Bird soaring over Santiago de Cuba
Written by:Anne-Marie Rollings
Date posted:December 3, 2013
Posted in:Home / Locations / Cuba / Cuba for U.S. citizens

Cuba for U.S. citizens

We are often asked by American students whether they can attend a course at one of our schools in Cuba, to which the answer is yes! In fact, over the years we have arranged many courses for Americans at our schools there.

In 1960, relations between Cuba and the United States deteriorated and the US government imposed an embargo on its Caribbean neighbour. Technically, this does mean that US citizens are not permitted to spend money in Cuba. However, many US citizens do successfully travel to Cuba every year. US citizens are welcomed by Cuba and generally receive a very warm welcome from the locals!

Unfortunately, US airlines do not fly to Cuba. However, it is possible for US citizens to travel to other countries in the region (such as Mexico, Bahamas, Jamaica or even Canada) and to take a connecting flight to Havana from there. You may like to view for further information on flights to Havana.

All students, regardless of their nationality, will require a tourist visa to enter Cuba. This can normally be arranged by the airline with whom you will fly to Havana. The tourist card, rather than your passport, will be stamped upon your arrival into Havana. The tourist card usually costs around 40 USD and is valid for a period of 30 days. You can renew this visa once whilst you are in Cuba. After that, if you wish to extend your visa, you will need to leave the country for at least one day (students usually travel to neighbouring countries such as Mexico) to then be able to enter again on a tourist visa.

When going through customs in Havana, students should state that they are tourists and will be staying in a hotel. This is to avoid confusion, as if you mention that you will be studying at a school, officials are very likely to misunderstand and will then expect you to have a student visa (which is actually only suitable for those studying at a Cuban university). This advice applies to all students including US citizens.

If you are a US citizen planning to travel to Cuba, one very important thing to consider is money. Due to the US embargo on Cuba, you will not be able to use or change US Dollars (even where this is possible, very high commission rates are applied). You will also be unable to use any traveller’s cheques, debit or credit cards issued by a US bank. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you take Euros with you to Cuba. There are actually two currencies in Cuba. The official currency is the Peso Convertible (CUC), which is the currency normally used by tourists. The Peso Cubano/Moneda Nacional is the currency used by Cuban nationals only.

We offer Spanish courses in the following locations in Cuba:

  • Havana – Atmospheric Havana is one of the most fascinating capitals in the world. A melting pot of cultures, visiting Havana is like stepping back in time and is famous for its faded (but still magnificent) art deco architecture and classic cars!
  • Trinidad – The best preserved Spanish colonial town in Cuba, Trinidad is an excellent choice of location for those interested in the country’s history, whilst also maintaining a lively nightlife.
  • Santiago de Cuba – The second largest city in Cuba, Santiago has a distinctly ‘Caribbean’ atmosphere and was, historically, one of the most important ports in the region.

We hope that this information will better prepare you for your trip to Cuba!

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact us as we will be very pleased to help.

Anne Marie


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