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Want to go to CUBA?

New Trump Policy: What you need to know

As of Friday June 16, 2017, U.S. embargo’s back (sort of)

(It’ll take a couple months to implement)

If you’ve already planned your trip to Cuba or are planning to go in the next month, the new travel restrictions will not apply to you (yet).

From US Treasury website:

How will OFAC implement the changes to the Cuba sanctions program announced by the President on June 16, 2017? Are the changes effective immediately?

  • OFAC expects to issue its regulatory amendments in the coming months.
  • The announced changes do not take effect until the new regulations are issued.

 

Obama lowered the barrier to entry to go to Cuba…Trump reversed it. President Donald Trump is just trying to reverse as much as he can in relation to Obama’s Free Trade and Tourism Policy Initiatives. There are still ways for you to go, the government just likes to complicate things. 

  1. Americans can’t head to there as “tourists” (they technically couldn’t under Obama either) – just take an official tour (Browse that link, and make sure to pick one that the government will approve.
  2. U.S. companies aren’t allowed to to work with Cuban companies in the tourism space.

So, how can you go?

  1. Family travel
  2. Humanitarian Projects
  3. Religious Activities
  4. Public Performances
  5. Official Government Business
  6. Journalism
  7. Professional Research and Meetings
  8. Export
  9. Activities of private foundations or research for educational institutes
  10. Exportation, importation or transmission of information or informational materials
  11. Support for the Cuban People
  12. Educational Activities

More details on these travel types

 

Commercial Flights and Cruise Ships are still permitted to go to Cuba.

  • Spirit, Frontier and Silver airlines deserted their U.S.-to-Cuba routes,
  • Airlines such as JetBlue and Delta are continuing their service to the island

 

Easiest way to go: Book through a tour company (Insight Cuba or Intrepid Travel)

 

Resources for you:

More details on these travel types

June 16, 2017: Details from the U.S. Treasury on travel to Cuba

US Embassy info for Americans interested in going

Legal Cuba Explained

 

Culture, Latest News

Japan’s bright future – The next generation

Sightseeing around the various temples and riding buses in Japan, especially in Kyoto, we were perplexed by the number of children running around at all the sites. We’d go to a temple on a Tuesday afternoon and there would be kids in school uniform everywhere. It turned out the kids were just following their standard curriculum. All kids in Japan, throughout the entire country have to travel to the city of Kyoto and around the the mainland to learn about the history.

At first I was a bit confused, why do we need to learn so much history when we are so young, even in the American school system? We mostly don’t remember what we learn in school when we’re young. But as we traveled more and encountered more kids I had a realization: these kids are taught real life skills of riding buses and trains on their own or with friends. They’re taught to read signs and have encounters with foreigners. In fact, they are required to speak to English speaking foreigners as a part of their curriculum as well.  One project they have is to interview tourists in English and transcribe answers. As a result they’re exposed to a lot from a young age and taught a lot about real life, not basic history and “after school” like we do in the states.

Overall we were quite impressed with the Japanese curriculum, one thing we caught on tape at the Golden Temple in Kyoto and thought was cute was when a young boy in his class came up to us and started to speak to us in English. He was communicating well with absolute strangers in a foreign language (we have the video here) and he couldn’t have been more than 10 years old. We quickly learned that this communication where kids would ask “hi, can I ask you a question, where are you from?” Was something they were assigned to do while visiting tourist sites.

We were happy with our realization and absolutely support this aspect of their curriculum.  Japanese children are taught valuable  communication tools that help them gain some insight into other cultures. And, even more importantly, they’re taught to have confidence and independence from a young age.