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. 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American tourism in Cuba saw a boom after the US repealed its travel restrictions for the Caribbean island in 2014.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.

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are 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.