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Visit Smokin’ Hot Cuba in 2019

By: Sarah Cherres

Saturday December 29th, 2018

Every year I put together a list of the things I would like to do for the year ahead, goals I want to accomplish, and most importantly places I would like to visit in the new year. Whether you write lists, create vision boards, flip through magazines or allow social media to inspire your travel plans, it’s time to get pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to setup your first trip of the year. One of my goals for the year? To finally visit the beautiful and historical island of Cuba.

If you have always been curious about how to travel to Cuba from the USA like I have, today is the best day to start planning your trip. It is natural to experience some confusion in regard to the requirements or even the possibility to travel to Cuba. It has been known to have limited access in the past. Many people have the question, “Can Americans go to Cuba?” The answer is a loud and resounding yes! As of recent travel-friendly laws, American tourists are now able to travel to Cuba. No excuses now! We are experiencing a wonderful opportunity in time and in history to be able to visit this gem of an island. It has been preserved in a beautiful and colorful state, almost as if frozen in time and history.

Cuba is rich in history, culture, and art. Whether you have a love for the arts and history, if you are food connoisseur, an amateur to professional photographer or a cigar aficionado, there are surely Cuba travel packages available to help make your greatest dream visit to Cuba a reality. There are many exciting excursions available, which can also easily adapt to the time you would like to spend in each activity and also to the pace you would like to keep – from active walking to enjoying a performance for the evening, cigar rolling for the aficionado or learning about Hemingway’s period in Cuba, there is an activity for every interest and taste level.

For the History & Location Seekers

Excursions such as Havana Highlights offers a tour of the capital city of Havana, its palatial buildings, and its history. If you or your travel companion are a lover of classic cars or would like to get pictures atop a beautiful and colorful vintage car, A Ride Through Havana on American Classic Cars could be the best one for you. Evenings also offer a different view of a new city. The lights, the air, the music…everything changes. If you prefer to take in the views, sights, and sounds of the city at night, An Evening Stroll Through The Center of Havana might be your choice.


For the Food & Beverage Lovers

One of my favorite parts of a trip is always the cuisine. Many stories are told through food and over food. To me food origins speak of the history and the influences each country’s cuisine has. As many of us know, Cuba is known for a famous rum-based drink called the Mojito and a multi-ingredient and hearty dish called the Ajiaco, which has a recipe unique to Cuba and its people with lots of grains and starchy vegetables. Perhaps you may want to experience locally sourced meals and experience the preparation of local dishes. Excursions such as How To Make A Cuban Mojito And Ajiaco? and Mediterraneo Havana: Farm to Table offer cooking classes and an opportunity to experience the local cuisine and techniques.

Cooking Lesson

For the Art & Culture Aficionados

Being Cuba the art and cultural epicenter that it is, there are many offerings also available for entertainment and immersion. You can visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes through the Classic and Modern Art in Havana Tour. Perhaps you want to experience the art of making Cuban cigars. Cuban Cigars are world renown, and cigar rollers are famous for their technique. The Cuban Rum, Cigars, and Art tour may be the perfect mix to cover your diverse interests. Many know of the connection between Hemingway and some of his most famed literary masterpieces. Following Hemingway’s Steps in Havana will take you through his favorite spots in the island, his home, and the sights and sounds that inspired his work. For the dance lovers, Dancing With Habana Compass Company may be the best way to experience the culture and burn off just some of the amazing Cuban cuisine!


For the Nightlife & Performance Explorers

If a dazzling performance is your favored type of experience, Cuba also offers the opportunity to visit its nightlife of worldly fame. Follow in the steps of Nat King Cole, Josephine Baker, Libertad Lamarque amongst others who have performed in the famous Tropicana Cabaret or enjoy dinner and a show at the Buena Vista Social Club. Finally, the option of the Parisien Cabaret: A Spectacular Las Vegas Style Performance. All in locations to give you the top local experience, regardless of which fabulous option you choose.

I know that many people postpone their travel or don’t go through with their overseas travel plans because they are unaware of or think it is too much work to research travel requirements such as visas. There are also questions about other travel arrangements and possible travel restrictions. The process to obtain the necessary documents to travel to Cuba is rather simple. I invite you to read on to learn more.


Getting Started

Once you select the types of experiences and excursions you would like to have, the first thing is making sure that your and your companions’ American passports are current. In case you need to renew or apply for your passport for the first time, an agency can be your best ally to get your passport ready to travel. The next step is to determine the type of visa you will need to obtain. Tourists are required to have a visa to enter the country. The application is simple specially once with the appropriate guidance from a travel partner, such as OnCuba Travel. An agency can help you navigate this process easily and coordinate the full itinerary for you and your party. Another benefit of an agency such as OnCuba Travel is that it has a local office in Havana, so you will always have a team member available to support you during your stay.

Solo Travel or Group?

The next thing would be to think about what type of trip this will be. Will it be a solo getaway or an opportunity to spend time with friends and family? There are several options available to accommodate many travel plans. Another option would be to setup a custom group travel package. If you are a professor looking to take a group of students, if you are planning a family group vacation or a trip for friends and family there are many options available to accommodate every group size. A manageable group size to keep in mind is of approximately 20, which is the ideal group size. Agencies may also offer group discounts to lower the cost per person. One more reason to grab your group of friends and go.

By Sea, Air or Land?

Will you be taking a cruise, traveling by air or making arrangements when you arrive to the island? The idea of a cruise to Cuba sounds fantastic, especially during the bitter winter months those in the northern states experience. Cruises to Cuba are offered through Norwegian Cruise Lines, which offers 4-day cruises departing from the port city of Miami with an overnight stay in the capital city of Havana, Cuba. Land excursions are also available to book in conjunction with your cruise of choice. There are many options to reach the island and make the best of your time during the stay.

In case air travel is your method of choice, it is also a convenient and accessible option to visit Cuba. By completing a short form you will be on your way to finding available options and fares to select the best one to meet your travel needs. Upon arriving to Cuba, it is also a good idea to have premade arrangements to transfer from the port or place of arrival to your hotel or other arranged lodging location during your stay. There are several options to arrange for transfers upon arriving in the island. This is another service that can also be coordinated through an agency by completing a brief form with travel details.

Where Should I stay?

One of the things I often think about when I travel is where to stay. Especially when traveling to a new city or a foreign country. The place where I stay can make the difference between a pleasurable and comfortable stay or a disappointing and frustrating experience. There are many options available – from hotels to casas particulares or private homes similar to bed and breakfasts with a local host family that can be considered in the planning process. An agency can help you navigate available choices and help you make the best lodging decision to fit your needs and budget.

The World Is At Your Fingertips

How many more years are you going start by telling yourself that this will be the year you will visit Cuba? Like me, let 2019 be the year when you make your travel to Cuba plans a reality. Take in the art, meet the artists, enjoy the local fare, talk to the locals, recreate every beautiful image from Cuba you have ever seen and loved. All of these possibilities are now yours to make happen. There is so much to see and do throughout the year. Do not wait to start planning your dream vacation and the trip of a lifetime until later. Take the first step and request information to get started. I can’t wait, and neither should you.