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Travelling to Cuba (to climb)


Original Post
Charlie P · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40

I'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Cuba to climb and do some bike touring as well. From reading about it, the logistics once you get there seem pretty straightforward. What I'm mainly looking for is info on the current process to get a visa and fly there from the US. Has anybody traveled there recently from the US? I believe the new administration changed the rules slightly so up to date info would be invaluable. Any other advice would be welcome as well!

wsperry · · San Jose/Lafayette · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 110

My good friend owns a travel company that curates tours to Cuba. Here is an article he wrote on the new requirements. Also, he is a good resource to call if you need any tips/advice/places to go etc.

https://www.hastacuba.com/blogs/our-tour-blog/trump-announcement-on-cuba-policy-hasta-cuba

David N · · Los angeles · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Buy a plane ticket, rules have not changed yet. State dept has to give a ninety day notice before changes take place. Notice is expected later this year (fall). I'm leaving in a few days, if we encounter problems I'll reply back. 

Charlie P · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40

Thanks David! Let me know how your trip goes. It seems like the regulations a pretty lax and not strongly enforced.

David N · · Los angeles · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Only question I got returning from the customs guy is why I brought so few cigars back. 

No hassle from anyone.

 Vinales  was beautiful, although I wasn't there to climb so I can't comment on rock/route quality. 

Go before it gets spoiled by us Americanos or shuy down by El Presidente 

David N · · Los angeles · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Ben Glanton · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 5

Just got back yesterday. Bring plenty of cash to covert to CUCs, know a bit of Spanish and get your visa at the airport gate before you board the flight to Cuba. Don't eat chicken from a food vendor at the beach. Still dealing with that one. No problems with visas or reason for visit. Just say education and nothing else is said about it. 

Charlie P · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40

David and Ben,

Thanks for your info. Did you buy your plane tickets before June 17th? I've heard that's when some of the regulations changed (eliminating the person-person visit reason). That possibly might not have mattered since it sounds like Ben at least traveled under the guise of education. 

Ben Glanton · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 5

Booked mine on June 1. I had heard about person to person but that wasn't an option when I booked. They don't say what constitutes education and we visited museums so I feel that's more than fair. 

Stacy Bloom · · Oakland, California · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 15

Thanks for sharing guys.

Another question besides the logistics of getting in and out: Is climbing still illegal in Cuba? And what does that mean exactly if it is? Like it's not at all enforced or you can get a ticket and just bribe a cop or you actually risk getting put in jail if they wanted to be jerks? What's the deal with that? How much does a climber need to worry about the legality of it?

Scott M. McNamara · · Tucson, Arizona · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 55

This might be the person to ask about climbing in Cuba right now---https://www.mountainproject.com/u/armando-menocal//106288300

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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