Via Bryan Jones
Via Bryan Jones

It’s official: the US is opening an embassy in Havana, Cuba, and Cuba is opening an embassy in Washington, DC. The US embassy will occupy the same old modernist building that has served as the diplomatic “interest section” since the late 1970s, and which was the US embassy back when the two countries still had normal relations.

The opening of an embassy in Cuba is fantastic news for Americans hoping to (legally) visit the country. It also follows a series of promising developments, such as new ferry service and flights heading to Cuba.

Right now, Americans can visit Cuba, but there are some restrictions. The LA Times did a good basic rundown of what travelers need to know. Here’s the gist:

1. Americans visiting Cuba have to fall into any of a dozen categories such as journalists, humanitarian workers, or participants in educational programs.

2. Americans need a visa to visit Cuba. The LA Times lists some tour operators who include the visa with their fees, and Trip Advisor has a rundown on how to get a visa through airlines and online. (I haven’t applied for a visa yet, so I can’t say which of these options is best. I’ll be doing a follow up post later this year on how to actually get a visa.)

3. Bring cash, and ideally Canadian dollars or euros, as changing dollars incurs a 10 percent fee, according to the LA Times.

For other info check the Times story or come back in the coming weeks/months as I plan a trip to Cuba and work out the details for myself. In the meantime, enjoy a few Creative Commons photos from our neighbor to the south:

Related reading: I interviewed Rick Steves about going to Cuba. This is what he said

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.


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