Over the past 10 years, travel to Cuba has slowly become easier for the American citizen. However, travelers need to understand there are still several key restrictions. The U.S. Embassy in Cuba reopened in 2015 after 54 years of closure. New People-to-People certified group travel itineraries were created, cruise itineraries started appearing, and travelers were even permitted to go on their own individually, providing they could show a full itinerary of activities that proved they were engaging in the culture and staying busy (not just lying on the beach, which was – and still is – prohibited).
Recently however, the new American administration has cracked down on travel to Cuba and there is a lot of confusion on whether or not travel for Americans is still permitted. The answer is YES! When you look closely at the new restrictions, you’ll see the major recent change is that individual tourists travelling on their own are no longer legally allowed to travel to Cuba. While this seems like a step backwards (and technically is), there are still many ways to travel to Cuba, whether it’s privately, with a group or on a cruise.
In order to experience Cuba “right,” we recommend working with a knowledgeable travel designer who understands the restrictions of travel and can recommend the best way for you to get the most out of understanding the country and its culture. Pique Travel has connections with many reputable and respected partners such as National Geographic, Abercrombie & Kent, Natural Habitat and Tauck. Depending on your interests and preferences, we can find the right group for you. For those who want a more private experience, we can work with our partners who are legally authorized to customize personalized itineraries for you with a private guide and driver. These trips are often very competitive in price to the group tours.
Cuba is a fascinating place for many reasons. While restrictions may have recently tightened, relations with the country regarding travel have changed immensely and will continue to do so. Right now, the cars from the 50s are still a beautiful sight to see. There isn’t a Starbucks or a McDonald’s on every Havana corner. Hotels are unique and historic (even if a bit rustic by American standards). We encourage you to plan your trip now before tourism is completely unrestricted and the developments and changes to the country begin to literally change the landscape.