go to Cuba illegal
(for US citizens)
"When unlicensed travelers go to Cuba from the US they normally have to go through a third country. You will frequently see this referred to as the "Gateway" on various boards. The most common gateways to Cuba for unlicensed US travelers are Toronto, Montreal, Nassau (Bahamas), Cancun and Mexico City, and less frequently used Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and Montego Bay. In my opinion Mexico and in particular Cancun are the gateways that offer the least risk of detection I say that because:
** Unlike Canada and the Bahamas, a traveller leaving from Mexico does not pre-clear US Customs and Immigration. You will not clear Customs/Immigration until you arrive back in the US. In Canada and the Bahamas you will go through US Customs and Immigration at the airport in Toronto, Montreal or Nassau.
** Cancun is the most popular destination for US tourists in the Caribbean. There is absolutely no reason why US Customs/Immigration would suspect you have been anywhere else but Cancun.
You can book your hotel and flight in/to Cuba through the this website with your US credit card without any risk. Your credit card receipt will state nothing about Cuba or whatever.
You should take the following steps in traveling back/forth:
- Enter Mexico from the US
- Mexico does not stamp passports on exit, although you will need a passport to enter Cuba.
- When you arrive back in Mexico from Cuba you will probably have to present your passport. The entry stamp that is placed there should be the only stamp you receive on your trip. Some people recommend presenting the passport with a $10 bill inside to avoid the Mexican entry stamp.
- After you arrive in Mexico make sure you strip all HAV luggage tags from you checked baggage.
- Throw away your Cuban tickets, boarding passes and any other paper evidence of your Cuban trip.
- Do not list Cuba as a Country visited on the Customs Declaration form.
- Do not bring back any high profile Cuban souvenirs like cigars, rum, t-shirts.
The fine by the way if you are unlucky or careless enough to get caught can be negotiated down to $1000 or less.
Flights from Nassau, Santo Domingo and Managua