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How I Got to Cuba

November 19, 2009 By: Joe Pike

It was roughly three months ago when I first wrote a web brief about the MITM Americas show in Cuba. Although our readers obviously cannot sell the destination yet, I still thought it was newsworthy that Cuba was inviting U.S. travel industry representaives to the country, evidence that the destination is preparing for a U.S invasion.

I received a phone call from the show organizers telling me they read my brief and wanted to extend an invitation to visit. That's right, Cuba reads us! So, I was instructed to write a detailed letter to Washington, D.C., explaining my reasons for my visit. I had to show proof that I was a journalist by submitting several links to stories I have written, a link to our website and a brief bio. I also had to submit a copy of my passport and a $70 money order.

Within a week, I received a package with a stamped visa and off I went. I flew Mexicana airlines out of New York to Cancun, which was roughly four hours, and then I connected from Cancun to Havana for a short 50-minute flight. Now, this was the legal way to go, but I spoke to several people who informed me that you can also buy a visa in Cancun for a mere $15, but the extra $55 was well worth it since we heard fines for illegally visiting the country can be as high as $80,000.

Now, whereas it is incredibly exciting to visit a country where U.S. citizens are not allowed to visit, it is also a bit of a pain because they do not accept any U.S. form of payment here. There are a few places that accept dollars but there are no ATM machines, banks or any establishments that accept U.S. credit cards. So, if by chance, you are able to visit, bring a bundle of cash, change it for Canadian dollars in New York and budget wisely.

What do you think of this $type?

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