U.S. Citizens Will Once Again Be Allowed To Visit Cuba

The Obama administration opened up travel to Cuba. President Trump tried to roll that back. Now President Biden will reinstate much of what the Obama administration tried to do eight years ago.

The Biden administration is restoring flights to Cuban cities other than Havana and reestablishing a family reunification program suspended for years, following recommendations of a long-anticipated review of U.S. policy toward Cuba, senior administration officials told McClatchy and the Miami Herald on Monday.

You’ll again need to go through the farce of being part of “group travel for educational or professional exchanges” but experience shows these are restrictions in name only. “People-to-people” will again be an educational travel category though non-group travel will remain prohibited.

The Biden administration will also lift the $1000 every three months cap on family remittances implemented during the Trump presidency. Payment will also be permitted to independent Cuban entrepreneurs. Your next website may be designed by a Cuban doctor and their partner may open an Etsy store.

And allowing flights between the U.S. and cities beyond Havana will make it easier for people in the U.S. to visit families in the rest of the country.

As I wrote when travel first re-started flights to Cuba represent a new opportunity for airlines to lose money, with the caveat that right now it seems possible to fly anywhere that travelers are permitted to go and fill planes at exorbitant fares. Indeed remember that American cut 23% of its Cuba schedule before Trump took office.

  • 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 will be filled predominantly with leisure travel. Cuba isn’t a strong business destination.
  • Infrastructure in Cuba, from the airport to hotels, is wholly inadequate to match an aviation boom and influx of tourists.
  • Havana is an expensive airport to operate at, with costs that make Miami look like Branson, Missouri.


Fishing on the Malecón in Havana

Those 13 and up must be vaccinated to travel to Cuba. The requirement for a negative PCR test within 72 hours of travel was lifted last month.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. You no longer need a covid test to travel to Cuba. That part of the story is wrong.

  2. I visited decades ago on an academic program. One if the most amazing and eye opening travel experiences I have ever had. And I am closing in on almost 100 ( many third world) countries travelled to.

  3. Excellent news. Like Maria I visited there though more recently, bringing in some over the counter but needed pharmaceutical supplies for a clinic on a “help” group trip. We saw much of the western and central part of the island. Personally I’ve visited well over 100 countries but this one was special for its rich culture. (Within a few weeks my wife and I were also in San Juan and Santo Domingo and it was startling how the three cities diverged from a common beginning.).

    With the U.S. having close relations with some really nasty regimes it’s hard to justify cutting Havana off for any reason except politics at home. And with the older generation of Cuban-American disappearing who knows how much many younger ones care anymore. Anyway, the fastest way to push change on the government there might be to let lots of Americans come in. With declining barriers the post-Castro leaders can’t use relations with the Yankees as an excuse for the failings of their system.

  4. I’ve seen it written many times: “Cuba is a great place to visit because it has minimal tourists.”
    Or had, as I understand citizens of other countries go there. As Gary mentioned, lack of tourist infrastructure. I wonder what the future holds…..

  5. Cteditian: that state is long gone.
    Thankfully, it will be underwater soon, thanks to republican inaction.
    And guess what? Then they’ll ask the government they wished to shrink for a trillion dollar bailout. Bank on it…..

  6. Relatives have a reason to go.
    People who have been to more than 100 countries and want to go to all countries have a reason to go.

    Most other Americans are just Communists and dictator lovers if they go. They are no better than war criminals.

  7. @Creditian

    Democrats know they can just steal elections like they did in 2020

  8. @JorgeGeorge Paez
    You people have been spreading your global warming misinformation for decades and none of it has come true

  9. @Creditian – I think it’ll be interesting to see how much this moves the needle anymore and into the future, as time passes and with Fidel Castro no longer alive. Remember that Hillary Clinton beat Trump nearly 2-1 in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties in 2016 after Obama loosened restrictions on Cuba travel. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter I just genuinely wonder how salient it will remain.

  10. I recommend the Hotel Saratoga in Havana. It was built to Western standards.

  11. Happy to see the flights returning but I would assume the only viable one’s will originate in South Florida (MIA and FLL) post covid.

  12. Koggerj: None of what you say is true. Trump and Co. lost 50+ lawsuits over phony election fraud claims, a number of them with judges he appointed, because they literally could not provide any proof. Even the Arizona audit done by “cyber ninjas” (lol) turned up MORE votes for Biden.

    As for global warming, that is definitely happening and sea level rise is eventually going to wreck the Florida coast (plus a number of other places). The Nasa climate change website says: “Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13% per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.” World Wildlife Foundation: “We lose Arctic sea ice at a rate of almost 13% per decade, and over the past 30 years, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by a stunning 95%. If emissions continue to rise unchecked, the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by 2040.”

    Where do you think all that water goes when the ice melts?

  13. Rice and beans, I think I will fly over Cuba and go to Costa Rica for my legumes and grains.

  14. But did Cuba finally build accessible wireless internet or even landline?

    You don’t want to go internet SPOT for send an email.

  15. Before Trump screwed up US-Cuba relations, I had the opportunity to fly JetBlue into Santa Clara. Starting my journey far away from Havana and working my way across the country was an incredibly enriching experience. Meeting locals and talking about life in the US vs Cuba was memorable. Everyone was so curious! I will gladly visit Cuba again.

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