I've always wanted to visit Havana (pictured above; doesn't it look awesome?!) and to eat Cuban food actually in Cuba. But because of the embargo, I haven't been able to go there. With the changes happening to Cuban policy in the US, I got to wondering if it's possible now for me to go there.
Do I need a visa?
American citizens can visit the island nation without the prior permission if they fall into one of 12 approved categories:
1. Family visits 2. Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations 3. Journalistic activity 4. Professional research and professional meetings 5. Educational activities 6. Religious activities 7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions 8. Support for the Cuban people 9. Humanitarian projects 10. Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes 11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials 12. Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.
Technically, tourist travel is still not allowed, but if you are able to travel there for one of the above reasons, I think you could do some touring as well! But don't take my word for it.
How to get there?
With the changes in policy, there are some new routes of getting to Cuba opening up.
Charter flights have already been available to Cuba, though in limited quantity due to the restrictions on traveling there. Typically, you had to fly to another country before going to Cuba, or leave from South Florida, where limited charter flights have been going on for years. Weekly charter flights run by JetBlue will begin on July 3 between New York City and Havana, and it's expected that the routes in South Florida will increase, too, so get going!
At least four companies have been approved for starting ferries that will run from Key West to Havana! Which means you can take a ferry to the island nation, which is pretty cool. These will probably be cheaper than charter flights, and you can bring more with you on ferries when compared to flights. It will likely cost between $300 and $350 round trip.