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So You Want to Go to Cuba?

Photo by Courtney Scott...So do we! We thought we should share our findings from the experts with you!

Getting There: Americans can go to Cuba without having to apply for permission, in the form of a license, from the government. (According to the NY Times) The 12 categories of legal travel include:

  • Visits to close relatives
  • Academic programs for which students receive credits
  • Professional research
  • Journalistic activities
  • Religious activities 
  • Participation in public performances or sports competitions.
  • Support for the Cuban people
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  • Exportation, importation or transmission of information or informational materials
  • Certain export transactions

Quoted in the NY Times: "If somebody wishes to travel to Cuba and they can’t think up a way to fit into those categories, they are not trying.”

And for all those professional cruisers out there, pretty soon your big boat will be sailing into their harbors!  Get excited!!

Last thing, Americans will be required to have a full-time schedule of authorized activities "intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people's independence." So I guess it's time to get friendly!

From our research you can find a flight from Miami as cheap as $393 all the way up to $2,000.  And those flights can be found on Air France, Copa, Aeroflot, AeroMexico, Cayman Airways and Virgin Atlantic to just name a few...

The Food: Who doesn’t love Cuban food? Well, you may not … but we love it! I mean, the traditional cuban sandwich is a top runner in our book.  (According to Full Compass Guides this sandwich is also called “midnight”, or “Cuban Pressed Sandwich” just an FYI :) )

The food scene in Cuba is growing and whether you want traditional Cuban food (ie: heaps of rice, meat and beans…aint nothing wrong with that says two Texas twin sisters) or in a non-government operated restaurant…something else. Travel blogger, Courtney Scott recommends El Paraisois a very casual, organic farm in Viñales. Another great hidden gem is Santy located on the western side of Havana, imagine the freshest seafood and sushi eaten on an unassuming, slightly secluded, wooden deck.

Photo by A Little Adrift 

The Dancing: Alexie Cespedes of Fathom Away claims drinking, dancing and cigars to be inextricably linked in the Cuban culture. Some of his favorite spots to dance the night away include El Cocinero, Sloppy Joe’s and Shangri-La.

Photo by the Paris Review

The Scenery: Take the 4-hour hike along La Plata Mountain Trail to Fidel Castro’s rebel headquarters through the Sierra Maestra mountain range, or if you’re lazy like me, we’ll meet you at Veradero Beach for a day of great people watching, sun and crystal clear water. If you’re really up for an adventure, Keep Calm and Travel recommends a jaunt to Baracoa, known as a the city of 29 rivers and the definition of Caribbean beauty. The only road to take you there was built as a thank you from Fidel Castro to the city of Baracoa for taking care of him while he hid in the mountains.

Photo by Keep Calm and Travel

The Accommodations: Getting out of your comfort zone and letting a culture wash over you happens quite a bit faster when you are sharing a home with them. Hotels are available, and Sasha Arms of Urban Travel Blog recommends, Hotel Nacional, however the ladies at Sunshine Tienda always encourage a little bit of adventure. An alternative (and less painful on the wallet) approach is to stay with a local Cuban family in a casa particulare (private house). You can search for your soon to be Cuban family here.
Last thing,  You can bring back up to $400 of souvenirs and $100 worth of Cuban cigars.
Happy Travels!!!

Photo by Sasha Arms

1 comment

By Laura, on

Great tips! I’m booking my trip!

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