ViaHero · October 18, 2018
So you want to go to Cuba? We'd love to help you get there! But how do you get there? Can you fly? Absolutely! Here's everything you need to know about how to fly to Cuba.
Once you give the article a read feel free to message us any questions you still have about flying to Cuba!
Want to explore Cuba differently? Have a local plan your trip.
Flying to Cuba is now easy for Americans. The travel ban has been lifted and commercial airlines are taking full advantage of this new destination so you can reach Cuba from your home airport.
Buy a commercial ticket from your home city
Five commercial airlines offer round-trip flights from the U.S. to Cuba. You can book the tickets directly with the airline. (We have a full list of flights available here.) You can book directly from your home city to Cuba and most flights will include a layover because only a few cities offer nonstop flights at this time. For example, you can fly from Pittsburgh to Havana with a stop in Fort Lauderdale on JetBlue for as low as $285 roundtrip. Or you could fly from NYC-JFK nonstop to Havana on JetBlue for as little as $300.
If you choose this option you will have to certify that your stay falls into one of the following twelve categories at the time you purchase your ticket to fly to Cuba:
- Family visits
- Official business for the US government, foreign government, and certain intergovernmental organizations
- Journalistic activity
- Professional research
- Educational activities/people to people
- Religious activities
- Public performances
- Support for the Cuban people *(most likely choice)
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- Exportation, importation or transmission of information or informational materials
- Certain export transactions
Most visits will qualify as support for the Cuban people. People to people travel must be done with a licensed tour group, but you may go independently with the other 11 categories. Get more information on declaring your category (general license).
To find tickets, you'll want to use a site like Skyscanner to find the best deals.
Fly to Cuba from Canada or Mexico
If you live close to the Canadian or Mexican border you may prefer to fly to Cuba from major cities in Canada or Mexico and taking ground transportation to that city. While it's certainly not necessary to add this extra step, you may prefer to do so if flights to Cuba from your home airport are more expensive than flights from Toronto or Mexico City.
The number one Canadian airline to book to fly to Cuba is Sunwing, who offer a fun bonus: a complimentary glass of champagne for all passengers. Sunwing flights from Toronto to Varadero begin around $400 roundtrip.
If you're near the border between Texas and Mexico, flights from Monterrey, Mexico to Cuba start around $360 while flights from nearby Corpus Christi, TX are usually in the $500 to $600 range. Hopping from Cancun to Havana is often a mere $200.
Charter a flight
Charter flights allow you to fly to Cuba easily on your day of travel but there is a catch: they're difficult to book and expensive. For example, JetBlue offers charter flights to Havana, but only from New York, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa. You'll pay $800 or more round-trip (more than double the cost of a nonstop commercial flight from New York to Havana).
Once you decide to book a charter, you'll have to fight your way through the charter company websites in order to get a seat on these lucrative flights. Charter companies only post their schedules a couple months in advance and don't have the convenient and advanced flight search tools we've become accustomed to with commercial airlines. You'll have to sift through their listings much like you would a bus schedule and then apply for a spot on the charter flight - quite the outdated process. Beyond that, each company has its own rules, some more complicated than others.
At this point, commercial flights are the best choice, but charters are an option if that's what you truly wish to do.
Here are a few companies that offer charter flights: