Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Cuba Travel

February 05, 2014

Once they move beyond the first question “Can Americans travel legally to Cuba?” and book their place on one of IE’s people-to-people programs, most travelers still have questions about the ins and outs of traveling to the political hotspot. We polled our travel planners to find out your most frequently asked questions.

Can you use credit cards in Cuba? How do we get Cuban currency?

No credit cards tied to an American bank may be used. Unless you have a foreign bank account that issues you a credit card in Euros or Canadian dollars, you must pay for your purchases, gratuities, bar tabs and hotel extras in CUCs (Cuban Convertible Pesos). Also note that the same applies to debit cards — not even four- and five-star hotels can accept them for payment. We suggest you bring US Dollars enough to cover anything you might purchase and exchange them in small quantities as needed throughout your tour. Your Expedition Leader will bring you to a currency exchange and help with the process.

Do I need to speak Spanish?

No, no knowledge of Spanish is required as our Expedition Leader and local Cuban guides are all fluent in English and the tour will be conducted in English. 

I'm not interested in an escorted tour...Can IE just book my flight? 

Travel to Cuba for Americans is still highly restricted. For Americans, only licensed travelers (through the Office of Foreign Assets Control) are legally allowed to visit Cuba. Licensed travel is available for people-to-people tours, educational travel for students and other categories of limited scope. By law your flights between Miami and Cuba are only allowed to be arranged by US Government licensed charter service providers operating under very strict regulations. Therefore, you are not able to arrange your own air flight to Cuba to travel with the group.

 

How will we know what is allowed and what is not allowed — for buying or just going through each day?

Traveling in Cuba is a very relaxing and engaging experience – you will be amazed and thrilled for having gone. We offer many resources to help prepare you:

  • Many of our Travel Planners and staff have been to Cuba and are very familiar with the details. If you have questions, never hesitate to call the staff at 800-234-9620.

  • IE sends each guest a detailed pre-departure booklet with all details including passport information, currency, insurance, packing list, which items you may bring back to the U.S. and many more helpful details. 

  • At the welcome reception in our Miami hotel, we meet as a group and your Expedition Leader will walk you through what to expect along with any remaining questions before you board the plane.