President Trump announced new restrictions on travel to Cuba yesterday. You may remember a few years back President Obama loosened a decades old embargo on trade and travel. As a result, a slew of airlines were granted commercial routes from the United States into several Cuban cities. Yesterday’s announcement creates some uncertainty about who can travel to Cuba and for what purposes. We put together a new Cuba travel FAQ’s list to help you out.
New Cuba Travel FAQ’s June 2017
Can I still visit?
The short answer is yes, but it’s much more difficult. Over the past few years you only needed one of several reasons to visit. Among them was “support for Cuban people”, which was really easy to use. Now, person to person travel is restricted and you’ll need to be part of a tour group. Put another way, you aren’t allowed to simply book a weekend in Havana on Google Flights. As you can imagine, this will have a chilling effect on travel, and likely the capacity that airlines can offer.
For their part, the major airlines are in a holding pattern for now. Furthermore, all issued statements indicating that they will comply with the new policy, but will also monitor the impact it has on passengers. Translation, expect several more cuts to capacity.
If I make it to Cuba, where can I stay?
The new policy restricts Americans from staying or eating at properties run by Cuban military. In practice, I have no idea how this would work, let alone be enforced. Either way, a sweet spot appears to be cruise travel. If arriving on a cruise, you’ll be with a group, and of course skirting the hotel and dining restriction.
What if I’ve already booked a trip?
The new restrictions won’t have an impact on travel that’s already booked, have fun!
Can I still bring back cigars and rum?
We’re in luck here. There won’t be any changes to the existing alcohol and tobacco policy when returning from Cuba.
I’m not a fan of the new restrictions. In general, I don’t believe Americans should be restricted from traveling anywhere in the world, even crazy places like North Korea. The administration feels that the current regime in Cuba should be punished for oppressing free speech. Alternatively, I think the best way to free people from an oppressive regime is to interact with people that live in a free country. Additionally, the new policy will likely create resentment among Cuban’s, just as the country was opening up to the rest of the world.