US State Department Eases Travel Advisory on Cuba

Aug 24, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The US State Department has downgraded its travel advisory to US citizens on trips to Cuba from level three “reconsider travel” to level two “exercise increased caution.”

The travel warning had previously been elevated after mysterious illnesses struck several diplomats working in the US Embassy in Havana. Authorities believe the illnesses are the result of “sonic attacks” on the embassy employees, who began exhibiting a range of physical symptoms including “ear complaints and hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems and difficulty sleeping.” Officials are still unsure exactly what was causing the attacks and subsequent illnesses. However, the new alert, issued on Thursday, recognizes that it was only US diplomats that were targeted in the sonic attacks, not everyday tourists.

As a result of the sonic attacks, the Embassy in Havana is operating with reduced employees — part of the reason the travel warning is still at level two. “Exercise increased caution in Cuba due to attacks targeting U.S. Embassy Havana employees resulting in the drawdown of embassy staff,” the advisory states.

The sonic episodes occurred in US diplomatic residences (including a long-term apartment at the Atlantic) and at Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri in Havana, the advisory says, so officials say US tourists who do visit Cuba should avoid staying at those places.

Visitors to Cuba are also advised to move to another area if they feel any acute auditory or sensory phenomena and to know where to seek medical attention.

A similar health alert was issued by the State Department for China earlier this year after similar audio-induced illnesses popped up in a US diplomat stationed in Guangzhou, a city in China’s southern region. The alert urged US citizens traveling in China to seek medical attention as soon as possible for “any unusual, unexplained physical symptoms or events, auditory or sensory phenomena.” China however, did not receive a travel advisory.

American tourism in Cuba saw a boom after the US repealed its travel restrictions for the Caribbean island in 2014. That spike had been tamped down due to the previously elevated level three travel advisory, along with Cuba travel restrictions enacted by US President Donald Trump in November that prohibited tourism-oriented business with entities with links to Cuba’s military — including hotels, tourist agencies, rum makers, stores and more.

Featured image of Havana by @yellowillow via Twenty20.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.