The popular travel destination Cuba has dropped all of its Covid-19 related entry requirements – except for one key restriction that just might stop travelers from visiting the island. Despite the country’s fractious history with the US, Cuba has grown as a popular tourism destination for American travelers, with hundreds of thousands of Americans taking the short flight across the Straits of Florida each year to visit the island and sample its unique culture.
However, whilst on the face of it the lack of Covid-19 entry requirements at present might make the country appear appealing to visit once more, a closer look shows that there is still one lingering restriction that is bound to put off even the most optimistic of travelers. Here’s a look at which restrictions have been removed, and which problematic entry requirement is set to remain.
Cuba’s Entry Requirements – Information For Travelers
Prior to the start of the pandemic, the number of American travelers visiting the island of Cuba was constantly growing, rising from just 63,000 in 2010 to 638,000 in 2018 – and with good reason. Cuba’s colonial architecture, classic cars, and distinct cultural history make visiting the island feel like going to a place where time has stood still, whilst its natural beauty and stunning landscapes will never fail to impress.
Travel numbers could be set to swell once more in the future, particularly given the news that the country was dropping all of its entry requirements as of April 6, 2022. Both Covid-19 testing and vaccination requirements are now gone, making visiting the country – theoretically at least – more attractive to travelers than it has been in months. However, one restriction is set to stay that could stop potential travelers in their tracks.
Whilst the country has removed its preflight negative testing requirement and its self-isolation requirements, those visiting Cuba are still at the risk of having to go into government quarantine upon arrival. That’s because travelers who make their way into the country could be subjected to randomized testing at the behest of sanitary authorities, who have the power to carry out PCR tests at random on those arriving in Cuba.
Those subjected to a random PCR test after landing that returns a positive Covid-19 result will be forced to enter quarantine at a designated government facility or in a hospital for a period of 14 days. Travelers will also need to foot the bill for this pleasure – the cost of which could be extremely expensive for travelers.
However, that’s not all. Direct contacts of those who test positive from the randomized tests will also be forced to either go into a government quarantine facility or to self-isolate at home, depending on the circumstances. This means that there is a risk that entirely healthy travelers – and their families – could be forced into paying for a pricey stay in quarantine for two weeks, running the risk of missing their whole trip.
Previous to this week’s removal of the pre-flight testing, passengers would immediately become aware if they were in fact carrying the virus and would simply stay home. However, now that all pre-flight testing is gone, a tourist could arrive symptom-free and be surprised with a 14-day stay at a Cuban government facility, which is a little unnerving, to say the least.
Whilst travelers can of course test themselves before their trip to ensure they are negative, there is nothing they can do to prevent the stranger sitting next to them or someone else in their party from testing positive upon arrival – and that could prove to be a huge gamble for travelers. Cuba has a lot to offer, and it is bound to see its tourism levels pick up once more over time – but whilst this policy remains, it is doubtful that too many travelers will want to take that risk.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com