Airlines & Airports
How Easy Is It to Travel to Cuba?
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We can now take commercial flights to Cuba, but how easy is it really to travel to the once-off-limits country.
Visitors are still not allowed to visit for purely touristic purposes such as a beach vacation, but family visits, government business, journalistic work, religious activities and educational activities are on the up and up, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
However, these days there is very little actual regulation of travel to Cuba and travelers may find that they are kind of on the honor system.
“It’s totally self-policing and is essentially based on trust,” said Christopher P. Baker, author of the “Moon Cuba” guidebook, who also leads motorcycle tours in the country, to the The New York Times.
“Whereas in the past, travelers had to obtain a license specifically for their purpose of travel from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, now those with plans that fall under the 12 categories are covered by a general license granted by clicking a box on an online form when you make air, cruise or tour arrangements,” said The Times.
With these changes, travelers can now qualify under “people-to-people” travel while visiting the country independently.
The Times noted that “under people-to-people guidelines, travelers must pursue a full-time schedule of ‘educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba,’ according to guidelines published by the Treasury Department.”
Tour operators and cruise lines are some of the easiest ways to get to the island nation, with new options such as Fathom by Carnival Cruise Line offering in-depth people-to-people programs.
Going on your own does require some forethought, however.
READ MORE: Why Are OTAs Not Selling Cuba?
“Travelers also need a tourist visa and health insurance that covers Cuba, which effectively requires buying local insurance, both of which are now handled by United States transportation providers,” reported The Times.
Many airlines bundle these necessities into flights or include them as surcharges, making these add-ons easy to obtain.
When it comes to information on lodging and other travel options within the country, read on here.
More by Janeen Christoff
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