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Trump Admin Allow Legal Travel As Support for The Cuban People Posted in June 4, 2019

Havana VIP Legal Cuba Travel

Updated June 4, 2019:

Today the Trump Administration made some changes to the rules governing travel to Cuba by U.S. Persons to allow independent legal travel to Cuba under the Support for The Cuban People category.  Here is the most important news in brief:

  1. U.S. Persons may still legally travel to Cuba under any of 11 categories of General License by the U.S. Treasury Department
  2. The only change as-of today is that travel under the category of Group People-to-People license is eliminated.  This covers groups of 10 or more who travel using Cuban Government operated tour buses, and staying in Cuban Government operated hotels (which are all of the hotels in Cuba). None of the other categories of General Licenses for Travel to Cuba were changed.
  3. U.S. Persons may still travel independently to Cuba under the Support For The Cuban People Category.  This category requires U.S. Persons to rent lodging in private Cuban homes called Casa Particulares (think AirBnB), and buy their meals in privately operated restaurants called Paladares.
  4. These changes have ZERO AFFECT ON HAVANA VIP because we have always produced our trips using our own network of privately owned lodgings and privately owned restaurants.

Havana VIP has always and will always create 100% legal Cuba travel. Our clients’ travel supports the Cuban people.  We use independent private inns (Casa Particular), independently owned and operated restaurants (Paladar), drivers, guides, and instructors because we want our clients to have meaningful interactions with real Cuban people and to help grow the Cuban independent sector.

The official Trump OFAC new rules governing legal Cuba travel are aimed at supporting the Cuban independent sector, and officially allow 100% independent travel to Cuba for that purpose!  After months of rumors prompting anxiety for US Persons over the Trump administration would shut-down their chances for legal independent travel to Cuba, rest assured that US Persons can continue to travel to Cuba legally without need of a specific license permission from OFAC.  You can read the new OFAC FAQ and accompanying Fact Sheet for yourself, but the bottom line is that these new Trump administration rule changes will have zero effect on the way Havana VIP produces our trips.

Here’s what Anthony Rubenstein, owner of Havana VIP said on NBC10 News today:

The biggest thing the new rules for legal Cuba Travel under Trump do is to prohibit US persons from engaging in financial transactions with a long list of companies controlled by the Cuban Government. The list includes a bunch of hotels in Havana and around the country that Havana VIP has never used for the simple reason that we don’t recommend any of the hotels in Cuba because the prices are very high and not up to the quality standards that our clients deserve.  Again, this is not much of a change for Havana VIP because we don’t recommend the hotels in Cuba to our clients, and when clients do specifically request hotels we generally only use the Capri, Parque Central, and Cohiba.

The only things that are on the new prohibited list that we are sad to see go are the Casa del Abanico, and the Soldadito de Plomo, two stores in Old Havana that sell some of our favorite souvenirs.  The Casa del Abanico sells lovely hand-painted fans that we personalize and give to our clients as welcome gifts, and the Soldadito de Plomo sells toy soldiers including handpainted Ché Guevara and Ernest Hemingway figurines.  We’ll find some other gifts to give our clients, and lately the store has been sold-out of the Ché and Hemingway figurines anyway, so really not much of a loss.

As always we stand by our guarantee: if you travel to Cuba with Havana VIP and adhere to the legal itinerary we design for you and engage in no illegal activity while in Cuba, Havana VIP will refund all fees you pay to us for your trip in the (very unlikely) event that you are fined by OFAC fro your trip.  Anyway, feel free to book your travel to Cuba with Havana VIP knowing that it’s 100% legal and supports the Cuban people!

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