Can I book the Educational/People-To-People program through RCI? No, RCI has partnered with Cuba Travel Services (CTS), an expert in providing travel to, and unique experiences in, Cuba. All services are provided through CTS and, as a result, RCI will not have the ability to book, cancel or change any of the accommodations/educational activities included in the program.
Can I use one of my timeshare weeks to exchange into a property in Cuba or to receive a discount when booking a People-To-People tour? No, external timeshare exchange does not currently exist in Cuba and therefore, there are no opportunities to travel to the country via this method. RCI has partnered with CTS to bring members this cash-based Educational/People-to-People program.
Is the tour open to anyone or exclusive to RCI members? These tours are only being offered to RCI members and their guests. They are not available to the open market.
Can I use a credit card or ATM card in Cuba? While travelers are allowed to use US credit and debit cards in Cuba, it will take Cuba some time to implement the proper technology and procedures to be able to accept American credit cards locally. Larger hotels are likely among the first to start accepting American credit cards. It is therefore, still advisable to bring cash for your purchases. ATM machines are also not readily available throughout cities and only located at banks and some larger hotels.
Do you use American airline companies or is it a charter flight? CTS charters its own planes to 6 different cities in Cuba from Miami, Tampa and New York. CTS contracts with large US companies, such as Sun Country and American Airlines, for these flights onboard 737 aircraft.
I am American, how can I legally travel to Cuba? There are 12 OFAC general license categories that allow travel to Cuba, without the need to seek specific licenses in advance of travel. This offer qualifies as an Educational/People-To-People general license-authorized program.
If I don’t qualify under one of the new general licenses to travel to Cuba, can I go through a third country? If you do not qualify for travel to Cuba under one of the general licenses, you cannot travel to Cuba directly, or through a third country, unless you receive a specific OFAC license in advance. In order to get a specific license, you need to submit a written license application to OFAC.
What is OFAC? The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces US economic and trade sanctions based on foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States. For more information on OFAC or its regulations, as they relate to travel to Cuba, you may visit the U.S. Treasury Dept. website directly at https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/cuba.aspx
What is People to People travel and can I travel as an individual or must I be part of a group? An Educational/People-to-People program is a licensed program that involves meaningful interaction between the traveler and the Cuban people, and often includes many cultural and educational components to the trip. It is a full-time program that helps you better understand and discover the destination through interaction with the Cuban people.. Normal tourism activities are not authorized. As of March 2016, individuals are authorized to travel to Cuba for People-to-People educational travel; however, they will still be responsible for engaging in a full-time schedule of Educational/People-to-People exchange activities and responsible for retaining all records related to the travel and transactions per OFAC regulations. In the CTS-led People-to-People trips, CTS will take care of the recordkeeping responsibilities.
What are examples of some people to people activities? An example can be an interactive discussion with teachers and students of a music school in Havana to learn about their schooling and systems. The interaction would also help the students and teachers understand about similar systems and schools in the US. Another example could be meeting with artists in Camaguey and having a discussion about their style, their background and their possible exhibitions in Cuba and overseas. Travelers could share stories about similar events or personal examples in their cities or travels.
Is there any free time in a people to people program? A people-to-people program, under OFAC regulations, consists of a full-time program of people-to-people activities. You may have some down time in the evenings after the full-time program has been fulfilled in compliance with the full time schedule of activities.
What paperwork is needed for me to travel to Cuba under general license? Under the general licenses, you will need to fill out a reservation form and a self-certification travel affidavit. CTS will also need a copy of your passport and the visa application form to help expedite your visa. If you are traveling under a people-to-people program, your sponsoring organization (CTS in this case) will also provide you with the necessary paperwork.
Do I need a visa to travel to Cuba and can you assist me in getting one? Cuba requires that all arriving travelers have a Cuban Tourist Card (visa) to enter the country. CTS can assist with the application process involved in obtaining this visa for you at one of its offices if you are purchasing your flight or travel package with CTS. If you were born in Cuba, there is a different procedure in place for your travel to Cuba. Please contact the CTS office at (562) 653-4507 to get more details on these requirements.
Can I get wheelchair assistance at the airport? Yes, you may ask for wheelchair assistance at the airport once you check in at the ticket counter.
Can I use American dollars in Cuba? You may bring American dollars into Cuba, but you will need to exchange them into the local Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) in order to make purchases while there. You can exchange currency at local banks, exchange bureaus, the airport and at most hotels.
Is there an amount of money that I am limited to spending while in Cuba? Under new regulations, there are no more restrictions or per diems on daily spending while in Cuba.
Can I bring back cigars and rum? And what other items can I bring? You are allowed to purchase and bring back from Cuba up to $400 worth of items for personal use, of which $100 can be alcohol and tobacco related products. Authorized travelers may also import certain items produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs. For further information, please refer to the US Customs page at http://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export%20/cbp-public-notice-process-imports-cuba
What is the exchange rate for CUC to USD? Though the exchange rate is 1 CUC to 1 USD, there is a 13% commission when exchanging currency. For example for 100 USD you will get back 87 CUC.
Does my Cell phone work in Cuba? At this time, cell phones that work on US carriers do not work in Cuba. You may be able to use certain apps on smartphones while on Wi-Fi at certain hotels.
Is there Wi-Fi in locations throughout Cuba? Wi-Fi is available at some of the larger hotels in Cuba for a charge, and mostly available in public areas of those hotels.
Can I use traveler’s checks in Cuba? Currently traveler’s checks are not accepted in Cuba, though this may change in the future with new US regulations.
I am a Cuban born US-Citizen, what documents do I need in order to travel to Cuba? If you left Cuba prior to January 1971, you can travel to Cuba with a valid Cuban passport or HE-11 visa. CTS can assist in obtaining both documents from the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, D.C. If you left Cuba after January 1971, you must travel to Cuba with a valid Cuban passport. Even if you are a citizen of another country, including the US, you must still follow these rules to travel to Cuba.
If I have an emergency in Cuba, who do I call? There will be a tour guide with the group during your trip who should be notified of any emergency situations. If you have an emergency and need assistance in addition to your tour guide, and you are a US citizen or resident, you may contact the US Interest Section while there at (53)(7) 839-4100. Otherwise, please contact your corresponding embassy or consulate. If you need to call the police while there, you will want to dial 106 from a local telephone for any emergency. Otherwise, you can also dial 104 for an ambulance and 105 for the fire department. Note that you will not find an English-speaking person that answers.
Do I need medical or travel insurance while traveling to Cuba? When purchasing your air ticket to Cuba, Cuban Medical Insurance is automatically included in the cost of your ticket (provided through ASISTUR), covering many emergencies, except pre-existing conditions. CTS does advise that you purchase travel interruption and cancellation insurance to cover you for other non-medical related emergencies. CTS can provide you with more information on our travel insurance program by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why can’t I travel freely to Cuba as I do to other destinations? Travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens and residents is restricted by the U.S. Embargo of Cuba and travel for tourism is prohibited by the U.S. Government for all U.S. citizens and residents (regardless of country of entry to Cuba) and all non U.S. citizens wishing to travel from the U.S. to Cuba. Only purposeful travel as enumerated by the 12 general license categories, or travel under the auspices of a specific license granted from OFAC, on a case by case basis, for those individuals who do not directly qualify for the general license categories, may travel to Cuba legally under the current U.S. restrictions with regards to travel with Cuba.
Will my passport be stamped in Cuba and is this ok? Upon arrival to Cuba, they will most likely stamp your passport, but if you are traveling under the new regulations and under one of the authorized licenses by OFAC, there are no issues with having this stamp on your passport.