Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Independant Travel to Cuba is here - we are excited

Gabo y Funes
There is a new opportunity for US visitors to Cuba who can travel by themselves, with their families, or with a group of friends. The revised regulations for people to people travel now allow for Individual travel. NEEM has been doing individual general license since 2014. Now its cool. The U.S. and Cuba didn't like it then but it was legal. Now its not a loop hole, its official and it is perhaps one of the most gratifying things we can think of.
The individual general license relies completely on the integrity and judgment of US travelers as to what qualifies. OFAC is in no position to sanction the actions of individual citizens while in Cuba.
The Obama Administration's intention for the new regulation, is for Americans to travel freely as emissaries at reduced costs so NEEM has addressed that at $1700 (Havana only) - $1900 (overnight Trinidad) for 9 days of independent travel with itinerary provided and under the most recent OFAC regulation guidelines.  There is independent travel but we still are under full embargo and what the U.S. says does not necessarily mean it is in Cuba.
Structured Delegations will continue to provide access we have that are impossible for independent travelers to arrange. While some "groups" lack the spontaneity NEEM has always offered intense P2P interaction. Never the less one on one engagement that visitors can achieve on their own is different. Either way with NEEM you get that people to people exchange but to me nothing is like the personal experience of individual travel. 
This is what we have fought for here and in Cuba for since1996. We are more than excited to see it come to fruition. Under reasonable pricing is when you should work with the organizations who have credentials, will get good lodging, not turned down for air, send you to the good spots and insure travel is not only legal but comfortable. Americans need to know after this many years everyone in Cuba is a travel expert and shoot from the hip arrangements can turn into a nightmare.
The issue under the individual general license is not where you go but what you do along the way and once you get there. All we are doing is making sure you have what you need, understand the regulations, get you into comfortable rather than questionable circumstances, provide services you now perform yourself and make sure you know what to do, where to go, how to get around and leave you with a number to call if there is a critical issue.