Everything you need to know about visiting Cuba from the United States!
For many people traveling to Cuba is an appealing option for a vacation, but there are some things that you should know about Cuba before organizing your trip. This beautiful location has been an intriguing destination for American tourists for the past couple of years, and once you’ve visited, you’ll know why! Cuba has great vibes – it’s like you time traveled back to the 50’s.
What you need to know about traveling to Cuba from the United States
Any restrictions on travel between the United States and Cuba are enforced and put in place by the Americans. You can travel from any airport in the United States, but the only airport you can arrive in Cuba is Havana. The other option is to fly to Canada or Mexico first and then into Cuba.
Americans aren’t allowed to visit Cuba as tourists but can visit under the ‘support for Cuban people’ travel category. You are required to support Cuban businesses or people during your trip, but you’ll find yourself doing that almost every time you shop or eat.
Do you require a visa to travel to Cuba? When you go to Cuba, you’ll be required to purchase a tourist card or visa. In most cases, this can be done at the gate before departure but can also be online in some circumstances. Fees vary depending on which airline you’re flying with.
It’s essential to bring a lot of cash! American currency isn’t accepted anywhere in Cuba besides the airport. While most bank debit cards will work at ATMs, you’ll be charged a high exchange fee upwards of 12%. So make sure that you organize enough money before departing home so you can exchange for the local Cuban CUC at the CADECA. Americans are charged a 10% exchange rate fee on any currency exchanged, so make sure that you keep this in mind.
Be careful where you stay! Americans aren’t supposed to stay in any of the hotels that are owned and operated by the Cuban military establishment. Unfortunately, that’s most of the larger hotels. There are some smaller hotels to choose from as well as a booming Airbnb trade available.
Do you need health insurance for your Cuba visit? You may be surprised to learn that you don’t need additional health insurance for your visit. There are Clinica Internacional set up in every major city in Cuba that caters to international visitors. A $25 health insurance fee is built into the cost of your airline ticket. Keep a paper or digital copy of your ticket handy in case you need to get checked out.
Embrace the Cuban culture. Sing & dance with the local musicians. Fire up a nice authentic Cuban cigar & enjoy the finer things this country has to offer that you just can’t get anywhere else!
Here are the top 5 things that you have to see and do while you’re enjoying your trip to Cuba!
Tour Havana in a fantastic classic car! – There is no better way to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Havana than in a beautiful classic car that makes it feel like you’re in the 50’s. It’s almost like Cuba was stuck in time.
Topes de Collantes National Park – If you love exploring everything nature has to offer, then the Topes de Collantes National Park 25 minutes from Trinidad is definitely worth a visit.
Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso – This beautiful restaurant is on the list of American government approved visits and well worth a visit for some delicious food.
Playa Las Tumbas – If you want to avoid the popular and busy beaches near Havana, then the remote beach of Playa Las Tumbas is only a four-hour trip away. It’s well worth it to avoid the crowds!
Read on for the Top 3 Cuban foods that every visitor should try on their trip to Cuba!
Below are three Cuban foods that you have to try during your visit to this beautiful country!
Chiviricos (Fried Dough) – If you love fried dough, you’d fall in love with this popular Havana street food!
Fricasse de Carnero (Goat Platter) – Made from tender and delicious chunks of stewed goat, Fricasse de Carnero is available in many Cuban restaurants.
Pan Con Bistec – Eat it as a snack or a main meal; either way, it will definitely satisfy you. Made from fried pork steak, onions, and garlic and served between bread. This is one delicious sandwich.
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You know the sandwich is going to be good when they take the time to carefully check and brush each pressed sandwich with their house made lard every few minutes. ?: @sanguichdemiami ?: pan con bistec (thinly sliced steak, mojo rojo, fried string potatoes and fontina cheese) ?: $11
For a full list of resources about traveling to Cuba from the USA, please feel free to check out the official links below.
CIA World Factbook Cuba Page
USAID Cuba Page
History of U.S. Relations With Cuba
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions Page
Bureau of Industry and Security Cuba