Traveling to Cuba in 2018? Here’s What You Need to Know

Old Havana, La Habana Vieja

By Paul Riegler on 28 March 2018
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Whether you’ve been inspired by Ernest Hemingway or merely see yourself touring La Habana Vieja, Old Havana, in a classic 1950s Buick convertible, travel to Cuba is now possible and relatively simple to undertake, despite restrictions put into place last year by the Trump administration.

While the most popular category of travel, so-called “people-to-people” visits, is no longer an option and clearly dampened enthusiasm, there remain 12 categories that make travel relatively easy. The list includes family visits; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, workshops, and athletic competitions; humanitarian projects; and support for the Cuban people.

One thing visitors must avoid is, according to the U.S. embassy in Cuba’s website, avoid “direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba.” This means that staying at an Airbnb or casa particular is fine but staying at some hotels, specifically those with ties to the Cuban military, such as those owned or controlled by Habaguanex or Gaviota, is forbidden. It behooves the traveler to pay attention to the U.S. State Department’s list of those companies, as “entities or subentities” that are owned or controlled by a body on the Cuba Restricted List but are not on the list themselves are not restricted.

The American cars of Cuba

The American cars of Cuba

Here’s what else you need to know in 2018 to visit.


Despite the new regulations, travel with a group is not mandatory, except for those traveling under the “people-to-people” category.

The loophole for independent travelers is the category “support for the Cuban people,” which allows individuals and non-governmental organizations “that promote independent activity to strengthen civil society in Cuba.”

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