JOURNEY TO CUBA

JOURNEY TO CUBA 

Exploring The Country, The People, The Culture, The Sights

 

aircraft

For many Americans, Cuba has been an enticing travel destination for years.  But due to political and embargo-related travel restrictions, travel to Cuba has been difficult if not impossible. Some Americans have chosen an indirect approach, traveling to Cuba from other locations such as Mexico or Canada.  Asking that Cuba not stamp their passports, they then return to the United States hoping that no one notices.  Probably not really legal but many have chosen that route.

Previously Americans couldn’t officially and legally visit Cuba, but they could get close.  By taking the long winding drive south from Miami Florida travelers could reach Key West. The southern most tip of Key West is only 90 miles from Cuba. That’s as close to Cuba that you can get without leaving the United States.   Key West marks the spot with the monument in the photo below ( Photo from Key West – What To See & Do).

Key West / Cuba Bouy

Recently, the United States has started to improve relations with Cuba. With this more friendly attitude, travel has become somewhat less restrictive. For all the specifics and details regarding travel to Cuba the reader is referred to the relevant official government documents including those at –

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_new.pdf

Americans can now travel directly to Cuba. Many airlines have direct service from various cities in the United States.  Unfortunately it is not as simple as just jumping on a plane and heading to Havana however.  The traveler needs to work their way through several layers of requirements. Even today it’s still less complicated to travel to Vietnam.   As of the writing of this article, Americans can travel most easily to Cuba if their travel fits into one of twelve categories of General License offered to citizens of the United States.

Eligible General License Reasons For Travel To Cuba

Family visits
Official business of the U.S. Government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
Journalistic activities
Professional research or meetings
Educational activities and exchanges
Religious activities
Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic/other competitions and exhibitions
Humanitarian projects
Support for the Cuban people
Activities of private foundations, research, or educational institutes
Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information material
Certain authorized export transactions

A close reading of the available license categories makes clear that general travel solely for tourism is still not approved.  Further, those traveling on a general license must document a full-time schedule of activities consistent with their designated general license category. The U.S. Government then has up to 5 years after your trip to request your full-time schedule of activities.

In addition to general license requirements, travelers to Cuba must also have a valid passport and a Cuban Visa. The visa is easily obtained, most often through the traveler’s airline or cruise company.  Price runs around $50.00.  U.S. Citizens are also required by the Cuban government to have local Cuban health insurance.

 

Cuba map 3

Travelers should not expect to use their smartphones or to provide email or Facebook updates during their travels to Cuba.  Internet and telecommunications services are still very limited in the country.  If you travel to Cuba it’s probably best to think of it as a chance to take a break from your typical daily digital routine.

I’ll be traveling to Cuba in the near future. I’m looking forward to finally having the opportunity to visit Cuba and to learn more of it’s culture and people.  I’ll be writing more about my journey.  Who knows, I may even sample a cigar!

 

Journey To Cuba ………………. Enjoy The Adventure!

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© 2017, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Photographing and wandering the world - close to home and far away. Enjoying life's adventure.
Bruce W Bean, Ph.D

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