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LAX-Havana -new traveler advice?

LAX-Havana -new traveler advice?

Old Jul 20, 05, 3:44 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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LAX-Havana -new traveler advice?

Hi - I am starting to plan a New Years trip to Havana and am looking for any and all advice for Americans flying into Cuba. I understand we need to go through Canada or Mexico (easier from LA), but have also heard about potential charter flights directly from the US.

Any advice or information would be incredibly helpful! Thanks!
efraser is offline  
Old Jul 20, 05, 5:52 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Circle City
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There are charters out of Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. I can't recall any others off hand but something is telling me I am missing a destination. Maybe Chicago or Houston. Tickets range from more or less $350 to $800 depending on where you fly from and what agency you go through. There are only a limited number of companies from whom you can get a ticket.

Considering what you said first about going through Canada or Mexico, I can only assume that you are doing this illegally. If that's the case, the charter flights are off limits. They are for people who have received permission from OFAC and a pre-departure visa or who are legally able to go for other reasons. If you are planning to go legally, you can use Marazul, C&T Charters, ABC Charters, Cuba Travel Service (CTS), Wilson Charters, or Gulfstream. This is from when I was going to go about a year back so the list may be a company short if one recently started.
Darren is offline  
Old Jul 21, 05, 2:22 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
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Originally Posted by Darren
Considering what you said first about going through Canada or Mexico, I can only assume that you are doing this illegally.
Illegally from a US point of view, that is. Nothing illegal about it in Mexico, Canada or Cuba.
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Old Jul 21, 05, 4:44 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2002
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Originally Posted by chtiet
Illegally from a US point of view, that is. Nothing illegal about it in Mexico, Canada or Cuba.
Well maybe Cuba as I'm sure the OP plans to leave and return to LA.

Havana is pretty dead for NYE if nightlife is your thing. Friends went and they said it was livelier at other times of the year. YMMV. GCM, NAS and MBJ are also other potential entry points if you're wary of going thru Mexico/Canada.
oiRRio is offline  
Old Jul 23, 05, 12:59 pm
  #5  
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No, I do not have permission from the US government to go - wish I had tried to do this while I was still a student! Still, seems do-able. Thanks for the advice!

Originally Posted by Darren
There are charters out of Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. I can't recall any others off hand but something is telling me I am missing a destination. Maybe Chicago or Houston. Tickets range from more or less $350 to $800 depending on where you fly from and what agency you go through. There are only a limited number of companies from whom you can get a ticket.

Considering what you said first about going through Canada or Mexico, I can only assume that you are doing this illegally. If that's the case, the charter flights are off limits. They are for people who have received permission from OFAC and a pre-departure visa or who are legally able to go for other reasons. If you are planning to go legally, you can use Marazul, C&T Charters, ABC Charters, Cuba Travel Service (CTS), Wilson Charters, or Gulfstream. This is from when I was going to go about a year back so the list may be a company short if one recently started.
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Old Jul 24, 05, 8:57 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
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Originally Posted by efraser
No, I do not have permission from the US government to go - wish I had tried to do this while I was still a student! Still, seems do-able. Thanks for the advice!
It's doable but just a lot of red tape. My trip was ultimately cancelled, but I basically got up to the point of being able to submit my plans to OFAC, the Cuban State Dept (it has another name that I can't recall at the moment) and two other Cuban agencies to have approved. OFAC and the two Cuban agencies were set, but I still needed approval from the CSD because I was to be working with some high level people at the University of Havana. I was to go for two reasons, one of which was reasonably high profiled in certain fields. The other was to do my own research. Becasue of the war of words that developed (and that always develops by every candidate) between the US and Cuba before the election, the decision was made to cancel and try it again some time in the future. I have not decided whether I will or not yet but I have a couple of years to think about it.

In the end, it turned out funny. I initially wanted to do a similar personal project in Libya, but the sanctions were still on and they were much, much stricter than the Cuba sanctions. OFAC acknowledged the value of my project, which was to last two months, and I had contacted the necessary people in Libya to help, but the sactions were just too powerful and the project was denied. I think it was shot down in November or December, if I remember right. So I started a similar Cuban project which was accepted on both sides with reasonably open arms and was encouraged by the people who I would be working with and for. Then the Cuba gig falls through in late April, right at the time the US drops sanctions to Libya. I gave up and did boring things. In the end, I *really* wish I had been able to do my project in Libya. I no longer have the time to devote for it and it would have been very, very powerful research given the direction of the country and the associated capital inflow.

You live, you learn...
Darren is offline  

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