As this is being revised in
March 2004 Unites States citizens are flooding into Cuba, but
we are now getting reports of persons who have traveled to Cuba
illegally being contacted and fined by the United States government,
sometimes two years after the trip. If you have information
related to this please contact us.
Travel to Cuba by United States citizens is either illegal or
not illegal, depending on how you get there. It is illegal for
a United States citizen to spend money in Cuba unless he or
she goes with an approved group such as the Cuba-America
Jewish Mission, B'nai
B'rith's Cuban Jewish Relief Project, the Cuban
Jewish Connection, or Jewish
Solidarity. We encourage legal travel to Cuba, and discourage
U.S. citizens might want to review
this advisory before deciding on a trip.
Department Advisory on Travel to Cuba.
are traveling on a religious or other mission check out
the questions and answers on "Frequently
wish to get a license for your group to travel legally
to Cuba, refer to these Department
of Treasury pages on licensing requirements. This links
you to numerous PDF documents, including "Comprehensive
Guidelines for License Applications to Engage in Travel-related
Transactions Involving Cuba."
A summary of types of possible
legal travel can be found at http://www.cubatravelexperts.com/faq01.html.
cash American Express travelers' checks at the Hotel
Nacional in Havana if you have your passport and the receipt
of your check purchase. Two or three other hotels will also
cash these checks, which is a departure from the usual practice
of not honoring anything from a United States bank.
Detailed information on Cuba
can be found in Chris Baker's comprehensive guide,
Moon Handbooks: Cuba. We recommend this book for
anyone going to Cuba.
The question is often asked, "Do
the Cubans stamp my U.S. passport? The answer is "yes
and no." Many people have reported no stamps at all. Some have
had their passorts stamped with a musical note, on the back
pages. This is possibly for internal Cuban control. Legal US
travelers receive an entry and exit visa as separate pieces
Cuba has a good system of buses
for city-to-city travel. They are comfortable, generally operate
on time, and are not too expensive by tourist standards. For
example, Trinidad to Havana was $25 in early 2004. Trains are
also an option but are usually slower than buses. Around each
bus station you can also find individuals available to give
you a ride at roughly the same price a bus would charge. Be
careful using this option since many of these rides are illegally
One other option for the fit
and adventurous is biking through Cuba. You will not
be alone, since bikes are a major form of transportation. Check
out Marcia Miquelon's story on http://danenet.wicip.org/bcp/bfw/forever.html
Eventually Cuba will be a major
tourist destination for United States citizens, but in the meantime
the legality of travel there is still clouded, and the most
direct route to get there may take many turns.
If you wish to have a personalized
tour with a Jewish orientation, contact
Richard Smith, webmaster of this site, for additional information.