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American(s) in Cuba

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by JohnN, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. JohnN

    JohnN Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Oar--eee---gun
    2,138
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    My wife and I have the opportunity to visit Cuba in late February next year. I understand that casual tourism is ganz verboten by the current administration, but we'll be originating/terminating through Curacao (via Panama City). The airline (Copa) declaration looks pretty trivial and I've been told that upon request, Cuban immigration will not stamp our passports. I understand we'll be in a cash-only economy, so we'll have to pre-guess how much we need/want to spend


    So for you 'mericans out there, any counter-indications to travel for this great adventure?

    Any handy do's / don'ts?

    What happens to that airline travel declaration form?
     
    Protondecay123 likes this.
  2. RyanT

    RyanT Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Maryland
    1,764
    1,393
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  3. agilis

    agilis Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: N.J.
    8,709
    10,380
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    You must not have seen the movie "Red Dawn", which shows how Cuban Paratroopers can invade the United states, reducing us to fighting guerrilla warfare to beat them off. How can you even think of visiting this existential threat to American freedom, cleverly positioning itself only a few miles from the Miami sound machine?
     
    tarponchik and Darnold9999 like this.
  4. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

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    We went a few years ago from Cayman. My daughter has been several times. We did use cash everywhere except the hotel. We arranged a guide to take us out and about — Hemingway’s house, etc. We had an awesome time. When we were there we carried a package of tissues as things like toilet paper were hard to come by in some places because of the US embargo. They didn’t stamp our passports at all — didn’t have to ask. Beautiful country, incredible people. So safe. Europeans, Canadians and the rest of the world have been lucky enough to enjoy this lovely country for years. It is a beautiful old world throw back.
     
    maj2 likes this.
  5. Kim Hunter

    Kim Hunter Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hebron, MD
    3
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    I went to Cuba last year and it is an amazing trip, but there were a few unusual issues. You do need to change your money at the airport and this is very easy. Make sure you plan for your trip because there is no ATM. We took a taxi to the AirBnb we were staying at and taxis were all pretty uniform in cost. The biggest problem that we had was the lack of the internet. They do have it, but you have to buy an access card. You can get these at kiosks on the street but we did not know what they were selling. If you are staying at a hotel you can buy the access card there. You should print out your complete itinerary and bring it with you. I was coming to Cuba from Panama, where I work in the summers with the Smithsonian. The airline was giving me a hard time leaving because I was from the US and was going back to Panama. So if you bring your complete itinerary you may avoid this struggle. I met my daughter in Cuba and she signed us up for an Airbnb experience to get the real Cuba experience with a college student. We loved this! The student was very engaged and showed us some of the very uniquely Havana sites. It was an adventure.
     
    lthomas132, chillyinCanada and RyanT like this.
  6. Jayfarmlaw

    Jayfarmlaw Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Tuttle, Ok
    1,281
    1,001
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    We are going at the end of August. I have heard lots of things...but will wait to verify before I post anything. Once we get back in early September, I will post a full report.

    Jay
     
    Kim Hunter and JohnN like this.
  7. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

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    We have used ATMs. However had to search for one that worked. Not sure about American cards. It’s stupid if they don’t, there are American companies all over.
     
    Kim Hunter likes this.
  8. Protondecay123

    Protondecay123 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Arkansas
    310
    167
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    I’ve been interested in travel there for “educational “ purposes regarding the Queens Gardens. Here is a site with some useful links. More concise than the Government sites. IMHO. There are some banned businesses. US Travel to Cuba: The Complete 2019 Guide
     
  9. Saltee

    Saltee Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location:
    4
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    Cuba is fantastic! They use US money in Havana but you definitely have to change to Cuban money outside of Havana and US credit cards will not work at all. My bank confirmed that before I left. The people there are very friendly and helpful. It is a lot like going back in time with horse carts and people riding horses as transportation when you drive through the country. We did one of the last Aggressor trips and it was fabulous. The boat is huge and beautiful, the guides and crew were top notch, the diving was amazing. Sharks that are not afraid and not aggressive, just curious follow you around almost every dive. We got to snorkel with a crocodile and get photos. The reefs are beautiful and unspoiled. Go if you can. We were heartbroken upon learning that the Aggressor boats will no longer run because of this stupid government policy. The town, the crew, and the reefs lost funding because of an ignorant little man. I would dive there again in an instant if I could.
     
    Kim Hunter and RyanT like this.
  10. Ayisha

    Ayisha DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    2,891
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    The good thing is that everything's really cheap in Cuba. If you already have your accommodations and diving arranged and budgeted for, the food is very cheap. The paladars (home restaurants) and some restaurants have much better food than the hotels, and they're cheap, usually from $5 - $12 CDN per person for a full meal.

    They readily take Canadian money and the proper currency is Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC). The CUC is tied at par to the US dollar: 1 CUC = $1 US. US dollars are not supposed to be accepted, but banks will change US dollars at a huge loss to you. I can't recall what the posted signs say, but it was at least a 25% loss to change US money. Best thing is to take a good amount of CDN money with you. I use my CDN money exclusively and never have to convert any cash to CUC's. Most will give you your change back in CDN, or will if you ask.
     
    Kim Hunter and Protondecay123 like this.

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