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Americans traveling to Cuba2015-08-13T17:27:24+00:00

Best Cuba Guide Forums General Americans traveling to Cuba

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  • AvatarKimberly Peake
    Post count: 0

    Hello,

    I was wondering how Americans could fly safely to Cuba via flying to Nassau or what are some other avenues of getting there without getting in trouble by the U.S.?

    Thank you,

     

    Kim

    AvatarMario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 212

    Hi, the most common way for Americans to fly to Cuba are through Cancun and through Canada (usually Toronto or Montreal.) Cancun to Havana would likely be the cheapest option.

    I have helped book casa particular for hundreds of Americans over the last 6 months. Nobody has ever had any issues. The government of the United States does not care if you travel to Cuba, I can assure you.

     

    Just book a flight to Havana, via Cancun and go. I can help you with taxis or casa particular accommodations, no problem.

     

    take care,

    Mario

    AvatarTamara
    Post count: 0

    I am planning a trip to Cuba in February 2016.  (I am American.)  While you say the US does not care if Americans travel to Cuba, do you think it will make a difference if we are planning on taking a direct flight from JFK to Havana?

    AvatarMario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 212

    Hi,

    The way things are going, a lot might change by February 2016. It might become even easier to travel to Cuba.

    As for the details of flying there, the flights from JFK to Havana are still charter based, if I understand correctly. You can simply contact the airline or tour operator and ask them exaclty what info they require. It won’t be much. You will have to fill out a form and say why you are traveling there. The most common answer is for “people to people exhanges” or for journalistic purposes.

    Avatarmark
    Post count: 0

    I have been twice to Cuba by boat. This flight in will be different. Taking my lady friend 3/30/16. Would like help/recommendations on inexpensive but reliable transportation and housing. We want to travel from Havana to the Eastern most point then travel slowly back up to the western most point, mostly on the northern most coast.  I have a boat in Dom. Rep. will be coming next trip a longer trip/stay via boat.  This is a recon trip. With the US opening up messes up the availability of rentals cars.  I need help. THANKS PS 2 weeks is estimated stay,want to go?

    AvatarMario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 212

    Hi Mark.

    Your trip is only about 1 week away. We can try to get as many things sorted out as possible.

    How many days are you staying in Havana? Just a night when you arrive? I can find you a good casa for that night.

    As for renting a vehicle, your chances are very low. There is a huge car shortage in Cuba. Most people are not able to find anything. Usually even if you book a reservation for a car online, when you arrive there will be nothing for you, or you will have to bribe the rental clerk. Not joking.. that’s how it works in Cuba.

    Driving along the north coast will be hard… There is no highway along the coast. The main highway in Cuba runs through the middle of the island. And it’s not really a big highway anyway. For most of the way it is just 2 lanes, one in either direction. Also note that rental cars do not have GPS. You will be driving around Cuba with only a map. Even taxi drivers get lost on the road… Honestly, even if you are able to rent a car, I would not recommend it.

     

    You might consider using a driver to take you around. It’s more relaxing and the cost will be roughly the same. Cuba is not really a place where you “road trip”. You don’t just drive around casually without a destination because rest stops are few and far between, hotels are non existent on the highway (you would need to find casas at each stop) and restaurants/gas stations are not plentiful in the countryside. Also, despite being a very safe country, the highways at night can be dangerous.

     

    I would highly encourage you to structure the trip. Name 5 or 6 towns that you want to see and plan a taxi ride to each (or book a rental car if you want/can). Once you are in each town, you can easily walk around for a bit and find a casa on your own. The only place that I would suggest strongly to book a place in advance is in Havana, as the city is larger and rental casa vacancy is low.

     

    Anyway,

    I hope this helps. If you want a casa, please check out the casa section on the website and contact a few with the contact form… the landlord or my assistants in Havana will contact you to sort out the reservations.

     

    take care and feel free to ask any more questions.

     

    Mario Rizzi

    AvatarViriam
    Post count: 0

    HI, my family of 3 is traveling to Cuba in December from Portland, Oregon, through Atlanta and on to Cuba. Even though there are now flights directly from the US, we still have to claim one of the 12 visa reasons for our trip. What do you think is the easiest reason to claim? Educational? Apparently we are asked by the customs agents on our return what the purpose of our trip was. (Actually we’re going to see and do as much in Cuba as we can in 8 days!)

     

    Tlhanks.

    AvatarMario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 212

    Hi, it is highly unlikely that customs will ask you why you went to Cuba. Honestly, under the Obama administration, travel to cuba is being encouraged and all roadblocks at this point are simple technicalities which will not be enforced.

    You can click here for some more info and some links to discussions on this topic.  http://bestcubaguide.com/forums/topic/us-travel-visa-to-cuba-neede/

    Fundamentally, there is no problem and you can simply say you went to cuba to take some photos and share the culture.

    Have a great trip!

    Mario

    AvatarJames
    Post count: 0

    Hi, just bought and am reading “Real Havana” – very helpful!  My wife and I are north of Chicago IL and want to visit Cuba.  I know from reading previous posts and replies that a relaxed US Gov. attitude toward Cuba was contingent on the Obama administration.  Under the new Trump administration, is that relaxed atmosphere toward Cuba travel by US citizens likely to continue?  While “people to people” would be an accurate description since we want to do Casas throughout, I wonder if we will have more difficulty going on our own, without a licensed tour operator, now with a new administration.   Your thoughts?  The offered tours seem very expensive and the cruise ships mostly just stop briefly in Havana.  If they would circumnavigate the island with multiple stops instead of a quick stop in Havana, I would consider them, but I want more time in Cuba than a cruise line will allow.

    AvatarMario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 212

    james, I’m in Cuba now and my internet sucks, so I will keep this brief. The Obama regulations are still in effect and thousands of tourists are coming daily from the USA to Cuba. Just book and flight and a casa and check off the people to people box, and then come to Cuba and do whatever you want. No trip tracking or anything. Most Americans just relax in Havana and smoke cigars and drink.mojitos all day. dont worry about it at all.

    AvatarIbmerlin
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    Hello, I’m also concerned about the Trump administration changing things after I book my trip. I am an amateur photographer and thought if I could take a couple of 1 day photography workshops while in Havana that might count as educational or people to people. I have looked into workshops but they are all thousands of dollars and for a full week.  Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Merlin

    AvatarMario
    Keymaster
    Post count: 212

    Hi, it’s impossible to know what the the USA government will do concerning Cuba. It is always possible that there will be a change, however I think it is unlikely.

    In my opinion, the photography workshops are a waste of time and money. The local guides are paid a few bucks and the companies that organize these tours take in thousands. Your money is wasted and none of it stay in Cuba. If you want to take photos o Havana, just go to Havana and stay in a local casa and take as many photos as you want.

    You do not have to meet any criteria to go to Havana. You simply check off and sign a paper once you are at the airline (check off the category “in support of the cuban people”) and you go to Cuba.Nobody will check what you are doing and nobody will ask any questions. Anybody who tell you different is either lying or is trying to sell you a tour package for thousands of dollars.

    Those are the facts. Really. Just book your flight and go to Havana. Take all the photos you want. Don’t worry about anything. There is no special visa or expensive tour package to get. Just go!

    Have fun,

    Mario

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