Mom asked if I was envious, and I told her that I was. (On the bright side, they’re bringing back some cigars for me.)

  10. What did you do about the mandatory travel health insurance? Does WN include it in the price of the ticket?

  11. I have to say, being a straight man, I find these comments funny. Whatever happened to letting people be grown ups and making their own choices??
    Thanks for your insight Lucky. I made travel plans for Cuba just a few days ago and no less than 3 of our trusty bloggers have been providing useful travel experiences.

  12. No one cares anymore if you go to Cuba. Upon coming back to the USA the American immigration/customs officer asked where I was coming from, I said “Havana” he responded “cool”. That was wall the questioning I received.

  13. My bet is that Cuba is going to become inaccessible in the near future with the new administration. From what I understand, it now being accessible is due to executive action by Pres. Obama, which is surely to be rolled back by Trump.

  14. “Arguably when you’re a tourist somewhere you have “people-to-people exchanges” and also “provide support” to the people”.

    Actually, NO……

    Each of these “approved reasons” has a defined explanation that is far more rigorous than they at first sound. People to people requires official meetings arranged thru proper people to people “exchanges”. Support for the Cuban People requires you to have officially sanctioned meetings with registered support groups. Simply saying “I talked with some of the locals while I was there” does not even begin to meet the legal requirements.

    Additionally, just as one can’t go on a 2 week ski trip to Aspen, do a single half hour business interview, and legally write off the entire cost as a “business expense”, even if you do have one or two documented meetings that meet the criteria, you have to be able to show that you spent most of your time there participating in these approved activities. If you go for a week, and have one or two hour long meetings that meet the requirements, that still won’t qualify.

    Obama set this up as a wink and a nod policy, so you just give whatever reason you feel like, and no one questions it up front. But as others have said, what if the new administration decides to start retroactively enforcing the actual rules? What if the person doing your Global Entry renewal decides to take a look into the validity of your stated reason?

    My best guess is that if you use one of these fake “reasons”, nothing will come of it. But that’s far from certain.

  15. @Iolaire You don’t have to go with an approved tour to comply with the rules, but make sure you do engage in activities that comply with the rules (not the flimsy, “oh we talked to people, bought stuff from them, so it was a “people-to-people” exchange”). Connect with organizations working on the island, bring and donate supplies, engage in cultural education, and make sure you document everything. Don’t be one of these people who exploit the rules and will end up making it a lot harder for the rest of us who do actually have an interest in seeing the island and its people prosper. And as someone who works in federal government and politics, we may or may not see changes in official policy – that’s up in the air – but we can see a change in the way these laws are enforced with little warning.

  16. @Robert Hanson. Please tell me that you are that paranoid and you share your name with one of the most notorious spies in history?

  17. When did you become a lawyer Ben? Will you foot the legal bill when a reader gets into a pickle following your advice? Ridiculous.

  18. Why is it that all the haters and armchair-attorneys are terrible writers and spellers?

    See: @stevenkapellas – I can’t even read “you’re (sic)” hating because it’s written in gibberish.

    I sort of support Ben’s position for different reasons. I think honesty is always the best policy. I would rather take a slap on the wrist in my GS interview for saying “tourism” then lie and say I had meetings that I did not.

  19. @Guyguyguy, we’re not armchair attorneys (some of us have real live law degreesl). But it doesn’t take an attorney to note that Ben is “recommending” people break the law. Indeed, I think that’s the entire point of his recommendation.
    Of course a post like this — legal advice from a nonlawyer — always brings out competing legal analysis, as it does armchair foreign relations speculation. Hopefully people realize that free legal advice is typically worth what you pay for it.

  20. My experience with immigration was the same, but I was traveling for one of the approved reasons.

    That said, it is wildly irresponsible to suggest people violate a US trade embargo because “nobody’s really paying attention, anyway”. Number one, as said above, if you actually run afoul of these rules you can be disqualified from a lot of jobs, or risk fines or jail time. It is, quite frankly, more legal to visit North Korea than it is to visit Cuba. Number two, as other commenters have said, come Feb. 1 these rules could be completely different, so I wouldn’t book an airline ticket anyway.

  21. Before I went last month, I emailed a high school friend who works for US Customs asking if I’d have any trouble on returning. He said “nope”.

    That said, I would not go, or recommend that anyone go, after January 20 until we know what the new administration will do. There was at least one guru who went under the Bush Administration and was fined $7000.

  22. US$50.00 for a visa. It is a ripped off.
    I flew to Cuba from Panama and Copa sells for US$20.00
    Somebody is making a extra.
    Keep the good work and ignore the haters.

  23. If you have a U.S. government, contractor, defense, law enforcement, military occupation which requires a background investigation, I wouldn’t lie about the reason for going to Communist-ruled Cuba if it’s for tourism. A new administration is about to take office on 20 January and those U.S. Treasury, Immigration, Customs, Border Protection forms you fill out could come back to haunt you. Is it worth going to Cuba to see poverty, pot-hole streets and dilapidated American cars? The time will come when tourism is fully allowed. Be patient – even if it takes 40 more years. The airlines could care less what you tell them as they’re in the business of selling tickets. The Cuban government doesn’t care as they are in the business of collecting visa fees. Though to say that no one cares is false, entities of the U.S. government do. Beware!

  24. Guys remember it’s the US treasury dept that you’d have a problem with if there was one.

    Also it’s mentioned in his post but you’re boarding pass will be stamped by the gate agent. This will be handed back to you to keep and is your health insurance. (Included in ticket price)

  25. We are just back from Cuba. We went with people to people, #5. We stayed in an AirBnB which can easily meet the people to people thing since you are living with Cuban people. We got our plane tickets months ago and had to fly to Santa Clara which is 3+ hours west of Havana. Driving from there was a real experience. Driving along people would run into the lanes selling a string of onions. We would pass donkey carts loaded with people going somewhere. Pot holes and rough roads abounded.

    You get 0.87 CUC for 1 US$, but don’t despair. A mojito for example is 2.50 CUC and same reduction for food and drinks that come from Cuba.

    Never met a beggar. Every Cuban we met were very nice and gracious.

    I am ready to got back any day. I loved Cuba,

  26. Lucky I love how you ignore mindless morons who hide their identity and slag you off. Most can’t even spell and misuse grammar. Keep up the good work! – Julius Grafton, Sydney, Australia

  27. For anyone going, I recommend picking up a few extra cigars at the duty free at the airport and passing them out to the pilots and flight attendants. Cuba does not allow them off the plane on their arrival and both pilots and a couple flight attendants on our flight asked if we had any extras.

    One thing I would add is immigration in Cuba can be finicky. 4 of us went for one night since we were already in Florida. 3 of us cruised through outbound immigration. My friend got questioned for a few minutes about why only one night after they called a supervisor over to him.

  28. This is all besides the point. Havana’s expensive, pitiful and unique, but it’s a destination for historians, not travelers. Lousy, pricey food is everywhere, internet connections are deliberately made awful and tricky, you get nickel-and-dimed on currency conversions at every turn. You’ll be spinning your wheels by the third day. Take in Cartagena or Merida for a Caribbean colonial Spanish port visit.

  29. Visas are $50 on Southwest but vary for the other airlines. Alaska and American sell for $100 at the airport. The reason Copa sells it for $20 through Panama is because they have a different deal being non-American.

    Staying at an AirBnB does NOT qualify as People-to-People. The regulations state you must have “full time schedule” of People-to-People activities, which Dept of Treasury OFAC defines as 6-8 hours. The regulations have specific definitions of each of the categories, and one cannot over-simplify and state they qualify for various categories.

    Lucky was indeed Lucky he chose Southwest through Fort Lauderdale, which is super fast. Those flying through Miami have a much slower time.

  30. Dang, all the haters came out in full bloom for the new year. Let me chime in with them, “How dare you give us your perspective, Lucky?!” But seriously, over the past decade or so no one has ever gotten a fine or went to jail for going to Cuba. Technically you’re breaking the rules by going there, but no one enforces them. Those who do not want to take the risk, that’s fine, but Ben’s advice is still solid.

    I just wonder what took Ben so long to go to Cuba. We went there last February and had a blast exploring this place that’s stuck in the ’50s.

  31. @BoCo I have 2 friends who run travel agencies that specialize in Cuba. They both got fined by OFAC for non-compliant trips about 4 years ago, so the government did enforce the rules before. Nobody knows if that is still the case after the regulations were relaxed in 2015.

  32. Why does everyone keep saying Cuba is so expensive and the food is so awful.

    If you stay at a hotel, it will be expensive. If you stay in a casa, you can pay $25 or $30 or maybe $40 per night. Try finding something that cheap anywhere else in the Caribbean. And entrees in the restaurants I went to were never more than $7 or $8. A taxi across the city, even at inflated tourist prices, is far less than what you’d pay for a similar ride in New York, London, Paris, Rome, etc… It ain’t Thailand, but it ain’t Switzerland either.

    As for the food, I had plenty of good meals – Ropa Vieja, some good chicken dishes, plenty of good breakfasts, a delicious flan, lots of freshly squeezed juices, even an ok pizza or two.

    Maybe many of you are staying and eating in the big hotels and missing out.

  33. @Anna yes I did think about that but when I read the rules it seemed like it would take some work to setup an itinerary that complies with the law, and also it would be more of a hobby vacation than a vacation, would need to do some sort of real cultural share rather than sightseeing…

  34. Lots of stuffy shirts commenting on this topic! My wife and I went in September. We bought visas at the airport through AA (tip, mail order yours for $25), passed through customs both inbound and outbound with no problems. Admittedly, the people-to-people definition has been fleshed out when the policies were updated on 10/14/16,but are still rather vague. That was our reason for going. We walked ALL OVER Havana, visited Trinidad, Matanzas, Veradero, took the Hershey Train and ferries, caught some Jazz, other live music, visited national parks, and did some swimming and hiking.

    What knucklehead said this place is expensive? The exchange rate IS terrible, but was a non factor. We stayed in beautiful Casas with the cuban people for $25-$40 per night. My wife ate lobster at nearly every meal for $10-12. Mojitos were $3. Four course meals $15. Taxi rides across the country (3-4 hours) were $70. Art and other types of souvenirs were very reasonable if you avoided the markets that the European tourists visited.

  35. after reading recent reports on Cuba and knowing history, i have zero desire to go… that being said, not sure why haterz hating on what you wrote….

  36. Can’t you just use your German passport? I don’t think Germans have any restrictions in traveling to Cuba.

  37. Does the travel restrictions only apply to American citizens? Can a citizen of most other countries fly from the US to Cuba ( and back) without having to “explain” themselves according to these 12 “travel reason conditions”?

  38. The best part of this thread is that it has brought out all sort of paranoid people fearing the government and the “all powerful.” The ones stating that they work for the government are even worse and I question their authenticity and actual knowledge of the USG’s security apparatus.

    As someone who worked in SECURITY for an actual government organization, I can tell you that we could have cared less about someone visiting Cuba as long as they were going with the intent of harming the U.S. Intent is everything.

    You have to remember that the restrictions are from the Department of Treasury, not Border Protection, State Department, CIA, NSA, DOD, etc. The only agency that actually cares is the Department of Treasury!
    With that said, the most government security offices make themselves out to be the gestapo which gets low level employees and contractors all paranoid about everything. In reality as long as you don’t lie to the security department about where you have been and what you have done, you are going to be fine.

  39. You know if you go for people-to-people or support for the Cuban people you have to keep a record and be able to prove that you spent your time there in full-time(around 36 hours a week) with records if necessary in support of this so “arguably” won’t work.
    Ben, I think this post is asking to have someone come back from Cuba, point to this blog when they get stopped, and get a visit from OFAC where they tell you that you are giving legal advice incorrectly and encouraging people to break the law. I know you don’t say break the law outright, but you say to just pick one of these without actually understanding the definition and requirements behind what these things mean.
    I would humbly suggest you modify this post with more background. You have also essentially admitted to breaking the law with what you did and encouraging other people to do so which could be a crime in and of itself.
    Also, remember that when a change of administration happens OFAC can(and has in the past) enforce non-compliance actions retroactively.

  40. Thanks for the short concise article! I am traveling to Havana and Viñales in March and can’t wait. I had to search lots of sites to get all the visa info etc. I have all my ducks in a row and can’t wait! From my research a lot of people choose the Educational reason as they are obviously being educated in the Cuban Culture. Any tour you go on will meet these requirements. Great article!

  41. Thanks Lucky,now I got something to go on.I never been on a sojourn in which there were no issues. When you take a trip the trip takes you.The money does not last forever but the memories do.Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  42. Thanks Lucky ,now I got something to go on.I never been on sojourn in which issues haven’t arisen , I never been anyplace where I didn’t get sick at some point. What I do know is that when you take a trip the trip takes you and the money doesn’t last for ever but the memories do.I’m going to give Havana a shot.Hope to hear more from you.

  43. It’s shocking to me that with all the attacks on Lucky’s opinion, it’s not legal advice or that of “Big Brother”. Pretty simple, you don’t like his article move on, personal attacks are petty & childish to say the least. It was his experience, he’s not encouraging or telling people how to get over on the system (his experience). If you’re all experts do as you please & keep your comments to yourself, it is his article, no one cares for your input, write your own blog. As few mentioned, I’m unclear what gay & visiting 531 countries has to do with anything, again, you don’t agree move on. I felt there was interesting information in his article, he’s a journalist/blogger & offers his experience & opinion. It’s the readers responsibility to educate themselves. Being a government employee I find it hard to believe they are watching you (paranoid much) or flipping through vacation requests & cross referencing where you spent your time. Are you required to provide your passport, tickets or family vacation photos? If so, you have a bigger issue that may need to be addressed with a higher entity. Get over yourselves, if you don’t like it move on. If Lucky’s not an expert who’s to say your opinion qualifies as such? Thank you Lucky for sharing your vacation experience! Kind regards.

  44. Some laws are stupid. Being told I can’t cross an imaginary line is one of them. Also, I’m not going to take moral advice from an attorney. Sorry. Oh, and also again, non-US citizens that are living in the US face the same scrutiny as an American citizen for traveling to Cuba.

    “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” Thomas Jefferson

  45. The people that criticize his suggestions are being a bit extreme and ridiculous, though accurate in most of their points. Lucky, I appreciated the article and especially the step by step experience you had and your candid thoughts that you might share with a friend.

    Gave me some peace and information vs. fear.

    I will follow the rules and be careful what I do.

  46. I have now been to Cuba twice and i have recently started a scuba travel company offering US citizens trips to Cuba. I can tell you, OFAC is very strict and it took about 12 months for my approval to take Americans to Cuba. I had to provide detail itinerary supporting “people-to-people”, along with my Cuban contacts providing me the “people-to-people” tours. initially, OFCA rejected my application because they consider Scuba diving a “tourist activity” and i had to add more activities that meet the “people-to-people” requirements.

    Also, each time I have entered Cuba, the Cuban immigration asked for the name and the address where I was going to stay.

    I am not sure I would risk just going to Cuba without proof of your itinerary. On my second trip back from Cuba, US immigration asked me for my Cuban contact and my itinerary. I do not know how they determine who and when they ask for this because the first trip back from Cuba, nothing was asked and the just waived me in.

  47. My daughter and I traveled to Cuba in March for eight days. After online research, and unsuccessful attempts to reach the Cuban embassy, I arranged casas particulares stays through AirBnB before leaving home (VT, USA) to meet my understanding of the “itinerary” rule, and to avoid needing to carry more cash (limited opportunities to use credit cards, even if not US bank issued). We entered on a flight from Mexico City (bought our $20 visas at that airport), changed some money at the airport in Havana after collecting our bags and another day at a bank in downtown Havana. You’ll need your passport for that, too – And supposedly for buying internet access cards (but they were waved away by the agent when we bought ours). – BTW- internet access was localized and slow, and accessing our usual sites for email was difficult. Be prepared with all your passcodes. – No hassles of any sort, entering or leaving the country. I think our hosts had more, though they seemed quite willing to endure, for the opportunity to make a little extra money. We were told they have to keep records of and report names, nationality, and passport numbers for every guest within 24 hours of arrival and also pay a fee to the government. We had good food – with the help of our hosts who made recommendations. And we spent more on transportation (taxis and buses) than we did on meals. Don’t plan to “eat” (as we sometimes do when we travel) from a grocery store. We did not see one, anywhere. We returned from Havana to the US directly. No one questioned us at customs, and our bags did not appear to have been searched at any point. None of the postcards we thought we were mailing has been received, as yet. And I have been disappointed to discover that we are unable to email our hosts since our return, because we exchanged email addresses. I think the only way we might have contact is through AirBnB message. I am in awe of the people we met, and the challenges they face. I want to go back. If you are flexible, can handle less than US standards of personal comfort and are not anxious about “repercussions”, Cuba is a great experience.

  48. My friend and I went to Cuba in March and experienced no trouble going in or out the country.
    Despite the occasional ball busting, as long you document your journey, and make some Cuban alibis (any Casa owner can vouch for you), I don’t see what could happen.

    We wrote a little guide on the matter for anyone who’s interested:

    We stressed bit before leaving, but it was the easiest travel experience imaginable.

  49. @Kathy Oberle
    Can you tell me the AirBnB you stayed at? Any other advice would be greatly appreciated

  50. hoping to hear more input from those who’ve successfully traveled to Cuba from the United States

  51. In May 2017, I went to Cuba through a U.S. tour company licensed to take American citizens to Cuba through its “people-to-people” exchanges.

    There were only four people in our tour group. Sounds great, right? No.

    Two of the four people (two females from the same family, one in her 60s and the other in her 20s, both from New York) kept insisting on going to the playa, the playa, the playa (the beach), all the while knowing that we had a scheduled itinerary that did NOT include the beach because according to U.S. law, getting a tan on a Cuban beach does NOT meet the definition of “people-to-people” exchanges.

    Not only did the two of them keep insisting that we go to the playa (I don’t know whether they went on their own, but the group itself did not go), but they RARELY participated with the other two of us on the tour. Or they would agree to meet us somewhere and then just not show up.

    Talk about Ugly Americans. They were the very definition of the term. I hope that they are investigated and fined $5,000 each for going to Cuba for tourism. (I notified the company that sponsored our travel about the behavior of the two of them.)

    If the U.S. Treasury Department is reading, you can obtain their names through DiscoverCorps, which is based in San Diego. I do not consider DiscoverCorps to be in the wrong at all because it was careful to tell us about the people-to-people guidelines. The two women in question should alone be held responsible for their actions.

  52. I’ve spent 2 weeks in Cuba with my family. Fortunately, we found an agency that helped us with all the necessary papers to do this trip. They even helped us in the organization of the activities. We spent 1 week in La Havana, 3 days in Varadero and 2 days in Vinales. I miss this magic country and I already want to get back there. For those who might be interested you can contact Mary at [email protected], she’s really kind and she will help you to organize every detail of your trip!

  53. Adam W., did you really intend to write the following: “we could have cared less about someone visiting Cuba as long as they were going with the intent of harming the U.S.”?

    You most assuredly meant to say “as long as they were NOT going with the intent of harming the U.S.”

    Moreover, I had a government security clearance for fifteen years, and there was a large number of countries that I was not allowed to visit as long as I had the security clearance.

    So “intent” is of little consequence. The reality is that U.S. citizens who have security clearances can be the target of information gathering and blackmail while in countries that are not friendly to the United States, regardless of the “intent” of those U.S. citizens.

  54. James, you wrote the following:

    “Some laws are stupid. Being told I can’t cross an imaginary line is one of them. Also, I’m not going to take moral advice from an attorney. Sorry.”

    Then you added the following quotation:

    “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” Thomas Jefferson

    James: laws are laws no matter what you think of them. You may have an opportunity to philosophize with your fellow prisoners about unjust laws, and from your prison cell, you can quote from Thomas Jefferson to your heart’s content.

    But you know what? Nobody will care.

  55. EVERYBODY: Before making plans to visit Cuba, I suggest that you wait until tomorrow (June 16), when Donald Trump is going to make a speech in Miami that is expected to announce tightening the current restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba.

  56. USA, land of the free, can’t visit an island 100 miles off its coast while the world is allowed to go. Canadians and Europeans have been going to Cuba hassle free for almost ever. Travelling restrictions are equal to censorship, next thing you know America will be burning books. Sad.

  57. U.S.Citizens can’t travel to North Korea now. Just go through a Third Country if you’re that fearful of the U.S.Govt. Copa has great deals to Havana via Panama from U.S.Cities

  58. Hi all,

    I’, planning to go to Cuba in about 2 weeks. I’m flying from and back to Miami (haven’t bought the Cuba ticket yet tho). After flying back to Miami I’m flying to Europe where I live (I’m a European citizen).

    Does anyone know the current status of the regulations and how it’s being checked?
    What would they require as “evidence” and how/when do they check this?

    Cheers Patric

  59. You’re a European citizen? Do you even have travel restrictions to Cuba?

    Make sure to get your visa for entry into Cuba at the airport.

    Have a great trip!

  60. Interested in traveling to Cuba this summer (2018). Anyone know of new restrictions that we should be aware of other than the 12 stated requirements? We are US citizens. Thank you for any updated information.

  61. Not sure about new travel restrictions, but I don’t advise going in the summer. Super hot and humid. I do recommended making time to go to Vinales…it’s a beautiful day trip 🙂

  62. The level of stupidity of American Administrations one after another since JFK and till today. They impose these stupid sanctions and justify it to the American Taxpayer as this is the sacred act of a high moral nation against the tyranny of another. And all what it is: Is to try to undermine other countries to make them fold and fall under the US hegemony. In the mean time we the people suffer whether Americans or Cubans.

  63. Cuba Archive finds that some 5,600 Cubans have died in front of firing squads and another 1,200 in “extrajudicial assassinations.” Che Guevara was a gleeful executioner at the infamous La Cabana Fortress in 1959 where, under his orders, at least 151 Cubans were lined up and shot. Children have not been spared. Of the 94 minors whose deaths have been documented by Cuba Archive, 22 died by firing squad and 32 in extrajudicial assassinations.

    Note: According to the most recent data from the Cuba Archive database, the Castro regime is responsible for 10,723 deaths.
    So much for your traveling adventure……

  64. Thank you for posting about your trip & experiences. It was informative.

    Has anyone recently traveled to Cuba? I’m considering going this fall (2019).
    I was wondering if anything has changed since 2017?

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