What are the new rules/changes for Cuba travel from the United States?

We have been flooded with questions since President Obama announced a loosening of travel restrictions as well as a more open policy towards Cuba. Please find some of the most frequently asked questions below
What you need to know:

1.Has the US Embargo against Cuba been lifted and if so, can we travel on our own to Cuba?

The US Embargo and travel restrictions are still in effect. However, President Obama eased the restrictions on twelve categories of travel, this means that companies like Cultural Island Travel are automatically authorized to send Americans to Cuba legally under this provision. The only difference is we are no longer required to go through lengthy licensing processes and reporting requirements.

2. What is people-to-people travel?

People-to-People travel is the category under which every day Americans can visit Cuba. We are one of the few organizations that the United States Treasury department’s Office of Foreign assets control has authorized to conduct this type of travel. People-to People travel gets you straight to the heart of Cuba-its people. We put you in touch with the everyday people of the island. With over 15 years of experience with Cuban artists, we make certain that you meet the best musicians, artists, dancers, and entrepreneurs in Cuba.

3. Can I travel by myself under a people-to-people license or can I apply for a people-to-people license?

No, the new laws still require that a US citizen must travel with a company that organizes people-to-people trips. It also states that the company and the travelers must fall within the requirements and rules of the license.

4. Can I book a flight without registering for a tour?

Unfortunately, this is not yet permitted. We are only permitted to book flights for people who are participating on our cultural tours.

5. Can I just book a beach vacation?

No, beach vacations are not considered people-to-people travel and are therefore not permitted. Cuba is a unique and culturally rich destination that has much to offer besides for the beach.

6. Can I use my credit card or debit card in Cuba?

President Obama has announced that U.S travelers will be permitted to use credit cards on the island, however it will probably take quite some time for U.S. Banks to establish themselves in Cuba. Also, credit cards are not very widely accepted in Cuba at the moment.