It seems people have the most apprehension about traveling to Cuba in regards to getting there. Luckily, by this date and time, it’s actually not tricky at all!
The U.S. Embassy has 12 specific guidelines you must fall in under to enter Cuba
1. Family visits
2. Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
3. Journalistic activity
4. Professional research and professional meetings
5. Educational activities
6. Religious activities
7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
8. Support for the Cuban people
9. Humanitarian projects
10. Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
12. Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.
Listen, I got myself ALL worked up over finding a reason that fit, I ultimately chose Journalism. If asked I’d pull up my website or whip out my business card… OR realistically I hoped I’d be able to sweet talk my way through it.
We booked our flight to Cuba through Mexico City and our return flight from Havana to Miami.
The only time I was EVER asked what my reason for visiting Cuba was when purchasing my airline ticket online by a prompt.
In the Mexico City airport, I bought my visa right at the gate where you check your bags. I had read many people mention they did this and how easy it was.
Although it made me nervous to wait it out until I was already half way there and just hope it worked, it went seamlessly! Literally took two minutes to fill out a piece of paper, paid around $10 and we were never questioned for any reason why we were visiting Cuba.
Compared to getting visas for other countries, which can at times be a little tedious, this was a piece of cake! However, if traveling from the U.S. directly, you may want to take a different approach.
Disclaimer, I could certainly be a rare case so I’d still recommend picking a reason that adequately applies to you… Just simply trying to say, when planning your trip to Cuba getting your visa should be the least of your worries.
As of now, many airlines fly directly to Cuba, including Spirit, Delta, and American Airlines. So actually getting to Cuba is as easy as it can get!
I was worried things wouldn’t work as efficiently in Cuba, for the most part, everything was “normal.” But it’s important I mention… It took over two hours for our luggage to come on onto the conveyer belt after going through customs. It was a sticky welcoming to Cuba; held up in the humidity for hours amongst the crowds, all waiting for our possessions. So be prepared, things don’t move along as smoothly, leave plenty of time in your schedule, and better yet pack a carry-on!
We were so thankful we hadn’t booked transportation from the airport prior to arriving since that was a concern for us. But it worked out well; once you exit the airport, you can get a taxi in the blink of an eye, there’s a swarm of them waiting for you. One way to Havana is no more than $25 and is about a 30-minute drive.
Coming up next, I’ll give you the rundown on Understanding Cuban Money.