Good News: Cuba Travel is Still Legal

On November 9, the Trump administration issued new rules on travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens. The good news: Cuba travel is still completely safe and legal.

There were no big surprises in the new rules. The same 12 categories of legal travel under the U.S. trade embargo still apply, including the popular “people-to-people” educational travel category. The new rules contain two major changes: (1) elimination of “individual people-to-people” travel, and (2) introduction of a “prohibited list” of specific hotels, stores and other businesses owned by the Cuban military that U.S. citizens may not patronize.

The main change is that the Trump administration eliminated the sub-category of “individual people-to-people” travel introduced in 2015 by the Obama administration. However, group people-to-people travel is still allowed. That means you must be accompanied by a representative of an organization like Cross Cultural Journeys that sponsors people-to-people travel, and maintain a full-time schedule of educational activities designed to enhance contact with the Cuban people. Qualifying activities can include things like touring a museum, attending a dance class or concert, visiting a school or clinic, or eating at a privately-owned restaurant. Note also that a “group” can be as little as one traveler, as long as you are accompanied by a qualified guide and maintain a record of your people-to-people activities.

The “prohibited list” is intended to divert money from the Cuban military and foster the growth of the island’s private sector. Fortunately, many of the most popular hotels are not on the list — such as the Hotel Nacional, Capri, Parque Central and Habana Libre. Also, the hundreds of privately-owned bed-and-breakfasts and “paladares” (private restaurants) are perfectly legal.for American patrons.

Bottom line: people-to-people travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens is still completely safe and legal. Visit our Cuba page or call us at (800) 353-2276 today to begin planning your trip of a lifetime.


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