Sunday, February 5, 2017

Independent Travel Info Provided at New York Times Travel Show

How to go to Cuba.  It’s easy!!!

1.     Book a ticket on line or through a travel agent non-stop to Havana from JFK (Delta, Jet Blue) or Newark (United).*  Pay with miles or your charge card (now usually under $300 round-trip).

2.     You will be asked to choose the license category that allows you to travel legally.  For most people that will mean check the box “educational people to people for individuals”.  (exact words vary between airlines)   More information at

3.     You are complying with US law by undertaking a trip that focuses on engagement with the Cuban people and their culture, i.e. you can’t spend a week at an all-inclusive beach resort with other foreigners.  You must keep a record for five years of your interaction, including with host owners of bed and breakfasts.  It is unlikely that anyone will ever ask to see it.  Post on line only pictures that are consistent with a people to people purpose.

4.     When you check in for your flight, your airline will sell you a Cuban tourist card for $50, charge or cash.  It is good for one month but can be extended in Cuba for a second month.

5.     That completes the legal requirements for both countries.  Either book a hotel room (e.g. at or a casa particular bed and breakfast (e.g. on Airbnb or another on-line service) for at least your first night in Cuba, important if asked by the Cuban immigration officer.

6.     Use a guidebook, Trip Adviser, and other online resources to plan your rough itinerary.  Guided tours can be booked in the lobbies of international hotels or at the San Cristobal office near Plaza San Francisco.  Travel between cities can be reserved on Viazul or Cubanacan busses or through negotiation with private drivers outside the Viazul terminal.  Bilingual private guides are also available.

*  Daily non-stops also available from Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa and Los Angeles.

Of Special Interest

Santiago de Cuba

By non-stop flights from Florida and Turks and Caicos; or by flights or Cubanacan express bus from Havana.

“Carnival”  July 21-27, 2017 Individuals and travel agents wishing to be part of a phenomenal city-wide event unknown to most Americans should contact  


Enrique Núñez, CULTOUR A unique private program of guided visits to cultural places in Havana.  Art Historian, Singer-songwriter and Artistic Director.   Cuba cell (535) 391 37 68 /

Hatuey: Memory of Fire   A Cuba-US production premiering March 3 by Opera de la Calle based on a narrative poem written in Yiddish and published in Havana in 1931 by Oscar Pinis (later Ascher Penn, when he came to America)   


Jose Pineiro, Finca los Colorados  International Europe trained chef, owner of a paladar (restaurant), casa particular (bed and breakfast) and event space located on the water, 30 minutes south of the city.  Cuba cell (53) 53565291  (53) 43 548044

Yusi Arias, Regional Expert   Fluent in English, French, Dutch; familiar with artists and galleries; a link to official tour programs, private guides, drivers and bed and breakfasts; public relations director for Finca los Colorados; Cuba cell (53) 53079673

Cienfuegos, the Pearl of the South, is an excellent regional base for many activities including in the city the Plaza Jose Marti, Terry Theater, UNEAC garden, print workshop, art galleries, choral performances, jazz band, a local "Tropicana" cabaret.  Full and half day guided or independent excursions are available to El Nicho national park and waterfall, Harvard University linked botanic garden, Che Guevara memorial in Santa Clara, Santaria cabildo (temple) in Palmira, Benny More birthplace and museum and Terry slave resettlement in Lajas, Colonial Trinidad (overnight suggested for music on the steps), Tower of Iznaga, Bay of Pigs, snorkeling and scuba diving

Guidelines for individual P2P travel

Useful information for all visitors

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