Getting There, Moving There and Staying There

Exploring and Living in Cuba

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Interest in Cuba has reached levels not seen for a generation so many Americans want to travel there.

The majority of visitors to Cuba come by air and fly into Havana's terminal at José Martí International Airport Tel: 7/266-4644, 7/266-4094, 7/ 649 5777 and www.airportcuba.com.

Cuba has international airports in Havana, Cayo Largo, Varadero, Camgüey, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. It also has some regional airports.

Cubana, the country’s national airline, has regular service to and from Europe. There is a weekly flight from London.  There are usually two flights weekly to Cuba from Europe.  Cubana offers service from Central and South America.  There are also flights from nearby countries like the Bahamas (Cubana), Jamaica (Air Jamaica), the Dominican Republic (Cubana), Costa Rica (Lacsa Airlines), from Mexico City and Cancún (Mexicana Airlines and Aeromexico) and Panama (Copa). You can keep up on Cubana's schedules by accessing their website at: www.cubana.cu. Some of the author’s Cuban friends refer to Cubana as “la milagrosa” (the miracle), since it is a miracle if one of its flights leaves on time.

Aeroflot, the Russian airline and KLM from Amsterdam both have weekly flights to Havana. Iberia offers daily flights from Madrid.

There are frequent flights from the Canadian cities of Toronto, Montreal and Quebec to Havana, Varadero and Santigo de Cuba.  Contact Air Canada (416) 925-2311 or Cubana (514) 871-1222.  Affordable charter flights are also available from Canada. Canadian charters usually fly directly to Havana, Varadero, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos Camaguey (Playa Santa Lucía), and Holguín (Guardalavaca).  Canadians can find low priced flights in the Saturday travel section of most newspapers.  

To see the country, Cubana de Aviación offers domestic flights to other points in the country from Havana.  They fly to the following cities: Baracoa, Bayamo, Camgüey, Ciego de Avila, Guantánamo, Holguín, Las Tunas, Manzanillo, Nueva Gerona,  and Santiago de Cuba.   For domestic flights, Cubana's office in Havana is at Calle Infanta, corner Humbolt, Plaza. Tel: 70-5961. For international flights another office is located at Calle 23 No 64, Vedado, Havana, Tel: 7/33-39-11 or www.cubana.com.

Charter flights are available through Aerogaviota Tel: 7/203-06-68 and Aerotaxi Tel: 7/33-40-64

 

U.S. Airlines

U.S. airlines are quietly working behind the scenes to prepare for commercial travel to Cuba once the half century-long travel embargo to the island nation is lifted. A big hurdle was cleared On February 16, 2016, when the U.S State Department announced it had reached an agreement with Cuba to resume commercial air travel between the two countries traffic for the first time in five decades.

 Until the new agreement was put into effect, all flights operating between the two countries today operated as charters. Now there are many flight to Havana and to other Cuban cities. U.S. visitors to Cuba still have to qualify under one of the travel categories legally authorized by the U.S. government. Tourism is still barred by law, but the number of legal reasons to go to Cuba.

The deal does not include flights by Cuba's national airline, Cubana, to the United States, where lawyers for families and businesses that have sued Havana over decades-old property confiscations are eager to freeze any of its assets that they can get their hands on.

Here is a list of U.S. airlines currently authorized to fly to Cuba:

Alaska Airlines: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/about-us/contact-us/phone-numbers.aspx, which will operate a one a day daily flight from Los Angeles. For information about flights to Cuba

American Airlines https://www.aa.com/i18n/customer-service/contact-american/american-customer-service.jsp, has been operating U.S.-Cuba charter flights since April 1991, the longest of any U.S. airline, and currently offers 22 weekly flights out of Miami to Havana, Camaguey, Cienfuegos, Holguin and Santa Clara. American also flies from Tampa to Havana and Holguin, and between Los Angeles and Havana. The company will now operate four-daily service from Miami and a daily flight from Charlotte, North Carolina.


CheapAir.com www.cheapair.com has expanded its offering to 36 routes covering 11 U.S. cities and 10 Cuban destinations. By adding over 280 weekly flights on scheduled carriers between the U.S. and Cuba. Destinations now include Havana, Santa Clara, Camaguey, Holguin, Cienfuegos, Vardero, Cayo Largo del Sur, Manzanillo de Cuba, Santiago de Cuba, and Cayo Coco. -

Delta Delta Air Lines http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/support/talk-to-us.html, plans to operate one a day daily service to Havana from each of three cities: New York-JFK, Atlanta and Miami.

Frontier Airlines, https://www.flyfrontier.com/contact-us/, will operate one daily flight from Miami.

JetBlue Airways http://www.jetblue.com/contact-us/#/

will offertwo daily service from Fort Lauderdale, Florida (excluding Saturday, which will be one-daily) and one-daily service from both New York-JFK and Orlando, , The carrier currently flies charters to various Cuban destinations out of New York, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.

Spirit Airlines, https://www.spirit.com/Contact.aspx, a discount carrier, plans to submit a proposal.  It’s largest operation is out of Fort Lauderdale, accounting for 15 percent of its flights.

Southwest Airlines https://www.southwest.com/contact-us/contact-us.html announced it will begin scheduled flights to Cuba from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa.  Southwest is promoting the new flights each way if purchased at least two weeks in advance.

United Airlines https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/contact/default.aspx is also looking to serve Havana from some of its hubs. The carrier's major hubs include Chicago, Houston, Washington and Newark, New Jersey. It currently does not fly charters to Cuba.

Here is a list of major airline offices in Havana:

Aeroflot-Russian Airlines - Tel: 7/204-5593, www.aerofloat.com.

Aerocaribbean - Tel: 7/879-7525, www.fly-aerocaribbean.com

Air Canada - Tel: 7/836-3226, www.aircanada.com

Air France - Tel: 7/ 206-4444 www.airfrance.com/cu

Air Jamaica - Tel: 7/833-2447,  www.airjamaica.com

Avianca - see www.avianca.com

COPA - Tel: 7/204-111, www.copa.com

Cubana Airlines - Tel: 7/834-4446, 7/834-4447, 7/834-4449, www.cubana.cu

Iberia - Tel: 7/204-3444 www.iberia.com

Mexicana de Aviación - Tel: 7/830-9528 www.mexicana.com.

Virgin Atlantic Tel: 7/204-0747, www.virgin-atlantic.com

 

By Boat

Some adventurous individuals travel to Cuba by sea.  Those people travelling this way should contact the harbormaster's (Capitanía del Puerto) office at the Marina Hemingway by fax 7/204-3104 before you arrive. Give them details about your crew, boat and passengers. Don't forget to do the same when you leave the country.  We have an American friend who lived at the Hemingway Marina for over a year.  He really enjoyed his stay. What made it even better was the fact that he had a satellite TV system on his yacht.  He said watching programs from the States really helped him survive some dull moments.

The Hemingway Marina is located at the western end of Havana. It is a self-contained and duty-free port with its own lodging and complete services.The marina, operated by Cuba government-owned Cubanacán, is Cuba’s largest marina with a capacity of about 100 boats Nighttime entry is not advised. Boats can hail the port captain on VHF channel 77 or over SSB 7462.

In addition to the Hemingway Marina, visitors may anchor their yachts at the Marina Tarará (eastern beaches), Marina Dársena (Varadero), Marina María La Gorda in Pinar del Río Province, Marina Puesto del Sol (Cayo Largo), Marina Jagua (Bay of Cienfuegos), Marina Santiago de Cuba, and the Marina Cayo Guillermo.

Since citizens are not permitted to own boats, there are relatively few fishermen on the island

The US yachting community is” licking its chops when it comes to Cuba. Cuba’s coastline is 40 percent longer than Florida’s and is largely undeveloped and unspoiled.  In response, Cuba is planning a major expansion of its marinas.

A portfolio of seven projects, three of which will go forward in the coming months. There have been several offers from foreign investors for the expansion of the Nautical Base Tarara, with the aim of reaching a capacity of 250 berths in the first stage. A project at Dársena Varadero marina is also intended to increase slips, while the base project of Santa Lucia, located in Camagüey, also includes a real estate development and golf course adjacent to the facility.

Before you provision your ship and plot out a travel plan, be aware there are a number of important US requirements to meet before you set sail.

  1. US Coast Guard CG 3300 Approved Permit (2 copies)
  1. US Coast Guard Documentation Form ( If yours is a documented Vessel)
  1. State Registration (If applicable)
  2. US Customs Decal number and sticker
  3. Copy of your insurance policy with Cuban coverage
  4. All Persons onboard have a Valid Passport valid for a least 6 months remaining
  5. Proof of Payment of To Any Official Cuban Event, such as a Fishing Tournament with Registration and Proof of Payment
  1. Proof of Payment of Hotel (If Applicable)
  2. Issued Cuban Visa for each crew member (Traveling by boat)
  3. Completed Cuban “Declaracion” (General Statement of Foreign Vessels)
  4. Certification of Travel to Cuba Under General License (Executed)
  5. Cuban “Lista De Tripulantes” (Listing of crews Visa Number, Last Name, First Name, Date of Birth, Citizenship, Sex and Passport Number
  1. Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) Approval or Local Boater Option Card (Optional but, if not acquired you and all crew members will need to report to a US Customs office within 24 hours of entering the US and could face boarding and/or inspection)
  1. Copy of Moore & Co. E-mail confirming your exemption from the Department of Commerce and US Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control Permits

Here’s how to contact Moore and  Company.

(786) 221-0600 (tel)

(786) 221-0601 (fax)

For yachting regulations see: http://www.cubaseas.com/regulations/ and http://www.cubaseas.com

 

 Cuba-U.S. ferry services

Ferry service between the U.S. and Cuba was commonplace in the years before the 1959 communist revolution led by Fidel Castro that overthrew the regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista.  Passenger ferries could be set to run between Florida and Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years after the US government approved new services.

The Obama administration has taken another step forward in its efforts to normalize relations with Cuba by restoring commercial ferry services between the former Cold War rivals.  The U.S. Treasury Department has issued licenses to at least four companies to ferry passengers and cargo along the 100-mile route from the southern tip of Florida to Havana.  Three of the companies are based in Florida.  

For the first time in five decades, the U.S. is allowing ferry service between Florida and Cuba. At least four companies said they were notified of approvals by the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments, the first since Washington imposed a trade embargo on Cuba.

The latest announcement does not necessarily mean that boats will start launching for Cuban shores straight away, as there are bureaucratic hurdles to overcome in both countries.

The companies licensed were:

Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale service wants to offer  service between Key West and Havana, possibly with a 200-passenger vessel The idea is to add overnight ferry service later from Fort Lauderdale and Miami to Havana using a larger vessel that could carry 300 to 500 passengers,. Ferry aims to charge passengers roughly $300 to $350 roundtrip, less than the roughly $400 to $500 price for charter flights to Cuba. Passengers could be allowed up to 200 pounds of luggage free.

Baja Ferries of Miami, is looking to launch overnight service to Cuba possibly three times a week.

United Caribbean Lines Florida of Greater Orlando Baja Ferries USA, an affiliate of United Americas of Miami, plans to "provide a comprehensive service from several ports."

Airline Brokers Co. of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Airline Brokers Co., a veteran company licensed to provide travel services to Cuba since 1982, is now developing its ferry plans.

CubaKat plans to start service from the Florida Keys this fall using a 200-passenger catamaran that can carry lots of baggage below deck.

A Treasury spokeswoman confirmed approval of ferry licenses but would not say how many were approved. Cuba also must approve the operations.

The ferry companies plan to offer trips that would be less expensive than charter flights, while allowing more luggage free. Many Cuban-Americans haul down hefty supplies for family homes and new private businesses.

The passenger ferries will be able to carry only authorized U.S. travelers to Cuba, including people in 12 categories who no longer need a license in advance to visit the island.

Those categories include family visits as well as religious and educational activities, among others. Americans still are not allowed to travel to Cuba for general tourism under the terms of the U.S. embargo, which remains in place. Only Congress can lift the embargo.

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Disclaimer

Living and Investing in Cuba - Live in Cuba - Retire in Cuba - Retirement Tours in Cuba 

Information herein is authorized through the courtesy of Christopher Howard, author of the best selling Cuba information source, Living and Investing in the New Cuba. Please be aware that all information herein is protected by COPYRIGHT © and misuse of it will carry a penalty by law.