The excitement of the possibilities of visiting Cuba as the United States and Cuba restore full diplomatic relationships has immensely grown since its announcement in early 2015. Exciting travel possibilities await as the United States and Cuba finally restored full diplomatic relations earlier this year. While many Americans’ interest grows, there are a few things to consider before booking a trip to Cuba.
What many people don’t know about the diplomatic restoration is that U.S. tourists are still prohibited from visiting. In January 2015, travel categories that are acceptable for U.S. citizen entry into Cuba were expanded to include professional research, participating in an athletic event, performing in a concert, working on a humanitarian project, or taking part in educational activities.
The U.S. cruise line Carnival has received approval from the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Department to set up a port in Cuba. Carnival has organized a program to benefit Cuban communities and educate U.S. passengers, meeting the travel requirements set by the Treasury Department.
Flights from the U.S. into Cuba still have to be booked through a third party until the two countries negotiate a new civil aviation agreement. That said, flying from the U.S. to Cuba is much easier as airports on the east coast have added flights departing from Tampa, Miami, New York, and Orlando.
While Cuba is a major tourist country to visitors from around the world, its infrastructure is still lacking, and hotel accommodations may be difficult to find. Companies like AirBNB have been operating in Cuba for some time and are great alternatives to hotel stays, offering a more authentic visit while benefiting Cuban citizens directly.
It’s a great time for U.S. travelers to gain a genuine Cuban experience during this great transition. Considering the many laws and regulations before travel is crucial to a safe and worry-free visit to this beautiful Caribbean Island. For more information on travel requirement for U.S. Citizens entering Cuba, visit the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs.