Travel to Cuba is taking another leap forward, care of airfare booking engine Cheapair.com, which is the first site to allow American travelers to book direct flights from the United States to Havana. Via the charter company Cuba Travel Services, the online travel agency is offering daily flights out of Miami, twice-weekly ones from Tampa, and weekly service from New York City. Prices run from about $500 round-trip from Miami to about $900 for flights from New York City.
The process is similar to how you would book a flight to any other destination, with one exception: before you pay, you have to select which of the 12 categories of travel currently authorized by the United States applies to your trip. So don’t expect to go plop down on an all-inclusive beach resort. Your choices include educational activities, humanitarian projects, journalistic activity, and the more broadly worded “support for the Cuban people.” (If you have questions, check out the Treasury Department’s rundown of what characterizes each type of trip.) Though it’s still not clear if the U.S. government is going to be enforcing these requirements in any way, authorities could theoretically could come back and ask travelers for documentation, so be sure to keep something outlining your itinerary on hand.
Cheapair.com’s announcement comes on the heels of Airbnb’s entry into Cuba, which is also helping to ease the way for independent travel to the island. It’s only a matter of time before large cruise lines and commercial airlines launch regular service there. For travelers who want to visit Cuba before those floodgates open, these are among your best options.
Amy Farley is the News Editor at T+L. Follow her on Twitter at @afarles.