I feel like every post I am going to have to briefly explain that my job is awesome and that is how I was able to go to Cuba in January, for those who are new to my blog. As I have explained before, getting to Cuba was actually much easier than I had expected! I went without a tour group, just some of my colleagues, and we planned and booked everything ourselves! If you are an American, you have to jump through some hoops to get through Cuba, but it is well worth it in the end. Here’s how to get into Cuba as an American:
Figure Out How You Are Going
As an American, there are 12 reasons you could potentially be visiting Cuba. From family to work to education, there are some very specific reasons that allows you to visit, and tourism is NOT one of them. However, don’t let that deter you because you can still go. The People to People reason is a very broad reason that can get you to Cuba. Please read here to find out more about People to People and my explanation on it.
Oh hey Cuba! Hopefully will get to be a bit closer to you one day! #Cuba #plane #Airplane #view #clouds #sky #Land #island #cloud #window #blues #blue #skies #sea #water #beach #ocean #pretty #travel #explore #holiday #vacation #travelgram #instatravel #wanderlust #traveler #traveling #traveltheworld #oneday
Figure Out How You Are Getting There
More and more flights are being added to the capital city of Cuba, Havana each and every day, and as a result airlines are even pulling out of Cuba due to it being very saturated since American airlines have
taken over started flying to Havana. Miama (duh), New York, and Atlanta tend to be the hot spots for flights to Cuba. Only 20 airports currently (2017) are allowed to have direct flights and besides California and New York, they are all situated in the southern stages from North Carolina to Texas, with the majority being in Florida. When my coworkers and I first started looking, some search engines wouldn’t even pull up flights to Cuba – Google Flights and Priceline showed nothing, because you could never look up flights before. With more and more flights, you can now start seeing them on Google Flights, SkyScanner, etc. but don’t be discouraged if you see 0 flights within your search, because there are still some glitches.
Our group flew on Delta Airlines, because they offered the best deal and had the shortest layover. We were flying from Chicago and alas there is no direct flight yet, so we had to have a stopover with Delta. The great thing about Delta is it is a one stop shop! We could get our visa, ticket (obviously), AND insurance through them and they are extremely helpful. This leads into…
Figure Out What You Need to Fly Into Cuba
Here is a breakdown of what you will need to visit Cuba:
Passport: As it is another country, obviously you need a valid US passport to get into Cuba if you area n American. You also will need to apply for a visa when visiting Cuba.
Cuban Visa: Before landing in Cuba, you must have a tourist card (or if you are entering on another visa i.e. business, then that) Delta distributes them before you fly and they cost $50 USD. You can purchase these in advance by calling Delta therefore once you arrive at the airport you can fill it out. Word of Warning: DO NOT MESS UP ON YOUR CARD! If you make a mistake, you have to buy a new one, meaning paying that fee all over again.
Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Certification: You will have to sign a form stating that you are going to Cuba for one of the 12 reasons I mention above and listed here. (i.e. People to People)
Medical Insurance: Cuba currently requires that all foreigners visiting Cuba must have medical insurance in order to visit Cuba. Delta currently includes Medical Insurance for those who buy tickets through them – they include the $25 fee in their ticket prices. You must keep our boarding pass with you at all times and do NOT throw it away, in case stopped and asked for it in Cuba.
For more information, I definitely recommend checking out the U.S Department of treasury FAQ’s on Cuba, a site I overly read before going.
Other Things To Know
You are given a visa paper that you fill out, that I mentioned above. They will tear off half when you arrive at Customs in Cuba. They will proceed to give you that second half and you are expected to not lose it. This is needed for when you exit Cuba. They aren’t nice like Hong Kong and staple it into your passport. They just hand it back. Don’t lose it. If you lose it, technically they can prevent you from leaving Cuba. This is a worse case scenario. I have heard of people losing it and getting in big trouble, almost missing their flight, paying a fee, getting pulled into a room and getting questioned, etc.
Fun Fact, I thought I had lost mine right before we left and I was absolutely freaking out. luckily, my coworker came to my rescue and found it balled up in my stuff. I thought it was a receipt. Don’t be me.
There you have it! Everything you need to know and do to get into Cuba! I hope this helps you as you make your way to beautiful Cuba.