To travel to Cuba, I had to get a Support for the Cuban People Visa. This was a surprisingly easy process because I was able to purchase one ahead of time through my airline (I traveled American Airlines from Miami to Havana, which is the only current airport available for US travel).
As part of the visa process, I was told to have an itinerary on me at all times that included a full time schedule of activities that supported Cuban citizens (this is broadly defined: staying at AirBnBs, private restaurants, excursions, and tours count, as long as they aren’t government sponsored). As far as getting around while I was there, I had cars pre-arranged by my hosts (my amazing AirBnB host in Havana, Ivelin, helped me get to the airport and Iliana helped to arrange cars for my other destinations). This is standard practice down there and I’ve heard it far superior to taking buses around. AirBnB has become the primary kind of lodging down there for US travelers and it’s pretty great to be able to see a lot of reviews about a host before you go.
Everyone I talked to and everything I read told me that traveling to Cuba would be complicated, but it honestly went off without a hitch. No one checked my itinerary the entire time (not even at the airport). I never had to go through customs (I filled out some simple paperwork at the airport, but it was very easy).
Universally, the Cubans I talked to are welcoming US tourists with open arms–they have had a very slow tourist year with travel restrictions and the reinstatement of the embargo (I’m sure the recent pandemic isn’t helping, either). They told me to spread the word back home about how truly easy it is to travel to Cuba now.
By Stephanie Skaggs, Tacoma Public School Teacher and recipient of Cienfuegos Grant to visit Cuba