What Cuban travel changes mean to foreign visitors

Posted: 23-Mar-16 09:50

Following December's announcement that commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba will resume later this year for the first time in over half a decade, it will soon be easier than ever for aspiring adventurers to visit the island. However, with accommodation still hard to come by in the country, it's important to consider how these changes will affect you before you travel.

What Cuban travel changes mean to foreign visitors

With President Barack Obama visit to Cuba in order to further strengthen diplomatic relations between America and the island nation, the news out of the country recently has been exciting and upbeat.

While the 12 permissible travel categories currently listed by the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) are still technically in effect, a general relaxing of the various criteria and more commercial flights this year should result in an influx of tourists making their way to Cuba.

Previously limited to embarking on expensive charter flights, from this summer onwards, visitors will likely be able to choose from a greater range of travel routes to Cuba and will benefit from being able to travel independently providing they participate in a people-to-people educational exchange.

As you'd fully expect, these two key changes to travel restrictions when visiting Cuba will result in myriad benefits for all kinds of tourists. Intrepid explorers will have more freedom to plan their no-frills visit to the country, while those taking package tours will have more options than ever before.

The caveat to this, however, is that accommodation is still at a premium in Cuba, and with just 63,000 available hotel rooms in the entire country, places to stay are expected to sell out fast. As such, visitors must be willing to book their trip several months in advance, or else be fluent enough in Spanish to arrange their own accommodation with one of Cuba's many independent guesthouses.

Americans wishing to languish on one of Cuba's pristine white beaches, however, are still out of luck. Until the current travel restrictions are fully lifted, this form of luxury holidays will remain prohibited for U.S. citizens, but with the way things are going currently and a number of big American hotel chains growing increasingly interested in buying Cuban property, it should only be a matter of time before you can plan an idyllic getaway to this generally unspoilt holiday destination.


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