Just as I'm writing this, the plans are being finalized for our Havana Heartbeat trips on January 6 and January 13. This is going to be the most up-to-date post on current travel to Cuba. For my guests, I want to make this an incredible experience, but how do you do that after a devastating pandemic.
As of November 15th, travel to Cuba Is open. The airlines such as Southwest have made flights available from Miami and Tampa. The cost is up substantially from pre-pandemic pricing. In previous years, the cost of a flight to Cuba was in the range of $300, but now that has risen to about $570 per person. Quite an increase, but I expected that to happen given the situation and conditions with the airlines.
The price does include the medical insurance Cuba requires for those entering the country but does not include the Cuban Travel Visa which is hovering around $100. This is essentially a piece of paper that you fill out and present upon arrival. Cuba is allowing those that have been tested via PCR within 72 hours to enter the country, but my feeling is don't do that, just get the vaccine. It's safer for you and for them, and for God's sake, it's overdue.
You should also have travel insurance that covers anything related to cancellation, trip interruption, and COVID-related expenses through a carrier like AIG/Travel Guard that will handle Cuba Travel. This is always a smart thing to do and required My XO Adventures, a Cuba Travel Agency on any international trip.
Here is what you need to enter Cuba:
1.) A flight that includes the medical insurance
2.) A valid passport that is good for at least 6 months after the scheduled date of return.
3.) Travel Insurance
4.) A Travel Visa
5.) Vaccination Card
6.) Cash for your entire stay plus some.
Cuba Travel tips about money. The monetary situation has changed dramatically since 2020. The CUC has been eliminated altogether. This is the currency you could use as a visitor in Cuba. It's gone, and the government has returned Cuba to a single currency economy. Why does the single currency matter? It's because that combined with a pandemic has created inflation, massive inflation. Recently, the government has announced that the USD is not to be used in Cuba, only the CUP, Euros or Canadian Dollars. If you're going to travel to Cuba, it's currently best to bring Euros, which have the most favorable exchange rate in Cuba as of this writing.
Pork, meat, and chicken are costly. Seafood is more readily available and the route I would go at this point. Government-owned institutions are only accepting CUP at this point, and being government-owned in Cuba means off-limits for Americans. This doesn't mean that you'll miss out, as there are alternatives to spending money in these places. Americans must only spend money on privately owned businesses. This is a regulatory rule by the U.S. Government for Americans visiting Cuba.
Airbnb has a special license to operate in Cuba, so lodging is generally not a problem. There are quite a few entrepreneurs in Cuba, just be sure to read the reviews carefully. It's always best to get a recommendation from someone who knows, or joining a small tour group like Havana Heartbeat to ensure quality. We stay at a 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom home in a suburb of Havana to enjoy a high quality, family-run and quiet location. The downtown area can be noisy, but some people like the convenience of not having to take a cab into town.
Some people wonder, Is it safe to travel in Cuba? I always say yes. I feel safer in Cuba than I do in my own hometown. For certain there is less crime, with the highest activity related to tourists being pick pocketing. It's never happened to me, but you should always bring a money belt no matter where you go.
You've got to jump through some hoops to go to Cuba, but there are professionals out there than can make Cuba Travel now a possibility. Successful travel to any place in the world is dependent on the relationships between the seller and those in the places they visit. I believe Cuba is a World Class destination offering the most unique travel environment in the world, and one that should be experienced. The best way to bring people together is by understanding them, and through that friendships are made.
It's my personal and professional opinion that the people of Cuba should no longer suffer from the embargo. It should be lifted immediately and unconditionally. We treat no other country the way we treat Cuba, and the result Is moral bankruptcy. We the people can help, and benefit from trashing the embargo and working toward mending our ties with one of our closest neighbors.
Cuba is called the "Paris of the Caribbean" for a reason, and if you'd like to find out why come join us on Havana Heartbeat. I'll be posting as much as possible, telling stories along the way, and updating you with the current situation as it stands. See you down the road!
I absolutely love travel, experiences, am a bit of a daredevil, and an occasional writer. My favorite place is the place I've never been.
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