Tips for Americans Traveling to Cuba
Have you ever thought about visiting Cuba? If you’re from the United States, you’re probably thinking what are you crazy? American citizens are not legally allowed to travel to Cuba! Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.
The truth is that the U.S. laws do not prohibit Americans from visiting Cuba. However, visiting Cuba for tourism purposes is effectively banned by the Trading With the Enemy Act, which prohibits US citizens from spending money while there.
Wait, so you’re saying I can visit Cuba but I can’t spend any money there? Yes, exactly! Not sure how this law makes any sense but I’m going to provide you with the information that you need below so that you can book your next Cuba holiday.
How to Get to Cuba
All you need to do to get to Cuba is fly outside of the U.S. first. My friend Andi of MyBeautifulAdventures.com made the trip to Cuba a few years ago by flying to Cancun, then from Cancun to Havana, Cuba (also known as La Habana). Once she arrived at the airport in Cancun she handed over $25 USD for her Cuban visa at the Cubana Airlines Desk. The woman stamped the Cuban visa on a small piece of paper and tucked it inside of Andi’s passport. The reason the woman stamped the visa on a piece of paper rather than her actual passport is so that there is no actual paper trail to say that Andi ever visited Cuba, never mind left Cancun. Read more about Andi’s trip to Cuba here.
5 Reasons to Visit Cuba
Many Americans visit Cuba every year and they come back with stories about the colorful old cars that still cruise the streets of Cuba, the friendly Cubans who greet Americans with open arms, and more. Here are just a few reasons why you should visit Cuba.
- Cuba averages 330 sunny days per year
- Cuba has amazing colonial architecture. Some argue that they have the greatest collection of colonial architecture in all of the Caribbean.
- Cuba is a top destination for cigars and rum aficionados
- The crystal clear waters make Cuba a great scuba diving/snorkeling destination
- Cuba offers a wide variety of activities such as bird watching, bicycle tours, golfing, swimming with dolphins, diving, snorkeling and much more
Money in Cuba
U.S. Credit and Debit Cards are not accepted in Cuba so be sure to bring a little bit more cash than you think you’ll need for your trip. You can exchange your cash for Cuban Pesos but know that you’re going to be hit with a tax of 10% (sometimes up to 20%) when converting your money. As usual, banks will always have better currency conversion rates than hotels, airports, and train stations.
Will I Be Fined if Caught Traveling to Cuba?
Trading with Cuba is good for up to a $250,000 USD fine and 10 years in prison, but arresting U.S. citizens for traveling to Cuba is far from a high priority for the U.S. Government. No one has been prosecuted for traveling to Cuba and spending money there as a tourist. For more information check out this great resource for Cuba Travel Tips for Americans