How to Help Travelers Book a Trip to Cuba

Published on Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Since the United States placed an embargo on Cuba in 1960, Cuba has been a bit of a mystery to U.S. travelers. Now, with travel and economic sanctions being eased, U.S. citizens can now legally travel to Cuba through certain channels.

Cuba could be a fun travel destination if you book with the proper guidance.

As restrictions are expected to be lifted even further in coming years, U.S. tourists and businesses are predicted to flock to Cuba. Ahead of this rush, here are some of the top things travel agents with clients interested in traveling to this island should know.

How to book a trip

Organized tours promoting people-to-people travel that include local, cultural experiences is one way travelers can get to Cuba and see the island. Cultural exchange trips are educational travel opportunities open to anybody, but still require a full schedule of meaningful, cultural activities. Tourists may be required to sign an affidavit, keep receipts for up to five years, or show a diary from their trip to either government. Tourism, in general, where travelers independently book and create their own itineraries, still remains off-limits to domestic travelers.


American visitors need a tourist card to enter the country, and if traveling with an organization or charter, this card is normally included as part of the package.


Cuba charges a 10% tax on the American dollar, and American credit cards are not accepted, so travelers should bring Canadian cash with them for a better exchange rate.

The agreements reached during President Obama's historic visit in March of 2016 paved the way for American businesses and American-based travel companies to operate in Cuba.

So what's next for the U.S. and Cuba? Here's what we know so far:

Commercial flights

Six airlines have been granted up to 110 daily flights to Cuba from U.S. cities.

Cruise ships

Most major cruise lines are owned by non-American companies, and smaller ships have been sailing to Cuba in recent years, as long as the passengers on-board are licensed to travel to Cuba. For larger ships to visit Cuba, infrastructure improvements will be needed. Carnival and Victory Cruise Lines were among the first to announce that they will offer sailings to Cuba.


Cuba has a shortage of quality hotels, as much of the infrastructure in the country needs improvements. Starwood became the first American hospitality company to announce that they would open and operate hotels in Cuba. In fact, a Four Points by Sheraton hotel opened in Havana last week!


You can't come back without rum and cigars, right? Travelers can bring back up to $400 in souvenirs -- which include a cap of $100 in cigars.

With the ever-changing restrictions, it is in the best interest of travelers looking to go to Cuba to use a travel agent for their expertise, and purchase travel insurance for peace of mind. As always, travelers should closely review a policy before purchasing to make sure it covers their particular travel needs.


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