Travel Advisors: Cuba FAQ

Please contact us directly if your questions are not answered here.

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What does a trip with CUBA CANDELA look like?

Exceptional and meaningful cultural experiences. The absolute best way to experience Cuba.

Your clients are greeted at the airport in Havana by their private chauffeur, with their name on a sign. Whisked away on a highly curated custom itinerary, clients are led by an exceptional bilingual Cuban guide, through experiences not found anywhere else in the world.

Your clients stay in beautiful boutique luxury properties, the hidden gems of Havana! Wonderful meals are had at Cuba’s best private restaurants (never prepaid or fixed menu). Each client’s travel arrangements directly support more than 30 Cuban entrepreneurs, giving additional meaning and depth to the experience. Sometimes, tears are shed at the airport on the last day. Read reviews from past guests.

How do the Cuba cruise ban and elimination of people-to-people travel announced on June 4, 2019 impact CUBA CANDELA tours?

Travel to Cuba with CUBA CANDELA remains safe and legal.

Our private custom tours are conducted under the “support for the Cuban people” travel authorization and will not be impacted by the elimination of group people-to-people travel announced on June 4, 2019. A typical trip with CUBA CANDELA directly supports more than thirty private sector Cuban entrepreneurs.

To give clients even more assurance in booking travel with us, all of our journeys are protected from future U.S. travel restrictions. If future U.S. travel restrictions prohibit your clients from legally traveling to Cuba with CUBA CANDELA, they will receive a full refund from us. To further inform and assure your clients that their travel with us is 100% protected, please review our Service Guarantee and Departure Policy.

Is land travel to Cuba still legal as of June 4, 2019?

Yes. Land travel is still legal under the “support for the Cuban people” travel authorization. We take care of required documents including the visa.

What is the authorized purpose for travel to Cuba?

All U.S. persons traveling to Cuba must select an authorized purpose for travel to Cuba, in order to qualify for a travel license (self-authorized, no physical license). Most of our travelers should select “support for the Cuban people” as the travel purpose.

What about commercial flights?

Commercial flights operate direct service to Havana and are super easy to book online. Your clients must know their travel purpose before booking.

What documentation is required by CUBA CANDELA?

One easy online form which takes 3-5 minutes to complete. This is the Travel Affidavit.

How do my clients obtain a visa?

The visa for Laurel and Royal Palm clients is included in our service. We mail it directly to clients prior to the trip. Nothing is required in advance. Mariposa clients purchase the visa at the airport, upon check-in or at the departure gate.

How do clients pay for CUBA CANDELA services?

U.S. credit or debit cards.

Is travel to Cuba safe?

Yes! Cuba is one of the safest countries in the world to visit. A March 2018 study showed that of nearly 500 U.S. travelers who visited Cuba in 2017 and 2018, 99% felt safe or very safe while in Cuba. Less than 1% felt unsafe and zero respondents felt very unsafe.

Land or cruise travel?

Land travel provides a much better experience in Cuba, allowing clients to be fully immersed in the amazing Cuban culture.

Cruise travel to Cuba is no longer legal, as of June 4, 2019.

What are accommodation options in Cuba?

For FITs (couples and families), we recommend luxury boutique hotels and villas. These hidden gems provide a dreamy and authentic experience with excellent service. Click here to view photos.

Can my clients stay at the Kempinski or Gran Packard?

No. The Kempinski and Gran Packard are on the State Department’s Restricted Entity List due to their affiliation with the “Cuban military, intelligence, or security services.” Americans are prohibited from staying at these hotels.

Can my clients stay at the Saratoga, Parque Central or Melia hotels?

Yes, but we recommend the boutique properties for the best lodging experience for FITs.

Can my clients have free time in Cuba?

Technically, clients must have a “full-time” schedule in Cuba. “Free time” is limited due to this requirement, but we can include some free time with the local guide.

A full-time schedule of cultural experiences with CUBA CANDELA is fantastic and not a burden on the client. If the full-time requirement did not exist, our programs would be exactly the same.

Are meals included in the price?

We include all meals for Laurel and Royal Palm clients. We include half of the meals for Mariposa clients. We provide clients with cash in Cuba and they order directly from the menu. No prepaid meals or fixed menus.

Can my clients spend multiple days at the beach?

No. The U.S. travel restrictions prohibit excessive recreation time (“beach time”) in Cuba. Beach resort trips are not allowed yet. We can include a half-day at the beach as part of a cultural excursion. Cultural trips are legal and are the magic of Cuba.

Can my clients go to beach resorts?

No, nor should they. Cuba is great for cultural experiences but not yet beach experiences due to the U.S. restriction on beach time and the lack of resort infrastructure.

Can my clients go diving, fishing, or snorkeling?

No, nor should they. Cuba is great for cultural experiences but not yet diving, fishing or snorkeling experiences due to the U.S. restriction on beach time and the lack of infrastructure.

Will my clients have access to WIFI in Cuba?

Yes, but we recommend that travelers expect to be disconnected from WIFI during their trip and embrace the digital detox! WIFI in Cuba has improved dramatically but can still be unreliable.

How long should my clients spend in Cuba?

Our most popular length of stay is 5 days (4 nights). We also recommend 4 and 7 day trips (3 and 6 nights, respectively). A 4-day trip allows clients to see Havana. With a 5-day trip, we also include a day-trip to the wonderful countryside in Viñales. A 7-day trip allows clients to venture to two additional cities, Cienfuegos and Trinidad, for an overnight excursion.

When is the best time of year to visit Cuba?

There is no bad time to visit Cuba. Peak season is December through March, when the Caribbean weather is irresistible. Prices are higher and reservations require more advance planning.

November, April and May are great months to visit as well, with less tourists and more lodging options. Temperatures rise in June, July and August, but August evening lows of 75 degrees on average are still excellent. September and October are low season.

We strongly recommend travel insurance year round, but especially in June - October to allow for a full refund in case of a mistimed hurricane.

How far in advance should clients book?

As soon as possible for the best accommodation options. For December, March and all holiday weekends, clients should book 3-6 months prior to travel. For any other time of year, 2-3 months is typically sufficient.

We can make last minute arrangements with at least one week prior to travel.

What is the booking process with CUBA CANDELA?

  1. Advisor inquiry

  2. CUBA CANDELA proposal

  3. 35% deposit with U.S. credit card

  4. Client books flights

  5. Itinerary customization

  6. Cuba travel handbook sent

  7. Final payment (60 days) with U.S. credit card

  8. CUBA CANDELA online form completed

  9. Visa mailed to client

  10. Final itinerary and farewell email sent

  11. *Amazing Cuba experience*

  12. Welcome home

  13. Client referrals for travel advisor!