Cubana (www.cubana.cu), the national carrier, operates regular flights to Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Cancún, Caracas, Madrid, Paris, Toronto, Montreal, São Paulo, San José (Costa Rica) and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). Its airfares are usually among the cheapest, though overbooking and delays are nagging problems. Overweight baggage is strictly charged for every kilogram above the 20kg allowance.
For safety recommendations, check the latest at www.airsafe.com. Cubana had back-to-back crashes in December 1999, with 39 fatalities, but it hasn't had any major incidents since.
Direct flights from Africa originate in Luanda, Angola with TAAG. From all other African countries you'll need to connect in London, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam or Rome.
Asia & Australia
There are no direct flights to Cuba from Australia. Travelers can connect through Europe, Canada, the US or Mexico. Air China flies to Beijing.
Europe & UK
Mexico City and Cancún are good places to connect with a wide number of US cities. Interjet serves Mexico.
South & Central America
The first commercial flights between the US and Cuba started in November, 2016, following moves by the Obama administration to ease travel restrictions. Those traveling on a US passport still must be traveling under the authorized travel categories. The following airlines now serve Cuba:
Most visitors will have the CUC$25 departure tax included in the ticket price. If not, you can pay at the airport, in cash only, upon departure.
With US–Cuban relations evolving, many more cruise ships are calling at Cuban ports. Oceania Cruises (www.oceaniacruises.com), Norweigan Cruise Line (www.ncl.com), Pearl Seas Cruises (www.pearlseascruises.com) and Royal Caribbean (www.royalcaribbean.com) are all adding Cuba itineraries.
Canadian company Celestyal (www.yourcubacruise.com) circumnavigates the island calling in at Havana, Holguín, Santiago, Montego Bay (Jamaica), Cienfuegos and La Isla de la Juventud.
Another option is with British-based Thomson (www.thomson.co.uk), whose seven-night Cuban Fusion trip runs out of Montego Bay, Jamaica.
If you have your own private yacht or cruiser, Cuba has eight international entry ports equipped with customs facilities:
- Marina Hemingway (Havana)
- Marina Dásena (Varadero)
- Marina Cienfuegos
- Marina Cayo Guillermo
- Marina Santiago de Cuba
- Puerto de Vita (near Guardalavaca in Holguín province)
- Cayo Largo del Sur
- Cabo San Antonio (far western tip of Pinar del Río province)
Boat owners should communicate with the Cuban coast guard on VHF 16 and 68 or the tourist network 19A. There are no scheduled ferry services to Cuba.
Cuba is popular on the organized-tour circuit, especially in the realm of soft adventure. There are also specialist tours focusing on culture, the environment, adventure, photography, cycling, bird-watching, architecture and hiking. Some popular agencies include:
Tours from the US
Since January 2011, Americans have been able to travel legally to Cuba on government sanctioned people-to-people trips. While the Obama administration permitted self-directed, individual travel for educational purposes and ‘in support of the Cuban people’, the Trump administration announced a stricter policy toward US-Cuba relations in June 2017 that will end individual people-to-people travel. Americans will now be limited to group travel through licensed tour operators.
Travel agencies going to Cuba from the US include:
Before booking a trip, US travelers should consult the US Treasury department Cuba policy fact sheet (www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/cuba.aspx) to review travel requirements.