Cuba, from a traveler’s perspective, is known for its beautiful beaches, incredible architecture and great food. For Americans however, it’s a place that has been off limits. But since President Obama announced the United States and Cuba would start talking about normalizing relations, everyone is wondering if this means traveling to Cuba will be easier for us.
Well, let’s start with the basics. Even before the President announced this move, it was possible for religious, educational and professionals, along with people who have family there, to travel to the Communist country. And they still can, but unfortunately, even with these talks, there are limitations for the rest of us. Basically, you can’t just book a flight and jetset from America to Cuba. In fact, spending money there or going for simple tourism is, for now, still strictly prohibited for Americans. You can however, book people-to-people tours from places like Insight Cuba, but it’s quite expensive, and again, you can’t just hang at the beach and take advantage of regular excursions.
Flickr photo by Nick Kenrick
Plus, people who are traveling for: family visits, official U.S business, journalistic activity, research, religious activity, educational activity, humanitarian activity, and the like, will still need permission from the United States State Department. So, basically, it’s still pretty tough to visit there.
Of course, there are ways around these restrictions. If you’re so inclined to visit, you can fly out of a third-party country like Mexico or Canada. But keep in mind, if you get in trouble over there, there’s no U.S. Embassy, also, again, you cannot use a debit or credit card, just cash or travelers checks. Oh, and let’s not even talk about how awkward that check-in at U.S customs will be if you’re caught.
On the bright side, Cuba is a gorgeous place, and has a lot of history to offer. While the ban to travel freely hasn’t been lifted, these talks are definitely a step in the right direction.
Great post. Cuba has always been on my bucket list, possibly because it’s always been so hard for me to legally get to. Agreed that it’s a step in the right direction!