THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Yes, it is legal. During President Obama’s administration, he issued an executive order that allows Americans to visit Cuba as long as they meet one of 12 categories. Thru Cuban Eyes tours fall within the “Support the Cuban People” category and are offered in accordance with the regulations of the United States Department of the Treasury. Each Thru Cuban Eyes tour includes sufficient cultural activities and interactions with Cubans to meet these requirements.
Getting to Cuba. It is actually very easy to get to Cuba these days. In late 2016, several commercial airliners began daily service into Cuba through a number of cities. American, Southwest, Delta, JetBlue, and United all fly into Havana. When you purchase a flight to Cuba, the airlines will require that you certify that you are going for one of the 12 approved categories. The category you check for your trip is People-to-People – Educational.
Yes, you need a visa. Depending on the airline you decide to fly, there will be instructions for obtaining a visa on-line. You simply receive a receipt for the visa. Print that receipt and bring it with you with your ticket. When you get to your departure gate for your flight to Cuba, there will be representatives who will provide you with your visa to fill out. The cost of the visa varies by airline and ranges from $50.00 to $85.00.
Crime? Cuba is a safe country. You will never feel unsafe. There might be the occasional catcalls or those peddlers you find anywhere who see “foreigner” and call after you if you want a pedi-cab (bicitaxi), for example, but the city is generally safe. Obviously, as in any crowded city, beware of pick-pockets and keep your belongings close in large crowds. Also, we don’t recommend flashing large amounts of cash or wearing expensive jewelry or any of the things they tell you not to do in any foreign city. There are a few “scams” – generally people offering to show you/take you to a good restaurant or asking you to buy milk for their children if you are at a local market getting water. Just keep walking. Generally, you will find a friendly people who are as curious about you as you are about them.
What To Expect in Cuba. Expect the unexpected. Be prepared that this is probably not like most countries you have visited. Be ready to go with the flow. We´ll follow our program but we can´t predict the future. Don´t worry if something happens along the way. We´ll find a solution.
WiFi? Be ready to be disconnected even though in Cuba it is easier now to access the internet. There are many public WiFi spots in the cities we´ll visit. You´ll need to buy a WiFi card. Officially, it costs 1CUC per hour. In the WiFi spots, some people sell the cards for more. You can use your own phone or tablet to connect. Please check with your phone carrier about the roaming charges. Some American phone companies have roaming in Cuba but it is very expensive.
English? There are a lot of people in Cuba who speak English, or at least can communicate. Thru Cuban Eyes has English speakers as guides on all of our trips.