Common Misconceptions Can Affect Yachting to Cuban Waters: Although Cuba is firmly in the eyes of American yachting enthusiasts who have an interest in visiting the island that is easing of restrictions that occurred earlier in 2016, it’s still not simple to cruise the country’s unspoiled coasts. Traveler beware, however, as we point out common misconceptions.
American law remains the major sticking point. Many people mistakenly believe that if a superyacht is not U.S. flagged and/or does not have an American owner, that it is able to enter Cub in the same manner as going to the Bahamas or Jamaica. That is only true if no American citizens or residents, including the crew, are on board. Some yachts have entered under this misconception, only to hear weeks later from the Cuban or American government advising them of breach of regulation, which can lead to voided insurance, fines, confiscation or jail.
Obtaining the necessary papers to enter Cuban waters isn’t difficult, however, you need an organized itinerary. Americans can only travel to Cuba under certain visa categories. In addition, you must spend at least eight hours per day doing what you indicated you were traveling to Cuba for and be able to prove it.
One such visa category is a “People-to-People” visa in a non-university sponsored guise that allows you to pursue all manner of non-academic activities, such as art, architecture, food, music, or even visiting a tobacco farm. The visa ensures that you interact with Cuba and its people. The downside is that it requires a certified guide.
For those U.S. citizens wishing to explore Cuba and truly benefit from everything it has to offer, these sticking points are only a minor inconvenience and are well worth avoiding trouble with the authorities.
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