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Visiting Cuba is an exciting albeit confusing proposition. There are a lot of questions worth asking, and some answers are more complicated than others, but we’ve done our best to tackle them all here. It should be noted that with each new US administration, changes are made to Cuba restrictions, and this page is accurate at the time of publishing.

Last Update: February 9, 2024. Click below to jump directly to an answer.

Can I legally travel to Cuba as an American?
Who determines if travel to Cuba is legal?
How do I legally travel to Cuba?
Tell me more about “Support for the Cuban People” Tours
How does Out Adventures run Support for the Cuban People tours?
Why should I travel to Cuba with Out Adventures?
What kind of documentation and visas do I need?
Can Cuban-born Americans travel on their US passport?
Can I fly directly from the US to Cuba?
What can’t I do while I’m in Cuba?
Can I arrive early or stay on after my tour?
Will I have free time during the tour?
Will my phone work in Cuba?
What about money? Can I use my US credit card?
Are meal or food sensitivities a challenge?
Is the Out Adventures tour right for me?

Can I legally travel to Cuba as an American?

The short answer is yes, however, (technically speaking) travelling to Cuba for a simple beach vacation isn’t allowed.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the US State Department that dictates the rules on the legality of travel to Cuba. In fact, The US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulates Cuba travel through strict rules about how Americans can visit Cuba, by way of how they can spend money in Cuba. To keep it simple, Americans typically can’t spend money that will ultimately line the pockets of the Cuban government.

How do I legally travel to Cuba?

There are twelve categories authorized by the US government for travel to Cuba:

-Family visits
-Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
-Journalistic activity
-Professional research and professional meetings
-Educational activities (People-to-People)
-Religious activities
-Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
-Support for the Cuban people
-Humanitarian projects
-Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
-Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
-Certain authorized export transactions

These are the two most popular categories:

-On a “People-to-People” tour through a licensed, American-based company. These itineraries typically cater to students, teachers, academics, and special-interest groups – and the itineraries usually include seminars and educational activities, while connecting with locals. 
-On a “Support for the Cuban People” trip, where itineraries can be broad with no specific focus on any one thing. This allows travelers to experience a wider variety of activities in Cuba, all while supporting locals.

Tell me more about “Support for the Cuban People” Tours

Technically, anyone can travel to Cuba under the “Support for the Cuban People” category. The requirements of this category are that travellers maintain a full-time itinerary that – you guessed it – supports the Cuban people. This could mean staying in casa particulares (local guesthouses), visiting Cuban-owned businesses and restaurants (opposed to those owned by the government), visiting independent museums and galleries, and partaking in cultural exchanges. This is based on the honour system, and all travellers should document their travels because they may questioned for up to 5 years by US immigration or other government agencies.

How does Out Adventures run Support for the Cuban People tours?

Our Cuba tours fall under the general Support for the Cuban People category and adhere to the guidelines set out by the US government. We include a wide range of activities that support the Cuban people, including an insightful meeting with everyday Cubans fighting for equality, a cooking class, a salsa lesson, a visit to an art collective, and even a dinner and block party in a typical Cuban neighborhood (on our New Year Fiesta trip). On top of that, we stay in local casa particulares (homestays), and eat in paladares (restaurants) – all of which are owned and operated by local Cubans, meaning your money is helping support everyday people.

Why should I travel to Cuba with Out Adventures?

We have been running LGBTQ+ tours to Cuba since 2009, and from time to time we update our itineraries to ensure we are following the requirements of the US government. As an added bonus, the strength and length of our relationships in Cuba and our local style of travel mean we won’t subject you to the hefty markups that other LGBTQ+ operators do.

What kind of documentation and visas do I need?

As mentioned earlier, you need to document your trip. As part of your Out Adventures Trip Documents, we’ll provide you with the necessary space to journal throughout your trip. This, along with your Out Adventures invoice, receipts from the trip, your official itinerary should be kept in a safe place for five years. You should have printed copies of the following documents before heading to the airport:

  • D’Viajeros Advance Information of Travelers Form: To keep it simple, this is an immigration form all travellers to Cuba are required to complete, that will be provided by Out Adventures.
  • Tourist card: you may see this referred to as a “visa” or “tourist card”, and it is simply an immigration card that you purchase for $50-$100 in advance. Alternatively, you can purchase the tourist card at the CTS “Cuba Ready” Kiosks which are located adjacent to the flight check-in counters at airports with direct flights, and at the Cuba departure gates for connecting passengers. The tourist card is valid for one entry for a stay of up to 30 days, and is placed in your passport. It must be returned to Cuban immigration on departure. NOTE: If you are connecting on a flight to Cuba, check-in agents at your home airport may delay the check-in process due to a lack of understanding surrounding Cuba travel requirements. The agent may have to contact their support office to confirm they can check you in. While this doesn’t happen often, it can be avoided by obtaining the tourist card in advance. 
  • Travel Insurance: You must have travel insurance to visit Cuba, including medical and emergency repatriation. If you are flying on a US-based airline, your ticket typically includes such insurance, and it is your responsibility to keep your boarding pass which is effectively used as proof of insurance. Above this insurance, we still recommend that you protect your trip with a separate trip cancellation policy.
  • Your Out Adventures Trip Documents: You’ll receive your official itinerary three weeks prior to travel, which will include your detailed daily itinerary, which may be requested by officials.

Can Cuban-born Americans travel on their US passport?

No. According to the US Embassy in Cuba, all US citizens born in Cuba who left the country after December 30, 1970, are considered Cuban citizens and will be required to have a Cuban passport to enter and depart Cuba. All US citizens born in Cuba who left the country before December 31st, 1970, can travel to Cuba using both their Cuban and American passports, and a corresponding HE-11 Cuban visa.

Can I fly directly from the US to Cuba?

Yes! There are a number of airlines that fly direct to Havana from the United States. Schedules fluctuate seasonally, and we recommend reading the airline Cuba-specific travel pages below: 

*Delta does not have a Cuba-specific travel page.

What can’t I do while I’m in Cuba?

To sum it up, you can’t spend full days at a beach, stay at all-inclusive resorts, or have a free-and-easy itinerary.

Can I arrive early or stay on after my tour?

If you’re arriving early, or staying beyond your Out Adventures group tour, we can certainly assist with booking extra nights of accommodation, however it is your responsibility to ensure that you are still maintaining a full-time itinerary that supports the Cuban people. This means that if you have a full extra day, 6-8 hours of that day must include activities that would be considered to support locals. You can plan this on your own, and document your itinerary, or our team can assist.

Will I have free time during the tour?

Yes and no. As we hinted earlier, you are required to maintain a full-time schedule which equates to roughly 8 hours of activities per day which we’ve planned for you. Outside of these structured tours we’ll have a chance to be a bit more spontaneous, catering to the whims of the group.

Will my phone work in Cuba?

According to the FCC, your US mobile phone may work in Cuba if your mobile service provider has an international roaming agreement with ETECSA, Cuba’s state-owned telecommunications provider (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile currently have roaming agreements with ETECSA). That said, roaming charges can be prohibitively expensive in Cuba, so we recommend that you switch off and access data on local Wi-Fi networks instead. Your guide will assist with the purchase of data, however the internet is slow and can only be accessed in public parks, hotels, and other government-run establishments.

What about money? Can I use my US credit card?

The official currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP). The country has endured financial crisis after financial crisis, and as a result, the US Dollar is currently the most widely used currency in a tourism setting. US credit and debit cards will not work, so it’s important that you arrive with the cash you need (we recommend between $1,000-$1,500 USD per person, to be safe). Our guide extraordinaire will also help you obtain a small amount of local currency which may be handy throughout your trip. Specific details around money are provided in your Trip Documents three weeks prior to departure.

Are meal or food sensitivities a challenge?

Specific dietary restrictions may be a challenge due to a lack of supply. While our team will do our best to accommodate you, we recommend you bring supplements to fill in the gaps. Please notify our team of your dietary restrictions at the time of booking for further advice.

Is the Out Adventures tour right for me?

To join this trip, you should have a flexible approach to travel and a go-with-the-flow attitude. This is a country that constantly grapples with food and fuel shortages and has been blocked from trade with most Western countries. Our Casa Particulares, while wonderful, are not the Shangri La. They are simple abodes with a local flare and caring hosts. Paladar restaurants may run short on fresh food, roads can be a bumpy affair, drives can be long, and buildings are often in a state of disrepair. If you haven’t batted an eye, we welcome you to join us in Cuba. 

Do you have more questions?

We’re here to help! Contact us at info@outadventures.com or at 1-866-360-1152.



Join Out Adventures on the island nation! Visit our Cultural Cuba or Cuba New Year Fiesta tour pages for details.