Significant change is in the air for Americans traveling to Cuba. Under the newly implemented U.S policy towards Cuba, American travelers will face many restrictions that will result in far fewer visitors to the island. Now is the time to visit, and we are happy to report that our boat-based Cuba Cultural Adventure will not be affected by these new rules.
While the new policy will make solo travel to Cuba virtually impossible and adds a great deal of complexity to the regulations for land-based group tours, our journey by yacht remains legally licensed and authorized to continue operating as before. In truth, we had already felt our adventure was the way to go because it circumvents the shortage of quality hotel infrastructure, allows you to unpack just once during your stay, and does away with numerous long bus rides between towns.
Here are the main policy changes and why our journey is unaffected:
1. Individual Americans are no longer able to travel to Cuba on their own and must travel with a licensed “People-to-People” group tour.
According to the US Department of Treasury:
In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is requiring that (1) all people-to-people nonacademic educational travel be conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact, and (2) such travelers be accompanied by a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction who is a representative of the sponsoring organization. Individual people-to-people nonacademic educational travel will no longer be authorized as announced by the President.
Our Cuba Cultural Adventure has always been a fully licensed People-to-People group tour.
2. Americans are now banned from entering into any financial transactions that benefit the Cuban military’s business arm, Grupo de Administración Empresarial, which own an large portion of Cuba’s operating hotels. This should result in even more pressure on land-based tours, which were already suffering from a lack of hotels and overbooking problems.
Wilderness Travel’s Cuba journeys are boat-based and are unaffected by the new hotel restriction. Traveling aboard the 36-cabin Variety Voyager provides a romantic and comfortable home base where you’ll unpack your bags just once and experience diverse corners of this multifaceted country, including the culturally fascinating yet seldom visited Isla de la Juventud (Island of Youth).
3. Group tour participants must maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities and an employee of the tour company must accompany each group and document that the schedule was followed.
A staff member always accompanies and documents your people-to-people interactions on the tour. Although the days are purposely full, you are still free to explore on your own a bit at the end of each day. The main change is essentially a return to the strict rules that applied under the previous policy, when official people-to-people exchanges were not optional and travelers were asked to sign a promise before the trip that they would participate fully. Quite frankly, this rule is not a hardship because most of the people-to-people exchanges are quite interesting and often truly special.
With these new travel restrictions, your tourism dollars are more important than ever to support the people and places you’ll come to admire on this welcoming and vibrant island. Travel to Cuba remains a unique and enriching experience. We hope you’ll agree the time to go is now!
If you have any questions about legal travel to Cuba—or wish to book your spot—contact our Cuba Specialists at 1-800-368-2794 or email email@example.com.
For additional information about these policy changes, read these FAQs published by the Department of the Treasury.