How To Plan An Excursion To Cuba

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How To Plan An Excursion To Cuba

Taking a trip out of the country is never quite as easy as we’d like it to be, but that never stops it from being rewarding. Most of the time we simply need to contend with packing and making sure we arrive in time to get through security if we’re going anywhere. These are the common hassles of international travel these days. Some places require a little bit more planning than that though. Cuba is one of the clearest examples of this thanks to there being travel restrictions in place for people traveling there from the United States. Cuba, like most nations, has its own rich history and plenty of things to see, but that’s generally a bit harder than it is with other countries because of the aforementioned restrictions. It is still possible to plan an excursion to Cuba if you’re willing to be aware of the requirements and to abide by them. Let’s take a quick look at the things you’re going to need to do to effective plan this kind of trip.

Consider A Tour
One of the single best ways to actually plan an excursion to Cuba is to let someone else do the planning. Group travel was one of the main options for private citizens for a long time and as a result tour groups have managed to figure out all the tricks necessary to ensure everyone can go to Cuba and enjoy their stay. Their arrangements for places to stay, things to do, and how to interact with the people are all designed to help satisfy the various government requirements for United States citizens in Cuba. It may not be the most independent way to go on an excursion, but it does minimize the amount of planning you need to do. Removing the excess planning and cutting away some of the worries associated with finding a place to stay is sure to make your trip nicer. However, you can still plan an independent excursion if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Two women exploring Cuba with a map

Know The Requirements
There are currently 12 approved reasons for citizens to visit Cuba. This is due to the tense history between the United States and Cuba. None of the reasons listed are explicitly tourism either. Consequently, you’ll need to actually provide a clear itinerary of your intended actions in the country as well as the places you’ll be staying before you even leave the country. Family visits are allowed, but those without Cuban relatives will need to find the category that suits their needs. The most common option is typically called the “Educational” or “People-to-People” option that mandates travelers continually engage in meaningful interaction with the Cuban people. It is important to make sure to thoroughly check your intended activities against those that meet the requirements to ensure that you will be allowed to undertake your excursion. On top of that, you will need to make sure you travel to Cuba through an approved route as well as secure a Cuban visa.

Be Diligent
All of that may seem like a lot of work, but it will allow you to engage with Cuba on your own terms rather than those of a tour group. There are still a few things to be aware of when planning a trip though. It is important to note that the relaxing of travel restrictions to Cuba has meant the country is experiencing an overwhelming demand for hospitality services. This results in a situation where it can be hard to get and maintain a reservation at hotels due to regular issues. There are other options for people who want a real taste of Cuba and use services to match them with Cuban families who put up guests for a fee. Additionally, you need to be aware that the infrastructure in Cuba is not heavily maintained and as a result, it can be difficult getting to particular places. This is part of why planning where you will be going and what you will be doing is important. Staying aware of these difficulties will allow you to bypass some of the most common difficulties and be more likely to enjoy your excursion.

Travel to Cuba is far from as spontaneous as many world travelers would like. History has a way of coloring the relationships of nations though and it will likely be decades before tensions between the United States and Cuba ease enough for travel restrictions to ease further. Despite this, there is still plenty to learn in the country and countless ways to connect with the people. That, in the end, is what travel is truly about.

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