As a Cuba DMC, Cuba Incentive Travel Associates (CITA) works with you to create all-inclusive, customized itineraries for your clients, showcasing the charm and excitement of Havana, Cuba. Each program meets the needs of your clients, in full compliance with U.S. legal requirements for travel to Cuba.
Questions Regarding U.S. Travel to Cuba
What is “people-to-people” travel?
People-to-people is an initiative of the federal government, under one of the authorized categories of travel to Cuba. This particular definition of travel requires participation in activities intended to allow engagement with the Cuban people. Visits with local artists, craftsmen, field specialists and business owners are examples of people-to-people cultural exchange activities.
Recently, the definition of people-to-people exchanges has been expanded to include less scheduled, more organically occurring travel interactions. For more information on U.S. regulations on travel to Cuba, you can read this release from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Is Cuba a viable destination for incentive travel?
Cuba has long had a fully developed tourism industry including travelers from Europe and the rest of the world. Travel suppliers are fully aware of the interest from the U.S. and are eager to meet the demand. Cuba’s incentive appeal lies in its new accessibility, and the country’s historic feel and Old World charm.
Strategic experiences that meet the objective of reward travel are widely available. Authentic and timely cultural encounters make Havana a highly sought-after incentive destination.
Is Cuba a safe destination?
Cuba is a safe destination, with crime rates much lower than those of the U.S.
What documents are required for travel to Cuba, and how will my clients obtain them?
Each traveler will need a current U.S. passport, travel affidavit, travel visa, and Cuban-issued medical insurance covering the period of stay in Cuba. The travel affidavit, visa, and medical insurance come with purchase of an airline ticket. CITA can handle all air ticketing, visas, and legal documentation required for travel.
What is included in “all inclusive” travel to Cuba?
CITA’s turnkey services include:
- VIP arrival and departure assistance in Havana
- All accommodations in Cuba
- All meals and activities in Cuba
- All ground transportation in Cuba
- All tips and gratuities
- CITA staff on-site
- Local bilingual guides
Are incentive quality hotels available in Cuba?
Havana has several hotels that are ideal for incentive quality travel, complete with Western amenities like air conditioning and Wi-Fi (daily rate). One hotel we frequently use is the Parque Central, located in the heart of Habana Vieja, or “Old Havana.” Parque Central is part of the Iberostar Hotels & Resorts family. The Hotel Saratoga is also incentive quality and the Melia Cohiba and Melia Havana are suitable for groups that need meeting space.
What type of group transportation is available in Cuba?
Buses are new, large, and comparable to those you can find at any destination in the world. Coco taxis are a charming transportation method unique to Cuba, providing a fun way for your clients to zip from one destination to another. Vintage cars are a common sight in Havana, and provide another memorable way to travel to and from activities.
What is the condition of water and food in Cuba?
While the ability to visit Cuba is new for U.S. travelers, it has been a popular vacation destination for travelers in all other countries for many years. It is just like visiting Puerto Rico or the Bahamas.
Premium quality restaurants serve delicious meals comparable in quality to any other Caribbean destination. Privately owned and operated paladares like the famous La Guarida offer visitors the unique ability to connect with Cuban culture while enjoying a variety of cuisines. Cuban food blends Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences to create flavor-filled dishes that your clients will love.
As with Mexico and many other destinations, travelers are encouraged to drink bottled water while in Cuba. However, the water in Cuba is safe for incidental uses such as showering or brushing teeth.
In case of emergency, what medical response is available?
Because U.S. medical insurance is not accepted in Cuba, Cuban-issued medical insurance is required for the length of stay. Insurance is provided with the purchase of an airline ticket. This will allow any visitor access to medical care while in Cuba.
Are commercial flights available to Cuba, and from which cities?
Yes. Eight commercial airlines have been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation to offer flights to Havana, beginning in fall / winter of 2016. Airlines providing direct flights to Havana include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines.
Questions Regarding Program Planning
What is the ideal time frame for planning a program to Cuba?
Due to the increase in demand following the easing of U.S. restrictions on travel to Cuba, CITA recommends a six-month to one-year planning time frame. This allows for the best hotel selection and flight coordination.
When are the best times for incentive travel to Cuba?
Peak season for travel to Cuba is similar to other Caribbean destinations, running November through April. Summer temperatures are very high in the Caribbean and hurricanes are possible. Shoulder season travel includes May, September, and October.
What destinations can be combined with Cuba?
U.S. – Because Miami is a gateway city to Havana and provides incentive appeal, it makes an excellent pre-extension destination. In addition to its ease of access to Cuba, Miami features a variety of added options including the beach, golf, and busy nightlife.
Caribbean – Cancun, Nassau and Grand Cayman Island all offer one-hour direct flights to Havana. As well-established beach destinations, all three combine well with a Havana itinerary.
Is internet and cellular connectivity available in Cuba?
Cuba has limited internet access, and Wi-Fi may not be publicly available. However, most hotels offer Wi-Fi for purchase on a daily basis and internet cafes offer Wi-Fi for purchase.
Currently, the only U.S. provider of cellular service is Verizon Wireless at a charge of $3 per minute. If you do not have Verizon, you will not have cellular service while in Cuba. Internationally recognized SIM cards will require service from a non-U.S. provider.
What are the monetary conversion considerations, and how much money do travelers need to bring?
Cuba has a dual-currency system comprised of convertible pesos (CUC) and Cuba pesos (CUP). Cuban pesos (CUP) have little relevance to U.S. travelers. Convertible pesos will be used for purchases, tipping, etc. Foreign currency including U.S. dollars may not be used to make purchases.
Travelers may bring U.S. dollars into Cuba and exchange them into convertible pesos (CUC) at a CADECA, in the airport, hotel lobbies, or at international Cuban banks. There is a 10% tariff on the exchange of US. dollars, although not on Canadian dollars or Euros. Currently, the exchange rate for U.S. dollars and CUC is usually close to 1.00.
Travelers will need to bring money (no credit or debit cards) for incidental purchases, souvenirs and items outside of those provided within the itinerary, such as additional drinks at a restaurant.
What are the customs limitations?
Changes to regulations now allow U.S. travelers to bring back unlimited quantities of Cuban rum and cigars, so long as they are for personal use. The limit for art purchases has also been removed. Normal duty and tax exemption limits still apply.
Will my clients need multi-adapters for electrical outlets?
Electrical current in Cuba is 220 volts AC. A multi-adapter kit is necessary to ensure that you can plug in and charge any devices in your room. You will also need a power converter if your appliance or device doesn’t provide a range of currents such as 110-240v or 120-240v. Most smart phones and other portable devices have internal transformers that allow you to plug in the device in any country.
What is the time zone and climate of Cuba?
Cuba is in the Eastern Time Zone (EST). Cuba has a tropical climate and enjoys weather very similar to that of Miami.
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