Updated Nov. 09, 2017
Can Americans Still Travel To Cuba LEGALLY?
Effective November 09, 2017 the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) no longer authorizes individual people-to-people educational travel. Persons must now engage in certain educational exchanges in Cuba under the auspices of an organization (e.g. Capturing Cuba, LLC) that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. Travelers must ensure they maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba. The predominant portion of the activities must not be with a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, or a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party.
IS thERE CURRENTLY a U.S. Embassy in CUBA?
Yes. The Embassy of the United States of America re-opened on July 20, 2015 in Havana and remains open today. Though the State Department has since reduced its staff there nearly 60% for political reasons, all essential personnel remain in place to serve and protect U.S. citizens in Cuba.
Did THE U.S. GOVERNMENT STOP ISSUING Travel VISAS to cuba?
No. Visas are granted by the government of the host country, not the country of citizenship. The U.S. Embassy in Cuba stopped processing visas for prospective Cuban travelers to the United States as of September 29, 2017. This policy change has no impact on Americans who desire to travel to Cuba. Capturing Cuba will provide each of our participants with the necessary Tourist Card (visa) required by the Cuban government.
IS CUBA SAFE fOR AMERICANS?
Yes. The citizens of Cuba are very fond of Americans and welcome them with open arms. Tourists who abide by the local laws and avoid political discussions will not encounter any problems with members of the government, military, or police. Because the penalties for acts of crime can be severe, Cuba has the lowest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere. The majority of crimes committed are classified as non-confrontational (pick-pocketing, petty theft, fraud, etc.) and violent crime is virtually non-existent.
News reports during the summer described isolated incidents in which some U.S. spies and diplomats in Havana began experiencing un-explicable health issues within days of the 2016 United States presidential election. Diplomats from Canada have since encountered the same. These health issues began only in the homes and hotel rooms (at the Hotel Capri) in which the diplomats resided. Please note that no tourists have been affected. As such, America's leading commercial airlines, cruise lines, and tour operators have deemed Cuba to be a safe destination and continue to provide service to the island.
How have the recent hurricanes affected cuba?
Hurricane Irma tore through the Northern coast of the island with 160 mph winds on September 8, 2017. Although the Category 5 storm caused much devastation in the central provinces, Havana lies further West and mostly suffered severe flooding in neighborhoods along the city's iconic sea-side avenue and esplanade known as the Malecon. The necessary infrastructure repairs have been completed. Power, gas and water have been restored to the entire city. The towns of Viñales and Trinidad, also visited by Capturing Cuba, survived unscathed.