Jump to content
ilikewhatisgood

Can you walk around Cuba by yourself?

Recommended Posts

We are going on the Azamara cruise to Cuba on the 21 of March and I heard that you can only be with a tour guide (vs walking on your own).

 

Is it possible to tour the city by yourself? Is it safe? On our first day we booked the walking tour and the jazz club at night but don’t have anything booked for the second day in Cuba.

 

Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may find it helpful to look at the various roll-calls for Azamara cruises to Cuba, as there has been a lot of discussion about this. What I have learned from other posts in roll-calls is:

- you don’t have to do ships tours, but  can book tours with organisations approved by the US government (I guess tour operators tell you if they are approved)

- you need to make notes about what you do and keep them for 7 years

- no-one in Cuba is bothered what you do, but the US government may audit you later.

 

You can also look at the Cuba forum under the Ports of Call/Caribbean heading https://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/forum/765-cuba/

 

Edited by Host Grandma Cruising

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

You may find it helpful to look at the various roll-calls for Azamara cruises to Cuba, as there has been a lot of discussion about this. What I have learned from other posts in roll-calls is:

- you don’t have to do ships tours, but  can book tours with organisations approved by the US government (I guess tour operators tell you if they are approved)

- you need to make notes about what you do and keep them for 7 years

- no-one in Cuba is bothered what you do, but the US government may audit you later.

 

Almost correct HGR.  The US Government does not do any approving in Cuba; the rules fairly simply say you cannot spend any money for tours, food, drink, cigars, etc. where any of the money will go directly to the Cuban Government thru Gov. ownership of the business.  The Government has a list of business you cannot do business or buy  from  https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/cuba/cubarestrictedlist/287349.htm

 

And, yes you can walk around on your own.

 

Edited by rallydave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, rallydave said:

Almost correct HGR.  The US Government does not do any approving in Cuba; the rules fairly simply say you cannot spend any money for tours, food, drink, cigars, etc. where any of the money will go directly to the Cuban Government thru Gov. ownership of the business.  The Government has a list of business you cannot do business or buy  from  https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/cuba/cubarestrictedlist/287349.htm

 

And, yes you can walk around on your own.

 

Thanks, rallydave - I’ll remember that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, ilikewhatisgood said:

We are going on the Azamara cruise to Cuba on the 21 of March and I heard that you can only be with a tour guide (vs walking on your own).

 

Is it possible to tour the city by yourself? Is it safe? On our first day we booked the walking tour and the jazz club at night but don’t have anything booked for the second day in Cuba.

 

Thank you!

 

Yes, you can walk around on your own. Yes, you can tour with private guides. Yes, you can do ship's tours. Yes, we walked around on our own at night and felt safe. (We cruised on the Journey in December.)

 

We assume the US has far more important problems to solve (800,000 federal employees without paychecks) than to audit citizens who travel to Cuba.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we just got back and LOVED Cuba.  Yes, we walked around by ourselves and felt perfectly safe and comfortable even at night.  Weapons are not allowed, and punishment is strict and thorough, so there is very little crime.  The people are all very kind and welcoming.  Almost all of the restaurants have their own group playing Cuban music and the food was GREAT !

We were told to keep the form that we completed when we boarded the ship for 5 years, in case of an audit, but, in reality, the chances of that are slim to none.  

Have a wonderful cruise and enjoy yourself.  It is a great experience.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, ilikewhatisgood said:

Thank you! Do we have to bring currency?

Only if you want to buy something.  That said reports vary.  The Cuban Government wants you to pay in CUC's which you buy in the terminal after disembarking.  They have a fixed exchange rate with a 10% penalty for exchanging US Dollars.  

 

You cannot use credit or debit cards in Cuba.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/11/2019 at 6:27 PM, Phxazzcruisers said:

We were told to keep the form that we completed when we boarded the ship for 5 years, in case of an audit, but, in reality, the chances of that are slim to none.  

I assume this does not apply to U.K. citizens!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, upwarduk said:

I assume this does not apply to U.K. citizens!

Surprisingly technically because you enter from a US port it does however if the chance of checking up for a US guest is say 0.1% for a UK guest it’s 0.00001%

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, upwarduk said:

I assume this does not apply to U.K. citizens!

Unfortunately your assumption is incorrect.  Because the ship departed from a US port, the US rules apply to all aboard no matter your nationality.

 

And, to what you need to keep for at least 5 years, it is not a form you received, it is your diary/listing of what you actually did each day in Cuba to prove your visit complied with the US Government rules.  As others have said, the chances of being audited are slim to none and slim just left the building however the US Government works in mysterious ways so best to keep all of your documentation and visit history and this applies to all on the ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never hear of a diary being requested, but I think one could be cooked up fairly quickly and backdated after any such request.

 

Steven Wright's Diary as a Newborn:

Day 1: Still tired from the move.

Day 2: Everyone thinks I'm an idiot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/11/2019 at 9:52 AM, rallydave said:

Almost correct HGR.  The US Government does not do any approving in Cuba; the rules fairly simply say you cannot spend any money for tours, food, drink, cigars, etc. where any of the money will go directly to the Cuban Government thru Gov. ownership of the business.  The Government has a list of business you cannot do business or buy  from  https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/cuba/cubarestrictedlist/287349.htm

 

And, yes you can walk around on your own.

 

I keep hearing people referring to US approved tours in Cuba.  I agree with you, there is no such thing.  There are simply tours that comply with US regulations.  The "Support For the Cuban People" requirements allow a broad range of activities (just look at the Azamare tours for example).  It's easy to book a private tour, or even self-guided activities, that comply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/11/2019 at 10:27 AM, Phxazzcruisers said:

we just got back and LOVED Cuba.  Yes, we walked around by ourselves and felt perfectly safe and comfortable even at night.  Weapons are not allowed, and punishment is strict and thorough, so there is very little crime.  The people are all very kind and welcoming.  Almost all of the restaurants have their own group playing Cuban music and the food was GREAT !

We were told to keep the form that we completed when we boarded the ship for 5 years, in case of an audit, but, in reality, the chances of that are slim to none.  

Have a wonderful cruise and enjoy yourself.  It is a great experience.  

 

Helpful info.  Thanks for this.  We have booked and will be in Havana for 2 days in November.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been four times..only proof I have that I went is a stamp in passport and two bottles of rum. When you walk and eat out and go dancing there no proof.

no ne cares..as far as saving receipts I trash everything abd no restaurant gives you a copy as you paid in cash.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings

 

Just returned from Cuba on Journey yesterday.  You can do independent tours, you do not need to take ship tours.  Just check "Support for the Cuban People" on the form you fill out before you board.  Not a single Cuban knows or cares which box was checked, it is a US form.  All they check for in Cuba is the Cuban Visa which Azamara provides for the $75/person fee.

 

Cuba is very safe.  Crime is very low, people want to avoid the Cuban jails.  Guns and knives are illegal.  You will be approached by jineteros (street hustlers) who will want to take you on tour, sell you fake cigars or rum, or show you the "best" shops, restaurants etc then ask for money.  Either completely ignore them or just say no.

 

Enjoy Cuba, it is a fascinating place to visit.

 

Good Sailing

Tom  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Tom!

 

We booked the jazz club which is at 9:30 PM but now I’m thinking what if they have the Azamazing event that night? Was there an Azamazing even during your cruise? Ours is a 4 night on March 21.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, ilikewhatisgood said:

Thank you Tom!

 

We booked the jazz club which is at 9:30 PM but now I’m thinking what if they have the Azamazing event that night? Was there an Azamazing even during your cruise? Ours is a 4 night on March 21.

 

Usually only cruises over 7 days duration have Azamazing evenings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ilikewhatisgood said:

Thank you Tom!

 

We booked the jazz club which is at 9:30 PM but now I’m thinking what if they have the Azamazing event that night? Was there an Azamazing even during your cruise? Ours is a 4 night on March 21.

Greetings

 

Our Azamazing Evening was the 1st night in Havana.  It was originally planned for Santiago de Cuba but was changed.

 

Good Sailing

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bloodaxe said:

 

Usually only cruises over 7 days duration have Azamazing evenings.

 

Perhaps. I don’t know the rule.

 

But we enjoyed Azamazing Evenings on both 7 day legs of our B2B last summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our April 6th 7 night cruise on the Pursuit has an Azamazing evening scheduled.

 

So rather than more than 7 nights  perhaps it has to be  at least 7 nights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Bloodaxe said:

 

Usually only cruises over 7 days duration have Azamazing evenings.

 

Correction, I should have said cruises of at least 7 days duration

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/13/2019 at 10:34 AM, uktog said:

Surprisingly technically because you enter from a US port it does however if the chance of checking up for a US guest is say 0.1% for a UK guest it’s 0.00001%

 

Phew! I feel relieved! I thought that it was 0.000099%. That's taken a huge weight off my shoulders!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with Daniel Skjeldam, CEO Hurtigruten
      • Win a 7-Night Romantic Danube Luxury River Cruise with AmaWaterways
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×