There’s been a lot of mystery surrounding Cuba tourism and whether or not Americans can travel to Cuba legally—especially with recent developments. So, can Americans travel legally to Cuba? We’ll go over all the recent developments in this post.
Just 90 miles from Florida’s crashing coasts, Cuba has long been the off-limits wonder of Americans. What’s it like over there? How do they live? With almost six decades of travel restrictions, Americans have not been able to step foot on Cuban soil since the ’50s. Until now.
Because the policies change based on the current political climate, Americans traveling to Cuba might have to jump through a few more hoops than the average traveler. Below is the most recent information regarding whether or not America to Cuba travel is allowed.
**America to Cuba Travel Advisory UPDATES as of June 2019**
On June 4, 2019, the Associated Press reported President Trump’s most-recent restrictions on America-Cuba relations.
“Cruise ships, as well as recreational and pleasure vessels, are prohibited from departing the U.S. on temporary sojourn to Cuba effective tomorrow,” the Commerce Department said in a statement to The AP.
So, not all American travel to Cuba is prohibited, but all cruises and boat rides to the country are cut off. Unfortunately, cruises were the easiest and most popular way for Americans to travel legally to Cuba—they provided a nifty “loophole” around the “people-to-people” requirement described below in our original post.
According to The AP, cruises to Cuba brought 142,721 tourists into the country the first four months of 2019. That was over 300%+ more than in 2018. As you can imagine, these new restrictions are a pretty huge bummer for the Americans who haven’t gotten the chance to jump on a cruise ship to Cuba just yet.
At the surprise of probably of no one, Trumps most-recent restrictions seem to be part of a broader effort to cut back Obama’s efforts to restore normal relations between the US and Cuba.
Question of the Moment: Is America to Cuba Travel Legal?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is… longer. So, ever since then-U.S.-President Barack Obama rolled back some of the Cuba travel restrictions in 2014, it has been a little easier to access the country. Obama’s changes allowed Americans to travel to Cuba more easily without needing a tour group.
Since then, Americans have been ogling over the iconic, classic American cars roaming the streets of present-day Cuba, as they set their sights on historical points-of-interest such as the Castillo de la Real Fuerza. However, sunshine-tinted photos don’t mean all is dandy just yet.
Recently, there was a “people-to-people” travel option allowing no-tour-group travel. However, Donald Trump’s administration recently tightened the Cuba embargo again as a way to punish Cuba’s communist government. This, plus his removal of “people-to-people” travel from the U.S. to Cuba, has made tensions somewhat high again.
What to Know About the Recent America to Cuba Travel Advisory
The most recent development doesn’t show too much hope (right now). The U.S. Department of State shows that America currently has a Level 3 Travel Advisory for US citizens wanting to visit Cuba. The highest Travel Advisory is Level 4, which means travel is prohibited—so, you could say we’re not on great terms. This doesn’t mean U.S. citizen travel to Cuba is illegal, it just means you should “reconsider travel,” per the Advisory.
According to the current Cuba Travel Advisory, here’s what’s going on:
“Reconsider travel to Cuba due to attacks targeting U.S. Embassy Havana employees resulting in the drawdown of embassy staff.”
Yikes. It also says, “Because our personnel’s safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source, we believe U.S. citizens may also be at risk. Attacks have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences (including a long-term apartment at the Atlantic) and at Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri in Havana.”
Because of the attacks, there are limited US Embassy employees in Cuba at the moment. That means you’re pretty much on your own if you leave the comforts of Havana.
So, can Americans travel legally to Cuba? Yes. Just visit with caution, knowing that the Cuban government isn’t too fond of ours right now. Happy wandering!