Americans traveling to Cuba?

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Comments

  • edited 11:56PM
    You buy your Tourist Card right at the airport in Costa Rica. No weird paperwork, it's a simple purchase.

    Have fun.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    hmm i don't have any experience about this but try to find some sites that might help you.
  • edited 11:56PM
    leevaii, the Cuban Tourist Card is either supplied or available for purchase at ALL departure points in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central/South America. It's no big deal.

    Departing from Europe is another issue entirely.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    I have a New Zealand passport, and also a USA passport card and passport book.
    I think I can travel to Cuba using NZ passport directly from USA?
    Will this keep me off the USA radar or should I go to Mexico or Canada first? Would I be considered illegal?

    If I travel via another country using NZ passport, how would USA know I even went there. Ie If get some Cuban cigars, how would they know to search me? Or do the other countries mess that aspect up?
  • edited 11:56PM
    "... I think I can travel to Cuba using NZ passport directly from USA?..."

    ===============================

    100% incorrect.

    Read my very detailed Reply #9 from October 22nd on the first page of this thread, then come back with any further questions.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hello,

    We are thinking of heading to Cuba for a weeks vacation, however I have a US passport and my family all have Canadian passports. I am a landed immigrant in Canada. Do I have to worry about anything, or do I just go and enjoy?

    Thanks for your help,

    Gayle
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hi Gayle,

    Read my replies earlier in the thread.

    Americans are welcomed with open arms in Cuba, no worries.

    Have fun.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Does Canadian customs care when they realize you're American and coming from Cuba?
  • edited 11:56PM
    They couldn't care less.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hi Terry,

    Thanks for your info, very insightful. I hold Chinese passport, currently residing in the U.S. I believe I won't have any problem getting in and out of Cuba, but once I get back in the U.S., what if I get questioned about the multiple Mexico entry stamps (I don't have many stamps to begin with so it's very easy to tell). You mentioned that multiple stamps won't raise a red flag but I did know one unlucky folk caught by the CBP, and he admitted that he went to Cuba, but he's on a U.S. tourist visa en route to Asia, so they let him go. My question is, if ever get spotted, what would be the best answer? Can i refuse to tell em where I went?
  • edited 11:56PM
    If you're a US citizen you can refuse to answer any question under any circumstances - you're entitled to a lawyer and you have the right to not self incriminate. In other words, you're basically untouchable as far as illegal travel to Cuba is concerned.

    If you're in the US under a Visa then that can be a different situation.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hi,

    We would like to go to Cuba for some vacations. I am a Canadian Citizen, my son has dual citizenship (American & Canadian) and my husband is an American Citizen. We reside in Montreal, QC, Canada. My husband has his resident card. Any problem travelling to Cuba?

    Thank you.
    Lina
  • edited 11:56PM
    No worries.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hey everyone. I just got back from 8 days in Cuba. I went legally with an OFAC licensed group. It was an amazing trip and I wanted to share my experiences hoping it helps some people out who are planning to go one day. Check it out, I still have a week or two of Cuba posts coming up.

    www.travelertourist.com

    feel free to comment or email me any questions. thanks!
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hi Terry, I'm an American who lives in the northeast part of the U.S. and was wondering in your opinion what might be the easiest route for me to get to Cuba? Would Canada be less of a hassle and quicker or I've heard some have just flown to Jamica, then just bought a ticket to Cuba from there. Also do you think it would be best to just fly to the country I want as a jumping point, then just purchase the ticket for Cuba or do it beforehand? I was only planning on staying about a week. Also, I know you cannot use any type of debit/credit cards down there. I was planning on going to a smaller type city. Would you advise still bothering with traveler's checks or just bring enough cash for the trip at once and exchange there? Where do you feel it would be the best place to exchange it rate wise? Thanks again for all your helpful advice. I've gotten alot of useful info from it so far.
  • edited 11:56PM
    1.) Toronto is the best gateway on earth, offering more flight options than anywhere else. Montreal is good too. Lots of people from the northeast use the Bahamas as well. Jamaica sucks, very few options.

    2.) Purchase all flights in advance, especially if you're only going for a short visit so you don't have any flexibility. Prices likely better too. You could fly New York/Toronto/Havana return for less than $800 last autumn, all taxes in.

    3.) American Express Travellers Cheques used to be a great option for Americans but no longer, they suffer the same 10% surcharge that US Dollars are hit with. There were several excellent debit card options like Caribbean Transfers but your State Department came down on most of them really heavy late last year. Sometimes you can increase your purchasing power by a few percentage points by purchasing Canadian Dollars to exchange into Cuban Convertible Pesos but for a short trip I doubt it's worth the hassle. Do the math yourself: http://www.bc.gov.cu/Espanol/tipo_cambio_METROPOLITANO.asp

    Best place to exchange is at a Bank or Cadeca (money exchange office.)

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Thanks Terry, I appreciate the quick reply and helpful advice. I did check it out and Toronto does seem like the best option considering where I am. Would you recommend Air Canada? They seemed like a good carrier and you were really spot on with the pricing. Was actually cheaper than I imaged for a direct round trip flight. As far as the exchange issue. Would they have a bank or Cadeca right in the airport where I could exchange for CUC's to make it easy? I'll probably just bring the amount of money I feel I'll need and forego the traveler's checks, since I'm not sure they'll take them where I'm going anyways.The other little issue I had was that I wanted to fly directly into the city I was planning to visit, but it doesn't look like AC stops there. My destination is on the far east side of the country and it looks like the next closest airport they stop is in Holguin. My city is probably around another 100miles east of there. Would they have a flight available on a smaller plane to my destination, or would I just have to take a long taxi ride? I know it sort of sounds like a silly question but wasn't really sure about it. Thanks again.
  • edited 11:56PM
    Both Air Canada and Westjet have regularly scheduled flights from Toronto into Holguin - as well as a pile of other charter airlines. It's not a difficult destination, loads of all-inclusive resorts on the coast.

    All international airports have a Cadeca, as do most towns. Banks are common too.

    Can't comment on transport when you give no clue which town you're interested in visiting. The main tourist bus line is Viazul, but there are sometimes many other options too.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    By the way, I trust you're inaccurate with your 100 mile guesstimate east of Holguin because that puts you in Moa, one of the ugliest and dullest industrial cities in the entire Caribbean. Gigantic nickel mining going on, some areas are a disaster...

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hi Terry, Sorry about that. I should have just given you the city. Its Guantanamo City. Not the base though lol. So you think it would be best just to grab a bus from Holguin to there? You might have answered this before but will I get my passport stamped again when I get back to Canada? They may not look at it when I re-enter the U.S. but I think I'd just feel alittle better if it just wasn't on there. Thanks!
  • edited January 2013
    I trust you have family or a girlfriend or some other strong personal reason to visit Guantanamo because that's a looooong way to go for only a week visit - and it's one of the most boring provincial capitals on the island.

    It's also a pain in the ass to get to... Holguin to Bayamo to Santiago to Guantanamo by bus can't be done in one day, you have to overnight in Santiago. I think you should be researching flights directly in Santiago... it would make your logistics way easier.

    No worries with the passport stamp. That hasn't been done for years.

    Good luck.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Yes, its actually to visit a girl I know, otherwise I'd certainly be visiting a more festive city. I did look at the map again and you are right, it is rather a pain in the ass to get to. Unfortunately the closest that Air Canada gets to it is Holguin. Do you know of any other carriers that might go all the way to Santiago? It would save me abit of a lengthy bus ride. If not I guess it will be the route you had mentioned. I was also thinking, I really can't even book a hotel ahead of time online can I, since no U.S. credit/debit cards will work there? So would my only option just be getting to the city, finding a hotel, taking the chance they have a vacancey and paying in cash? I know this is a really broad question, but also from a safety factor, you think I'd have anything to worry about traveling alone making this trip? Thanks again.
  • edited 11:56PM
    Charter airlines like Sunwing, Canjet and I don't know who else fly Toronto/Santiago.

    You can book anything you want - just don't use a US Travel Agent. Canada (and the rest of the world) is filled with Travel Agents who'll book you a hotel. That said, why not get way more bang-for-your-buck and do a Casa Particular instead? Have your lady friend arrange it.

    The most dangerous thing about Cuba is being lulled into a false sense of security because it feels so safe - that's when crap happens. Use the same common sense and street smarts you would anywhere and Cuba is arguably the safest developing country on the planet that receives a lot of foreign tourists.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hi Terry, I am US and flying Panama City to Cuba around trip. I understand the US currency exchange issue. Question. Do the Cubans accept US dollars directly?
    GAE
  • edited 11:56PM
    US Dollars haven't been used in Cuba since November, 2004.

    The accepted local currency is Cuban Convertible Pesos, CUC.

    $100 USD = 96.74 CUC minus the 10% surcharge = 87.07 CUC in your pocket.

    Money Exchange Rates in Cuba: http://www.bc.gov.cu/Espanol/tipo_cambio_METROPOLITANO.asp

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hi Terry,
    Please steer me toward a listing of recent prosecutions of USCitizens travelling illegally from Cancun to Havana
    and back by air, and then flying back into the US with 2 Mexican Re-entry stamps. Thanks. calzon1
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hi Terry,
    Calzon1 again. what story might serve as an explanation of the 2 mexican re-entry stamps? and, if there is no listing
    of recent prosecutions, what kind of fines have been levied, or are they warnings, after 10days on the island as a US
    tourist, bringing NOTHING back except CanCun / Tulum T shirts, recuerdos de mexico?
  • edited 11:56PM
    Calzon, read my long reply on this thread from Oct. 22/10. It is still accurate.

    Mexican stamps are a non issue, fines are a non issue, prosecutions are a non issue. Bottom line: US Custom and Border Protection and the OFAC doesn't care about illegal tourist travel to Cuba.

    Cheers,
    Terry
  • edited 11:56PM
    Hi Terry. I am a US citizen, Cuban born parents. I attained a legal visa and am leaving mid Feb for Cuba and hoping to travel for 2 months throughout the country. (hoping to extend my stay for an extra month upon arrival) My main question is having enough money for that long a stay... what would you recommend?

    Any help would be appreciated

    Thanks!

    Joe
  • edited 11:56PM
    Money options suck for Americans right now. American Express Travelers Checks used to be the best way to get around the 10% surcharge for US cash, but that is no longer the case. Have a look at this: http://www.aisremesascuba.com/

    Also, confirm how long your visa is good for... I suspect it's 30 days with the possibility of one 30 day extension then you must leave the country, but I could be wrong.

    Have fun.

    Cheers,
    Terry

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