Cuba will fully reopen for tourism next week with no testing or quarantine as the nation drops entry restrictions for the first time in 20 months.
The reopening will coincide with the nation’s peak tourism season, which is from mid-November until late March.
Cuba’s tourism ministry’s director of operations stated, “This is an opportunity, it allows to foresee and build the restart of the tourist operation, which benefits a large number of sectors of the Cuban economy.
“We must start from the condition that all vaccination schedules state that we will reach more than 90% vaccination in the month of November. After this decision, there is analysis, seriousness, and responsibility.”
Cuba’s Entry Requirements From Nov 15
Travelers will no longer need to show a negative PCR test if they’re fully vaccinated and have a certificate to prove it.
However, unvaccinated travelers will need to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure to Cuba. Children under 12 are exempt from providing proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test.
The airport authorities will take random diagnostic tests at the airport. If a tourist tests positive, the government will transfer them to a ‘hotel hospital’, which is a government authorized tourist facility offering isolation and medical care.
The current travel rules state all incoming travelers must quarantine at these ‘hotel hospitals’ for 5 days until they receive the results of their PCR test. After travelers have completed quarantine, they will need a second PCR test.
However, from November 15 travelers can bypass these restrictions and enjoy Cuba from the moment they’ve left the airport.
American tourists can only travel to Cuba on a self-qualifying general license under US law. There are 12 categories U.S travelers can choose from. U.S travelers will need to take a PCR test before flying back to the U.S.
But, the U.S Embassy in Havana states PCR and antigen tests are readily available in Cuba.
The Current Restrictions Within Cuba
The Cuban authorities will still require face masks within all enclosed public places, social distancing throughout the island, and will continue their tracing and isolation system.
Transportation within Cuba depends purely on rules between different provinces. However, the Cuban authorities have ended the curfew in Havana and dropped almost all restrictions on movement around the island.
Visitors are currently allowed to hire cars, but they should check where they’re allowed to visit under the current COVID-19 restrictions before exploring. The Cuban authorities have limited the capacity of guesthouses and hotels around the island.
Medical teams within hotels will check on the health of guests and take their temperature during their stay. Hotels may limit the number of people using facilities such as gyms or swimming pools depending on current rules.
The COVID-19 Situation In Cuba
Cuba has had relatively low cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The current 7-day case average is 545, which is a considerable decrease from 9,413 cases in mid-August.
Cuba has currently fully vaccinated 68.4 percent of its population after administering a total of 26.4 million doses. Over 7.75 million people are fully vaccinated nationwide, and over 80 percent of citizens have received their first vaccination dose.
Cuba’s decision to ease restrictions follows its rapid vaccination rollout. The government expects to have fully vaccinated 90 percent of its population by December with locally created vaccines such as Soberana 02, Soberana Plus, and Abdala. These are the only home-grown vaccines in Latin America.
Cuba is another destination — albeit a close destination — for American travelers this winter as the world unlocks.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com