General information

Forbes: "it was the easiest process ever. 
It was like any other trip out of the country.


Individual and group travel

Travel to Cuba is legal, easy and readily available, and Cubans welcome U.S. travelers. 

It is, however, subject to unique restrictions under U.S. law and is not encouraged by the current administration which continues to uphold the longstanding and onerous U.S. embargo - or "blockade" - of Cuba. In the wake of relatively minor regulation changes and misleading news coverage, it's easy to be confused about the current state of travel to Cuba. (See the "background" section at the bottom of this page for more detail on recent actions that have contributed to the confusion). We hope that the information on this page will provide some clarification and encourage people to see Cuba for themselves.

The U.S. government has created 12 broadly inclusive categories of legal travel to Cuba, although "tourist activities" are not permitted. To document the choice of category, travelers simply check off on their travel documents the one that applies. The regulations also specify that detailed itineraries must be kept; organized tours usually take care of this obligation. An official version of current U.S. regulations can be found on the U.S. Embassy in Cuba website, but more helpful information has been posted by numerous journalists and travel organizations. A number of them are linked to below this section and Amazon has a lengthy list of Cuba travel guides.

Individual trips can be booked through a travel agent, directly with airlines that fly there or through a travel consolidator like Travelocity or Kayak. A recent article from Forbes says "[travel to Cuba] was the easiest process ever. It was like any other trip out of the country." Lonely Planet says that it's one of the safest places in the world for solo women travelers.

Like individual travel, group travel remains legal, although it is also subject to U.S. restrictions. Going in 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 sites, organizations and events that are often not available to solo travelers. 

Established group travel organizations are also usually careful to adhere to arcane U.S. regulations which may be easy for an individual traveler to overlook, such as the prohibition on patronizing certain Cuban businesses or the requirement to keep detailed itineraries. Some of the groups organizing solidarity delegations and less expensive group travel are listed below this section. 

Insurance and visa

The Cuban government requires each traveler to have a Cuban visa and health insurance. The travel rider that is part of many personal health insurance policies will not work in Cuba due to the U.S. embargo. Visas and health insurance policies are simple to obtain and are usually provided or made available by travel providers as part of a ticket purchase. If you are traveling in a group, the organizer will typically take care of these details.

Ethical travel

A group of travel organizations and other entities have formed an organization called RESPECT, "Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel," which has adopted guidelines whose "aim is to make U.S. 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.” We encourage Cuba travelers to use providers that adhere to these principles. 

  


Minnesota-based group travel
Some of the listed organizations schedule only occasional trips to Cuba. 
If you don't see a trip listed, contact the organization or check back again later.

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.



Upcoming group solidarity trips

December 5-15, Global Exchange
December 12 - 21, Witness for Peace
December 27-January 3, African Awareness Association
December 28-January 6, Global Exchange
December 28-January 6, NY July 26th Coalition
December 29-January 9, Venezuela-Solidarity Committee
January 6-19, Witness for Peace
April 22-May 5, Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (under $600 plus airfare)

   
Travel agencies and travel groups
These lists are not exclusive. An Internet search will yield more agencies and organizations, many of them very high end. Organizations that 
advocate 
regime change in Cuba are also not listed.

Organizations providing group travel
Companies providing individual travel as well as servicing groups
More travel information
  

   
Travel challenges
 
Pastors for Peace and the Venceremos Brigade take unlicensed delegations to Cuba each year as a way of challenging the U.S. embargo. In recent years, the U.S. government has not attempted to penalize anyone going on these trips, including those in July 2017. 



Recent background on the regulations

On June 16, 2017, President Trump ordered a reversal of some of the Obama-era changes to U.S. rules affecting travel to Cuba. On November 9, 2017, the new regulations went into effect and the U.S. Treasury Department issued FAQs on the changes. Long-time Cuba travel provider Marazul provided further clarification in a November 16, 2017, letter which links to a Notice to Travelers and a list of prohibited facilities. Further information is available on the Marazul website.

Travel to Cuba was principally affected in two ways by the Trump changes. The first is that individual nonacademic people-to-people travel is no longer allowed although individual travel in other categories was not restricted and the support for the Cuban people category was broadened. The second is that travelers are not allowed to spend money at facilities that are deemed to be controlled by the Cuban military. A list of those facilities can be found here.

Prior to the issuance of the travel regulations, the Trump administration also put out an unsubstantiated travel advisory against travel to Cuba based on alleged "sonic attacks" on embassy personnel. However, on August 23, 2018, the advisory was downgraded to Level 2, which is the same as France, Germany and many other countries. A number of Cuba travel providers in the U.S. say that Cuba is actually  the safest country in the world to visit (including for solo women travelers). 

In addition, the Trump administration has not stepped up enforcement of restrictions on travel to Cuba (like the ban on "tourism") and the National Lawyers Guild has reiterated its pledge to provide legal assistance to support the rights of U.S. travelers to Cuba if that becomes necessary.


This page was last updated on September 4, 2018.