For decades, there was a massive standoff between the US and Cuba with regard to travel and business. However, two years ago, the United States government moved to ease some of the restrictions placed against Americans traveling to the island. In 2016, over 600,000 Americans and Cuban-Americans visited the country.
It is now estimated that over 2 million Americans will visit Cuba by 2025. This is a dramatic turnaround from what has been witnessed over the last four decades, and the expectation is that the tourism and real estate industries will see a massive boom.
New rules to travel to Cuba
In November 2017, the US treasury published a new set of rules regarding travel to Cuba for Americans. Under these new regulations, individual travel is much more difficult, but small group trips are still perfectly legal. There are 12 categories in which one can travel, these include journalistic, family, professional research, humanitarian, religious, performance, competition-related trips and more. Before you head out, it is important to know what category you are traveling under in order to stay within the confines of the regulations.
Travel companies such as Espíritu Travel offer legal travel to Cuba. All our trips fall under the category for Support for Cuba people. You will be supporting Cuban people by staying in casas particulares, eating at family owned paladares and having bilingual, independent Cuban guides.
Hurricanes in Cuba
Because it is a swath of islands, Cuba is not immune to the hurricane season. However, the hurricanes that have made landfall in the area over the decades have been manageable without widespread devastation. For a country with limited financial resources, the island’s hurricane preparedness is legendary. In fact, post-hurricane Ivan (2004), the UN lauded this nation as one of the most savvy countries on earth when it comes to disaster preparedness.
There are coordinated national and local emergency response teams and the public is very well educated about measures to take when a hurricane hits the island.
Cuba has deliberate and systematic hurricane evacuation measures. There are emergency evacuation centers with very specific routes as well as emergency alert systems that advise citizens to either stay inside their houses or evacuate to safer zones.
Homes are retrofitted for hurricanes and have backup power systems and food supplies to last awhile. In addition, Cubans ability to divert all resources to reconstruction when necessary it outstanding.
Violence in Cuba
The US government rates Cuba as a middle crime economy. This means that most of the crimes committed in the country are of a non-violent nature, and that the level of risk for locals and tourists is not high. There is of course the odd event of people swindlingly tourists, but these are not violent crimes and can be mitigated by the would-be victim taking the right precautions.
Cuba has tighter gun control laws than the US, so mass shootings do not happen in the country. Cuba has 4.8 guns per 100 people, while the United States has 88.8 guns within the same sample of people.
Gender-based violence in Cuba
In the Cuba Constitution’s article 41, there is express prohibition of violence and discrimination against anyone on any basis. The state does a decent job in making sure that women are protected from abusive partners, and the culture of male dominance that was so prevalent decades ago seems to be wearing off.
The Cuban Penal code does not have an explicit law against gender-based violence, and this is something the United Nation has been pushing for the country to work on.
Human rights organizations indicate that domestic gender-based violence is less of a concern than the kind of threat posed by law enforcement on women until a few year ago. However, the statistics present at the moment indicate that the police and military are always under pressure to proof that they treat men and women the same.
That and the close eye of the international community makes sure that any law enforcement officer discriminating against females because of their gender faces the wrath of the law. Cases of gender-based violence against foreign women in the country is a rare phenomenon.
Is it safe for Americans to travel to Cuba?
It is very safe to travel to the island. The US embassy in Cuba receives just about 5 reports of nonviolent crimes against tourists in a month. From time to time, the State Department
provides travel advisories and warnings, but this only happens when Cuba is on the verge of natural disaster.
These have been few and far between in recent years, which goes to show how stable the country has become in order to stay safe.
How does our travel company work?
Espíritu Travel is one of the leading travel companies out there, and we help Americans plan their dream trip to Cuba. We take care of all the details and logistics so you can relax and enjoy your vacation. We have selected a variety of destinations within Cuba that will prove to be an experience for American travelers.
In order to make sure everyone enjoys their trip to the fullest, we see to it that only a maximum of six people make up a tour. Thousands of Americans travel to Cuba every month. If you have been thinking about joining this privileged club, then all you need to do is reach out to us now, and we ca help you to achieve a hassle-free, cost-effective stay in the country.