legal travel to cuba

Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 10:41 AM
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legal travel to cuba

my wife and i would like to take a people to people tour to cuba this spring but the OFAC licensed tours we've checked appear to be full(friendly planet travel, insight cuba, national geographics ex.). OFAC will not release the names of groups they have licensed. can you provide other possible licensed tour groups? what is the risk of going with, for example, an unlicensed canadian tour group such as intrepid travel?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 01:23 PM
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Try the Grand Circle Foundation. They are starting trips.

But just realize there are relatively few of these trips, and because they are new, they are booking up fast. It's not likely you'll get many last-minute booking opportunities, so look a little further out, and I'm sure you'll find some availability.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2012, 02:28 PM
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thanks for the info re grand circle. they do have many trips to cuba but none available in the spring. any other groups?
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 01:52 AM
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Adventure travel and tours by G Adventures. Unforgettable small-group travel experiences in the world's greatest destinations. www.gadventures.com/trips/cuba-libre/CCL
Intrepid is from Oz as far as Iknow ok too. tucantravels.com UK might have something. Folks use cubajet.com also sometimes.

Happy Planning!
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 01:54 AM
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Tucan Travel's Fan Box. Tucan Travel on Facebook. Twitter
tucantravelofficial.blogspot.com/2009/04/travellers...in-cuba.html
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 03:27 AM
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Here are a few options:


http://www.preservationnation.org/tr...es/cuba-3.html

http://www.cubaupdate.org/travel-to-cuba/upcoming-trips

http://www.insightcuba.com/cuba-tours

http://www.witnessforpeace.org/section.php?id=109
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Old Feb 24th, 2012, 04:50 AM
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It's incredibly difficult to book these trips at the last minute. They are the kind of trip that people plan for months (and sometimes a year) in advance.
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Old Apr 27th, 2012, 08:46 AM
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I have a question about these new licensed trips to Cuba:

Are all of them group tours, which require payment in advance of travel?

For travelers wanting to visit the island on their own, is there any option of taking one of the legal charters form the US?


For those US citizens who have visited the island on their own, how did you handle the money issues? (Take cash necessary for your stay and carry it with you?)
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Old Apr 27th, 2012, 09:38 AM
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No, the very definition of these legal trips is that they are cultural and group tours. However, there are quite a few trips, particularly those that are religiously oriented, that give you free time after the mission service. Both Christian churches and Jewish synagogues arrange such trips. But everyone has to go in a group as far as I know. Only people with Cuban national relatives can take charters individually for family trips.

Americans have to carry cash. That's the only option.
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Old Apr 27th, 2012, 10:06 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply, Doug. I was afraid that that was the case, as you described.

Are we allowed to discuss independent travel on the island on this forum? If so I would love to hear from anyone who has done this..
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Old Apr 27th, 2012, 12:10 PM
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ekscrunchy, we traveled under an "educational" group license in 2001, when the regulations were much like they are today for American citizens--although back then we weren't required to change U.S. money into Cuban money. The group consisted of about 15 people.

We stayed at the same hotel and traveled by small chartered bus to a couple of cities. Otherwise, people came and went from the "tour" activities as they wished. Some only traveled with us, some ate no meals with us, etc.

So though it is a group, with a schedule, it wasn't demanding and we had plenty of time to do what we wanted on our own. One of the group actually traveled by local bus to join us a day after we left Havana. Our charter took about 3 hours--his took much longer. So there was an advantage to having transport planned.

I am not a group tour person but with a small enough group, there are some advantages, in that you may go to places that aren't ordinarily open to the public.
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Old Apr 27th, 2012, 01:07 PM
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It is also possible for certain individuals to apply for a license to travel to Cuba through the US Treasury. A food or travel writer for example, could request permission to research an article or book. Don't know if you fit those categories.
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Old Apr 27th, 2012, 02:07 PM
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Thank you for the comments! I will do a bit more reading and return to ask further questions.


I've always been interested in a visit and my current enthusiasm comes from hearing about a recent trip taken by an acquaintance (from the US), who traveled with her family (via Mexico) to Havana and a few other places, getting around outside the city by rental car. I borrowed a copy of Frommer's Cuba from the local library.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 10:01 AM
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Hey dkscrunchy, how are you?

I just got back from two weeks in Cuba. It was my second trip. I went with a photography group and had a fantastic time. There was a total of 14 of us with LOTS of free time to wander about by ourselves and take photos of everything that moved and everything that stayed still : ) . I had last been in Cuba in 2003 and there are lots of changes while many things remain the same.

I wish it were easier. I'd love to just go back by myself for a long weekend.

Will be posting photos here soon. If you have any specific questions, let me know and I'll do my best to answer them--although I am far from a Cuba expert.
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Old May 16th, 2012, 10:02 AM
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correction "ekscrunchy" Keyboards!
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 11:02 AM
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Boston: Hello!! Long time since I've "seen" you! I just noticed that you had responded here.

I would absolutely LOVE to see those pics, and to read anything and everything about your trip.
Where did you visit?


I have the trip on the back burner but thinking about next winter. Met a vendor at my local farmer's market who recommended Vinales very highly (she had just returned from an independent trip; rented a car and drove themselves)..... really piqued my interest!
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 03:41 AM
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Resurrecting this thread because I am based in south Florida for the next month or so and am considering a trip to Cuba from here. Interested in hearing from anyone who has traveled to the island independently...I believe there are flights from US to Havana via Cayman Islands (??)
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 04:58 AM
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But it's illegal for American citizens to take such flights without a proper license to travel from the state department. I can't promise the moderators are not going to take this down now since we don't normally allow our users to discuss how to take illegal actions.
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 05:23 AM
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I think it's Treasury, not State, that issues the license.

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_p.../cis_1097.html
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Old Feb 15th, 2013, 07:30 AM
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You are correct. Sorry about that.
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