CAN AMERICANS STILL TRAVEL TO CUBA?
New restrictions on Americans' travel to Cuba by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) that took effect June 5, 2019 eliminated the "People to People / Educational" Cuba travel categories. The effect was to cancel - overnight - trips and cruises by literally hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens. Americans may visit Cuba on their own but caveats and hazards are many. Travelers must keep records for five years and be able to prove lawful travel and show receipts in the event of an OFAC audit or crackdown. OFAC recently conducted a sweeping audit and levied fines covering travel by thousands of Americans totaling approximately $700,000! Individuals are required to prove the detailed schedule of activities they engaged in to establish they had "full-time meaningful interaction" with Cubans and prove they have not patronized the hundreds of shops, restaurants, certain hotels or other entities on OFAC's restricted list. For legal travel, a U.S. company must provide the trip and an official representative of that American sponsor must travel along in order to ensure compliance with the tightened restrictions Cuban tourism has been extremely hard hit by these restrictions and the "triple whammy" of U.S. Embargo enforcement and the scourge of Covid-19.
Since our beginnings in 2004 ---18 years before the current restrictions were imposed --- and until today, Cuba Travel Adventures Group ("CTAG") has embraced and acted in the spirit of giving back in Support of the Cuban People", and therefore, we're pleased to say that for us it's "business as usual". We have helped deliver ocean containers and many thousands of pounds of hard-to-get medicines, sports equipment, baby diapers and OTC medications, toys, school supplies...the list goes on.
My family began our "love affair" with Cuba and its remarkable people in 2004, a sentiment that the passage of time and my dozens of trips to the island hasn't diminished. With our then-six year-old son Zack in tow, my wife and I were escorted by a Habanero in his rusted '50's jalopy through barrio communities and famous cultural sites in Havana the Capital before continuing on to beautiful Pinar del Rio Province where we visited Soroa, Vinales, Las Terrazas and the lush nature of rivers, mountains and hillside communities in between. We stayed with families in their homes enjoying meals with them, met their neighbors, walked through neighborhoods, hiked their hills and absorbed the full range of daily life. Each day we interacted with a myriad of Cubans who never let on to how sorry they must have felt for us in our struggles to speak a Spanish they could hope to understand. As we continued to explore the rich Cuban culture and national pride we developed warm feelings for the people and their remarkable country.
Ever since the surprising December 2014 announcement of “new openings” for Americans wishing to travel to Cuba, Cuba Travel Adventures Group Cuba trips have closely complied with OFAC's Support for the Cuban People regulations. Our core value is to improve ordinary Cubans' lives by exposing our travelers to ordinary Cubans via daily interactions in their culture, in their homes, at their proud historic sites, and through unique experiences off the beaten track in Cuba's neighborhoods and communities. Through these close encounters and our travelers' generous gifts, and by patronizing the many new private businesses on the island, we help raise standards of living of Cubans' extended families.
Our mission at CTAG is centered around the core belief that the meaning of living life fully includes the responsibility to share the multitude of blessings we enjoy by helping others improve their lives and realize their potential. We hope you decide to travel in Cuba with us to see what we mean.
Principal & Chief Travel Planner