4 Traveling to Cuba: An American Perspective


There was a 36 percent increase in visits to Cuba by Americans with no family ties to Cuba between January 1st and May 9th, 2015, compared to the same time in 2014.

  • Flights between the U.S. and Cuba are currently being operated by charter companies out of airports in Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.
  • Americans looking to avoid the high cost of flights from the U.S. should consider flying to Cuba from a third country, such as Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, or Bahamas.
  • Alternative methods of traveling to Cuba include cruise ships and passenger ferries.

There was a 57 percent increase in visitors by Americans who flew to Cuba from a third country between January 1st and May 9th, 2015, compared to the same time in 2014.

Accepted Forms of Payment

  • Cash: The U.S. dollar is accepted, however, travelers should always review the exchange rate prior to arriving in Cuba as you may get more for your money if you use British pounds or euros.
  • Credit/Debit Cards: American credit and debit cards are accepted in very few places in Cuba. ATMs are scarce and most establishments do not have the necessary equipment to process credit card transactions so travelers may want to consider only using cash.


  • U.S. phone carriers currently do not have agreements with ETECSA (the Cuban national telecommunications company) and therefore do not provide roaming services in Cuba. The following are options that are currently available to Americans who require access and/or use of mobile phones:
    • Some specialized mobile phone companies, such as Cellular Abroad, Cello Mobile, or Mobal, provide travel phones for Cuba and other countries that travelers can rent prior to leaving the United States. In addition to daily rental fees, the companies charge approximately $3 per minute of call time and up to $1.50 per outgoing text message. Depending on the type of phone rented, data may also be available at an additional cost.
    • Cubacel (ETECSA’s mobile phone arm) allows visitors from the United States to rent a SIM card with pre-paid minutes in amounts of $10, $20, or $40. A $3 daily rental fee will be applied for using the SIM card in a personal, unlocked phone.
    • Alternatively, travelers can rent a phone from Cubacel upon arrival, which requires

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