Cell Service, Business Travelers, the Pope: What’s New in Cuba
Verizon, Pope Francis, and American businessmen are all landing in Cuba.
It’s been non-stop news since the U.S. reopened its embassy in Havana, and Cuba continued to make headlines this week and last. For travelers, the most groundbreaking update came when Verizon announced it would become the first U.S. wireless company to support roaming in Cuba. Visitors can now text, make calls, and use data (that means Instagramming those famous classic cars before it’s a #TBT), though the service is steep: voice calls cost $2.99 a minute, and a megabyte of data costs $2.05.
Verizon’s news came on the heels of the latest announcement from the White House, which further eased travel regulations and business restrictions on Friday. It’s now possible for authorized American citizens to travel by cruise ship or ferry to the island without specific permission from the government, though this will have little impact on anyone except those seeking to visit Cuba to establish a business.
Typically, Americans must continue to plan trips according to one of 12 pre-approved categories of travel. Now, however, family members can accompany authorized travelers, as reported by the New York Times. If you are headed south for business, research, or academics, for example, you can bring along the whole fam.
What's more, the U.S. and Cuba also announced plans to pilot a mail service that would allow Cubans and Americans to resume sending mail directly for the first time since 1963.
No less significant is Pope Francis’s decision to stop in Cuba en route to his U.S. tour. Francis jumped on the Caribbean bandwagon when he visited Havana, Holguín, and Santiago during a tour of the country.
Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.