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Cuba Travel Frequently Asked Questions

 

 We understand you may have a lot of Cuba Travel questions. Cuba is not a plan-it-yourself destination. Cultural Cuba is a highly experienced full-service DESTINATION MANAGEMENT COMPANY that specializes in the country. We are the creators of custom and private luxury travel to Cuba since 2011. We take our role in creating the most exclusive, authentic, and custom traveler experience very seriously.

 

Is travel to Cuba legal for Americans?

Yes! Travel to Cuba is completely legal for US citizens. Cultural Cuba manages all the legalities of a trip to Cuba for travelers, including;

  • issuance of the visa required for all travelers to Cuba,
  • creation of a custom flexible itinerary that meets the travel requirements of the Support for the Cuban People approved travel category of the U.S. Government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC),
  • maintenance of the records of Cultural Cuba travelers’ Cuba travel (the itinerary and trip receipts) for 5 years post-travel

What is “Support for the Cuban People” travel?

This travel category was created to encourage cultural exchange and support Cuban artists, musicians, dancers, school children, and small business owners. Travel under this category does just this; it supports the people of Cuba.

Why does “Support for the Cuban People” matter?

Support for the Cuban People changes lives by directly impacting local communities. One of our critical missions is our humanitarian efforts. We sponsor a leading Havana community dance company that provides lessons free-of-charge to local students. We actively support a non-profit pre-school for underprivileged children. Our Havana office employs 15 full-time team members to provide seamless, five-star service and expertise. This includes our bilingual guides, dedicated drivers, musicians, artists, historians, architects, teachers, photographers, and more. Travel with Cultural Cuba has a far-reaching meaningful impact.

Do you handle visas?

Our services include visa processing and all required documentation. We issue and send visas in a Cultural Cuba Travel Folders via FedEx two weeks before travel.

I’m NOT interested in a shared tour group. Can you help?

Absolutely. All Cultural Cuba trips are private and customized to travelers’ interests and needs. We work with any size party of travelers.

Where do Cultural Cuba travelers stay?

At centrally located, iconic and luxury 5-star hotels, as well as art-filled private boutique hotels. In smaller cities outside of Havana, where hotels are not an option or rooms are not available, we arrange stays in vetted Casas particulares. We handle reservations and prepayment for clients’ accommodations since hotels cannot be booked or paid for using US credit cards.

When is the best time to visit?

Havana is an exciting year-round destination and easy weekend getaway from the US for families, couples, friends, and special interest groups. Weekend nightlife can’t be missed! Expect the best weather and lower humidity from January – June.

Hotel pricing guidelines:

Low season:                     June – September
Shoulder season:             October–November; January; April – May
High season:                    December 15 – January 5; February – March

What kind of pricing should I expect?

Our pricing includes all required visa documentation and maintenance of travel records; a custom-tailored immersive legal itinerary; round-trip meet-and-greet airport transfers; a full-time English-speaking guide; a dedicated driver, air-conditioned transportation, ALL activities and unique experiences, WIFI, daily full breakfasts; and more. Pricing depends on the number of travelers, hotel choice/room category, travel dates, and length of stay.  Reach out to us for a pricing proposal.

Who are your guides?

We consider our guides to be our secret sauce and a critical aspect of our success. Cultural Cuba guides are hand-picked and trained, fluent in English, and work full-time as our private guides. These are not government-assigned guides. Cultural Cuba’s guides are adept at navigating the global luxury travel landscape’s ever-changing requirements and preferences. They are experienced, intelligent, fun, flexible, and always honest.

What about credit cards?

US credit cards are not accepted in Cuba. You may not pay for your hotel, food, or any items by credit card. Cultural Cuba pre-pays all hotel stays (including breakfast and WIFI), activities and experiences. Local Currency is used to pay for lunches, dinners, souvenirs, cigars, rum purchases, and hotel incidentals such as room service, spa, salon, etc.

Can I arrive by private plane or yacht?

No, commercial flights only. On June 4, 2019, the Trump administration banned all ships, yachts, and private jets originating in the US from docking or landing in Cuba. Commercial airlines are not affected. You can fly non-stop from nine major US cities, including New York, Newark, Boston, Atlanta, Houston, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.  When private jet flights resume (we assume they will under the Biden administration), Cultural Cuba manages all of the landing permits and required approvals.

How far in advance should I book travel?
We recommend 90 days or more, when possible, to allow for the best availability of Havana hotel rooms, flights, and access to unique experiences. We recommend Festive travel (Dec 21 – Jan 2) be booked 120 days in advance or more; hotels and flights often book up by late fall. Reach out to us and we’ll let you know what is possible and the best options.

How long should I stay?
We recommend three nights for Havana-only stays. A four-night visit allows for an additional day trip to areas outside of Havana. For trips that include stays in Trinidad/Cienfuegos and/or other country-side destinations, we recommend 6 – 8 night visits. Reach out to us with any special requests such as scuba diving or birding which may require longer stays.

Can I stay at the beach?
Day trips can include the beautiful beaches of Varadero (a two-hour drive each way from/to Havana), but more than a day at the beach does not qualify as a “Support for the Cuban People” cultural interaction. Havana is full of amazing sights, sounds, and tastes and offers so much to explore and enjoy! US sanctions’ restrictions do not bind travelers who are non-US citizens so that they may stay at the beach. Expect 3.5-star Caribbean all-inclusive resort accommodations in Varadero. NEW – The Kempinski has opened a 5-star luxury beach property with over-water bungalows in Cayo Guillermo. Reach out to us for more information.

Do you work with Luxury Travel Advisors?

ABSOLUTELY. We are dedicated to collaborating with luxury travel advisors, and we pride ourselves on providing their VIP clients exceptional – and exclusive –  Cultural Cuba travel experiences and unparalleled service. Reach out to us for proposal information or you can register for our travel advisor portal here.