You Can Now Bring Back Unlimited Cigars from Cuba

There’s a huge curiosity factor that’s driving travel to Cuba, since it was forbidden for so long.

And in a reversal of how we usually think these things work, Cubans may be flocking to their own beaches before Americans ruin them.

While airlines raced to grab limited routes to Havana, pretty much all traffic for these flights will originate in the US. There’s almost no customer base to support these flights in Cuba. Planes predominantly service with leisure travel. Cuba isn’t a strong business destination.

Capitolio, Downtown Havana

Malecón in Havana

And infrastructure in Cuba, from the airport to hotels, is wholly inadequate to match an aviation boom and influx of tourists.

Yet Cuba remains is very much one of the year’s “hottest” destinations for US travelers to have on their bucket list.

In Argentina at least there’s a saying, “Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué,” or “I have a Che T-shirt and I don’t know why.” In Colombo, Sri Lanka last year I came across these contradictory symbols on a local vehicle:

One of the great forbidden fruits of the US embargo is Cuban cigars. They live on in reputation even if those who know about such things tell me that they’re no longer the quality that they once were.

However if you go to Cuba you can now bring them back in unlimited quantities, paying customs duty on large amounts the same as you would bringing in cigars from anywhere else in the world.

The Obama administration announced Friday it is eliminating a $100 limit on the value of Cuban rum and cigars that American travelers can bring back from the island.

…Cuban rum and cigars will now be subject to the same duties as alcohol and tobacco from other countries, meaning most travelers will be able to bring back as many as 100 cigars and several bottles of rum.

I just hope that when people do go, and buy their cigars, they’ll internalize what the Cuban revolution did to impoverish the lives of the Cuban people.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @FeeTravelGuy, what do you know about cancer that the surgeon General doesn’t know?

    @Gary, do you internalize what the Chinese cultural revolution did to impoverish the lives of the Chinese people? Or what the Nazists and fascists did to most of Europe or South America?

  2. @ABC I’m well aware of what the Nazis did, members of my family died in the gas chambers. And goodness, I’m well aware of the scale of devastation caused by Mao (and by Stalin, and Pol Pot). That there were even greater disasters than Cuba, which is small, doesn’t excuse Castro or Che Guevara.

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