Travel to Cuba from USA
Travel to Cuba from USA by plane or, better said, travel to an island just 90 miles from the US should not be difficult, but it is. This is partly due to the US economic embargo against the island and partly due to the seldom mentioned “trading with the enemy act”. In effect, any airlines or maritime travel by US planes or vessels needs to be previously licensed by the treasury department for Travel to Cuba from USA. This makes it very difficult to both book and travel directly from the United States and Travel to Cuba from USA.
Flights for Travel to Cuba from USA
Previously (before 2010) just a handful of airports including Los Angeles, Miami and New York been approved for Flights for Travel to Cuba from USA. However, recently various routes were approved, meaning that those who are traveling with permission from the United States government Travel to Cuba from USA is much easier than before.
The current airports approved for direct Flights for Travel to Cuba from USA for those with a license (permission) to travel are:
Dallas Fort Worth
San Juan, Puerto Rico.
However, due to recent modifications in the permitted “motives” for Travel to Cuba from USA , many other Americans qualify to simply travel to the island without under a “general license” (No application required) which opens the door to several popular routes used by Americans for Flights for Travel to Cuba from USA both past and present.
Probably the two most popular Flights for Travel to Cuba from USA are Cancun – Havana or Nassau – Havana. However, direct flights are also available from Mexico City, Merida, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic and many other locations. This simply means buying a return ticket to your “gateway” country then a separate onward return flight to Cuba. Timing can be tricky though and, many have found they need to overnight in the third country they hop from. NON of these flights to/from Cuba will be available from standard online bookings sites domiciled in the US or, even those websites for markets outside of the US if the website is owned by a US company. So, the likes of Travelocity or Expedia, even on European versions of their websites, will not allow bookings of Cuba bound flights. Some companies offer fully synchronized flights and work out the itinerary with you to save long stopovers and wasted time.
In these cases Flights for Travel to Cuba from USA are, of course, not direct.
Travel to Cuba by Sea
Many Americans, especially those who live in Florida, often say “why don´t I just Travel to Cuba by Sea?” After all, it’s only 90 miles, right? Well, theoretically, Travel to Cuba by Sea is entirely possible. In fact, more and more yachts and power cruises are showing up in Cuba´s ports. However, an American should be aware that having a berth prearranged and accounting for local paperwork is essential.
The Florida Straits can be as smooth as a lake or as treacherous as the Baring seas, depending on the time of year. If the weather and conditions are good you can expect a swift and agreeable crossing. If the weather or swells are bad then it can take much longer.
Arriving in Cuba by sea
Advising of your arrival is very important so as not to create confusion with the Cuban Coast guard. Unlike most countries in the region, Cuba´s waters are heavily monitored due to the political tension between the US and the Cuban Government.
As you approach Cuba you can contact the port authorities on HF (SSB) 2760 National Coastal Network, and 2twork, and/or 2790 Tourist Network VHF Channel 68 Port Authorities, or Channel 19 Tourism
A complete list of Cuban Ports and advice can be found at Cuba-Yachts.com and for a minimal fee this website can make arrangements for your arrival, prearrange your berth at one of the ports and advise the authorities of your pending arrival to make the process simpler.
Upon arrival in a Cuban Port you will be required to register with the port authorities and complete immigration. Although this sounds daunting, actually it’s quite a laid back affair and rather simple. You will need to buy the tourist card (25 CUC) and register all crew of your vessel. All must have a valid passport. Cuban immigration DO NOT stamp passports, rather they stamp the separate tourist card which is two copies. One you retain in your passport until departure and the other remains with the immigration staff.
How long can I stay in Cuba with my Vessel?
Unlike “normal” air bound passengers, those of boats can stay longer in Cuba. The basic stay being 1 month but this can be extended up to six months by port immigration. Each extension costs 50 CUC per month and must be paid by every crew member.
All ports in Cuba provide standard port side electricity hook ups, fresh water and sanitary services. In fact, you´ll be hard pressed to recognize any difference in the services available from those you are accustomed to.
Cuban nationals and boarding your vessel
There are restrictions concerning allowing Cuban nationals to board your vessel. These restrictions, like many rules in Cuba, are made to be broken. The official line is NO CUBANS are allowed onboard. However, the reality is much different. Staying under the radar and complying with the port authorities will reward you with a more flexible attitude toward this rule. However, large groups of males and females, parties and other group visits to your vessel will be prohibited and, should you try, will make the rest of your stay a “Cubanless” experience. However, “one or two” friends is often tolerated. The general consensus between numerous crews we have spoken to is, if you want to enjoy time with numerous Cuban´s then, the best route is to book a Hotel in Cuba or Private house for those times.
Travel to Cuba from USA 101