Every year since I was 21, I have celebrated my birthday in a different country. Not necessarily on purpose, it just always worked out that way, but I decided I want to make it a tradition. This year I had no set plans, but at some point I got it in my head that I want to be in Cuba for my birthday. Naturally, I started googling and pinteresting away trying to learn everything I could about traveling the country. Which is why it is this weeks obsession… Because all I do is think about how I am going to get there, the cost, how much time I need to not feel rushed but also not lose my job, and of course, how to get a visa for the country.
It’s a bit different for Americans to travel to Cuba than the rest of the world. Just recently they have made it easier for us to travel to Cuba, but there are still a few hoops to jump through. All the government websites are a bit confusing and some blogs are a bit too vague. But what I have learned so far is that you can get a visa if you fall under one of these 12 categories on the OFAC page here. BUT, I always found on Delta’s website, you can fly direct to Havana through them and you can purchase your tourist visa ($50) and sign the OFAC sheet at the airport which allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days. Their webpage is very helpful and answered most of my visa questions, and their round trip flights are pretty dang cheap! If you’re interested click here to read up on the travel requirements.
Now that I have the boring stuff figured out I have time for the fun stuff like googling cool sites and things to check out in the cities! Pinterest is always my go-to for the initial research phase because people are always posting cool pictures and “top 10” posts which give you a good idea for what to start looking into! I also bought the Lonely Planet guide to Cuba off Amazon and am waiting for that to come in the mail! Those books are great for figuring out what the highlights are for each country and even sorting out an itinerary for yourself. I don’t necessarily follow everything the book says but it is definitely a great guide to get started. Generally, I don’t plan a trip too much in advance, but I feel this go around I will have to do a bit more planning because I will only have a short amount of time in the country and from what I have read, there is A LOT to see and experience.
I still have a lot to look into but my birthday is still 4 months away, so as a chronic procrastinator, I have PLENTY of time!