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American(s) in Cuba

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by JohnN, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    Best to assume your travel WILL be known by the US Gov if they care to investigate.
    You are a scuba diver, used to calculating risk vs rewards. Your call.
    By the way "your call" by cell or wifi from Cuba is likely going to be logged and possibly monitored somewhere....

    Paraphrasing the tech divers: is there anything in Cuba worth dying for?

    Have said all that downer stuff....I went with a group on one of the Aggressor trips and it was fabulous.
  2. Gene

    Gene Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Florida
    I've been to Cuba twice, (1993 and 2019), and my wife's been three times. We just went this past Easter and stayed four days. Our family of four went, along with a cousin and a friend.
    We flew from Orlando to Havana and it could not have been easier. We flew Jet Blue, which is about an hour flight and encountered no issues. In fact, we had no issues the whole trip. We stayed at an Air BnB that my kids arranged and we got our visas at the Jet Blue check-in at the Orlando airport. We arranged to get some Euros from our bank here in Florida before we left so we wouldn't get charged the extra ten percent using US dollars. At the airport in Havana, we exchanged some of the Euros for CUCs, which we also did a couple days later at a local bank/money exchange place in Old Havana.
    I always ask to get my passport stamped and I did it in 1993 as well as this last trip. I want proof that I've been there. (We were journalists in the 90s so that wasn't an issue but found it not to be an issue on this year's trip either.) We used taxis sparingly but walked mostly while in Old Havana. There was internet at the place we stayed but I opted not to even bring my mobile phone on this trip. My wife and I enjoyed a four day break from being online. We were also surprised at how many restaurants were now all over as opposed to when we were there in 1993.
    We had a very nice time and family trip, and enjoyed Cuba and its people. I guess I somewhat resemble Hemingway now in older age as that became my nickname from a number of Cubans as we walked around. I got a chuckle out of it. About a week before we left home, an announcement was made from the US that some travel restrictions were coming. Apparently it pertained mainly to US tourists coming by cruise ship and the one visa option. The visa option we used was the one dealing with care for the Cuban people, which is still allowed as of this post. (People-to-people is not.)
    Being a native Floridian and hearing about my grandparents going there in the 40s and 50s, I've always been intrigued with Cuba. I definitely recommend visiting there, especially before there's a McDonald's and Starbucks on every corner. By the way, we tried to check on doing a day trip to a beach and cavern, (Saturn), but found that they didn't allow diving in Saturn and we could not arrange sensible transportion from Havana to these combined dive/snorkel sites. When we were there in 1993, we mostly stayed in Varadero, which made it much easier. (We flew there from Toronto back then with no issues.)
    caydiver likes this.
  3. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    Easy peasy—just don’t leave a paper/electronic trail. Take enough cash. Don’t use Internet (didn’t exist back when I was there).
  4. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
    My buddy Kevin Lee went to Cuba with a group of underwater photographers a couple of years ago. At the airport, he was singled out of the group for a s...l...o...w inspection that took two and a half hours. Although he enjoyed the diving, I doubt he will ever return.
  5. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    I often changed 10,000 USD for CUCs while there. I would never do that at a bank, I would do it with a local businessman (liquor store owner in this case) and it would take him a day to gather up the local currency from his associates. I paid a 3% premium.

    Use the money changer at the airport. Negotiate the exchange rate before you show them your greenbacks. Count the money before you exchange. If I were going for a weekend, I’d change a grand and have been shortchanged every time. We both laugh about the mistake. Ha ha ha ha. But the liquor store owner never tried to cheat me. But I wasn’t just getting a grand from him either.
  6. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Oh. And if you return from the states through Miami and they suspect you have been to Cuba, they WILL check your cell phone for pictures, phone records, etc. You don’t have to give them your unlock code, and they don’t have to let you out of the customs area for 36 hours. If this will be an issue, remove your SIM card and put it in your special place. Then give them the unlock code. Then when you get home, reload the SIM card.

  7. WeRtheOcean

    WeRtheOcean Nassau Grouper

    Too late. The OP already left an electronic trail by stating intent here.

    My question would be, what's in Cuba that you can't find in less risky countries? Maybe it's just me but, given that I have neither the life expectancy nor the finances to visit everywhere, I choose my destinations according to what's there.
  8. My employer (a VERY large broker dealer for brokerage and retirement accounts) will (by law) put an immediate LOCK on all your accounts if you are foolish enough to just access/look at your accounts from Cuba. It's possible your name will end up on assorted govt watch lists which is something you really don't want.
  9. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    This is the GOOD news of not having internet access....
  10. I'd be too scared to travel to ANY Police State (China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela...Cuba all come to mind.) Americans have no special protections/human rights there and no rule-of-law or recourse if the govt decides to grab you off the street and charge you with anything they want, you are totally screwed!

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