Why should I select Caribbean Destination Travels for my trip to Cuba?
We’ve always believed that the best way to experience a country is to meet the people in person, talk to them about their lives, and take time to understand their history and culture. As a result, the people who select our programs are curious, open-minded travelers who crave person-to-person engagement with the people who live in the lands they visit. Our approach has always gone far beyond standard tourism and sightseeing. So it was a very natural step for us to construct a People-to-People Educational Exchange Trip to Cuba – a logical extension of our lifelong belief in the power of travel to create powerful cultural connections. Additionally, our young team is 100% Cuban who have worked locally providing these services. They know all the crevices of this destination, for they have started as tour guides, tour managers or sales agents there.
Why is it called people-to-people program?
People-to-People is the important and meaningful description of this travel that was specified by the U.S. Government. It stresses that the visit must offer direct personal contact with the Cuban people to stimulate engagement and understanding. You will be traveling to Cuba as part of the People-to-People educational exchange and will not be regarded as a tourist.
What are the travel authorizations in Cuba?
OFAC has issued general licenses within the 12 categories of authorized travel for many travel-related transactions to, from, or within Cuba that previously required a specific license (i.e., an application and a case-by-case determination). Travel-related transactions are permitted by general license for certain travel related to the following activities, subject to the criteria and conditions in each general license: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.
Is it legal to travel to Cuba with Caribbean Destination Travels?
Yes. Previously, all travelers were required to hold an Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license to conduct travel related transactions in Cuba. Recently, President Obama authorized these transactions without the need of a specific license. All the activities to perform in Cuba must facilitate interaction with the Cuban people and NOT tourism. Consistent with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), travel-related transactions involving Cuba are only permitted for the 12 categories of activities identified in the CACR. Travel-related transactions for other purposes remain prohibited. For this purpose, all travelers’ activities in Cuba must fall within a general License for which they do not require prior written authorization from OFAC.
What if I am a Cuban-born U.S. citizen?
If you were born in Cuba, please contact us. If you departed Cuba prior to December 31, 1970, you will need either a Cuban passport or a HE-11 visa (which can take from four to six weeks to process, is valid for a one-time entry for 30 days, and expires within 90 days of issue). If you emigrated from Cuba after January 1, 1971, you will need a Cuban passport, which can take from three to four months to obtain. Please be sure to factor in these lead times when you select your departure date.
What currency does Cuba use?
Cuban residents use the peso, Moneda Nacional or CUP. However, Cuba operates as a dual economy, and its hard currency is the Cuban convertible peso (CUC). Travellers must use CUCs to pay for personal consumption in Cuba or to purchase informational materials (as described in more detail below) in Cuba.
Is there a limit in my expenditures in Cuba?
No. The per diem rate previously imposed no longer applies, and there is no specific dollar limit on authorized expenses. Authorized travelers may engage in transactions ordinarily incident to travel within Cuba, including payment of living expenses and the acquisition in Cuba of goods for personal consumption there; other expenditures, other than those directly incident to the traveler’s authorized activities in Cuba, are not authorized.
Will I be able to use my credit card or debit card in Cuba?
Yes. Travelers are advised to check with their financial institution before traveling to Cuba to determine whether the institution has established the necessary mechanisms for its credit or debit cards to be used in Cuba. However, given the recent nature of the new announcements, cash is advised for personal expenditures until financial institutions are properly defined for this purpose.
May I purchase items in Cuba and bring them back with me to the U.S.?
Yes. Travelers are authorized to acquire in Cuba and import as accompanied baggage into the United States merchandise with a value not to exceed $400 per person, provided that no more than $100 of the merchandise consists of alcohol or tobacco products and the merchandise is imported for personal use only.
May I take a commercial passenger ferry to travel to Cuba?
Yes, provided that you are authorized to travel to Cuba pursuant to a general or specific license. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to provide carrier services by vessel to authorized travelers, and travelers may purchase tickets provided that their travel is authorized pursuant to the CACR. The authorization to provide carrier services is limited to transportation of authorized travelers, directly or indirectly, between the United States and Cuba.
Am I allowed to explore the surroundings while on the tour?
Yes. Remember that your full-time participation is required when traveling to Cuba. You may be able to explore your surroundings before or after your scheduled itinerary is complete.
What are OFAC's most recent changes in travel sanctions?