Yes, You Can Still Travel To Cuba
By Parker Diakite
There’s been some confusion as to whether Americans can travel to Cuba or not. The short answer is yes, but you have to plan strategically.
Recently, the Trump administration banned cruise ships to the island and eliminated the “people-to-people” visa category that ultimately relaxed the travel restrictions to Cuba.
Since the current administration’s latest ban, there are now 12 visa categories that allow legal travel to Cuba, including professional research, public performances, religious activities, family visits, humanitarian projects, journalist activity, and support for the Cuban people.
Of the listed categories, support for the Cuban people is the best option for travelers and requires a “full-time schedule” of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities.
In addition to the 12 categories, Americans are prohibited from spending money by businesses that are owned by the Cuban military. That means accommodations like the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski and the Iberostar Grand Packard are a no-go.
But using platforms such as Airbnb is a great way to ensure that you are following the new travel rules.
For starters, you can use Airbnb to book your stay with locals, which obviously means your money is going right into the hands of Cubans.
The “experience” tab through Airbnb will also allow you to book activities like cooking and dance classes.
Travel agencies are also a great option to ensure that you are following the rules.
Companies like Insight Cuba provides small group, private and custom-made tours that fit with the 12 categories.
Be sure to check with U.S. Department of State’s website for the latest information on travel to Cuba.