Cuba FAQs for Americans
Can I still travel to Cuba from the U.S. legally? How?
Yes. You have two options:
Group Tours - Under the revised policies announced in June 2017, if you want to travel under the People to People category of allowed travel, you’ll need to travel as a part of a licensed group tour. These typically cost $5000 or more.
Independent Travel - If you’d like to travel independently under the new policies, you will need to pick one of the other 11 categories of allowable travel. Support for the Cuban People is meant to allow you to interact with and support local businesses and Cuban society. While it isn’t for those seeking pure tourism, you can use this category to learn a lot about Cuba and their culture.
If you're interested, one of our locals in Cuba can plan out as much or as little of your trip as you'd like, all while ensuring that you are visiting legally under the category of your choice.
What are the categories of allowable travel? What category should I pick?
Here are the categories of approved travel to declare. We suggest the ‘Support for the Cuban people’ category as it’s the most broad and many travel activities qualify if you’re engaging with locals.
You may see these categories referred to as a “General License”, but there’s no physical license at all. It is simply a declaration of why you’re traveling to Cuba. You just need to pick a category and state it when booking a flight, lodging or returning to the United States through immigration.
Which documents do I need to travel to Cuba from the U.S.?
To enter Cuba from the U.S.:
As required by the Cuban government, you need:
- Pink tourist card
- Cuban health insurance (which is provided as a part of your airline ticket if you're traveling from the U.S.)
To return to the U.S. from Cuba:
As required by the U.S. government, you need:
- Verbally declare which category of travel you chose
- An itinerary outlining your activities
- Keep receipts for all major transactions and activities that you paid for
Want help planning your trip? Here’s more info on our trip planning service to Cuba.
Can I use a ViaHero guidebook and itinerary to fulfill the new travel restrictions from the U.S.?
Yes, if you’d like to travel independently. ViaHero’s local Heroes will plan your trip to meet all of the requirements for travel to Cuba under the category of your choice, except People to People travel.
Each Hero personally caters to your interests and needs, and the service includes:
- Trip consulting
- Travel arrangements
- Personalized guidebook
- Offline map navigation
What kind of activities are typically on a ViaHero guidebook and itinerary?
ViaHero itineraries for Americans can be tailored to your interests, while fitting in the required activities during your stay. Not every activity has to fit into the category of travel, but it’s expected that 4-8 hours of your weekdays in Cuba are spent participating in activities that do. This could mean meeting and conversing with local artists and entrepreneurs during the morning, and visiting museums and parks during the late afternoon/evening. Your Hero will personalize your trip based on your interests, while meeting the new travel policy requirements.
Here’s an example of what a ViaHero personalized guidebook looks like.
I booked my tickets before the U.S. travel policies changed. Can I still go to Cuba?
Yes, you can still go! Your trip will be grandfathered in if you chose the People to People category when you booked flights or lodging, because you booked before the changes went into effect on June 16, 2017. You can still travel to Cuba without making any changes to your plans!
If you booked a flight or lodging on or after June 16th, chose the People to People category of travel and would still like to travel independently, you’ll need to change your travel category to another category, like Support for the Cuban People.