Cuba officially reopened its borders and international airports for tourism on July 1, 2020 starting with certain tourist cities and gradually adding more.
Cuba started their 3-phase reopening plan in June.
Phase 1: June – Domestic tourism, implementing safety protocols
Phase 2: July – International tourism to select areas of Cuba
Phase 3: Starting Sept/Oct – Opening of the rest of Cuba’s tourist centres
Starting July 1st, tourists are now welcome to visit these specific areas of Cuba:
Cayo Largo Del Sur, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa María and Cayo Cruz
Opening just a portion of the country allows economic recovery to restart, helps to protect the health of Cuba’s citizens, and also allows the government to monitor the effects of resuming tourism.
Varadero Reopening – October 15
The Varadero area will start receiving international tourists as of October 15, states Lessner Gomez, Director of the Cuba Tourism Board.
The government of Cuba is making a ‘tourism corridor' to safely reintroduce foreign tourists to the area without adding risk to locals.
The tourism corridor will run from K Street until Punta Hicacos (end of the peninsula). Within this area, tourists will have a choice of several 4 and 5 star hotels, golf course, 2 marinas, Dolphin Park, two shopping plazas (Plaza America & Plaza Hicacos) and additional restaurants, and services.
Who Can Visit Cuba?
Currently Cuba is open for all nationalities to visit that normally can under ‘pre-covid’ immigration rules. This reopening includes just the cayo areas listed above starting July 1st. Once Cuba enters the 3rd phase of reopening, all other major airports and cities will be able to once again receive tourists.
Canadians currently make up the largest group that visits Cuba, bringing in almost a quarter of all arrivals. Because of this, tourist flights will start to resume from Canada to the cayos first.
Testing and Quarantine Requirements for Cuba
Quarantine = None. Currently any asymptomatic travelers do not have to quarantine.
Testing = Yes- Testing on arrival. Tourists arriving into Cuba will be tested at the airport. After the test is taken, the traveler will quarantine at their hotel for a maximum for 24 hours for test results. If the test is negative, the traveler can enjoy their vacation.
The test upon arrival is free for all tourists.
Other rules for Cuba's Reopening (in Phase 2)
- Tourists will only be allowed to stay at hotels in the ‘Cayo’ areas listed above
- Excursions can be offered by tour companies, but only ones that stay within the ‘Cayo’ areas
- Nautical activities are reactivated for tourists
Once Phase 3 activates, Cuba will reopen the rest of the country’s tourist areas.
What Flights Have Resumed To Cuba?
As of mi-July there are just a few flights trickling in, but starting in August major airlines, especially from Canada, will be resuming services all over the island.
For Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, and Cayo Cruz, tourists will most likely be flying into Cayo Coco Airport
Cayo Coco from
- Toronto – starting Sept 5 on Westjet, Sunwing and Air Canada, Sept 11 on Air Transat
- Montreal – starting Sept 4 on Air Canada and Air Transat
- Quebec City – starting Dec 19 on Air Transat
- Ottawa – starting Dec 24 on Air Transat
- Hamilton – starting on Dec 20 on Air Transat
- Calgary – starting Oct 31 on WestJet
- Ottawa – starting on Dec 19 on Air Transat
- Hamilton– starting on Dec 19 on Air Transat
- Winnipeg – starting on Dec 18 on Air Transat
- Toronto– starting in Oct on WestJet, Sunwing, and Air Canada
- Montreal – starting on Oct 4 on Air Canada and Sunwing
- Frankfurt – starting on Oct 2 on Condor
- Lisbon – staring in Oct on FlexFlight
- Zurich – starting on Dec 13 on Edelweiss Air
Starting in fall 2020, Havana starts opening up to multiple Canadian cities, multiple Mexican cities, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, and European cities like: Moscow, Rome, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Zurich, Madrid, and more.
What’s Open in Cuba
Visitors to Cuba will find hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms, swimming pools and tourist facilities open. Discos and nightclubs are closed.
Some hotel chains that are open include: Melia, Iberostar, Cubanacán and Gran Caribe, Islazul, and more.
What is Cuba doing to keep tourists safe?
Cuba has launched their Turismo + Higienico y Seguro ‘more hygenic and safe’ program to help keep tourists safe during their vacation.
All hotels and tourist facilities, including transportation, must apply and be approved for health certification. The Certification will require risk assessment, review and adaptation of all hygiene and disinfection protocols of the facilities; increased control, hygiene and prevention measures for staff; maximize compliance with procedures to ensure food safety and appropriate adaptation of space and mobility, among others. It includes specific education and training for employees.
Workers in the tourism industry will also be monitored and immediately isolated if any symptoms arise.
Travel Insurance Required
Having travel health insurance is required for visiting Cuba at this time. Any tourists who arrives into Cuba and cannot show proof of coverage is able to purchase Cuban travel health insurance at the airport for $30 USD.
Disclaimer: Cuba’s reopening news is ever-changing and being updated constantly. We do our best to keep this article up to date with all the latest information, but the decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.
Originally Published July 13, 2020