Intrepid travelers can now include Cuba as a destination with Delta Vacations, the airline’s new offering now that regular air service to Cuba is in full swing.
Trips include hotel and flight packages to Havana, Varadero, and Cayo Santa Maria. In Havana, travel agents can book clients into rooms at the iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba, the Meliá Habana, and the H10 Habana Panorama, among other properties.
Travel packages start as early as January 5, 2017.
Three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) approve of the decision last year to re-establish U.S. relations with Cuba, while nearly as many (73%) favor ending the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center conducted Dec. 1-5.
“Experiencing Cuba is a ‘bucket list’ item for many American travelers,” says John Caldwell, Delta Vacations president. “We are thrilled to now offer this opportunity for travelers wanting to experience the Cuban way of life, its energetic community, and distinct culture.”
Unless you are traveling to meet family in Cuba, most Americans travel in tour groups that ensure itineraries comply with the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control’s (OFAC) requirements for travel to the Communist-ruled island. The rules are meant to restrict purely vacation travel and instead are limited to so-called “people to eople” cultural exchange visits – or one of the other 12 categories of authorized travel. Travelers can easily self-certify by filling out and signing a one-page form, usually at the airport prior to departure.
One caution is compliance with U.S. travel rules for Cuba. “Delta Vacations does not offer programs that fully qualify travelers under these requirements, and we recommend becoming familiar with the travel restrictions before considering travel options,” according to a Delta press release.
For Americans, there are record keeping requirements that, unlike traveling with a tour company, Delta does not cover for travelers in its packages. The U.S. government says, “In the case of an individual traveling under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact, the individual may rely on the entity sponsoring the travel to satisfy those recordkeeping requirements.” This means going to Cuba with a tour company may be the safest option for many Americans.
Delta operates daily flights to Havana from New York/JFK, Atlanta, and Miami.