Strolling freely through the streets of Havana and booking a hotel room in the heart of Cuba is about to get a lot tougher for Americans thanks to new travel and commerce restrictions established by the Trump administration.
Beginning this week, new policies from President Trump’s White House will reverse much of the Obama-era diplomatic opening to Cuba, restricting how Americans experience the island. With the new restrictions, Americans that wish to visit Cuba must be apart of an organized tour group operated by American companies, and a representative of the sponsoring group is required to accompany visitors.
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American tourists are no longer allowed to travel via individual “people-to-people” exchange programs, one of the 12 categories of authorized travel for visiting Cuba implemented under the Obama administration, and travelers can no longer plan their own itineraries. Cuban Americans and a select few who fit within strict travel category guidelines will still be allowed to travel on their own. Any trip booked before Trump announced his Cuba policy on June 16 is exempt from the new restrictions.
As part of the crackdown, Americans are prohibited from conducting business with nearly 200 hotels, tourist agencies, stores and rum distillers with ties to the Cuban government while in Cuba, including Hostal Los Helechos, Iberostar Playa Pilar and Hotel Conde de Villanueva. A complete list of the businesses that will be apart of the ban can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website HERE.
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