Last update: 1/22/2021
Cuba started reopening to international tourism on July 1, 2020 and, like many other countries open for tourists, it has opened its cities gradually. Havana officially reopened to tourists on November 15, 2020. Varadero, Cayo Largo, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa María, and Cayo Cruz are also welcoming visitors.
Tourists from all countries that can normally visit Cuba are currently allowed to enter Cuba, subject to the same visa requirements. However, under United States law, Americans cannot travel directly from the U.S. to Cuba for tourist reasons.
Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State has implemented a “Level 4- Do Not Travel” travel advisory for Cuba, so we do not recommend traveling to Cuba if you live in the U.S. or are a U.S. national.
Can I travel to Cuba right now?
Cuba is open to travel from all countries that are normally allowed to enter Cuba. Below is a map of the countries that can currently enter Cuba.
Cuba - EN
Tourists from all countries can travel to Cuba except for those from countries with a Cuba travel ban in place.
- United States*
*Travellers from the United States are not technically banned from visiting Cuba, but under U.S. law, it is illegal to travel directly from the U.S. to Cuba for tourist purposes.
Cuba COVID-19 travel restrictions and entry requirements
Cuba is open to travelers from almost all countries and its entry requirements are pretty straightforward.
All travelers must fill out a health declaration form (you may be given this form on your flight, but it might be helpful to fill it out ahead of time) and present it on arrival. All travelers will also be tested with a PCR test upon arrival. The Health fee that Cuba is charging from Dec 1st 2020 is $30 and will be included in the price of your flight ticket in most cases.
International travelers are allowed to explore the island once they get a negative result from their test at the airport (the result should be available within 24 hours), whether they are staying in hotels or Casas Particulares. Cuban nationals and residents will need to contact the health center in the area where they are staying and take a second PCR test on their 5th day in Cuba.
Is PCR testing mandatory to travel to Cuba?
You do not need to get a PCR COVID test before you travel to Cuba. However, you will be tested upon arrival (the cost of this test is $30, but most airlines include this fee in the price of tickets). If the result is negative (it should be available within 24 hours), you will be allowed to explore the island.
Cuban nationals will also have to take a second PCR COVID test after five days of isolation. If that second PCR COVID test is negative, they will no longer have to self-isolate.
Is there any mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Cuba?
International travelers only need to quarantine until they get a negative result for the PCR test taken at the airport; this can take 24 to 48 hours.
Cuban nationals and residents will need to quarantine upon arrival in Cuba for 7 to 10 days, waiting for a negative result from the second PCR test taken on the fifth day of their stay in Cuba. This can take 24 to 48 hours.
Is travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage mandatory to enter Cuba?
You need valid travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage to enter Cuba.
Heymondo’s comprehensive COVID-19 insurance policy is probably your best bet for travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage for Cuba. Their policy includes COVID-19 testing and treatment abroad, so you can be sure that it will provide sufficient coverage while you are in Cuba. You can even get a 5% discount on their insurance just for being our reader!
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COVID-19 vaccine to travel to Cuba
Although COVID-19 vaccine distribution has begun in most countries around the world, the government has not yet confirmed whether it will be mandatory to present a proof of vaccine record (POVR) or an international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis (ICVP) to enter Cuba.
If you’re going to get the COVID-19 vaccine before traveling to Cuba, I recommend keeping a vaccination record or certificate in case Cuba changes its entry requirements.
Other travel restrictions for Cuba during COVID-19
There are few other travel restrictions for travelers to follow in Cuba:
- Travelers from all countries must complete a health declaration form (this can either be completed on the plane or before departure) and present it upon arrival.
- Tourists from all countries should expect to have their temperatures checked.
- Face masks must be worn at all times in public areas. This is required by law.
- Social distancing must be observed.
- Depending on your nationality, you may need a tourist visa to enter Cuba. Check if you need one below.
What is open in Cuba
Cuba has some of the strictest regulations but it’s also one of the safest places to travel right now. Hotels, attractions, and restaurants are open but with new safety measurements in place.
Hotels that are open in Cuba
There are some open hotels in Cuba. Only the ones that have been inspected and got The Hygienic and Safe Tourism certification can operate. These hotels have implemented strict sanitary protocols and the staff has been trained to follow the new safety measurements.
Currently, all hotels need to have a nurse, a doctor, and an epidemiologist on the grounds 24 hours a day. There will be temperature checks for all the staff members and guests every day. Besides, 24 hours must elapse between the time a room is vacated until it is reoccupied since an exhaustive cleaning of all surfaces that may have been touched by guests will be carried out.
International tourists can also stay at casas particulares. In that case, the owners will be in continuous communication with the family doctor and nurse to inform them about the health status of their guests.
Open Beaches in Cuba – Is Varadero open?
Varadero reopened to international tourism on October 15th. Like most beaches in Cuba, the beaches in Varadero are open but with safety measurements in place. Social distancing and wearing a face mask to enter and exit the beaches is mandatory, but once you find a good spot in the sand and there is no one around, you’re free to take your mask off and enjoy the sun.
Cayo Santa María, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Cruz and Cayo Largo del Sur are other summer destinations in Cuba that are welcoming international tourists.
Restaurants that are open in Cuba
All restaurants and cafes in Cuba have reopened but with a capacity limit of between 30 and 40%. In addition, all tables must be 1.5 meters apart. All dance activities that do not allow maintaining a safe distance are suspended.
Transport that is operating in Cuba
There are many ways to move around in Cuba. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, we only recommend official transport like taxis, Viazul buses, or certified tours.
During our 15-day Cuba trip, we used shared cars most of the time, but this is not an option during the pandemic. However, Viazul buses are operating and are a great way to move around. Also, there are many tours operators that can help you to do the best things to do in Cuba even during the pandemic:
- Varadero airport shuttle
- Havana airport shuttle
- 1-day Havana tour from Varadero
- 1-day Varadero tour from Havana
- 1-day Viñales tour from Havana
- Trinidad and Cienfuegos from Havana
- Trinidad and Cienfuegos from Varadero
- Classic American Car Tour in La Habana
Airports that are open in Cuba
All international airports in Cuba are open and receive travelers. The most important, the José Martí International Airport (Havana), was the last to reopen, on November 15; just a month after the Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport (Varadero) resumed its operation, the second most important by volume and income, since it is the one chosen by most tourists looking for a beach destination.
The airports of Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo del Sur and Abel de Santamaría in Santa Clara have been operating since July, so there are many different options to travel to Cuba right now.
Cuba reopening its borders to tourists – F.A.Q.
Check out these FAQs related to Cuba reopening for tourists and let us know if you have any other questions in the comments below.
Yes, you can travel to Cuba right now as long as you are not traveling from Kosovo or the United States.
There are currently 400+ active cases and 130+ deaths due to COVID-19 in Cuba as of today. The CDC classifies travel to Cuba as “Level 3- High Risk.” If you have a pre-existing condition or any health condition that could increase your chances of serious illness, avoid traveling to Cuba.
No, the only countries that cannot currently visit Cuba are countries that would not normally be allowed to visit Cuba anyway: Kosovo and the United States.
Yes, international travelers must self-isolate until they get a negative result for the PCR COVID test carried out at the airport. Cuban nationals and residents will need to quarantine until they get the result of a second PCR test taken on their 5th day in Cuba.
PCR test results can take from 24 to 48 hours to be available.
No, you do not need to take a PCR COVID test before you travel to Cuba. However, upon arrival in Cuba, you will get a PCR COVID test, which costs $30 (this health fee may be included in the price of your flight ticket). Cuban nationals and residents will have to take a second PCR test on the 5th day after their arrival and quarantine until they get the result of that test.
No, there is currently no curfew in place in Cuba.
There are currently no restrictions on intercity or interstate travel in Cuba.
Yes, hotels in Cuba are currently open.
Yes, Cuba’s airports are open. Both commercial and chartered flights are available.
Yes, restaurants and cafes are open in Cuba.
Yes, Old Havana is currently open.
Yes, Varadero Beach is currently open.
Yes, the Bay of Pigs is currently open for visitors.
Yes, Viazul buses have resumed their operation.
Yes, Cuba is technically open to American tourists, but the U.S. Department of State advises Americans not to visit Cuba. Additionally, under U.S. law, it is illegal to fly directly from the U.S. to Cuba for tourist purposes.
Yes, Cuba is currently open to Canadian tourists.
We will update this guide on Cuba reopening to tourism with any new developments. If you need more information on travel to Cuba, you can check these official sources:
- US Embassy Updates on COVID-19 in Cuba
- CDC Travel Recommendations for Cuba
- General Cuba Travel Advisory
- Cuba Health Declaration Form
- Cuban Government’s COVID-19 Page in Spanish
- Health Protocols for International Travelers in Cuba
- Ministry of Tourism of Cuba
- New normal in Cuban airports