Lonely Planet has published a helpful list of things you need to know regarding Cuba's tourist re-opening on the 15th of November. Read on and find out more about what holidaymakers will need to do!
Cuba, opening its doors for peak season
The Caribbean island of Cuba is preparing to ease travel restrictions on the 15th of November by removing its testing requirement for people who are fully vaccinated. This announcement by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR) goes hand in hand with the impressive vaccination programme that Cuba has implemented.
It's estimated that more than 90% of the entire Cuban population, some 11.2 million people, will have received the three doses of their COVID-19 vaccines by the 15th of November, and MINTUR have confirmed that the hygiene and sanitary protocols will be made more flexible when travellers arrive at Cuban airports.
The focus will now be on monitoring symptomatic patients and taking temperatures. In addition, diagnostic tests will be carried out at random, but PCRs will not be required upon arrival, and the travellers' own national vaccination certificate will be officially recognised by Cuba.
If a patient does test positive for COVID-19, they will be transferred to a hotel-hospital - a tourist facility authorised by the government for isolation and medical care.
This is well-timed to coincide with Cuba's peak travel season, which runs from mid-November until late March, and will also include all the island's airports re-opening and the resumption of more commercial flights.
Virgin Atlantic and World2Fly have already announced their plans to re-open their pre-pandemic flight routes to Havana this September and October.
A relaxation of the rules
Currently, all incoming travellers are required to quarantine for five days at these aforementioned hotel-hospitals while awaiting the results of their PCR tests.
They are then required to undergo a second test before leaving quarantine. However, by 15th November, that will change as the country gradually reopens, with tourist activities resuming, including excursions and tours.
This will be welcome news for European holidaymakers looking for some Autumn sunshine when temperatures in Cuba can reach 30 degrees.
Nevertheless, for American tourists, under United States law, American citizens can only travel to Cuba on a self-qualifying "general licence" in one of 12 different categories. They will also need to take a PCR test before flying back to the United States.
According to the article, the United States Embassy in Havana confirms that PCR and antigen tests are readily available in Cuba.
A whole Caribbean island awakening
It's important to remember that Cuba's re-opening on 15th November can only happen if carried out in accordance with the epidemiological indicators of each specific region across the island.
Cuba was forced to close its borders to tourism, thus affecting every major city. The knock-on effect obviously hit the whole national economy. As a result, the island's tourist sector will be very keen to get up and running again.
However, this goes beyond solely Havana. Places of significant tourist interest like Varadero, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Baracoa, Vinales, Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, and Holguin will also expect a surge of eager tourists this Autumn.