Travel to Cuba
Individual travel: flights to Cuba can now be booked online, including trips originating in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The only difference between booking a flight to Cuba and anywhere else is the final step requiring you to check a box indicating the reason you're traveling. A few months ago, the Miami Herald characterized flights to Cuba as a "buyer's market;" in some cases, prices are beginning to go up, but bargain prices are still available. Check Spirit Airlines, Kayak, Cheapair and Delta.
Group travel: Traveling with a group is usually the best way for individuals who are unfamiliar with Cuba to learn more about the country, since groups have access to Cuban organizations and events that are often not available to individuals. Some of the groups organizing solidarity delegations and less expensive group travel are listed below this section.
A group of travel organizations and other entities has recently formed an organization called RESPECT, Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel, which has adopted guidelines whose "aim is to make US travel to Cuba part of the global movement for ethical travel . . . particularly important in supporting Cuba’s goal to become a sustainable destination for mutual learning and benefit.”
Regulations: On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Treasury updated its fact sheet with information on the embargo, including detailed travel facts. This is the latest in a series of regulatory changes that began with the December 17, 2014, announcement by President Obama signaling changes in U.S. policy on travel to Cuba. Also of interest is a document released by the Congressional Research Service on February 7, 2017, entitled "Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances."
While "tourism" is still prohibited, the longstanding travel prohibitions have been considerably relaxed, principally because the licensing categories generally do not require a "specific" license, only a "general" license. This means that travelers need not apply to the government for permission to go; they need only designate on a questionnaire which category of travel they qualify for. Most of the categories require that specific records of the qualified travel be kept, but this has not been enforced for some time.
Upcoming annual and specialized trips
The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples is planning a May Day solidarity delegation from April 24 to May 8 for $512 (not including airfare.) The trip includes voluntary work and camp accommodations.
The U.S. Cuba Labor Exchange is also planning a May Day trip from April 23 to May 4.
CodePink will visit Cuba from April 29 to May 10. The trip will be based in Santiago and includes an international gathering in Guantanamo.
The World Peace Council and several other organizations are also planning a trip to the international convocation in Guantanamo from May 4-6. A land package is available for May 2-9.
Pastors for Peace is planning its annual July travel challenge from July 11 to July 28. Representatives will be traveling to the Twin Cities on April 20 to publicize the trip.
The Venceremos Brigade is planning its annual travel challenge for July 15 to August 2.
The African Awareness Association will travel to Guanatanamo, Santiago and Havana from July 22 - July 30.
Click here for a report on a January 2017 trip organized by the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development in collaboration with MN Senator Patricia Torres Ray
Travel agencies and travel groups
Pastors for Peace and the Venceremos Brigade take unlicensed delegations to Cuba each year as a way of challenging the embargo. In recent years, the US government has not interfered with these trips.