To Sail to Cuba, Would You If You Could?

Map of Cuba, smallHavana is only 90 miles from the southern coast of Florida and a little over 1,200 nautical miles from Globe Marine’s headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. It’s a trip just long enough to carry a spare Run-dry Impeller® and DRIVESAVER® before leaving. So, if you could sail to Cuba, would you?

Thought You Could Go to Cuba Already, Can’t You?

SailboatYes and no. While the economic sanctions and travel restrictions to Cuba were loosened this past December and then again in January, technically you still can’t ‘vacation’ there. You can sign up for what’s called a ‘people-to-people’ tour, as long as the tour falls under one of the accepted travel categories. The most common categories are:

  • To visit family
  • Governmental or Diplomatic meetings or visits
  • Journalism
  • Professional research & meetings
  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Public, athletic, & other performances or competitions
  • Humanitarian aid or projects

Old Havana, CubaTour-members no longer have to apply for a license to travel to Cuba under one of these categories and there aren’t many established guidelines for meeting category these requirements.

Unfortunately, you still have to fly into Cuba on a chartered flight and tour (which would imply that tourism in Cuba for US tourists is now open). You still can’t sail there casually without risking a fine, your boat impounded, incarceration, etc. However, it can be done through the right channels by obtaining a “temporary sojourn permit” from the U.S. Department of Treasury. This is like an “export/import license” for your boat and may take up to six months for approval (Sailing to Cuba, SpinSheet, Feb. 25, 2015).

Why Bother?

Classic Cars in CubaBarring all of those licenses, and requirements, would you sail to Cuba if you could? What’s the point, you may ask? Just go to Bermuda or the Bahamas instead? Here are the most common tourist (i.e. not family, religious, humanitarian ones) reasons why:

  • Lure of the here-to forbidden locale.
  • To be amongst the first to see “Fidel’s” Cuba before there’s a Starbucks and McDonald’s on every corner.
  • Romanticism for the pre-Communist Cuba — remember, it once rivaled Vegas.
  • The history of the place!Cuban beaches
  • The unspoiled waters and beaches (although some argue this reason is marred by the downtrodden economy).
  • You’re a seasoned traveler who’s been everywhere else, why not here?

But, in all honesty, it’s so close; why not?

References

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