Cuba (1 Viewer)

Dirty Rig

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In summer 2002, my grandparents were kind enough to send me on a 2-week trip to Mexico City to explore and experience life beyond "these United States". I'll be returning to Mexico later this April. During my last trip to Mexico, my father and I were able to get into Cuba by bribing a series of dock workers and ferry pilots. I'd very much like to go back to Cuba, but I'm wondering if anyone knows of any other ways than having to bribe worker after worker after worker and still running the risk of getting caught. Anybody here know any other ways to get into (and out of!) the country without attracting any unwanted suspicion?

Sorry if this is a lame question, or has already been answered. I really know nothing about Cuban access laws and my venture into the country last time was sort of on a whim and fell into our laps. Suggestions?
 
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SpaceCadet

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My friend just got back from Cuba. She flew to Mexico City and then flew from there to Cuba. I don't think she had a problem. It's not illegal for you to go to Cuba, just illegal to do it from the U.S., I believe.
 

Bullet

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Asheville, NC
Some more advice for you:
There are two ways to enter Cuba...the backdoor way (which you are familiar with and involves flying in from another country. Just make sure they don't stamp your passport) and the front door way.
If you get caught going in the back door way, you can have your passport permanently taken away and be barred from travel out of the US. Maybe you don't have a passport but that's not a good mark to have on your record.

The front door way to go is to go on some kind of humanitarian or relief effort. People do this all the time from the USA. A lot of it is missionary work, but there are lots of other kinds of humanitarian causes you can join up with to go down there for. Some internet research might bring some up.
If you do this, though, make sure that you don't get caught doing anything political. Don't flash circle-As or whatever. Just go into tourist mode and don't draw attention to yourself. Otherwise you risk being deported with slim chance of getting back in, ever.
I've always wanted to go to Cuba as well and I hope to give this a shot in the future.
 

finn

Playground Monitor
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Nowadays, if you enter the backdoor way, they give you a booklet which they stamp, since they like the US tourism industry. Typically most people use the airlines, book a flight to brazil or canada or whatever and then have a flight from there to Cuba. Just don't try to smuggle stuff on you when you get back to the US. When you fly back to Canada or whatever, mail it to yourself, do not put those cigars in your luggage!
 

veggieguy12

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around the USA
I believe the Obama admin. has loosened the travel restrictions, which were not terribly clear anyway: you can't just get a flight from Miami, but you can legally go - if you get State Dept. approval - but you can't spend more than $100, and none of that can be on stuff you'll return with... etc.

I've seen all these different descriptions of the law(s) and never actually called the State Dept. or checked their info, so I don't exactly know the real deal. Any sources to the above info cited as current laws?
 

bote

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never been, want to go, shake my head in disbelief every time I think about the state of international relations being discussed here. I mean it´s like TImmy´s dad had an argument with Pedro´s dad down at the plant, and now Timmy isn´t allowed to play with Pedro anymore. ¨Now you know what your father said dear¨.
 

llamer

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veggie dog dude has a point but it's not really going to be so simple as getting clearance from the state department; might as well just get your butt to cancun and book the 250 dollar flight from there (yes it's a ripoff for a one hour flight but what can yah do?). if you're cuban-american then it's really simple to get that permission.

i've been looking into this for a while, some americans take their boats directly from key west but you're playing with fire if you do that, it's more common for people to go from marathon key (fl) to south cay in the bahamas and then on to cuba, so as to not be obviously breaking the law (i just heard this yesterday from an avid key-westerner who visits cuba a lot). but some people have kayaked there or ridden their outfitted waverunner there thru the gulf stream and not been busted. getting back to the states directly from cuba is another story though.

this is why we need our own boats (or airplanes/passport-issueing nation/teleporters).
 

RnJ

PilgrimAflame
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One of my friends when down this last year. She's Canadian, so she had less travel restrictions, however the control is very tight within the country. If you come as a tourist, you will BE a tourist. You can not just stay at a friend's house or couchsurf, you must stay at a hostel or guesthouse like any tourists. There may be ways around it, but risk deportation for just "camping out" or staying with individuals or probably anything along the lines of a hobo travel style. Bring your cash!
 

Gypsybones

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I will go someday cause I have wanted to go for years now.
in fact I had a photo J teacher show us some pics when he and a friend went, they couldn't avoid getting the passport stamped. so when back in Canada (thats where they flew out of) they just mailed the passports back to them selfs.
mind you this was before 911 so you could still get across the border with a state ID.

but if you do get in never carry ID with you, always say your Canadian because if your cough over there being from the states you can be thrown in jail in the US for just being there. (or at least thats the way it used to be)
 

ghost train

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FLORIDA
cuba is tons of fun cubans have tons of fun every day just came back from there a few weeks ago going back soon :deadhorse:
 

llamer

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lame area
i spent 2 weeks in cuba this january riding my bike around the western portion of the island. lemme tell ya that is is COOL as FUCK but totally another world, not even comparable to mexico - it`s jsut straight up un otro mundo. bring some money, too, because its not exactly cheap (well sort of, but its tricky) and make sure youre clean when you get to the airport, i almost got turned away because i was such a dirty shameful stinky american. when they ask for your profession make sure you say something other than `I work season jobs, i dont have a profession!`they have no idea what life is liek for us and cant understand that. which is OK but it was scary almost being sent back on a plane to mexico!

anyone with questions just ask em here or PM me, i will try to get back in due time
 

polardkevin

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Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
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As per my suggestions are concerns,Cuba is one of the top travel destinations in the world today, with top tier big-city hotels and luxurious all-inclusive resorts.The places which I prefer the most are:
Varadero
Santiago de Cuba
Guardalavaca
 

whiteknight

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Joined
Jul 18, 2010
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Spent 4 months in Cuba in 2004 and it was amazing. I was on a legal study abroad program, but we still didn't get our passports stamped.

What people have been saying is generally correct. You can't get in legally without some charitable reason, but you can easily fly from Cancun. I met several Americans who were there under the radar and even one who had managed to get out of the hotel/guesthouse requirement and take up with his girlfriend. Basically he bribed some shithole guesthouse owner to keep him on the books and look the other way, and this was cheaper than paying the $10-15 a night for the room.

In terms of regulations, it's the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control that deals with Cuba, not the State Department. We don't have diplomatic relations with them (despite the huge building which was the US embassy which still houses the US Interest Section despite the fact that it's now technically Swiss soil) so State isn't supposed to be involved.

As for surveillance and restrictions on tourists, it's no joke. The government has informants everywhere (as best we could tell, we had a uniformed watcher and one of the houskeepers was a purely political employee), and you have to be careful about what you say in public, if for no other reason than you might get your Cuban friends in trouble. You'll just get deported unless you do something really stupid, but it could ruin their lives.

Also, if you have to deal with the police in Cuba, it's best to pretend that you don't speak any Spanish. It will confuse them and they'll let you go. On the other hand, if you get into other kinds of trouble on the street, it's crucial that you be able speak pretty well. Foreigners are targets there for pickpockets, hookers, muggers, and kids who just want to prove they're muy macho. In general it felt safe enough, but remember that it's very poor and your pocket change will feed a family for a month there.
 

whiteknight

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Messages
5
Also, don't bother going to Varadero. Cubans aren't even allowed to go there, it's strictly a playground for overweight European tourists.

There are better beaches and much better places to go if you actually want to see the country. Santiago was cool, as was Pinar del Rio, but for my money, Havana is/was one of the great cities of the world and I spent most of my time walking around the city. Just get a bottle of rum and start walking.

Wild underground scene too, ask discreetly for where the Freakys hang out and you'll get the info. They get high and slam dance to banned American metal in these crazy speakeasys around Havana.
 

Meester Bomba

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does anyone know if you can catch a boat from cancun to cuba? not that i want to go to cancun but i bet its cheaper than flying there from mexico city or whatever. it looks pretty close on the map so i would imagine they would have regular boat service between the two countries.
 

llamer

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lame area
there is no regular boat service to cuba, from anywhere, although if you get lucky you might meet someone with a sailboat who is going....
 

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