It’s not great news for casa particular owners. Trump continues on his ruthless quest to curtail travel to Cuba for U.S. visitors and the latest move has been to cancel charter flights to nine Cuban airports (not including Havana), adding to his previous suspension of all flights to Cuban cities other than Havana back in October 2019 and prior to that the banning of all Cuba cruises all of which has contributed to the buildup of darkened atmosphere of hopelessness among Cuban entrepreneurs who relied on the fresh and steady influx of American visitors to keep their (often newly-opened) businesses going.
Keen to dissolve the Obama era of stardust and hope for Cubans, despite claiming the contrary and saying his measures seek to punish only the Cuban government but support the Cuban people, Trump has set out to do everything he can to dissuade Americans from travelling to Cuba, stopping short of straight out prohibiting travel to Cuba for U.S. travellers, something that may as well happen in the not-so-distant future if he continues on this particular.
Casa particular owners in Havana had hoped things stood at a standstill but it seems they’ll only be getting worse and the only thing that could change this bleak outlook would be the election of a new president, namely a democrat.
More Cuba travel restrictions looming ahead breed fear into Havana casa particular hosts and have already crushed the business expectations of casa particular owners beyond Havana this year.
It’s not all gloom and doom, however, as Americans can still visit Cuba as long as they comply with the regulations and while holidays to Cuba or any sort of vacation travel for leisure purposes, is still off-limits, staying in a casa particular is a great way to justify travel to Cuba, as you can tick off the “Support for the Cuban people” box.
Can Americans still travel to Cuba?
Trump has done and continues to be doing everything in his power to increase economic pressure on Cuba and curtailing Cuba travel is where he seems to be concentrating all of his strategies lately, yet he has stopped short of outright banning travel to Cuba, so, yes Americans can still travel to Cuba, so long as they comply with the reintroduced restrictions and there are quite a few more than
How can Americans travel to Cuba now?
If there’s one thing we want to make clear that is the fact that it’s still 100% legal for Americans to travel to Cuba. You may not be able to enjoy the freedom of choosing from a wide array of daily direct flights to Cuba (as Trump has cut down on them significantly over the last few months) but while you may not be able to travel from as many U.S. airports there are still good flight connections available.
In terms of steps to take to ensure you comply with the regulations when travelling to Cuba, if you’re an American resident or citizen, to visit Cuba you’ll need to fill in and sign an affidavit where you should tick either of the 12 categories allowed for travel. This declaration is mandatory and you do it yourself, there’s no need to apply for a license beforehand or carry any specific permit.
The main cautionary measure to take once in Cuba is to find out in advance where you are NOT allowed spend your money, as you cannot eat, sleep or make any kind of monetary transactions at either of the establishments published on the U.S. government’s black list. The list includes restaurants, hotels, ministries and government-run shops.
Where can Americans stay in Cuba?
With the majority of restrictions applied to hotels, the easiest way to stay on the safe side when travelling to Cuba is to go for a casa particular, in Havana, Santiago, Varadero, Cienfuegos or Camaguey, at CubaCasa we’ve got plenty of homely choices that go from chic standalone apartments and luxury properties to homestays where you share part of the living space with enchanting hosts (in any case your room will always include an ensuite private bathroom – many also include a kitchenette – and a minimum standard of amenities).
Staying in a casa particular in Havana or beyond is actually one of the best ways to not only get to know the real Cuba and the real Cubans through meaningful interactions, but also the easiest way to tick the “Support for the Cuban people” category on your affidavit declaration, as by staying in a local’s home you’re putting your money directly into Cubans’ hands and not into those of the Cuban government. Needless to stay, sharing living space with attentive Cuban hosts can prove incredibly enlightening and enriching and even if you stay in a standalone property, your host will be there to greet you upon arrival and will point you in the best directions regarding where to eat, hang out and get the best, most raw experiences.
More restrictions to come?
The latest restrictions on Cuba travel from the U.S. Department of Transportation are not a very good indication of things to come. On 10 January they announced the suspension of all charter flights between U.S. airports and Cuban cities other than Havana, an announcement that came with another dire news, that the number of charter flights to Havana would also be capped.
We don’t know whether the U.S. government will continue on this path of regulation tightening when it comes to Cuba travel, but it’s not looking great at the moment. What you need to know now if you’re an Amerian is that you can still legally travel to Cuba now, and you should endeavour to do so as soon as possible before they ban Cuba travel entirely. Or, perhaps they’ll never get there…but who knows? It’s Trump’s administration we’re talking about, after all.