Things are really changing this year to make Cuba one of the top places to go in 2015. Full diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba will resume on April 10, and the six-story building off Havana’s Malecón esplanade that was once the U.S. embassy (and is now the U.S. Interests Section) is primed to reclaim its status after 54 years. Tourism infrastructure catering to U.S. travelers is next.
While Americans were permitted to make educational visits to Cuba in tour groups, a tourism ban has barred individuals from traveling there under most circumstances. Under new revisions, Americans who plan a trip with a full schedule of educational exchange activities, including interacting with the Cuban people, will for the first time in decades be able to travel on their own to Cuba without special permission from the U.S. government.
Although tourism is still barred by statute, the new rules amount to permission for any American who wants to travel to Cuba to plan an educational sojourn there, as long as they keep records of their activities for five years.
Airbnb in Cuba for Everyone
Airbnb will now let travelers from outside the U.S. to book properties in Cuba after receiving authorization from the U.S. government. Previously, only Americans were allowed to reserve the site’s Cuban listings. Airbnb launched its Cuban operations in April 2014, four months after the Obama administration revealed that it will begin to restore diplomatic relations with the Communist country. Cuba is currently Airbnb’s fastest-growing market, with about 4,000 homes added since it opened listings.
Four Points By Sheraton Havana is now open as of June 2016. The #FourPointsHavana is a Starwood branded hotel which recently merged with Marriott. They made history for being the first chain to sign hotel deals in Cuba. A day before President Obama’s trip to Cuba they signed three hotels in Havana. Hotel Inglaterra and Hotel Santa Isabel will become part of its Luxury Collection and Hotel Quinta Avenida will become Four Points by Sheraton.
Can you use an ATM or Credit Card in Cuba?
Cuba has two official currencies which they call “peso” making your U.S. credit cards and ATM debit cards useless for now. These currencies can be confusing in Cuba because one currency known as CUP is mainly used by locals and the other by tourists (CUC).
Airlines flying into Cuba could be the following as these routes have been proposed:
–American: 10 from its Miami hub, along with one each from Charlotte, Dallas and Los Angeles.
-JetBlue: eight from Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa, along with two from New York’s John F. Kennedy airport and one each from Newark and Boston.
-Southwest Airlines: nine from Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando.
-Delta Air Lines: two from Miami and one from Orlando, with one each from Atlanta and JFK.
-Silver Airways: two from Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, with less-frequent flights from Fort Myers, Key West and Jacksonville.
-Frontier: three from Miami and one from Denver.
-Spirit Airlines: two from Fort Lauderdale.
-Eastern Air Lines: one from Miami.
Cruise into Cuba
Carnival Cruises gained approval to sail from Miami into the port of Havana starting in May 2016. The Cuban authorities approved the cruise company’s bid for its inaugural Cuba voyage, departing May 1, marking the first time in more than 50 years that a cruise ship can travel from the United States to Cuba.