For most countries you usually do not need a visa unless you’re staying up to three weeks or more, but due to Cuba’s strict regulations you will need one to enter the country regardless of the length of time. As part of the visa process, you will have to pick one of the twelve categories. I personally chose “Support of the Cuban People” as this gave me the opportunity to travel as a tourist while also supporting local communities and businesses. I would also suggest choosing this category as many other options such as the “People to People” category have been restricted.
I started the visa process about two weeks prior to the trip and wouldn’t start any further in advance since each visa has an expiration date. Marazul Travel Agency is an amazing agency to get your visa, and is where I purchased my own. The visa came in the mail quickly and I was just required to carry it inside my passport. I also had no issue getting through immigration and it was quite an easy process. I will make sure to leave a link to their page along with other helpful sites below.
Flight Booking & Health Insurance
Southwest Airlines was probably one of the smoothest flights I’ve been on. There is no assigned seating so first come, first serve. The best part about choosing Southwest was that the airline ticket automatically included health insurance. This is important because proof of Cuban health insurance is needed before entering the country. Southwest, however was not a direct flight and I had to fly from New Jersey to Florida first, and then from Florida to Cuba. The length of the flight was a little over four hours.