There’s a big difference between not being able to travel to Cuba at all and not being able to visit Cuba as a regular tourist. There’s a vast middle ground that allows for travel that’s beneficial to the Cuban people and enjoyable for visitors, too. Even with the changes to restrictions in recent years, it’s both legal and safe to travel to Cuba.
If you’re sticking to the rules of your travel category mentioned above, it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid the businesses on the Department of State’s Restricted List. The list bans Americans from spending money at any organization affiliated with the Cuban military.
Many of the places on the list are hotels or travel companies, so you can plan ahead to make sure you avoid them. Staying in is a great way to make sure you don’t stay in a hotel on the list and have an enriching cultural experience staying with a local family. You can book particulares on websites like booking.com or Airbnb.
The main place to be careful in Cuba is in Old Havana. A number of the shops there appear on the Restricted List.
Also, the State Department has made it clear that this list will change over time, so make sure to double check the list before you go.
Want help navigating this issue? Contact one of our locals in Cuba for help planning your trip.
Many of us don’t even take receipts at the cash register anymore. We just don’t want the tiny slips of paper cluttering up our pockets and purses. But when you travel to Cuba, you should take each receipt and keep it. Tuck them all away carefully in an envelope and don’t lose them. Most likely, you won’t be asked for them, but if you ever are, you need to have them. Likewise, if you save all of your photos, you'll have a record of your activities during your trip. US travel regulations state that you should keep all of this as evidence for 5 years, just in case you're asked to show proof of your activities.
Our Cuban travel experts can help you figure out the logistics and give you insider recommendations on activities you’ll love.
For more on traveling to Cuba, be sure to check out: