Rules & Regulations
The new rules now allow U.S. citizens to use credit cards in Cuba; there will no longer be limits on how much money U.S. citizens can spend in Cuba per day; Americans can now also bring back up to $100 in alcohol and tobacco from Cuba; Internet service can be provided by U.S. firms; Americans can now travel to the island without asking a government agency for permission; and booking air travel can also be done directly through an authorized agency.
However, restrictions do remain in place. Travelers will still have to justify that their visits fit into one of the 12 pre-approved categories, including education, religious, cultural, journalistic, humanitarian, and family purposes, among others. You can’t go as a regular tourist; you can only go via 12 authorized categories—and 95 percent of travelers are still going to go under people-to-people programs. Travel to Cuba will be easier but visitors still need to keep a written record of their Cuba transactions for the next five years.
Visitors will still need to obtain visas from the Cuban government; and those traveling on a people-to-people exchange will still need to go with a group and keep a full schedule of approved activities. “Travel to Cuba, though, will stay the same as it’s based on the people-to-people concept, which OFAC still wants. Basically, leisure travel to Cuba will not be around for many years yet because of the embargo, which can only be lifted by an act of Congress,” points out Krieger.
Though it’s still not as easy as just hoping on a plane for a Cuban vacation—ordinary tourism still remains banned by law—visiting the island has become a little easier.
: there are two types of currencies in Cuba. The first is the Cuban Peso, used primarily by the locals for basic staples. The second is the CUC (Cuban Convertible Peso), which is the currency mostly used by tourists. It is important to make sure you are getting back the right change in the right currency when making purchases.
–: You can exchange USD for CUC at any airport, hotel, exchange bureau in town centers and some banks. The current fee for exchanging is 13%, i.e. for 100 USD you will get 87 CUC. The fee is the same no matter where you exchange your currency. You will need your passport to exchange money. In Cuba, they will not accept bills that are torn or written on when exchanging into CUC. When exchanging money into CUC , try to get small denominations to make purchases easier ,as many places(little stores, bars and restaurants do not always have the possibility to break down smaller notes for you).
–: US-issued credit cards, debit cards, and ATM cards do not work in Cuba. Only credit cards issued in other countries may be issued (other than US). You must have cash in order to make any purchases in Cuba or pay for any services. Most places will not take USD, so you must exchange currency upon arriving. Tips however can be given in any currency. Traveler’s Checks may also be difficult to cash while in Cuba.
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