How To Get To Cuba
There are many things I look forward to in the mornings; a nice cup of coffee, catching up on blog-related questions and munching on skittles… Yes skittles, I’m a huge fan even at 8 in the mornings.
I’ve notice that after my visit to Cuba a few weeks ago, my inbox has been flooding with Cuba related questions; “How did you travel there?”… “What were you experiences like?”… Moments like these gets me all chirpy and I sip as I type, eager to respond to each quickly, accurately and of course with the aim to feed your wanderlust and make travel dreams come through.
If most haven’t realised as yet, I am from the Islands and hold a Jamaican passport, hence an entry to Cuba felt like any other. So, for my fellow readers who hold an American passport or anyone else who might be having difficulty making it to Cuba; here are 3 simple ways to make your Cuba adventure possible.
You have got to watch those flight deals, man! You will be traveling to not just one country (Cuba) but two. So, here is how you can do it. While I was in Cuba I met a few Americans so even though I did not have to go through this very same procedure, how they did it was quite effective and FUN! Americans are not allowed to enter Cuba for tourism purposes directly from the American soil, and this is the reason you will first book a flight to Mexico, (flying into Mexico city can be a tad bit cheaper, so you might want to consider this as an option). Whilst flying into one country first to get to another may seem a bit tiresome, many travellers find Mexico to be quite interesting. In fact, you have never visited this might be your chance to explore and probably see the Archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan. Oh yes, and to learn a few Spanish words before Cuba as you will need it. Not up for a Mexican getaway… How about Panama City?…You will be just about 3 flight hours away from the bliss of Cuba.
P.S If you are on a time crunch you can just fly directly to Mexico or Panama and head straight to Havana (Cuba) after that. These flights must be booked separately ahead of time. Please give yourself enough time to make you second flight in Mexico or Panama.
Unlike my Jamaican passport holding an American passport visas are almost not necessary for dozens of countries. Well, with Cuba everybody needs a tourist card which is pretty much like a visa, expect it is not stamped or placed inside your passport. It is a piece of hard paper with your personal details. This is where the Cuban immigration will place your entry stamp instead of stamping your passport. I love collecting passport stamps but take a look on the bright side you frequent globetrotters you get a chance to save a page. The Tourist Card will cost you a few bucks, $25-35 dollars and can be purchased in the airport or at a travel agency. Yes, you can buy it in the Mexico or Panama airport. For non-American passport holders you can get this at your local Cuban Embassy in your country. I was traveling from Santiago, Chile so I picked up my tourist card their for $25USD from the Cuban Embassy.
P.S Make sure to have US dollars. Sometimes dealing with fees for visas will only be processed in US dollars; even with Cuba.
- Book flights with Connection
- Tourist Card
- Immigration and entry stamp
…. And wollah… Hola Cuba! Immigration will be a little slow and the immigration officers will treat Americans like any other travellers expect for the passport stamp. They will ask regular immigration questions, stamp your Tourist Card and then that’s it. You have arrived… To Cuba!
Getting here may seem a little bit more complicated than usual, but doing it first- hand is pretty simple. Book two separate flights. Vacation in two countries instead of one. Pick up a tourist card while you are at it in the first country. Arrive to Cuba.
Now… enjoy culture, people, salsa, beaches, vintage cars and amazing antique infrastructures!