Young Pioneer Tours

Cuba open for tourists – January 2021 travel update

**Update January 2021** – effective 14 January, stricter regulations have been implemented across Cuba. Travel between provinces for tourism is prohibited, and bars and restaurants are open for delivery/takeaway only in many cities including Havana. It is prohibited to ‘hang around’ outdoor public spaces after 7pm, although walking from one place to another is permitted.

cuba covid test

Since November 2020, all of Cuba’s international airports are fully open again, and receiving passengers from all over the world.

The catch is that there is a mandatory self-isolation period of approximately 48 hours on arrival.

Scheduled flights are now arriving in Cuba from Europe, the USA and Canada. Cuban doctors will give a mandatory PCR Covid test (“brain poke”) to arriving passengers. This costs USD $30; it is sometimes already included in the cost of the plane ticket. Visitors must then self-isolate in their accommodation for around 24–48 hours pending the results of this test. During this time the visitor is supposed to stay indoors in their accommodation; however guests may be received. Health officials will check to ensure that the rules are being complied with.It’s important to note that the 24-48 hours period is purely an estimate and is entirely dependent on both the national testing laboratories (which are very busy) and local Cuban public health personnel (who all work ‘at their own rhythm’ in the words of one Cuban doctor!) It’s possible to end up waiting longer for test results, especially if the waiting period spans a weekend.

Additionally, effective from 10 January 2021, all travellers to Cuba will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result certificate, taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Cuba.

Official information is available on the website of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (in Spanish; Google Translated version here). Much of the info relates to returning residents – look for the sections which refer to tourists.

Ignoring official restrictions?

Whilst we have heard of people ignoring the official restrictions and travelling around Havana and Cuba without any problem. We can’t recommend this, both from the point of view of being a responsible citizen in times of pandemic, and because of the risk of penalties for breaking the rules.

In summary, provided you don’t mind isolating for about 48 hours – Cuban is open for tourists! YPT is always happy to arrange private Cuba tours for visitors. Do please contact us if you are interested in this, or would like us to keep you up to date about the situation in Cuba.

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