US State Department Eases Travel Advisory on Cuba
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American tourism in Cuba saw a boom after the US repealed its travel restrictions for the Caribbean island in 2014.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.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees