Americans traveling to Cuba?

Old Feb 9th, 2011, 08:55 AM
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Americans traveling to Cuba?

What is the current status of restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba? I don't know if this document indicates things have changed or not. Can you go on your own, or only with an authorized group?

http://www.treasury.gov/resource-cen...s/cuba_tsp.pdf
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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To go legally (unless you are a relative of a Cuban national), you have to go with an organized group or be on some kind of authorized trip. I don't know if individual citizens can apply for a license to travel if they aren't going on some kind of business (such as reporting for a news organization, etc.).

But I think it's quite possible to go unofficially (and technically illegally) by traveling through a country where travel to Cuba is allowed (the Bahamas, Mexico, Jamaica, etc.).
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 11:00 AM
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Thanks Doug. So nothing has really changed? We're not interested in going the unofficial/illegal route, but I thought things were changing for "legal" travel.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 12:27 PM
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Actually, things have changed quite a bit. The Obama administration is once again allowing a very broadly defined category of cultural and education travel, which has reopened the door to a lot of tour companies that used to offer great trips to Cuba. But that doesn't mean you can just simply buy a package to travel to a Cuban all-inclusive resort as an individual just to enjoy the beach and culture on your own. At least not legally. Yet.
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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We went on a cultural exchange in 2005, before, the crackdown on such things. It appears that such trips are again being offered. We enjoyed every minute of our stay in Havana, although it was a more structured trip than we usually take.

By the way, our cultural visit was to attend the International Jazz Festival in Havana. It was awesome.....
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Old Feb 9th, 2011, 04:41 PM
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I am pretty sure that American's do go via Canada...They don't stamp your passport when you go...They don't even stamp Canadian's passport's when we go and we can go no problem...Seems silly..being the land of the free and all, you should be free to go to Cuba if you wish! It's a beautiful country, wonderful people, great all inclusives etc
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 08:42 AM
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Lissa, I agree we should be allowed to go, but we're not, and I won't go the roundabout (illegal) route. BUT, I'm not looking at Cuba as a beach destination -- more as a historical anomaly --- I'd like to see it before it's filled with Starbucks.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 12:51 PM
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We went on an "educational" trip in 2001. The new regulations have gone back to what was in place then. I think you have to take a tour with a group who has a license to travel. It may take awhile for new licenses to be available but check with non-profit cultural and educational institutions in your area. Also, you could contact some of those authorized travel agents who may be able to point you to one of these groups.

We spent a few days in Havana, traveled by charter bus to Trinidad, back to Cienfuegos, and back for a day in Havana. I have a friend who traveled with a museum on an art education trip.

I know everyone says that Cuba doesn't stamp your passport but they certainly stamped ours--not an official country stamp but one that they always use and always stamped on the same numbered page. If we had been there illegally there is no way that would have fooled any U.S. immigration official. I know people travel to Cuba illegally but it's not something I would feel comfortable doing.

Try and go--the people are wonderful and love Americans and the U.S. It's surprising that things haven't really changed there since Cuba welcomes tourists from all over the world. But many of the foreign tourists go there for inexpensive Caribbean travel rather than the culture so tourism dollars haven't had a great effect.

It is a land full of contradictions right now but well worth seeing. It was interesting to me that a woman who worked in one of the Havana museums told me that she watched a "learn the English language" show on TV every day. I'm hoping to go back soon.
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