If you’re planning to visit Cuba in 2023, you’re in luck! It's still totally legal to travel to Cuba, and right now, it's never been easier. Here's how to do it.
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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.
Although the new regulations sound intimidating, it's still totally legal to travel to Cuba.
Under the Support for the Cuban People travel category, American visitors to Cuba simply need to spend six hours each day doing “educational” activities—like dancing lessons, museum tours, and cooking classes. Here's why.
Pro tip: the best way to meet these requirements is to have a local plan for your trip. Locals have connections to tiny organizations, private classes, and small businesses. These connections would be impossible to find otherwise, especially because internet access is scarce and Cubans do not often advertise online. Plus, the itineraries they provide proof that you traveled to Cuba legally.
In 2018, Raul Castro stepped down as President of Cuba, and a new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, was selected by the national assembly. Although this is the first time in decades a member of the Castro family has not been in charge of the island, very little has changed for residents or travelers.
Don’t dally! Things in Cuba book up fast. As a limited number of businesses advertise online, everyone is looking at the same resources. It is best to have one of our local travel experts arrange your trip. They will use their connections to secure accommodations, restaurants, tours, transportation, and more. You won’t have to worry about the headache of everything filling up before you arrive.
Cuba has not escaped the COVID-19 pandemic, but the medical system is one of the best in the world and more than 88% of Cubans are vaccinated. Check on the COVID rules from a trusted site like Sherpa and ask local travel experts if you still have questions.
Do you want to see a certain festival? Avoid hot temperatures? Miss the rain? Plan your timeline wisely!
Spend time researching your flights before booking anything. If you are traveling from the United States, many airlines are now fly directly into Cuba. But there are some benefits to flying in from another country, like Mexico.
Forget about hotels in Cuba—they are overpriced and dingy. Staying with a local family in a casa particular will provide the most comfortable and immersive trip.
Havana is intoxicating, but there are plenty of other parts of the island to see. Consider traveling to cities like Trinidad or Viñales. Our Heroes can suggest cities that are worthwhile to visit during your trip.
If you don’t speak any Spanish, you may find it difficult to navigate during your trip. If you have time, start brushing up on some basic phrases. It will be much appreciated by the locals you meet.
Cash is king in Cuba. ATMs are difficult to find, and they do not take US cards. Plan on bringing enough cash to last your entire trip—yes, your entire trip. Be safe about where you store it. Don’t keep it in one place, and never carry all of it on you at once.
The Cuban government requires you to buy a Cuban Tourist Card to enter Cuba (not actually a visa, though the two words are sometimes used interchangeably). The easiest way to get your Cuban Tourist Card is online in advance through sites like Online Tourist Card, but you can also buy one from your airline (contact your air carrier to find out where and how to purchase).
The internet is basically nonexistent in Cuba…and it is better that way! Consider this your digital detox. Let your work and family know you will be mostly out of reach.
Still have questions about travel to Cuba? Our local Cuban travel planners are here to help. Message us to get started. And before your trip, make sure to check out: