cuba
Cuba

Finding the right travel agency in Cuba for Cuba Sightseeing can be a great way to make your trip to this country a memorable and pleasant experience. The local agents know in details the situation in the country, procedures, and regulations, they can help with getting a visa, find the cheapest airfare, etc.

China Town Havana
China Town Havana

Despite numerous political problems that the country was so rich in, Cuba remains one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Caribbean Sea. Hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world come to Cuba every year, attracted by its warm climate, beautiful sea, the island’s rich history, and the famous Cuban cigars.

Cuba Sightseeing

Havana is located in the northwest of the island. It is known for the magnificent mansions and the buildings in the style of developing socialism. The city has a lot of cutting-edge skyscrapers just opposite the numerous dilapidated houses. Grandiose hotels in the coastal area of the city and numerous churches contribute to the general tourist outlook of the city.

Old Havana Cathedral
Old Havana Cathedral

The historic core of the city is Old Havana, located around the port and Havana Bay. It is a narrow strait into the harbor, protected on both sides by the old fortresses Castillo del Morro and Castillo de la Punta. The west coast of the city is guarded by the forts of La Cabana and La Real-Fuerza, the oldest fortification in North and South America.
Nowadays it houses the museum of ancient weapons. Havana’s seafront Malecon is a favorite walking place of the citizens and the arena of the traditional February Carnival.

From here, the main street of Havana, The Paseo del Prado, begins. This boulevard is one of the main monuments of the old Havana, paved with marble slabs and green with a variety of trees. In the street, one will find picturesque mansions representing the old Spanish style. Today, it is one of the most popular holiday destinations. Prado is the place where one can see the building of the National Capitol, the Cuban Academy of Sciences, and the National Library of Science and Technology. Nearby the tourists will see the former Presidential Palace (which is the Museum of the Revolution now) and the Governor’s Palace (the present-day Museum of the City of Havana).

Varadero
Varadero

One of the best resorts in the Western Hemisphere is Varadero. Magnificent beaches of white fine sand and amazing turquoise sea water stretch for miles here. The coast is lined up with dozens of comfortable hotels. Varadero beaches are the three best beaches in the world, and the safety in these places is perhaps the best in Latin America. Varadero neighborhood is very picturesque, there are many unique places there, just as the Ambrosio cave with rock paintings, Varadero National Park, the dolphin and crocodile nursery, the islands of Cayo Largo, Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco, as well as many smaller islands, called Royal Gardens. The resort has all conditions for recreation, including 23 diving centers, numerous swimming pools, sports facilities and all kinds of boats, yachts, jet skis, and paragliding.

Holguin
Holguin

Holguin is the second largest resort area of the country after Varadero and Havana. It was here that Columbus first set foot on the ground of the island. Here one will find the most beautiful beaches in Cuba, Paya Esmeralda, the famous beach Gvardalavaka with a beautiful coral reef, and Playa Pesquero with the exceptionally beautiful seabed. The local hotels are surrounded by tropical greenery and correspond to the highest international standards.

There are many tiny islands, caves, rivers, waterfalls and natural mud springs. In the area of Hagley Grande, one can go to the largest lake in Cuba, Laguna del Tesoro, known for its large trout. This place is a famous destination for fans of sports fishing. There is also the crocodile nursery nearby.

The provincial capital, the city of Holguin, is interesting for its cathedral of San Isidoro, the Provincial History Museum, the Museum of Natural Sciences. Of special interest is also Carlos de la Torre park with an aquarium nearby.

Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is famous for the world’s only museum of the history of piracy. It is a home place to two theaters, seven museums, the picturesque city cathedral, the conservatory, the university, and many cinemas. But most importantly, Santiago de Cuba is famous all over the country for their Carnival and the Feast of Fire. The local Natural Park Baconao is declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

Cuba Nature Attractions – Topes De Collantes

Topes de Collantes Grand Park, stretching for 200 square kilometers and 800 meters over the sea level, is a real paradise in the very center of Cuba, just 22 kilometers from Trinidad City. The thriving nature has created a healthy environment polished from the pollution of contemporary life, stress, and anxiety.

With a very humid climate and moderate temperatures the whole year, the conditions of the place have the perfect ecological features for promoting a richness of flora and fauna, with a high level of endemic species. Numerous grottos bored through its almost vertical faults, open valleys with underground drains, narrow rivers of fast waters, beautiful waterfalls and water jumps such as the Salto del Caburní (National Monument), praise the attractions of this region.

Nature lovers will find here around 15 different kinds of pines, 12 types of eucalyptus, and more than 100 ornamental plants guaranteeing the existence of flowers throughout the year in Topes de Collantes. Additionally, there is a variety of ferns, medicinal plants, wild orchids, and butterflies. Among the notable large trees, there are hundred-year-old carob, cedar, mahogany, and teak trees. Terrestrial fauna is abundant, but the prevailing animals are the white-tail deer, the wild pig, and the quails.

For all these reasons, Topes de Collantes is the ideal place for nature tourism programs whose offers range from 10 to 25 Km of distance to be covered. Birdwatching of more than 45 % of the endemic species registered in the country, cavalcades (from 1 to 4 days) making striking tours through the mountain, camps in comfortable tents, mountain biking through pathways and tracks, and canoeing along the waterfalls and ravines all make for great ways to explore the bounty of this area.

To complement the natural attractions, Topes de Collantes has a decent infrastructure including numerous specialty restaurants, Los Helechos (The Ferns) Hotel, and the Villa Caburní Hotel. There is also the Kurhoteles Escambray, for health tourism, which sums up the cultural attraction of having a fabulous Cuban Art Collection with more than 800 pieces of 169 artists. Nelson Domiacutenguez, Alicia Leal, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Ernesto Garciacutea Pentildea, Flora Fong, Adagio Beniacutetez, Ever Fonseca, Rauacutel Santos Zerpa, Rubeacuten Torres Llorca, Tomaacutes Saacuteanchez, Arturo Cuenca, Moiseacute;s Final&eacute, Zaida del Riacuteo, Eduardo Roca, Manuel Mendive, and Antonio Vidal are among the most famous.

These pieces were all painted by the artists in that place in the 1980’s when the Cuban plastic art was undergoing its first boom. A few years ago, the pieces were restored and organized to create a Museum of Contemporary Art and new artists joined the project with paintings and sculptures composing now the so famous “Coleccioacuten de Topes” (Topes’ Collection).

Hemingway Marina

The Hemingway Marina
The Hemingway Marina

The Hemingway Marina is located at 23deg; 5.35′ N and 82deg; 30.5′ W, to the west of Havana City in the neighborhood of Jaimanitas. This marina is ideal for ships of medium size; and it can harbor up to 400 ships of 70 meters in maximum length, with a maximum depth of 4.30 meters. The Hemingway Marina uses the radio frequencies 72 and 16 in VHF.
Operated by the group Cubanacán S.A., this center has the conditions to assimilate in its four channels up to 400 vessels and even facilitate up to 200 of those ships the ultimate conditions for the onboard modality, providing the basic services, such as drinking water, electricity, gas, communications, cable TV and a nautical workshop able to take on all types of vessel repairs.

Among the novelties of the Marina, there is the star of the so-called mega yachts, vessels of a greater size than the common ships and of a luxury-oriented to the maximum comfort of its occupants; such stay being considered by many people as a sign of the acceptance of this facility in the world.

Hemingway Marina is the flagship in the field of the nautical activities and is also the organizer of very important international events, among which appear regattas and fishing tournaments. Among the latter the most well known is the Hemingway Tournament, dedicated to the catching of marlins; an event that increases in foreign participation each year. Another two interesting contests on the agenda are the Blue Marlin- due in September- and the Wahoo in November. This center has also been included as a base for technical scales in the voyages of some international regattas.

The Hemingway Marina complex has shopping malls, a Cohiba (Cigar) House, medical services, naval hardware shops, Cybercafeacutes, drugstores and transportation around the facilities. For those who decide to stay, there are hotels, such as the Aquarius Hotel and the Hemingway Marina Hotel, offering single and double rooms, houses and bungalows.

The complex also has a network of restaurants with cuisine ranging from Cuban and international food in Palmares Restaurant to Spanish flavors in Fiesta Bar, to Italian (Pizza Nova) to the Papa’s, specialized in seafood. It is a quiet place, very safe and with lots of privacy; ideal for sea lovers that desire to travel to Havana City.

Traveling to Trinidad

Trinidad
Trinidad

Trinidad is in the province of Sancti Spiritus in central Cuba and was designated one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1988. A World Heritage Site is a place such as a mountain, lake, forest, building, or city that UNESCO has designated of special significance to a culture or is physically unique and worthy of preservation. Trinidad is all of that and more.

The city was founded in 1514 by Diego Velazquez, a Spanish conquistador who established a total of seven colonial settlements called “villas”. Trinidad was the fourth of these which include Havana. It was a center for gold mining and farming but today it depends mainly on tobacco crops.

Trinidad is one of the best-preserved towns in the Caribbean and has been called a “living museum”. Tourists love the Spanish colonial architecture that lends the city an air of romance and intrigue. The original city consists of only a few blocks of beautiful cobblestone streets where you can see homes in soft pastels with wrought iron ornamentation as well as stunning plazas and palaces. One of the attractions of old Trinidad is the ability to tour it by horse-drawn carriage but it is particularly charming when you walk through it at a leisurely pace.

Northeast of the square, or Plaza Mayor, is the beautiful Church of the Holy Trinity. After a cyclone destroyed a 17th-century church on that site, Holy Trinity was built there, completed in 1892. You can see a wooden statue of Christ dating from the 1700s that were meant to be taken to Mexico; the ship carrying it was forced back to Trinidad by bad weather, not one but three times. Forced to offload much of its cargo, the statue was left behind in what many thoughts were divine intervention. Also worth noting is the Gothic revival altar and the church’s stunning Neoclassical faccedilade.

You’ll find that Trinidad fairly vibrates with music and every night you’ll find people dancing next to the church in the plaza. If you prefer an indoor venue you’ll find discotheques; one is in the ruins of a church and another in a very large cave that was used as a wartime hospital.

For ecotourism go to Topes de Collantes, a nature reserve park in the nearby Escambray Mountains. Here, you will find a small settlement and a beautiful tourism center that used to be a hospital. Thanks to the warm, moist air of the Atlantic you’ll be able to walk through a lush refuge for plants and animals. There are caves, waterfalls and rivers, beautiful grottos, canyons, and natural pools of crystal clear mountain water surrounded by the Butterfly Lily, the national flower.

More than 100 species of fern and 40 species of orchid grow there as well as banana trees, jasmine, wild plantain trees and about 40 species of coffee. There are giant pines, mahogany and eucalyptus trees, and magnolia trees. You’ll see hummingbirds alongside the Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker and the colorful Cuban Today as well as hundreds of other species.

Varadero Beach

Varadero Beach
Varadero Beach

Picture yourself on a  Varadero Beach where the sand is as white as sugar, where the water is turquoise blue yet crystal clear, where relaxation means sipping on a Mojito while the rhythm and sounds of Salsa, bongos, guitars, and maracas tease your senses under the hot Caribbean sun. Welcome to Varadero Cuba, where your days can fade away in ultimate relaxation on some of the best beaches in the world or be filled with spirit and adventure. Located on the northern coast, Varadero is a resort area situated on the Hicacos Peninsula extending more than 20 kilometers from the mainland into the Straits of Florida. It is the number one destination for Canadian tourists traveling to Cuba mostly in part due to its spectacular beaches and the numerous All Inclusive resorts.

Hotels in Varadero are for the most part higher end 4 or 5-star all-inclusive resorts operated by top companies such as Iberostar, Sol Melia, Breezes, and Barcelo. You can get smaller apartment or villa style rooms closer to the actual city of Varadero; however, they tend to be of lesser quality, away from the resort areas and of more modest conditions.
Typical of All-Inclusive resorts in most destinations, the resorts in Cuba also offer a wide range of activities to keep your days busy and alive.

From water sports like snorkeling, scuba, kayaking, and parasailing to beach volleyball, salsa dancing, and other land sports, you can do as little or as much as you desire. When the mundane life on a resort kicks in not to worry, there are plenty of excursions available at the hotels geared to exploring and discovering the “Real Cuba”.

Without having to travel too far, there is plenty to do off the resort but still in the area. For nature lovers, a trip to the end of the peninsula brings you to Hicacos Point Natural Park and Magnon Lake; both are home to over 30 species of birds and 24 types of reptiles. Also in the area is Ambrosio’s cave, an archeological site on the peninsula with caves and pictographs.

If getting that Cuban vibe is what you fancy, head into town and hang out with the locals. Always friendly and willing to show off their country, it’s one of the best ways to absorb their rich culture. Although one wouldn’t think of it as a golf destination, Varadero does have 2 courses in the area. Still an aspect of tourism the Cubans are improving on, the courses albeit not Tiger Woods worthy, are set in some great scenery and is quite affordable.

Horseback riding is also available in the area and for those of you looking for a thrill, there are a few skydiving schools so you can see the beauty of the peninsula from the sky.
Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean the fun stops. Varadero has an active nightlife ranging from hotel entertainment to numerous bars and nightclubs. It isn’t uncommon to stumble across a beach party either.

Varadero is truly an amazing destination but not only for the beaches but also for the culture, scenery, and the incredibly friendly people. Canadians have been enjoying it for years as it is an extremely affordable holiday of great value and quality. Cuba is slowly opening its doors to the United States and nothing against the American People as everyone should discover this paradise at least once; but with more tourists entering and demand goes up, it’ll only get harder to get a Cheap Vacation to Cuba.

Now is the time to discover Varadero through Canadian tour operators like Hola Sun and Sunwing. Calling your travel agent can get you the best Last Minute Deals to Varadero and on your way to a vacation, you’ll never forget because Varadero is like a best friend in that when you visit you know you’ll have a good time and you’ll want to come back again and again.

Booking a Varadero Vacation? Look no further, finding deals on Varadero Vacations has never been easier.

10 Family Friendly Caribbean Resorts

Caribbean Resorts
Caribbean Resorts

Family Vacations should be full of great memories and experiences for everyone, not just the parents. Finding something affordable is just one obstacle for large families looking to get away and the last thing you need is to get to your destination and the kids are bored by the end of day one. A great family vacation shouldn’t be a hassle but instead should be entertaining from start to finish without the worries of keeping the kids happy and occupied while trying to enjoy your time as well. After all, it is a vacation and shouldn’t seem like a chore.

Sunwing Vacations has a “Smile” program that caters to families to ensure quality and safety at several All Inclusive resorts throughout the Caribbean. In no particular order here are 10 All Inclusive resorts that come with added bonuses and are handpicked to give your family a memorable and stress-free vacation.
1. CUBA Barcelo Arenas Blancas – Varadero
2. CUBA Breezes Bella Costa – Varadero
3. CUBA Barcelo Cayo Santa Maria Caribe Resort – Cayo Santa Maria
4. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort and Spa – Punta Cana
5. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Be Live Canoa – La Romana
6. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Casa Marina Beach Resort – Puerto Plata
7. MEXICO Grand Palladium Riviera Resort and Spa – Mayan Riviera
8. MEXICO Barcelo Huatulco Beach Resort – Huatulco
9. JAMAICA Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa – Montego Bay
10. PANAMA Playa Blanca Resort – Panama

All of the above resorts are perfect for families since they are all rated 4 Stars or better, they all include supervised Kid’s Clubs with a full day of activities, every resort has an over 90% approval rating, and they are all situated on incredible beaches. The rooms are more spacious and cannot only accommodate families of four but in some cases cater for three or more children.

Taking the entire family can put a big strain on the wallet, however, these resorts are all part of Sunwing’s “Smile” program with benefits including children aged 2-12 stay, play and eat free; Special deals and fares for teens aged 13-17; No single supplement for single parents. There are no restrictions on dates for these savings including March Break and Christmas which means savings are available all year with no blackout dates.

What really sets these hotels in a family friendly category is the attention to the fine details that other resorts overlook including child-friendly options in the restaurants, family appropriate evening entertainment, and even special “kid sections” in pools including their own swim-up bar. These resorts are not the only family friendly but kid friendly and even after the great savings, superb service and first-class accommodations, the smiles their faces and memories created will be the biggest benefit and reward of them all.

A Night at the Tropicana

Tropicana
Tropicana

Cabaret Tropicana was born in 1939 in the farm Villa Mina of the Havana neighborhood Marianao. This was not its original name and started as a ballroom for parties and gaming which little by little-included musicals. It was actually the artistic director who suggested in 1940 that the name change to Tropicana, due to the sonority and the Caribbean concept that the melody of the flutist Alfredo Brito entailed while the group of dancers was rehearsing for a new choreography.

Nowadays, the luxurious cabaret is the symbol of the Havana nights and few foreign tourists do not take a night from their time to go to the Tropicana. In 1992 the American Academy of the Restaurant Industry gave the cabaret the Best of the Five Stars Diamond Award as the best cabaret in the Americas, and it was selected among another 20 places for broadcasting live to the world the farewell bidding of the 20th century by the American television consortiums ABC and CNN.

The ballet dancer icon that identifies the cabaret welcomes the visitor, a sculpture made by the Cuban artist Rita Longa in 1950. Then, one enters to the Room under the Stars, which has a mobile stage that each night is filled with beautiful voices and dancers that have been acclaimed by millions, and there, surprise and enjoyment become a total experience. This room has a capacity for one thousand people, distributed around the stage, which is surrounded by palm trees and launch pads used by the artists during their performances. Its shows usually have around 300 artists: dancers, acrobats, singers, and musicians.

Tropicana delights its audience with rhythmic songs of mambo, rumba, cha-cha, son, and danzon; with such a repertoire, classic musicians like Benny Montacute, Lecuona or Grenet cannot be missed. Great artists such as Josephine Baker, Tongolele, Xavier Cugat, Los Chavales de Espantildea, Carmen Miranda, Liberace, Pedro Vargas, Rita Montaner, Rosita Forneacutes and Nat King Cole, among others have performed on its stages. In 1954, the French designer Pierre Balmain presented his summer collection having as models the corps de ballet of the cabaret. More recently, Norma Duval, Alejandra Guzmaacuten, Cheo Feliciano and the Japanese fashion designer Junko Koshino have been in Tropicana, an emblematic space that has surpassed the Cuban borders and the borders of international music.

The Tropicana also has branches in Santiago de Cuba and Varadero and its shows have toured around the globe. Needless to say, it is a Paradise under the Stars that is well worth seeing.

Santiago De Cuba – 495 Years of History and Tradition

Santiago De Cuba
Santiago De Cuba

When Diego Velazquez, the governor, started conquering and colonizing Cuba, the first seven villages were founded in Cuba under his mandate. Santiago de Cuba was one of them, founded on July 25, 1515. Precisely on the corner of Cespedes Park in this city is located the stately house of the conqueror that settled the first Spanish colony in America. This year the “Land of the Sun” turns 495 years old.

Santiago de Cuba is the second most important city in Cuba and it is well known worldwide for the hospitality always offered by its inhabitants and for its cultural and historical traditions. Around its geographical environment, the main liberating revolutions took place; and the main rhythms and popular Cuban dances emerged from its intricate corners. Santiago, as well as the rest of eastern Cuban, enjoys summer weather throughout almost the whole year, with annual temperatures ranging from 25 to 30degC in the plains, and from 16degC to 25 degC in the mountains. The city has numerous beaches and nearby scuba diving centers which make it a paradisiacal destination. The city borders to the north with Holguin city, to the west with Granma city, to the east with Guantanamo city, and with the Caribbean Sea to the south. Its territorial extension is of 6,343.21 km2.

The Sierra Maestra towers impressively beyond the borders of the city. This place was the scene of the major battles of the Rebel Army (Ejercito Rebelde) during its liberation war of the 50s last century which ended in the triumph of Fidel and his “barbudos” (bearded men) and in the settlement of the Cuban Revolution. As in any other area of the country, races and cultures are mixed and enriched here in the Cultural Capital of the Caribbean, as it’s also regarded. It’s a city proverbially welcoming and genuinely Caribbean. Its population is mainly of mixed race, in a particular mixture of Spaniards, Africans, Haitians, Chinese, and French.

The “santiaguero” is a citizen who humbly flaunts about belonging to the sole Hero City of the Republic of Cuba, a title that acknowledges the extraordinary legacy of its sons of the liberation wars of the Cubans. Santiago is a city privileged for its historical evolution. Two important places, declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, are located in Santiago de Cuba: the Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca (known as “El Morro”), and the ruins of the first settlements of the French coffee plantations in the “Gran Piedra”.

A large number of other things are also the pride and joy of the “santiagueros”: being the cradle per excellence of almost all musical rhythms in Cuba, a country where the music is its soul and roots; the “carnavales” (carnivals) taking place every July are the most spectacular in the island; its rum; its well known Festival of the Caribbean or the Fire Party, which turns Santiago every year in a city full of rhythms and colors; the International Festival of Choirs; and the Son Festival “Miguel Matamoros”, among others.

Cuban Music and Dance – The Rumba

Cuban Music and Dance - The Rumba
Cuban Music and Dance – The Rumba

The Rumba has been the way for a particular group to enjoy themselves since many centuries ago. This musical genre has many styles or ways of sounding according to the place it is performed. Among those who practice it, the Rumba is not only music but a party; a gathering for drumming, dancing, and singing. In Cuba “rumbear” or “irse de rumba” means to go clubbing or partying. Rumba is referred to a party in Cuba, and even a Rumba Palace has been built in Varadero, despite the fact that all types of music but rumba are played in this club.

There are references to Rumba from the beginning of the 18th century because it was very popular in the countryside and the suburban areas like the small villages constructed near the sugar mills or factories. It was a type of music common to freed slaves and the descendants of African ethnic groups, such as the Lucumi, the Ganga, the Arara, and the Bantu. Men would dance boxing-like dances that have been attributed to the Congo ethnic group, known as the “peanut dance”, which could be considered primitive rumba dancing. Three profane drums or yucca drums were used.

Generally speaking, the Rumba is improvised and played using any kind of loud instrument. The rhythm comes, without a doubt, from Africa and there is evidence that the singing, known as well as crying or reveille, was copied from the Andalusian way of singing.
The Rumba performed in the countryside became well known around the last decades of the 19th century in Matanzas, Havana, and other regions such as Ciego de Avila, Florida and Moron in the former Camaguey province. The rumberos from Matanzas were precisely the ones who spread the genre all over the island during their trips searching for work in the sugar-producing areas of Central Cuba.

During the 1920s, Mario Bauzá and Frank Grillo founded their bands using traditional instruments from Jazz and the Cuban percussion, and they began to reproduce some elements of the Rumba in order to create choreographed dances for couples to dance this genre. This stylish product was called Rumba de Salón (Ball Room Rumba) in opposition to the Box Rumba played and danced in tenement buildings in Havana; this is how the world became acquainted with it.

The Rumba has different styles, but the most famous of all is guaguanco (which comes from the streets). This type of Rumba is more elaborate than the rest of the variants; sung in duets and accompanied by three drums (conga, Tumba, and Quinto or requinto), the claves, a rattle, a guiro, little guiros made of metal around the wrists of the players and a sound box made of wood.

The Guancoacute is also danced in couples. Women dance flirtatiously imitating the gracious movement of a hen with their waists; and men dance imitating a rooster or pigeon, trying to seduce and symbolically possess their female companion when they are not paying attention. This movement is called “vacunao” or “abrochao” and happens when men, moving their pelvis towards female sex organs, try to come as close as possible, a movement that is closely watched by women.

There is a large list of Cuban rumberos; however, among them Chano Pozo, Pello el Afrokaacuten, Tata Gumlines, Los Muntildeequitos de Matanzas, Los Papines, and Celia Cruz are outstanding. The recordings of the unforgettable Celia Cruz, alongside with her presentations around the world have made famous the genuine sounds of the Cuban Rumba.

Cuba Travel Restrictions Ease

Cuba Travel
Cuba Travel

In 2009, President Obama lifted many of the existing travel restrictions for U.S. citizens who wish to visit family members living in Cuba. This initiative eliminated the limits on how often U.S. visitors can travel to Cuba as well as how long they are allowed to stay. U.S. citizens will still need to apply for a Cuban visa but the process will be quicker.
Cuba requires that visitors first apply for a general license to document the amount of money that they’ll spend in Cuba. Since the embargo is still in place, the U.S. Treasury Department must approve all general licenses.

You can apply for a general license by writing the Licensing Division, Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20220. In your letter, explain the reason you wish to visit Cuba. You’ll also need to send copies of any documents that support your requests, such as birth certificates or letters from business contacts inviting you to come to Cuba. If you’ll be visiting a family member, you’ll also need to submit this form: “Request for a Specific License to Visit an Immediate Family Member” – OMB No: 1505-0202 and TDF 90-22.60.

After receiving your approved license, contact the Cuban Interests Section/Consular Office located at 2630 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009 to apply for a Cuba visa.
You can call this office between 9:00am and 12:00pm Monday through Friday at 202-797-8407. This office is located within the Embassy of Switzerland and handles all visa applications. This is the only place you can get a visa form and find detailed answers to questions about the application process.

One word of warning: Do not assume that a prepaid travel package, booked through a Cuban travel agency, will meet all the entrance requirements. It’s always best to check the website for the U.S. Department of State, and the Cuban Interests Section/Consular Office, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control for the most current travel information.

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