For the first time since 2004, when the George W. Bush administration canceled so-called “people-to-people” licenses for companies offering cultural travel to Cuba, Americans can once again go there legally — and without applying to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for a special license. More companies are expected to receive the same license in the coming weeks, so do your research before purchasing a ticket.
Insight Cuba has just been granted a license to offer cultural tours to Cuba, and these small-group trips (limited to 16 people) are available to the general public, including Americans. According to Insight Cuba’s Director Tom Popper, “We’ve been preparing for the possibility of again offering our Cuba programs since August 2010, when reports surfaced that President Obama was going to ease the travel restrictions.” Those restrictions were lifted in mid-January, and the company’s license was just approved late June.
Itineraries include all meals, admission costs and travel within the country, but they do not include tips or other extras. This is an important consideration since U.S. credit and debit cards cannot be used in Cuba, so you’ll have to carry enough cash.
What’s not included
The tour costs do not include airfare to Havana, which will be done on already-established charter flights from Miami and will add about $500 to the cost of the trip. Insight Cuba has already reserved seats on these flights for tour participants, but you’ll have to book your flight directly through Insight Cuba once you are confirmed on a tour.
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