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Help planning a trip to Cuba

Help planning a trip to Cuba

Old Sep 16, 15, 5:17 pm
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Help planning a trip to Cuba

Hello,

I am planning on going to Cuba this upcoming spring and I would appreciate some help panning this trip.

First, I am a European Union passport holder but I am studying in Michigan. Closest airport to me are Detroit, Chicago, Windsor and London (Canada). I prefer ORD or DTW.
Will I have trouble getting back to the US after my trip? Immigration always asks me where I am coming from.

Second, I have been checking the prices and they are really cheap when booked in a flight + hotel configuration. I don't mind that but those are booked into the same hotel for the whole stay but I would like to visit a little more. Is there a website where I can book different hotel in a package configuration?

Ideally, I would visit Havana for 3 or 4 days then head to a resort on the beach for an additional 3 or 4 days.

I have a budget of 1500 / 2000 USD for flight, accommodation and expenses there.

Oh yeah and I forgot, I will travel alone from the US and a friend will join me from Europe.

Thanks!
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Old Sep 16, 15, 6:35 pm
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At this point, it will still be cheaper and easier to fly from Canada. Flights from the US are still charters and require licensing and are fairly expensive (not to mention not available to non citizens/permanent residents).

A good site to use is Sunwing.ca (not to mention they as they buy a lot of rooms) offer some split package (typically X nights in Varadero + Y nights in Havana). I found hotel offerings in Havana to be somewhat dismal especially if you want to stay in Havana Vieja.

Sunwing flights are more limited however. Westjet has more "scheduled" service.

What you could also do is book into a casa particulare in Havana and resort through the vacation sites (they sell off surplus inventory). Retail hotel rates (i.e., what is charged to the independent tourist who arranges on their own) is ridiculosly expensive.

You should be o.k. going to Cuba and re-entering the U.S. if you are not considered a U.S. person.
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Old Sep 16, 15, 7:34 pm
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As long as you are not a green-card holder, your travel to Cuba is not restricted the way it is for us Yanks.

I agree that your best bet is traveling from Canada, in your case, from Toronto. YVR is right that, as a non-citizen, you are not eligible for the US-Cuba charter flights.
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Old Sep 18, 15, 8:31 am
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It will be cheap if you book a package to Varadero with Sunwing, Westjet or Air Transat. While you are in Varadero take the Viazul bus to Havana for a few days and book a hotel or airbnb(i dont encourage this). Because the packahe to Varadero will inlcude, hotel, flight and meals and it will be cheaper than booking a flight alone.


Book using selloffvacations or itravel2000
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Old Sep 18, 15, 9:48 am
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When staying in an official hotel you will be not allowed to take your new cuban friends, no matter if they are male or female, to your hotel room. In a casa particular there are no problems. To make clear i do not expect such a behaviour from members of this board.
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Old Sep 19, 15, 11:54 am
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Thanks to all of you for your super valuable inputs! I will probably use SunWings that has a non stop flight to Cuba from Windsor which is a 40 minutes drive for me ^ ^


Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post

A good site to use is Sunwing.ca (not to mention they as they buy a lot of rooms) offer some split package (typically X nights in Varadero + Y nights in Havana).
I can't find those split packages, where do you look for them?
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Old Sep 19, 15, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Mict View Post
I can't find those split packages, where do you look for them?
Sorry, might have been Transat/Nolitours. It's been over 7-8 months since I was planning for Cuba.

http://www.transatholidays.com/en/Va...=23462&tmpl=DO

https://www.westjet.com/vacations/en...21108-20140408

http://www.holasunholidays.ca/holasu...roducts/combos
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Old Sep 19, 15, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
Thank you! Will most probably book one of these
Too bad they all leave from Toronto, I will have to book a pretty expensive positioning flight.
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Old Sep 19, 15, 6:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Mict View Post
Thank you! Will most probably book one of these
Too bad they all leave from Toronto, I will have to book a pretty expensive positioning flight.
In that case, it might be cheaper to book for Varadero, and throw away a few nights and go to Havana under your own steam. Just be sure to book the Viazul bus ahead of time as seats can be very limited and there are no backup busses.
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Old Sep 20, 15, 7:50 pm
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You really dont need a split package. You buy a 2 week package for Varadero and then during that stay go to Havana, but you will need to come back to Varadero to checkout and catch that flight back.
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Old Sep 21, 15, 5:22 am
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A problem I haven't solved yet is that my friend is coming from Europe directly to Cuba but when I want to book a package, I have to book the flight for the 2 of us from the same departure point.

Would it work if I book the package so the flight for 2 but I show up alone for the flights and my friend joins me in Cuba through another airline?
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Old Sep 21, 15, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by Mict View Post
A problem I haven't solved yet is that my friend is coming from Europe directly to Cuba but when I want to book a package, I have to book the flight for the 2 of us from the same departure point.

Would it work if I book the package so the flight for 2 but I show up alone for the flights and my friend joins me in Cuba through another airline?
That will not work. In this case you can either book a flight only to Cuba and each book the hotel package together. That is you book the hotel for 2 people.
You have another option for flights but may cost more

You can fly into Varadero and fly out of Havana so you do not have to backtrack to Varadero.
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Old Nov 15, 15, 9:24 pm
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
At this point, it will still be cheaper and easier to fly from Canada. Flights from the US are still charters and require licensing and are fairly expensive (not to mention not available to non citizens/permanent residents).
You should be o.k. going to Cuba and re-entering the U.S. if you are not considered a U.S. person.
One doesn't need to apply for a license for a charter now as you can travel under a general license using one of the twelve broad categories. As far as returning to the US there hasn't been an individual fined for traveling to Cuba in the last several years, and I would be surprised if that changed under the current adminstration. Of course who knows what will happen in the future.
Cheers
Howie
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Old Nov 16, 15, 12:05 am
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One doesn't need to apply for a license for a charter now as you can travel under a general license using one of the twelve broad categories.
The OP is an EU citizen and not a U.S. green-card holder. No restrictions on travel. However, as a non-U.S. citizen, the Cuba charter flights from the United States are not open to him/her.
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Old Nov 16, 15, 11:14 am
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Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
The OP is an EU citizen and not a U.S. green-card holder. No restrictions on travel. However, as a non-U.S. citizen, the Cuba charter flights from the United States are not open to him/her.
Woops missed that..Sorry guys
Cheers
Howie
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