Recently, the US announced new restrictions on travel to Cuba. These included a ban on cruise ships and the removal of the ‘people to people’ visa category. Understandably, this has caused a lot of sadness for cruisers who were looking forward to their day in Havana, and for groups who had planned to travel from the US under the ‘people to people’ category. It is worth remembering that these restrictions come from the US, not Cuba – we love American visitors here!
Travel to Cuba from the US is legal
The good news is that Americans and those travelling from the US are still able to travel to Cuba by selecting the ‘Support for Cuban People’ category when they buy their airplane tickets, and by being able to show (through a confirmed itinerary) that they will spend their time in Cuba undertaking activities which benefit local Cuban people.
Why is it important that private guided tours support Cuban people?
At Home In Cuba believes in sustainable, responsible tourism which benefits local people and communities. First-class relationships and positive interactions are at the heart of what we do. We are proud of the fact that we treat everyone with the kindness, fairness and respect that they deserve – not only our drivers and guides, but the local people who interact with our guests and make our private guided tours so special: casa owners, street vendors, local experts, to name just a few. We make sure that our guests are able to interact with local people in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way. The ‘Support for Cuban People’ visa category is therefore aligned with our vision of sustainable and responsible tourism, so you can be reassured that any trip booked with us meets these requirements, no matter where you’re from.
The ‘Support for Cuban People’ Category – how to organise an itinerary
The easiest way to ensure you have an appropriate itinerary is to let us take care of it for you! Book a private, guided tour of Cuba with us and we provide the itinerary to show that your trip to Cuba is supporting local people from the moment you arrive. Here are 7 ways that we ensure that your tailor-made itinerary meets the requirements.
1. We only offer private guided tours of Cuba, tailor-made for you.
Our tours are not group tours, nor are they organised by outside agencies. The ‘Support for Cuban People’ category requires a full, daily itinerary (i.e. six hours at least), with activities exactly like the ones we offer! Our direct contact with you throughout the planning stages ensures that those activities suit your holiday requirements perfectly.
2. Our guides are all local experts.
Learn all about life in Cuba from the people who are living it every single day! Our local guides have encyclopedic knowledge of their country. Furthermore, our drivers have been getting visitors safely around Cuba in private vehicles for years.
3. We book accommodation in Casa particulares.
All our tailor-made tours include accommodation in private Cuban homes with a licence to rent out rooms. They offer a wonderful opportunity to interact with local people – not just with the owners but the people who clean, cook and do the laundry too! Casas are big employers here and they sustain many people, which makes them a great choice for responsible travel.
4. We make dinner reservations very carefully.
Cuban has a mixed reputation for food, but our list of trusted Cuban paladars in each city will make sure that you are eating the best each area has to offer. Why paladares? A paladar is simply the Cuban nickname for privately run restaurants, most of which are serving wonderful Cuban food with local ingredients.
5. We introduce you to the locals
Meet the people who make Cuban so unique. Visit a family farm in Viñales and watch the farmer roll cigars from the tobacco he grows himself; visit an artisan bakery in Centro Havana run by a local chef determined to bring interesting food to local people at affordable prices; have lunch with an up and coming artist and chat about his latest projects.
6. We set you up to learn from the experts!
We can organise lessons in all things Cuban – cookery, cocktails, salsa dancing, diving and more!
7. We can show you Havana’s growing fashion and design scene
New boutique shops such as Dador, Clandestina99 and D’Bruajs Jabon are popping up in Havana all the time. Usually, the owners are right there and more than willing to chat about how they are making their businesses work in the most creative ways.