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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!

Havana Nightlife Picks Week of November 12 2018 Havana VIP
Havana Nightlife Picks Week of November 12, 2018
Lisa Cashion Schreiber

They were very organized and we experienced some truly authentic Cuban experiences- highly recommend

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Claudine Rosetti

5 stars for sure! Since I found Havana VIP via an internet search, Tony was very patient in our 45 minute introductory phone call to reassure me that his company was not only legitimate but that they had been in business for over 13 years and knew the ins and outs of Cuban travel for American citizens. Our group ranged in age from 13 to 75 (Grandma~ my mother, came along and she rode a horse in Vinales. Edwardo, our...

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Joerg Schicker

no not professional at all ,forget them

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Jane Hammond

We have just returned from a trip to Cuba, arranged by Tony and HavanaVIP. Three couples traveled to Trinidad and Havana, with a particular focus on upcoming Cuban artists. Every plan and arrangement happened flawlessly - guides and drivers were always on time, helpful and endlessly cheerful. Ernesto was our first guide in Trinidad, and he could not have given us a nicer introduction to this amazing country - both the history, and the social state of things today. Attending...

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Nick Nicastro

I can’t recommend HavanaVIP highly enough if you plan to visit Cuba (as you should, and soon!) The island of course is fascinating and friendly and full of interest. But I particularly wanted to mention what great friends our guides Eduardo, Adrian, Mario, Natasha and Olivia became to us. They were beyond compassionate to the needs of my mobility-impaired wife. Tony was always forthcoming and helpful, even as our plans changed due to health circumstances. And HavanaVIPs local connections got...

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Alain Rossmann

A memorable experience, great planning and local execution by Havana VIP.

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Glo Harris

My daughter and I travelled together. She was celebrating her 50th BIRTHDAY. From beginning to end this 5 day trip was magical: planning with Tony was seamless, he took care of each detail just as we discussed, his knowledge of Havana was thorough and his attitude patient and sensitive...and I can be annoying with myriad questions. The guides were the best we have had anywhere, the accommodations on the Malecon comfortable. We particularly enjoyed going to individual artists' galleries, most...

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Santiago Hermes Martínez Zerquera

La Galería Santiago Hermes considera que la agencia Havana VIP realiza un buen trabajo en la promoción de la autenticidad cubana

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Martha Whetstone

We just got back from Cuba and we highly recommend Havana VIP. The quality of the trip was first rate. The guides and drivers were just great and all went out of their way to make our trip run smoothly. The accommodations were all comfortable and we enjoyed our conversations with our hosts. We felt like we really got to see a variety of cities, towns, and countryside. We traveled with two doctors and the guide arranged for us to...

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Martel Angelo Postell
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Jacqueline Postell

Havana VIP made every aspect of travelling to Cuba a breeze. Working with Tony was effortless. Tony and I spoke about the things we were interested in experiencing and then was able to create a seamless itinerary that was startlingly impressive. We met the kindest people; our tour guide, Jorge Gonzalez Estrada and driver, Eduardo, were so knowledgeable, accommodating and welcoming, we felt like family by the end of the trip. The flow of the activities were well timed and...

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Adrián Lamela Aragonés
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Lisa Mastronardi

Imagine hosting 25 friends and family in Havana in August for a 50th birthday celebration. Imagine most of these guys are well traveled, international, seasoned jet setters and you are going to try and wow them with a great adventure. What is a girl to do? Hire the best.

The Havana VIP team both in the US and in Havana knocked it out of the park.

Great housing, fantastic excursions, customized itinerary, amazing experiences,...

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Brocky OA

Tony & Havana VIP Tours did an outstanding job from inquiry to finish. We couldn't have asked for more. We were 8 people traveling (4 cousins) whose grandmother & aunts & uncles lived in Havana for 4 years prior to being allowed to enter the US from 1922 - 1926. So we decided to visit where they lived. My wife found the address & we said let's go. We contacted Tony and explained about our journey that we wanted. Tony...

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Josh Poling

My wife and I traveled to Cuba with my parents in November 2016. Tony and Havana did a great job coordinating a custom trip to meet our interests. All of the guides and drivers they set up were very professional. I honestly can't imagine travelling to Cuba any other way! We made sure all of our guides knew we wanted to experience the real Cuba and get off the beaten path, and they were always more than happy to oblige....

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Nancy Pettersen

From our first conversation with Tony we felt we were in the right hands. He listened to what we wanted down to small details like food and music, customizing our trip for 4 adults. The wonderful Cuban people who guided us through Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and Havana were interesting and a great highlight, even down to our Havana driver Pedro who was so much fun. We found our days informative, educational and great fun filled with history, culture and the arts...

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Elizabeth Furst Frank

Tony organized a fantastic family visit to Havana for us. Magalys was a wonderful guide - full of information, always on time, and very friendly. Lidice gave a family cooking lesson in traditional Cuban food. And we loved our family salsa dancing lesson as well. We highly recommend Tony and his team.

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Lj Pruitt

I struggled with finding a tour operator that understood the new laws for Americans to legally travel to Cuba. I called Havana VIP Tours and was pleasantly surprised to speak with someone that knew more than me – Tony. In addition, it was clear that Tony had a deep knowledge of places and things to do in Cuba.

We are a family of 4 ranging in age from 15 years to 83 years. Our interests are...

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James West III

Having traveled extensively, allow me to say that in all aspects the service provided by Havana VIP Tours was the probably the best in all aspects; Communication, Logistics,Transportation, Lodging, On the ground support services, and, well, everything. Tony laid out what was to be offered in the Tour package, and unlike many in the business, he delivered to the most minute of details. His coordination of Flights was well taken care of, as well as necessary Visas. He communicated what...

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Mercedes Sera
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Paul Audia

An amazing experience from start to finish.

From the planning of the trip to the people we met and guided us through the country, this was an educational and informative trip filled with Cuban culture, history, and Art.

I'm not big on planned trips but I am so glad we found you and your team for this experience! Thank you!

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Deisy Suarez

Tony is the best ! He arranged a 5 day havana tour for me and my friends. We stayed at a private house and ate at the best local places. Our driver was amazing and couldn't recommend any other concierge company in havana. Our experience was truly magical and unique.

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Stephanie Marsh
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Linda Meier

Tony arranged a 2 1/2 week custom visit to Cuba in March for four couples. We stayed only in "casas", frequently ate in private restaurants, visited with families and were very pleased with our itinerary. I would agree that of all the wonderful experiences we had, the people themselves and their stories and friendliness were the highlight. I would highly recommend using Havana VIP to organize a customized trip free of hassle and complete with backup support should it be...

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Jennifer Brandenburg

Our visit to Cuba was a fabulous experience. We learned so much about its interesting history, rich arts and culture through a very full and diverse set of daily activities. Our interactions with Cuban people were insightful. The trip took a lot of advance planning and precise scheduling by Tony and his Havana VIP Tours team. Our guides and drivers, as well as our hosts at the casa particulares, all took good care of us – special recognition for Hector,...

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Pat Topitzer

Tony arranged our 8 day visit and he completely hit itout of the park. We presented something of a challenge... 2 no-longer-young grandparents with their 23 year old granddaughter. and one of us had some significant physical challenges as well. Between the guides and the drivers, the lodgings, restaurant recommendations, the itinerary, I cannot imagine we could have been any more thrilled with our first visit to Cuba, The people, of course, are the major draw in our view, but...

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C Cybele Raver

Tony and his team were terrific- we felt lucky to be so fully immersed in art, culture, and history while visiting Havana and Trinidad. Tony listened closely to our preferences and interests, providing us with excellent itinerary, superb guest-house stays, talented and engaging tour guides, and warm and helpful drivers for ground transport.

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Havana VIP Custom Independent Cuba Travel

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