Our tip is on how to make a legal trip to Cuba as an American under the current US rules.
Obama made it easier for Americans to travel legally to Cuba. Trump updated these travel rules on November 9, 2017, however it is no more difficult now, than it was under the Obama rules, to make a legal trip to Cuba. Here are 3 ways to do it, from most expensive, to least expensive.
The easiest (and most most expensive way) is to join what’s called a “people-to-people” tour. This is a licensed tour to Cuba run by a US travel company. This sort of tour includes a full schedule of educational and social interaction activities and is relatively expensive compared to other tours, because of all the inclusions and also because the groups need to be accompanied by a US based chaperone from the travel company.
Joining a more affordable and more flexible tour is legal for Americans under a General Licence category. There are many categories of this license including "professional research", "religions activities", and "visiting family members". To get this license you don’t need to apply for it and wait to get approval. You simply need to fulfil the criteria and keep appropriate records. The records, including a trip diary, are what form the license. We offer tours that help you fulfil the requirements under the “Support for the Cuban People” category of this license. The itinerary includes accommodation and activities that meet the requirements, and the tour guide provides assistance in completing your simple paperwork during the trip.
The third and probably most affordable way, is to travel independently to Cuba, or otherwise join a group tour that is not specifically for Americans, and stick to the rules of a General License category. To do this you need to stay in private guesthouses (not hotels), stick to approved activities, and fill out some paperwork as specified by the license. It’s not difficult at all, and as yet we haven’t heard of anyone having trouble nor being questioned at length upon return to the US.
We encourage you to come to Cuba despite these laws that are aimed to harm the Cubans and their economy. Your trip will help the Cuban people and you will be inspired by this amazing island.