ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS, TRAVEL TRANSACTION LIMITATIONS: The U.S. Department of the Treasury enforces the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, which apply to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents wherever they are located, all people and organizations physically located in the United States, and branches and subsidiaries of U.S. organizations throughout the world. The regulations require that persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction be licensed in order to engage in any travel-related transactions pursuant to travel to, from, and within Cuba. Transactions related to travel for tourist activities are not licensable. This restriction also prohibits tourist travel to Cuba from or through a third country such as Mexico or Canada. U.S. law enforcement authorities enforce these regulations at U.S. airports and pre-clearance facilities in third countries. Travelers who fail to comply with Department of the Treasury regulations could face civil penalties and criminal prosecution upon return to the United States.
Cuba requires visitors to have non-U.S. medical insurance and sells a temporary policy to those who do not have it. Questions about this insurance requirement should be directed to the Cuban Interests Section. Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Cuba. Cuban authorities do not demand HIV tests of travelers to Cuba, with the exception of foreign students on scholarships. The Cuban authorities currently accept the results of HIV tests conducted by labs in the United States. Please verify this information with the Cuban Interests Section in Washington before traveling.
For the latest information on U.S. regulations governing travel to Cuba and to view the most accurate and updated travel restrictions information, please see the Department of Treasury's OFAC website at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-cen...ages/cuba.aspx
though still interested in what others have to say and if any of you have been!
My wife and I have been to Cuba a number of times. The country is different and it depends on what you are looking for. Food overall does leave a lot to be desired. The average Cuban person we interacted with was kind and friendly. Many say that they know that their system is broken and look forward to change.
The beaches are amazing.
Security is interesting. We had our private snorkellin gear taken from the pool area when we went to get drinks at the bar. I advised the security personnel and all was returned at 7:00am the following morning, along with the question of whther we wished to have the people who took it charged. The answer...no. The punishment they would have received was severe and we were briefed on what would have happened.
We have been there Xmas and New Year and the Cubans who are very religious do like to party...great music, dance etc.
We met many Americans there. Most had travelled to Cuba through Mexico. The Cuban immigration and customs people understand the embargo and do not stamp the passport but rather an entry card you must return.
I could tell many stories of our trips to Cuba....being taken into areas outside the normal tourist zone for snorkelling, being invited into staff living quarters to learn how resort staff are treated and the Govts rules for them, getting sick in Cuba and receiving medical treatment ( on this I could write a book...both scary and funny), being taken as a guest by our Cuban friends to dine with the locals, having the honor bestowed on us the act as godparents for a couples daughter and learning of the significant religious aspect of this. There are many stories to be told.
I think the most important fact is that the average Cuban is a hardworking person who lives in a society that is not free. It is getting better...but, change is needed.
To the best of my knowledge, the only legal ways for Americans to visit is either...religion, some social/missionary type work and a few humanatariam reasons.
All the Americans we met in Cuba remarked on how well the Cubans had greeted them and treated them.
Hope these comments help.
Andrea, if you would like I could post some pics of the Cuban beaches..John
renaissance private island, iguana joe's, madame janettes..
i spoke to a gentleman while buying cuban cigars and he said he has been to cuba from aruba..he said he goes to the airport and pays cash and they don't stamp his passport..he said a nice hotel is expensive(he paid around $400 a night)..pays cash for everything so as not to have a paper trail..remember this is just him telling me this.. i can't vouch for anything..i have an aruban friend and her husband is cuban and she has offered to take my wife and i with her when she goes to visit her in-laws but so far we haven't had the cojones to take her up on it..from what i understand if you get caught they most likely will give you a slap on the wrist and maybe a small fine because they don't want alot of bad press about this sort of thing..i believe you can legally go to cuba from the united states if you are in the travel industry for learning purposes for when the embargo is lifted, if you are a professor and it is a educational trip, if it is a religious trip sponsored by some religious institution..i might be wrong but i believe i read this in caribbean travel and life magazine a while back..the editor of the magazine went there and there was a nice article with pictures in it..my wife and i can't wait until the embargo is lifted..that will be our first trip for sure..i also believe i read in the article that cuba has to gear up hotel wise for when the embargo is lifted, stating the the hotel scene there now is not quite up to american standards..
"The trips aren’t your typical Caribbean vacation. Rather, the focus is on meeting local citizens and learning about the culture, not beach hopping and mojito-swilling. Days are filled with busy itineraries that may include visiting orphanages or speaking with musicians or community leaders. Guidelines published by the Treasury Department say the tours must “have a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.” But besides the mingling, the trips — which can range from $1,800 for a long weekend in Havana to more than $4,000 for a week — usually include opportunities to visit historic sites like Old Havana, or, for longer itineraries, a visit to Cienfuegos, a picturesque city in the South.