Cuba Travel Guide

What You Need to Know

The United States government has enacted new travel restrictions for Americans going to Cuba. One of these restrictions has officially ended the “People to People” travel category, under which we have taken thousands of Americans to Cuba since 1997. However, Americans are still allowed to go to Cuba with Road Scholar, because we qualify under a separate but similar approved travel category called “Support for the Cuban People.”

 

Have questions about going to Cuba?

We’re here to help. See answers to some questions below, and if you still have more questions, feel free to get in touch with us directly.

  

Frequently Asked Questions About Travel to Cuba

  

Can cruise ships go to Cuba?

Because of changes to U.S. goverment policy, Americans are no longer able to take cruises that stop in Cuban ports.

What are the U.S. government-approved categories of travel to Cuba?

Here is the full list of U.S. government-approved travel categories:

  • Family Visits
  • Official Business for the US Government, Foreign Government, and Certain Intergovernmental Organizations
  • Journalism
  • Professional Research
  • Religious Activities
  • Public Performances
  • Support for the Cuban People 
  • Educational Activities and People to People Travel
  • Humanitarian Projects
  • Activities of Private Foundations for Research or Educational Institutes
  • Exportation, Importation or Transmission of Information or Informational Materials
  • Certain Export Transactions

Click here learn more about the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) latest regulations about American travel to Cuba.

 

What is the difference between “People-to-People” and “Support for the Cuban People”?

The “People-to-People” license was meant to allow organizations such as Road Scholar to sponsor group programs that engaged in a full-time schedule of educational, people-to-people interactions between regular Americans and Cubans. The “Support for the Cuban People” category similarly requires that American visitors must engage in a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people and that result in meaningful interactions with Cubans. One of the distinctions is that under the “Support for the Cuban People” category, these activities must support civil society in Cuba.

“Support for the Cuban People” has NOT been affected by recent policy changes, and is how Road Scholar is able to offer learning adventures in Cuba. 

Why is Road Scholar able to take groups to Cuba?

We can take Americans to Cuba, because we meet the requirements of the "Support for the Cuban People" travel category and arrange activities that help support the people of Cuba. 

What are the rules around air travel to Cuba?

The U.S. government recently changed the rules around flying to Cuba, banning flights to all major airports in Cuba, except Havana. While individuals may arrange their own air transportation to Havana, we strongly encourage our participants to book their air to Cuba with Road Scholar directly, to ensure compliance with the latest requirements. All Road Scholar Cuba programs provide options to arrange your air through us. We use a combination of charter airlines and commercial airlines for the group flights to and from Cuba.

Will I be able to bring back products from Cuba, such as cigars and rum?

The rules around bringing tobacco products and alcohol back to the United States from Cuba allow you to return to the U.S. with these items, as long as they are for personal consumption.

Is there anything else I’ll need before I go?

Yes, a Cuban Tourist Card. This is a requirement of the Cuban government. The easiest way to get a Cuban Tourist card is to purchase one from the airline that is flying you to Cuba. You can inquire with the staff at your gate. It is also possible to purchase one in advance online. However, if your Road Scholar Cuba program begins in Miami, a Cuban Tourist Card will be provided at program orientation. If you have any questions, give us a call and we’d be happy to help you.

Should I be concerned about traveling to Cuba?

No. Road Scholar has provided thousands of participants with enriching experiences over the last 20 years. The local people and culture are truly one-of-a-kind, and Cuba continues to be one of our favorite learning destinations.

Road Scholar offers opportunities to travel legally to Cuba under the new OFAC Regulations published June 5, 2019. Following the General License category “Support for the Cuban People,” Road Scholar programs include activities intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba. Each day's program promotes independence for the Cuban people and results in meaningful interactions with the Cuban people.

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