You Can Still Go to Cuba as an American — But There’s a Catch

Jun 14, 2019

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If you’re in despair that the Trump administration dashed your lifelong dreams of drinking daiquiris at La Floridita and finding true love — at least for the week — along the Malecón, then wipe away your tears. Because there’s still a way you can make it to the long-forbidden Caribbean island that’s perfectly legal. (For now.)

The adventure tour company Intrepid Travel is tweaking its Hola Cuba trip so that it stays within the bounds of the recent ban on most US travel to Cuba, which effectively ended the majority of trips by Americans, stopped cruise visits and upended the plans of countless businesses — both US and Cuban — that had counted on the thawing of relations between Washington and Havana.

“As Intrepid Travel is committed to providing opportunities for its US customers to freely explore the world through sustainable, experience-rich travel, the company has been diligently working to create another option for American citizens to continue to visit Cuba,” Michael Edwards, managing director of the Americas and Europe, said in a statement.

An Intrepid spokesperson told The Points Guy they would not comment on the matter beyond the press release.

Before June 5, when the ban took effect, Intrepid’s clients went to Cuba under the State Department’s “People to People” travel category, which largely let Americans visit the country without an explicit governmental, humanitarian, educational or business purpose. The loophole that the company is exploiting now? The new ban included a vaguely worded exemption for Americans traveling to Cuba under a license called “Support for Cuban People.”

The catch is that American tourists now have to stick to a strict plan under the new license — and be able to prove it if confronted by US authorities upon their return. Thus Intrepid’s tweaked Cuba trip includes nine days in Havana, Viñales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad — and help documenting participants’ interactions with the Cuban people, keeping track of their activities in the country and a diary that they can hand over to federal officials back in the States. (The tour will include scheduled time at the end of every day for travelers to journal.)

Intrepid is offering a 15% discount on its Hola Cuba tour through June 27, or from $2,338 per person.

Featured photo by Sean Pavone / Getty Images.

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