People have asked so many questions about going to Cuba. The big secret is… it isn’t a secret at all! So I want to share it with everyone!
Miami airport offers straight flights to Cuba. Flights may also be available in other US cities. I have also heard of people flying from Canada and Mexico. I used ABC Charters to fly to Havana.
To be eligible to enter Cuba, Americans must meet the criteria for 1 of the 12 categories. If a person does not meet the conditions, they may apply for a license from Office of Foreign Assets Control to travel to Cuba. A rather common category and also the option I met the criteria was ‘support for the Cuban people’ also referred to as, people to people.
The 12 categories are:
- family visits
- official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
- journalistic activity
- professional research and professional meetings
- educational activities
- religious activities
- public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions;
- support for the Cuban people
- humanitarian projects
- activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
- exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
- certain authorized export transactions.
I was able to meet the People to People criteria because of the educational component Jakera Cuba provided during my stay. My lodging was ar a Casa, other guests had private rooms in an apartment style home and a hostel style accommodation was also available.
The cost for a 7 day program was $350- $400. This included lodging and as I mentioned, 2 home cooked meals each day.
There were also longer programs available. For 2 weeks or more, and visited other cities, like Varadero. I met a couple people who had been there over a month.
What was included: Meals
Breakfast and lunch were provided every day, which was always a home cooked Cuban cuisine.
Each morning after breakfast, we attended Spanish class. Many days these classes took place as we walked through museums, markets, and the beach. There were different levels of Spanish based on your ability and it was held as a group of 5-12 students from all over the world.
A couple evenings during the week, everyone attended Salsa dancing lessons.
We went on 3 walking tours of the city, although there was one available each day. A guide from Jakera would walk the city with us, explaining, teaching and recommending things to us.
Airport transfer was included, at no charge. A driver met me at the airport, helped with my luggage and drove me to my Casa.
Jakera Cuba was great for solo travelers. I met many people who had traveled by themselves and were having a wonderful time. With all the activities and meals together each day, everyone had a lot of time to socialize and get to know each other.
To this day, Cuba is still my favorite country! I can’t get over how warm and welcoming everyone was!
Cuba is vibrant and captivating! It constantly feels like you’re on a the set of a movie. Unexpected and amazing sights are around every corner and flowing from the streets. Always have your camera ready because you never know what you’ll be seeing next!
This Spring, I visited Havana, Cuba with Jakera. During my stay I lived, learned, ate and interacted with many of the locals.
My program provided lodging, meals, Spanish classes and local activities. I stayed in a Casa Particular with a very friendly host family, who all happened to be named Patricia – grandmother, mother and daughter.
Every morning at the Jakera house, we had homemade Cuban breakfast prepared for us. Breakfast was followed by a three-hour interactive Spanish class and then we had a home cooked lunch. During class we walked around the city, visited museums and even the beach. It was a truly magical experience!
For those who haven’t been to Cuba this list will help you prepare for the ups and the downs. And for those who have been, this should be a reminder why Cuba is so great!
I can say wholeheartedly, that I absolutely loved Cuba. Last month I stayed in Havana for a week and I still look at the pictures over and over. The colors were amazing, the cars were surreal and the people were absolutely delightful. I can’t get over it. I’ll need to return soon!
Until then here are my favorite photos to inspire you to see it for yourself.
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Cruise around in a convertible
Rent a drop-top from Ace Rent A Car, crank the tunes and pick up some friends!
We had a blast cruising around with the wind whipping in our hair. Got a little sunburn but nothing beats belting out Journey at the top of your lungs.