CAN AMERICANS GO TO CUBA?
Wondering if Americans can travel to Cuba?
Yes. American citizens can still travel to Cuba relatively easily.
Several major US airlines (Delta, American, United) offer direct flights from the US to Havana. American citizens can buy a Cuban visa from the airline at check-in. The process is relatively easy.
To be clear, the Cuban government does not restrict Americans from visiting Cuba.
However, the US government does place some restrictions on travel to Cuba, which leads to our most frequently asked question, “Can US citizens travel to Cuba?”.
The US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) requires that American citizens travel to Cuba under an authorized license category. US citizens can travel to Cuba under 12 license categories, which include family visits, journalistic activities, and professional research. While tourism is expressly forbidden by the US Government, there are other ways for Americans to travel to Cuba that allow the average US citizen to enjoy much of what Cuba has to offer.
CHACO Travel specializes in travel to Cuba under the Support for the Cuban People license and the Educational Activities license.
The Support for the Cuban license allows average Americans to visit and enjoy Cuba, while simultaneously putting their money directly into the hands of Cuban civilians, not the Cuban government. Simply stated, the Support for the Cuban People license requires that Americans stay at privately-owned casa particular accommodations, eat at privately-owned paladar restaurants, and patronize privately-owned cuentapropista businesses. The Support for the Cuban People license also requires that Americans engage in a full-time schedule of activities that meet OFAC requirements.
The great thing about the Support for the Cuban People license is that its requirements allow Americans to enjoy the very best that Cuba has to offer. Casa particulares are the best type of accommodation in Cuba, paladares make up the best restaurants in Cuba, and cuentapropistas offer some of the best goods and services in Cuba.
And the reverse is true as well. The Support for the Cuban People license restrictions prevent Americans from staying at apathetically managed government hotels, eating at uninspired government restaurants, and purchasing from indifferent government businesses. The private sector offers the very best of Cuba, so the Support for the Cuban People license does not take away from, but instead enhances, a wonderful trip to Cuba.
The Educational Activities license allows university and secondary students to travel to Cuba as part of a structured educational program. University students and their professors can visit Cuba as part of a for-credit university course. Secondary students and their teachers can travel to Cuba as part of a school-sponsored educational program.
Cuba is a wonderful destination for university travel programs and student travel programs. Cuba's truly unique past and present make it a perfect place to study a myriad of subjects: history, economics, music, art, religion, sociology, architecture, African diaspora, and more. More importantly, Cuba is a safe country for student travel, with a low violent-crime rate and a good healthcare system.
Due to CHACO Travel's consistent commitment to Cuba's private sector and the people of Cuba, CHACO ceased offering trips under the people-to-people travel license in early 2019, prior to the sub-category's elimination by the Trump administration.
People-to-people travel was a subset of the Educational Activities license that had been granted under the Obama administration, giving US citizens unprecedented freedom to travel to communist Cuba. The implementation of people-to-people travel led to a general detente between the US and Cuba, a state visit by President Obama, the re-opening of the US Embassy in Havana, cruises, and renewed US commercial airline flights to Cuba.
Over the past several years, the Trump administration has whittled away at Obama's detente by prohibiting cruises to Cuba, ending people-to-people travel, and effectively closing the US Embassy. Despite these minor setbacks, the Support for the Cuban People license, and Educational Activities license are still the best ways to experience Cuba.
If you have any further questions or are still wondering how Americans can travel to Cuba, please contact us.