The Scoop on Cuba Travel

Since President Obama loosened restrictions on Cuba and then President Trump reversed much of it, there’s a lot of confusion about Cuba travel. Luckily, we’re here to break it all down.

On November 8, 2017, the Trump administration announced tight new restrictions on American travel and trade with the communist-ruled island. Under the new rules, individual people-to-people educational travel is no longer permitted. You now have to go as part of an organized, U.S. company tour group licensed by the Treasury Department with a representative from the tour group accompanying you. Most individual visits to Cuba are no longer allowed.

You must prove that you will be engaging in “a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities.” Tour groups meet this people-to-people requirement with full-day itineraries of “educational exchange activities that result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.”

Americans are also now prohibited from staying at a list of 84 hotels around the country and from patronizing restaurants, stores, marinas and other entities that the State Department has determined are owned by or benefit the Cuban military as part of the Cuba Restricted List.

List of Restricted Entities and Subentities Associated with Cuba:

You do need a visa to visit Cuba, which Cruise & Tour will help you obtain ahead of time.

Bringing back Cuban goods:

Relaxed restrictions enacted by the Treasury Department on October 17, 2016 allow U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba to essentially bring back unlimited quantities of Cuban rum and cigars (from any country they are sold) as long as they are for personal use. Resale of any kind is prohibited. However, to avoid paying a 4% duty the limit is 100 cigars (or 200 cigarettes) and a liter of alcohol, for up to a combined total of $800. Quantities above those limits will be taxed. You can do this once every 31 days and you must be out of the country for at least 48 hours. The old $100 limit was removed entirely and Cuban rum and cigars are now subject to the same duties as alcohol and tobacco from other countries.

CBP Customs Duty Information (see Cuba section)

While U.S. authorities will send you on your way if you are under the 100-cigar/$800 limit, Cuban authorities will check for sale invoices on 50 or more cigars and tax cigar purchases of $5,000 or more, so keep that in mind when buying and save those receipts.

By Mike Capalbo
Group Products Specialist