Effective Thursday, November 9th 2017. American travelers can only visit Cuba as part of a group, and these groups must be licensed by the Treasury Department, as the Trump Administration, for God knows what reasons, has brought in new restrictions for visiting the island paradise. The administration eliminated the “People-to-People” education travel program, which required American visitors to take part in various cultural experiences, allowing them to be in direct contact with Cubans, thus learning about, and enjoying, the Cuban way of life.
In a sad, frankly almost totalitarian way, the State Department issued a list of hotels, restaurants, stores and other enterprises that Americans are prohibited from patronizing, because the places are said to be involved with, connected to, or owned by the Cuban military and security services. And to make sure no one goes rogue, upon return to the US, travelers will be required to prove what they did and where they went.
One can’t help feel part of the impetus for the tightening rather than loosening of restrictions is Trump’s by now rabid obsession with undoing all the progress his predecessor, President Obama, achieved.
There is one piece of good news, if you purchased any part of your planned trip to Cuba, i.e. your flight or hotel booking before June 16 2017, you are grandfathered and can take your trip.
Of course, you can probably still go through Mexico or Canada and ask the Cuban immigration officers not to stamp your passport, as many Americans did for decades. That will likely be greeted with willingness and a smile from the Cuban authorities, who probably feel the same way we do about Trump’s unnecessary intervention.
Read more about traveling to Cuba: http://wonderlusttravel.com/cuba_the_promised_land/