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What to Know About Traveling to Havana, Cuba

Booking a trip to Havana involves a lot of excitement and a little uncertainty. Because of the U.S. embargo imposed on relations with Cuba, which dates back to the 1960s, travel was off-limits for a long time.

U.S. citizens can now travel to Cuba with fewer regulations and restrictions. It hasn’t been very long since relations between Cuba and America have improved and the embargo was loosened. Because of this, it can be difficult to find proper information about what you need to know when traveling to Cuba.

Here are some tips to know before traveling to Havana.

How to enter the country

It is technically still illegal for American citizens to enter Cuba solely as a tourist. Visitors are required to fit into one of 12 categories:

  • 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 informational materials
  • Certain authorized export transactions

Many travelers choose “Education activities” as their reason for visiting, and present a full itinerary of activities focused on personal contact with Cuban citizens.

Have the right documentation

Firstly, you will need a visa to enter Cuba, which can easily be obtained at your gateway airport. Ask your airline for instructions.

You will also need to get special health insurance that covers Cuban territory. This is often added to the cost of your flight, so check with your airline for details.

Lastly, you will need to fill out customs forms. Your airline may take care of this while in the air, otherwise you can fill these out at the security station during immigration check.

Have fun!

Shop at the San Jose market, see the views at Havana’s Camera Obscura and spend an evening at Fabrica de Arte Cubano!

To check off an ultimate bucket list item, take a ride in a vintage convertible. Take a tour while cruising down the streets of Cuba’s capital in a drop-top. Tickets can be bought for about $50 per person.

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