Travel to Cuba with the Support for the Cuban People category
Updated January 8, 2018
Categories for legal travel to Cuba
As an American, you need to pick one of 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba. Before the new regulations announced by the Trump Administration went into effect, many travelers were able to choose the People to People Educational category. Under the new Cuba travel regulations, a traveler can only choose the People to People category if he or she is traveling with a group package tour, meaning you can no longer travel independently under that category.
The broadest category you may currently use to travel independently to Cuba is the Support for the Cuban People category. You will need to abide by the regulations and participate in activities that are in the spirit of the category.
And before your trip, make sure to check out:
- Cuba FAQ
- Cuba Info for Americans
- Our Cuba page
- How to Get a Cuban Visa
- Contact us with your Questions
What does the category require?
To understand what is required by the category, take a look at the legal text:
- An independent traveler can travel under this category.
- A traveler is required to provide support for the Cuban people and promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba.
- A traveler is required to engage in "Support for the Cuban People" activities consistent with a full-time schedule. These types of activities include:
- Meeting with local businessmen, artists, tobacco manufacturers and people who own their own business
- Explore independent museums (there are some very interesting ones in Havana)
- Independent markets
- Dance classes (popular and folkloric dances)
- Meeting and engaging with musicians at a show
- Art shows
- Discuss Cuban society with locals
- One must retain records, like receipts and itineraries, and keep them on hand for five years.
- A traveler must avoid all transactions with a GAESA-owned (military-owned) business. Here is a complete list.
Want help planning your trip and meeting the new Cuba travel requirements? Choose one of our Heroes to plan your trip from $25/day!
I thought the new policy didn’t allow independent travel to Cuba?
That’s only true for the People to People category. The other 11 categories, including Support for the Cuban People, are available for independent travel.
The goals of the new policy are to support the Cuban people and limit the benefits to the Cuban military. This has been stated multiple times, both in the announcement and in the released documentation, and Marco Rubio, who was the driver of this policy change, explicitly outlines how Americans can travel under the Support for the Cuban People category.
What activities count toward Support for the Cuban People?
The category is fairly broad, so it really depends on your interests. In general, you’ll need to:
- Stay at a casa particular or Airbnb.
- Support and engage with local businesses and independent entrepreneurs like artists, musicians, food vendors, filmmakers, etc. Whatever your interests, you can find a way to support the Cuban people.
- Eat at local restaurants or paladares.
- Avoid transactions at military-owned businesses.
To fit into the category, you must engage in compliant activities over enough hours to fulfill a full-time schedule. With ViaHero, you’ll work with a local travel consultant who will build you a completely personalized guidebook based on your specific needs and interests, including six hours of Support for the Cuban People activities during weekdays, and other recommendations for the rest of your trip. You’ll be able to navigate your way around the country independently using custom maps that your Hero will build for you in an offline app, and you’ll even be able to contact your Hero during your trip with any last minute questions or requests!
Here’s an example of a personalized guidebook for travel to Cuba under the Support for the Cuban People category.
Locals can help plan your legal trip
One of our locals in Cuba can plan your fully customized trip, all while helping to ensure that your trip is compliant with the new travel requirements.
For more on the trip planning service, visit this page.