What you need to know about the U.S. Cuba travel policy


Below are responses to frequently asked questions since the announcement of changes in the U.S. Cuba travel policy on March 15, 2016:

Q: Is the embargo lifted?

A: No. 

Q: Can Americans travel freely to Cuba now? 

A: No, Americans must still comply with U.S. government restrictions on travel to Cuba. 

Q: What are the changes announced March 15, 2016?

A: The new change allows individuals to travel to Cuba under the People-to-People provision, where previously, under the People-to-People provision, only group travel was allowed. 

Q: Is that a big change?

A: Not really.  Tour companies have sent thousands of travelers, both individuals and groups, on trips to Cuba. Tour companies have done and continue to do this in compliance with U.S. government sanctioned provisions other than the People-to-People. 

Q: Why all the fuss then?

A: Many of the companies selling Cuba are only familiar with the People-to-People provision, so for them this is a significant change. Most companies selling Cuba in the U.S. are doing People-to-People trips, this is what the media focuses on. 

Q: What rules still apply?

A: All American travelers to Cuba are still required to have a structured itinerary, which includes 8 hours of “meaningful interaction” with Cubans each day. While “meaningful interaction” is rather vague, we can assure you it does not cover lying on the beach or chatting up the bartender over rum cocktails. 

Q: Are U.S. airlines flying to Cuba? 

A: At the moment no, although several have applied and are awaiting approval. Approval is needed separately from the U.S. government and the Cuban government. We don’t expect the Cuban government to move quickly on this. 

Q: Can Americans book air and hotels only?

A: No, the Cuban government requires American visitors to have transportation and a guide for their full stay booked through a tour company, otherwise, they will not accept hotel bookings. 

Q: What about home-stays? 

A: Home stays are allowed but must be booked through a tour company. 

Q: How will the recent change effect prices? 

A: The prices are already increasing because demand has increased and Cuban infrastructure remains insufficient. 

Q: is it true that Cuba is full?

A: Yes, most 4 and 5-star hotels are in “stope-sale” status for most of the remaining 2016 and even into 2017. 

Courtesy of Ya’lla Tours USA

For more information on our Cuba tour with Collette click here

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