U.S. Travel to Cuba

U.S. travel to Cuba

Is travel to Cuba from the United States legal and easy? The answer is a big YES!

Are you worried about traveling to Cuba? Let me tell you something: You are not the first, nor will you be the last. And it’s understandable. After all, there is misinformation being spread on many websites and it can be hard to know how to differentiate from the truth. Why the misinformation? The answer is very simple: Some people prefer that Americans don’t travel to Cuba at the moment- especially big American tour companies that cannot acquire the license to sell tours to Cuba. Those companies try to discourage Cuban travel until they’re licensed.

We’d like to explain the truth about Americans traveling to Cuba. The following New York Post article will shed light on your questions. Let us plan a great trip for you and your travel companions!

Travel to Cuba is our specialty and we have experience working with clients from the United States since we founded Cuba 360. You will find many reviews from these trips on our TripAdvisor page

Read about the experience of one of our clients at:

The trade embargo and restrictions on traveling to Cuba from the U.S.

You may know that the United States government has enforced a trade embargo against Cuba for more than 60 years. The Cuban government, led by Fidel Castro, started nationalizing American companies in 1959, in most cases without offering reasonable compensation for the owners of those properties. The embargo restricts business between Americans and Cubans. The purpose is very simple: An attempt to suffocate the economy and get rid of Cuba’s socialist government. Additionally, the US government imposed restrictions to make it hard for US citizens to travel to Cuba. So travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens has some restrictions but it’s way easier than you might think to travel within the U.S. guidelines.

How does U.S. Travel to Cuba work?

You can’t just simply come to Cuba as a tourist and stay at a resort. There is a list of 12 OFAC categories to use for your trip. The categories are:

  • Family visits
  • Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  • Journalistic activity
  • Professional research and professional meetings
  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  • Support for the Cuban people
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  • Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
  • Certain export transactions may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.

You can find more information about this subject at the official U.S. Embassy in Cuba website.

How do I get a Tourist Card (Visa)?

Cuba requires that arriving travelers have a Tourist Card or Visa to enter the country. This visa is to be purchased for all non-Cuban-born travelers that are traveling under one of the 12 OFAC permitted categories. You should purchase a Tourist Card from the airline company at the time you make your flight reservation.

Our itineraries fully comply with the ‘Support for the Cuban people’ OFAC category. This category establishes that you’ll be spending money at privately run businesses – restaurants, drivers, guides, and accommodation at B&Bs. OFAC prohibits travelers from spending money at businesses that would benefit the Cuban government and/or military. If you book a tour with us you don’t have to worry about that, we have your back!

You can select a travel category other than ‘Support for the Cuban People’ as long as your trip abides by its restrictions.

Regardless of the license you choose, the rest of the process is very simple and it takes three simple steps:

1 – Plan your trip to Cuba

Make sure you plan your trip with a detailed itinerary. You should keep a record of this as well as receipts and photos of your tour for up to 5 years in case you ever get asked to show those. This could happen when you apply for Global Entry, Pre-Check and other programs under TSA oversight. If you are traveling with us, you don’t have to worry about it, we provide a detailed daily itinerary in case you ever need it.

You can find some ideas for your trip among our private Cuba tours.

2 – Book your flight from the U.S.

U.S. travel to Cuba has never been easier than now, there are five airlines flying directly to Cuba: Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Delta Airlines. You’ll be asked at some point either during your booking or before your departure the reason for your trip to Cuba, you just have to select ‘Support for the Cuban People’. Health insurance may already be included in the price of your ticket. Check with your airline.

3 – Get a Cuban visa (A.K.A. tourist card)

You need a visa or tourist card to get into Cuba. No application is necessary, you just purchase it from the airline, online, or at the counter before boarding the plane. The price varies from airline to airline, but it’s usually around $50 per person. This visa is just a piece of paper you need to carry inside your passport whilst entering and exiting Cuba. Your passport doesn’t even get stamped when entering the Country in most cases, Cuban border officials stamp your visa instead. Just so you know, the Cuban visa isn’t exclusive for U.S. travel to Cuba, everybody needs one regardless of their citizenship.

One thing to keep in mind when visiting Cuba from the U.S.:

You have to bring cash. U.S. credit cards don’t work in Cuba and there are no private nor government-run places that will accept them, much fewer debit cards or checks. So you should calculate how much money you’ll need during your stay and bring it in cash.



All of our answers and advice come from experience, not a search engine. The fact that we are a locally based company gives us the kind of access to knowledge no one else has. We know Cuba inside out.

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Enjoy your holiday in your own way. We design itineraries around your interests, time and budget. Let us build your perfect trip from scratch or customize one of our itineraries.


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We are committed to making your tour in Cuba as amazing as possible. We have amassed many fantastic reviews over the years, with clients citing our expertise, attention to detail and professionalism as reasons for their high ratings. Don’t just take our word for it, see what our clients have to say…


“We did a 7 day experience with Cuba 360 – Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Varadero. Engaged with Cubans throughout and learned tons. Cesar made it so outstanding, right down to learning how to make the very best mojito! Muchas muchas gracias and here’s to a positive future for the people of the US and Cuba!”


“If I could give Cuba 360 more starts I would. These guys go far beyond to make sure you have the best trip. I’m from South Carolina and had a ton of questions about being an American. Cesar was always very quick to provide insight and answer any questions we had…”