Art by Jose Fuster

Cuba Travel: Clearing Up Confusion Around New Rules

Art by Jose Fuster

From “Cuba is now open for tourists” to “the new administration has shut down travel to Cuba,” for the past several years there has been incredible levels of confusion and misunderstanding around regulations for legal travel to Cuba for US travelers.

International Expeditions first took American travelers to Cuba in 2003, and our experts know more than a few things about navigating the complexities around this intriguing island. The fact is, very little has actually changed for International Expeditions as an official sponsoring organization and travel to Cuba is still legal, safe and easy.

Here are four facts you need to know.

Rooftops by the Cuban sea

Not much has REALLY changed:
The bottom line is, International Expeditions is an official sponsoring organization for legal travel to Cuba. When the regulations changed recently, those most impacted were travelers planning to travel to Cuba on their own – with just a personal promise they would obey the rules. No longer can you buy a ticket and do your own thing without anyone ensuring you are complying with the rules for legal travel. Americans can absolutely still travel legally to Cuba, you just need to travel under the auspices of a sponsoring organization which plans compliant itineraries, provides leadership and issues documentation. Learn more about Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of Treasury (OFAC) regulations here.

Cuban Villa in Havana

You can still enjoy PRIVATE escorted travel: 
Regulations don’t specify the number of people approved to travel, such as Support for Cuban People. What DOES matter is that your itinerary includes a full schedule of activities designed to have you engaging meaningfully with Cuban people – artists, entrepreneurs, naturalists and more – and not simply lounging on a beach. International Expeditions offers a variety of authorized private travel options that are getting rave reviews!

Cuba guide and group

International Expeditions takes care of all the PAPERWORK for your documentation & travel arrangements:
Hearing horror stories about trying to get a visa or about individuals booking hotels online to find out the confirmation number is meaningless? Don’t want to hold onto your supporting paperwork for five years? That is one of the huge advantages in traveling with IE! Guests on our small-group journeys or privately escorted options receive a Letter of Authorization that states which category of license they are traveling under as well as an affidavit… and we keep copies on file. This paperwork is being requested frequently when applying for Global Entry. We also issue the Cuban visas so that you have it in-hand well before traveling. Plus, you don’t have to worry about mistakenly popping into one of the businesses or hotels on the new list of prohibited organizations for American travelers in Cuba. Our guides, drivers and support staff in Cuba help you avoid any possible oversights.

Beginning in December, American-owned commercial airlines will only allowed to fly in and out of Havana. However, to reach other Cuban cities, charter flights are still permitted under the new restrictions and International Expeditions will handle those arrangements if required.

Cuban children

Now is a FANTASTIC time to travel to Cuba: 
Storms, mysterious illness, and confusing rule changes may have been the recent headlines on Cuba, but those of us who have known this island for more than a decade may tell a different story. Our guests and staff have long been welcomed in Cuba. These industrious, vibrant and giving people have welcomed us into their homes and lives, inspiring us with their joy and tenacity.

Travel to Cuba with the Experts at IE!
International Expeditions draws on years of research and expertise in Cuba travel dating back to our first venture to the island over a decade ago. Discover a country experiencing historic transformation on one of our small-group tours or an authorized custom journey - each designed to offer an unfiltered view of this vibrant island through the eyes of its people.