Americas Cuba Travel Agency is dedicated to providing the service to our families living in the United States and Cuba. From the initial inquiry to Air Reservations, Hotel accommodations, Transportation, to processing the necessary legal paperwork, Americas Cuba Travel Agency is sure to provide the assurance and smooth travel experience to Cuba.
A full service travel agency, specializing in Cuba.
Our goal is to make each of our client’s trips as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible. Working closely with the Cuban tour operators, we can offer assistance at every level of your travel and program needs.
Our travel arrangements are catered to individuals, groups, families, educators, students, professionals and organizations, under specific or general licenses issued by the U.S. Treasury Department. Our goal is to facilitate the experience that only Cuba can offer through its culture, history, natural beauty and people.
Established in 2011.
Our business travel planning to Cuba was established in March 2011. We are an OFAC approved Travel Service Provider qualified and licensed to provide travel planning and services in Cuba. We have been in the travel business for over 30 years servicing Cuba. We provide excellent and affordable travel services and planning for Individuals as well as group travel.
Meet the Business Owner
Mercedes Arenado-Melian has been working in the travel business since 1985. Mercedes was certified and licensed in March 2011 as a Travel Service Provider by OFAC. Mercedes completely understands the guidelines and regulation requirements for travel into Cuba. Mercedes 30 years of experience and professionalism in travel planning has allowed her to give the quality and stress free experience every traveler should have.
Mercedes expertise in coordinating groups as well as destinations events and weddings has allowed her to be successful and leading the company into a very high standard with fellow colleagues as well as travel partners. She has created and established successful partnerships with Charter companies as well as Land Operators to provide excellent and affordable services.
You are considered a valuable customer and family to us, Americas Cuba Travel Agency.
Americas Cuba Travel offers a wide variety of services to our clients. As a Travel Agency, our goal is to make your trip as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible. Working closely with Cuban tour operators directly in Cuba. We can provide expert assistance at every stage of your individual travel or group program. Below you will find some of the services we offer –depending on your needs and on the provisions and limitations of Office of Foreign Affairs /Department of Treasury.
Also, if there is a service that you don’t see listed, please let us know: as a full-service agency we will work to accommodate your request.
- Air Service
- Hotel Reservation
- Group Programs
- Consular Services
What you should know?
U.S. Treasury Department Office of Public Affairs
EMBARGOED FOR 9:00 AM EST: January 15, 2015
CONTACT: Hagar Chemali, Treasury Public Affairs (202) 622-2960
FACT SHEET: TREASURY AND COMMERCE ANNOUNCEMENT OF REGULATORY AMENDMENTS TO THE CUBA SANCTIONS
Amendments Implement Changes Announced by the President on December 17 Related to the Easing of Cuba Sanctions
WASHINGTON – On December 17, 2014 the President announced a set of diplomatic and economic changes to chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce today are announcing the forthcoming publication of the revised Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which implement the changes announced on December 17 to the sanctions administered by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The changes take effect tomorrow, when the regulations are published in the Federal Register.
These measures will facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, facilitate the provision by travel agents and airlines of authorized travel services and the forwarding by certain entities of authorized remittances, raise the limits on and generally authorize certain categories of remittances to Cuba, allow U.S. financial institutions to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions, authorize certain transactions with Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, and allow a number of other activities related to, among other areas, telecommunications, financial services, trade, and shipping. Persons must comply with all provisions of the revised regulations; violations of the terms and conditions could result in penalties under U.S. law.
To see the Treasury regulations, which can be found at 31 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 515, please see here. To see the Commerce regulations, which can be found at 15 CFR parts 730-774, please see here. The regulations will be effective as of Friday, January 16. Major elements of the changes in the revised regulations include:
- In all 12 existing categories of authorized travel, travel previously authorized by specific license will be authorized by general license, subject to appropriate conditions. This means that individuals who meet the conditions laid out in the regulations will not need to apply for a license to travel to Cuba.
- These categories are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.
- The per diem rate previously imposed on authorized travelers will no longer apply, and there is no specific dollar limit on authorized expenses. Authorized travelers will be allowed to engage in transactions ordinarily incident to travel within Cuba, including payment of living expenses and the acquisition in Cuba of goods for personal consumption there.
- Additionally, travelers will now be allowed to use U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba.
Travel and Carrier Services
- Travel agents and airlines will be authorized to provide authorized travel and air carrier services without the need for a specific license from OFAC.
- U.S. insurers will be authorized to provide coverage for global health, life, or travel insurance policies for individuals ordinarily resident in a third country who travel to or within Cuba. Health, life, and travel insurance-related services will continue to be permitted for authorized U.S. travelers to Cuba.
Importation of Goods
- Authorized U.S. travelers to Cuba will be allowed to import up to $400 worth of goods acquired in Cuba for personal use. This includes no more than $100 of alcohol or tobacco products.
- In order to better provide efficient and adequate telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba, a new OFAC general license will facilitate the establishment of commercial telecommunications facilities linking third countries and Cuba and in Cuba.
- The commercial export of certain items that will contribute to the ability of the Cuban people to communicate with people within Cuba, in the United States, and the rest of the world will be authorized under a new Commerce license exception (Support for the Cuban People (SCP)) without requiring a license. This will include the commercial sale of certain consumer communications devices, related software, applications, hardware, and services, and items for the establishment and update of communications-related systems.
- Additional services incident to internet-based communications and related to certain exportations and reexportations of communications items will also be authorized by OFAC general license.
Consumer Communications Devices
- Commercial sales, as well as donations, of the export and reexport of consumer communications devices that enable the flow of information to from and among the Cuban people – such as personal computers, mobile phones, televisions, memory devices, recording devices, and consumer software – will be authorized under Commerce’s Consumer Communication Devices (CCD) license exception instead of requiring licenses.
- Depository institutions will be permitted to open and maintain correspondent accounts at a financial institution that is a national of Cuba to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions.
- U.S. financial institutions will be authorized to enroll merchants and process credit and debit card transactions for travel-related and other transactions consistent with section 515.560 of the CACR. These measures will improve the speed and efficiency of authorized payments between the United States and Cuba.
- The limits on generally licensed remittances to Cuban nationals other than certain prohibited Cuban Government and Cuban Communist Party officials will be increased from $500 to $2,000 per quarter.
- Certain remittances to Cuban nationals for humanitarian projects, support for the Cuban people, or development of private businesses will be generally authorized without limitation. These general licenses will allow remittances for humanitarian projects in or related to Cuba that are designed to directly benefit the Cuban people; to support the Cuban people through activities of recognized human rights organizations, independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy, and activities of individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba; and to support the development of private businesses, including small farms.
- Authorized travelers will be allowed to carry with them to Cuba $10,000 in total family remittances, periodic remittances, remittances to religious organizations in Cuba, and remittances to students in Cuba pursuant to an educational license.
- Under an expanded general license, banking institutions, including U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities and U.S.-registered
Cuba is the only country in the world that met the World Wildlife Fund criteria for sustainable development in 2006, making it one of the “greenest” nations due to its low environmental impact. There are six UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Cuba and nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Cuba measures 770 miles wide and is the largest Caribbean island. It has 3,570 miles of coastline and the longest river, the Rio Cauto, is 213 miles long. The nation is also home to the world’s smallest bird, a hummingbird called a Zunzuncito.
The country-wide literacy rate is 99.8 percent, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations’ Institute for Statistics. This is the 2nd highest literacy rate in the world. The Cuban government spends ten percent of their central budget on education, making it free for all at every level, inclusive of all materials such as books and uniforms. Class size is limited to 25 students and if a student can’t come to school, a teacher is sent to their home. Cuba has 47 universities with 112,000 citizens enrolled.
Cuba’s story is one full of perseverance. The island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and soon became a territory of Spain. In 1898, the U.S. claimed Cuba during the Spanish-American War. However, in 1902, Cuba gained its independence. The Cuban Revolution occurred between 1953 and 1959, which removed Fulgenicio Batista and installed a government run by Fidel Castro, who declared Cuba a socialist state in 1961. Castro remained in power until falling ill in 2008, at which time he relinquished control of Cuba to his brother, Raul Castro.
The Cuban state follows a socialist economic model. The state controls most resources and the majority of citizens are employed by the government, however, there has been a noticeable emergence of a private employment sector. Recently, a new legislation is introducing private ownership of homes and cars. In 2006, the private sector employed 22 percent of citizens, which is 14 percent more than in 1981. The main industries of Cuba are food production and industrial products and their main exports are sugar, nickel, seafood, citrus, tobacco products and rum.
Spanish is the official language of Cuba. Please note that Cuban-Spanish contains variations, making it difficult for native-Spanish speakers who may get lost in translation at times. The majority of Cubans only know Spanish, but in larger cities and tourist areas, English is commonly spoken. Insight Cuba’s English-speaking hosts will translate throughout the program. Although knowledge of Spanish isn’t required, we encourage you to learn some simple words and phrases to maximize your experience with the Cuban people.
Over half the population considers themselves Catholic. Santeria also plays a large role in the nation’s self-identity. Santeria was brought over to Cuba by Africans and the most common form of Santeria combines Catholicism with Yoruba beliefs. Other religions practiced in Cuba, though minimal, are Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are many beautiful churches and synagogues scattered throughout Havana, but no mosques.
Cuba is the most populous island in the Caribbean and home to over 11 million residents. It is a multi-ethnic melting pot with a population that is 65 percent white, 24 percent mixed-race, 10 percent black and 1 percent Chinese. Due to the free education system, the cities are becoming filled with people pursuing higher education. To increase the population in rural areas, the Cuban government has offered land incentives to city-dwellers and Cuban citizens must have governmental consent before moving to Havana.
Plan Your Trip To Cuba Today!
What to do in Cuba?
Neighborhoods of Havana
The first time you enter the narrow cobblestoned streets of Havana Vieja, you’ll bask in five centuries worth of majestic Spanish architecture. Here you will find the magnificent El Morro Castle looming across the Bay of Havana like an image from a fairytale. You might be walking along a quiet residential street where laundry hangs from windows and buildings crumble next to those that have been restored to perfection, when suddenly Salsa music reverberates through the air and a family of Cubans welcomes you into their home.
Vedado is all about the spirit of Havana’s people and provides a firsthand look at the promise of the future. Children play kickball on an elevated pedestrian oasis in the middle of wide avenues while classic American cars cruise by. Parents return home from work as students close their books and unwind with friends along the Malec
The neighborhood of Miramar is simply stunning. It’s comprised of grandiose mansions and palatial estates. Prior to the Revolution, Havana’s most affluent citizens lived here. Today, it’s an ideal place to enjoy a peaceful walk along the avenues in the shade of broad leafy trees. If there is a foreign presence in Cuba, it’s here at the embassies, office buildings, international banks and European-owned hotels. Right along the waterfront you’ll find saltwater pools where Cubans come to beat the heat, and for a truly authentic Cuban music experience, it’s hard to top Casa de la Música’s performances.
Located just 5km east of historic Old Havana, the “bewitched” town of Guanabacoa beats at the heart of Afro-Cuban religion. Explore a city bustling with the activity of Santería practitioners immersed in ritual, and become mesmerized by manifestations of traditional African faiths involving magic. A short ferry ride across the harbor from Old Havana rests the former fishing village and current port town of Regla, whose history has been shaped by the sea …or the spirit who controls it. Here you can join the faithful and behold “La Virgen de Regla” – the patron saint of Havana, protector of fishermen, and African goddess of the sea.
Pinar del Rio
Pinar Del Río is home to mountain ranges and expansive fields bursting with tobacco and sugarcane. The tantalizing fragrance wafting from the world’s finest tobacco is omnipresent throughout this provincial capital, like the smiles from local residents, who will welcome you into their lives and may even prepare a meal for you in their home for you. As you stroll throughout town, observe the overwhelming number of architectural columns while listening to traditional musical performances by farmers known as guajiros, whose stories are told through song.
In the verdant agricultural village of Viñales, he who has the least gives the most. In Viñales, the surrounding limestone formations create an ambiance reminiscent of another time and place. Watch as the tobacco farmers return home on horseback from a long days work in the fields. You’ll be tempted to close your eyes and drift away to the sound of horses galloping through the cobblestoned streets, taking you to a place where dreams blur the lines of reality.
Soroa is a scenic 50 mile drive west of Havana. When sugarcane fields and quaint villages come to an end, you’ll reach a picturesque resort located in the center of a tropical forest, known as “The Rainbow of Cuba”, hidden high in the mountains. Thousands of ornamental plants, trees and flowers, along with 700 species of orchids thrive throughout this 86,500 acre wonderland. Cool off at a nearby waterfall that cascades 72 feet into pools that are known for their medicinal benefits.
Cienfuegos is referred to as the “Pearl of the South,” a moniker that is felt from the moment one steps into this well-heeled city. A cooling breeze cuts through the air and the shaded main square is the perfect place to watch city residents gather. On a sunny day, taking a walk down the Punta Gorda peninsula, filled with orange-tiled houses set against a backdrop of turquoise blue water is a great way to reflect on the beauty of Cuba. Just when you think things couldn’t get more awe-inspiring, a palace made of tiles and turrets appears in the distance, inviting those who stumble upon it inside for a cocktail.
When arriving in Trinidad, visitors can’t decide where to look first. Sandwiched between the majestic purple-hued Escambray Mountains to the North and the translucent blue of the Caribbean Sea to the South, Trinidad’s location couldn’t be more stunning. The town itself is a colonial head-turner with freshly painted pastel homes, rambling cobblestoned streets and impressive plazas. Don’t let Trinidad’s soporific nature fool you, because as soon as the day is done, several excellent musical experiences kick off to keep visitors and locals dancing into the night.
Matanzas is home to twenty-one bridges, the center of town is found between two rivers and a bay that gently opens up into the Straits of Florida. Great works of literature were written here, earning it the title, “Athens of Cuba.” Matanzas is the kind of place often overlooked by tourists, but adored by travelers who want a more authentic look at Cuba. It’s not surprising to see old men playing dominoes in the afternoon or friends laughing over a cold beer. The allure of Matanzas continues outside of town with the promise of river trips, 300,000 year old caves and coral reefs.
Remedios is a peaceful town, where the possibilities of the Atlantic Ocean beckon. A refuge from populous Cuban cities, Remedios is a charming town year round, unless a visit is timed during the week of Christmas for the parranda. At this time, any pre-conceived notions travelers may have of Remedios get turned upside down, as fireworks whiz by and the local people put on parades adorned with elaborate floats. Remedios becomes the ultimate party town as the citizens drink rum, form snaking conga lines and salsa until the pink morning sun rises in the sky.
Santa Clara’s local hero, Che Guevara, is a representation of the youth and vitality of this university city located in the center of Cuba. The famous monument of Che brings pilgrims from all corners of the country. There are a multitude of vendors selling everything from colorful flowers to piping hot sugared doughnuts and many other treats. A visit to Santa Clara’s tobacco factory to see cigars being rolled is a great way to immerse yourself in one of Cuba’s long-standing traditions.
Playa Larga and Playa Giron
To get to Playa Larga and Playa Giron, one has to travel through the idyllic Cuban countryside. Playa Larga seems like the end of the road, but it’s that secluded agrarian environment that makes it renowned for its wildlife. While it may be sparsely populated by humans, it has a variety of birds and animals unrivaled elsewhere in the Caribbean. Playa Giron, also known as the Bay of Pigs, presents itself not only as a beautiful white sand beach, but also as an important chance to learn about the history between the U.S. and Cuba.
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the island’s cultural pulse and occupies a striking spot of land between the azure Caribbean Sea and the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Bongos are played on dusty street corners while son and salsa music fill the air. Everything about Santiago sizzles with passion and heat as it hosts more festivals than any other place in Cuba. Horse drawn carts are commonplace on the cobblestoned streets and vendors try to entice customers by selling drinks in cups made of banana leaves. Santiago is Afro-Cuban to the core, witnessed by the white clothing of Santeria initiates and the fast-talking nature of its residents.
Bayamo is a chess players dream. North of the Sierra Maestra mountain range, a street party called Fiesta De La Cubania breaks out every weekend along Calle Saco and as with most Cuban festivals, you can count on lots of dancing, music, and a pig roast. At this celebration, an added component exists: chess boards sit on makeshift tables lining the street. Though it may seem like a special occasion to an outsider, this block party happens every week and is a perfect representation of the people of Bayamo, both laid-back and fun-loving.