People to People Cuba: What You Need to Know

People to People Cuba: What You Need to Know

ViaHero · Updated June 5, 2019

Let's get this out of the way: yes, you can absolutely travel to Cuba as an American, even after Trump's June 2019 Cuba travel restrictions!

You just can't travel under the People to People category.

Read on to learn more about the categories of legal travel to Cuba, what the People to People category was used for, and what its elimination means for your trip to Cuba.

Once you give the article a read, feel free to message us directly, or have a local Cuba travel expert help you plan your legal trip

Want to make the most out of your trip? Tap into our network of local travel planners—Heroes—who build unique, locally-curated trip plans, designed just for you. Get started.

What was People to People Cuba travel?

“People to People” was one of 11 (formerly 12) authorized categories of Cuba travel for Americans. To legally travel to Cuba, Americans must meet the requirements for any one of these 11 categories.

For the People to People category, visitors to Cuba had to travel with a tour through a US-based company. All qualifying tours for Americans also had to include a full-time schedule of educational activities consistent with the People to People travel requirements from the US Treasury Department. People to People was also often used by cruise companies.

cars in cuba

What happened to People to People?

The entire category was eliminated on June 5, 2019 to cut down on what the Trump White House claimed was "veiled tourism". As a result, Americans can no longer take group trips (aka guided tour packages) to Cuba.

Which category should I use now?

Even before the new restrictions, most travelers who didn't want to be part of a group tour traveled under the Support for the Cuban People category.

Under this category, travelers must have a full-time schedule of activities that support the people of Cuba. This category is intentionally vague, so everything from cooking classes with Cubans to eating at privately-owned restaurants to taking private museum tours counts towards it.

ViaHero can help you take a legal trip by having a Cuban travel expert build a personalized itinerary around your interests and travel style—while also ensuring it conforms to the Support for the Cuban People requirements. 

Here’s how:

  • They’ll set you up in casas particulares, which are rooms rented out of Cuban homes. In many, you’ll have the chance to talk with your hosts at length and enjoy home-cooked Cuban food.
  • You’ll get the inside scoop on restaurants and activities that travelers on group tours often miss.

Plus, you’ll get these benefits:

  • You’re in control. Our travel experts will customize your itinerary to your tastes. And if you arrive in Cuba then want to change things up a little, you’re free to do so. You’re not stuck with the plan.
  • Save money. Group tours can easily cost over $3,000 per person for a one-week trip. ViaHero is just a fraction of the cost. Heroes charge $30 per day per group and then after that, you just pay for where you stay, what you eat, and what you do. Here’s more details on costs of travel in Cuba.
  • Have a legal itinerary AND travel independently. People to people Cuba travel is just one legal way to get to Cuba and the only way that requires a group and a guide. There are eleven other ways to travel to Cuba independently and our travel experts can help you figure out which one best complements the activities you want to enjoy in Cuba.

And if you really want a tour guide, our travel planners can hook you up with tour guides for parts of your trip. Having a guide for your first day in a new city can help you get oriented and then leave you free to travel as you please throughout the rest of the trip.

locals in cuba playing guitar

Keep in mind that most activities on a group tour can be done independently without the crowd. Our Heroes can introduce you to local artists, musicians, educators, dancers, and others who big tour companies might not know about.

ViaHero brings you the convenience of a tour without having to travel with a group of strangers. It’s like a plan-it-yourself trip, but much easier because our Heroes can assist you with every detail before and during your trip.

Have more questions about travel to Cuba? Here is a list of our Cuban travel experts who can help you or you can message us any questions you have. And before your trip, make sure to check out:

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