WSJ: Yes, You Can Visit Cuba On Your Own

The Jan. 13, 2018, issue of theĀ  Wall Street Journal has an article describing a recent visit to Cuba by two friends. They went on their own, not as part of a group tour. A sidebar to the article tells how anyone can do the same.

According to the sidebar, the rules still permit Americans to visit Cuba in “support of the Cuban people” without special authorization. Just go online to purchase an airline ticket from American, jetBlue, Southwest or Delta, and select that reason when the website prompts you. A visa will be needed, and you can purchase that for $50 at the airport ticket counter.

When you arrive in Cuba, you must not patronize any business related to the Cuban military. The list of businesses (some hotels, etc.), tourist agencies, marinas, stores and products (including Carney and Varadero rums) to avoid can be found on the State Department’s website.

According to the sidebar in the Wall St. Journal article, you must keep evidence of your interactions with Cubans for five years. Such interactions should be meaningful, which may spur Cuba toward democratic government. Such evidence can be receipts and selfies with locals. Staying in private residences (casas particulares), eating in private restaurants (paradares), and visiting galleries and community projects are recommended.

The United States has an embassy in Havana, although with reduced staff due to mysterious illnesses among staff (perhaps due to some sort of sonic activity). Airbnb continues to operate in Cuba, as do US airlines.

If self-directed travel doesn’t sound appealing, you can do as many Americans have by taking a cruise that stops in several Cuban port cities.