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US citizens wonder: enter Cuba from US or Mexico? Advantages/ disadvantages?

We want to visit Florida, Mexico and Cuba.
What advantages and disadvantages might we find choosing entry to Cuba from one or another?

Posted by
1581 posts

I’m not sure but Cuba does not accept US dollars nor can you exchange dollars for CUB. That was the case a few years ago. Make sure to check that out. Also, I don’t think you can use US credit cards there either? You can go there legally from the US but there are rules to do so. Maybe through Mexico you could exchange pesos? Not sure about that either. Depending how you go, you might refuse the passport stamp.

Posted by
2536 posts

when we were in Cuba, off a cruise ship, we had hired a private tour guide through Toursbylocals.com. There were only 3 to choose from at the time (April 2019). He gladly changed our dollars into pesos because he had a visa to visit the US and would need them. Was this legal? who knows. That's what we did.

Posted by
1139 posts

If I am not mistaken, the only way to enter Cuba as an American Tourist is through a Cuba government approved tour. I know of a person who took one and liked it, but it was very limited and you were not allowed to roam the city on your own.

Posted by
21844 posts

The first question to ask -- Is it legal for American tourist to visit Cuba? There was a time when it was absolutely illegal. Americans would sneak in via Canada, Mexico, or a number of other non-US airports. That loosened under O'bama but was tighten again under Trump. I don't know the current status. At one time a Cuban stamp in your passport was an expensive fine if caught. When we were there ten years ago only the Cuban peso was accepted. No credit or debit cards were accepted because Cuba was prevented from participating in the financial networks. While there was a huge black market for US dollars, the official exchange rate for US dollars was very poor. Canadian dollars and euro had a more favorable rate. All of this was outside of the tourist zone. We were not allowed in the tourist zone so I don't what the situation was or is. Do need to be very careful with the rules regarding Cuba.

Posted by
5630 posts

Not interested in Cuba or Venezuela.

Mexico, I love that country, Mexico City is safe if you stay in touristy places.

Posted by
59 posts

We were in Cuba in March of 2020. I can't speak to the rules presently, but at that time you had to go following the rules of Support of the Cuban People (there are other legal ways depending on your reason for travel). You could enter Cuba, at that time, from the USA with no issue. There are various tour companies that will arrange an entire trip following all the appropriate guidelines. Message me if you need more information. Cuba was a beautiful country, and I would highly recommend visiting.

Posted by
79 posts

Yes, what Melissa says -- you check a box that you're visiting not for tourism but Support of Cuban People or educational purposes. I was also there in early March 2020 (right before the world shut down!) and my friend and I hired an academic to take us around for a full day (fascinating background), otherwise we were on our own.

Posted by
79 posts

Euros very handy but US cash also accepted many places, at least as of March 2020, e.g., we exchanged money with our host and paid our cab fare from the airport with USD, which cab driver said he preferred.