13 thoughts on “How To Fly To Cuba

  1. Sounds expensive! If I followed properly, minimum of $275 (landing permit) + $560 (ground handling fees) + $425 (visas) — $1,260 — plus whatever the cost of life jacket and raft rental is, and that’s before fuel and before you even get out of the airport to do/see anything! And all to finance an oppressive socialist government. I’ll pass, enjoy my cocktail on American soil, and look at pictures of Cuba on the internet. Or go to the Bahamas.

  2. Correction: A landing permit does NOT cost $275.00. This is a fee charged by Jim Parker for processing the permit request and send info to Cuban immigration.A permit can be acquired in a few hours at a very low cost. The Cuban Civil Aviation are very efficient and fast responding to all requests. Immigration information filing is done once the 4 digit permit number is acquired.

  3. Mike’s recount is dated. I just returned from another trip and things are markedly different. For instance, the “Cuban Landing Permit” is free; all fees are dealt with at what Mike calls the “FBO”, (Terminal 5); the $560.00 handling fee for an overnight is exorbitant and the clearing proceedings before departure are totally unknown to me. In short, Mike’s experience does not resemble mine.

  4. Great article, helps take some of the mystery out of the trip…Can I fly VFR in to Cuba? I have heard an Instrument rating is required……

  5. I am disappointed in reading this article which seems to promote GA tourism to Cuba without any restrictions. The US still maintains an embargo on Cuba. Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited by statute. There are, however, 12 categories of authorized travel. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued general licenses in all 12 categories of authorized travel, subject to appropriate conditions. This means that individuals must meet the regulatory conditions of the respective general license they seek to travel under. Your article fails to mention that US persons must travel under one of these 12 categories. Travel for the purpose of tourism is prohibited. The author mentions his initial intention of traveling to Cuba for snorkeling which constitutes a prohibited activity. The author also encourages pilots to visit for 2 weeks. The author fails to mention that US regulations prohibit a US aircraft from remaining no more than 7 days unless the pilot has obtained a US Department of Commerce – BIS license. I have traveled three times to Cuba and led a small group of GA pilots to Havana and we complied with all the restrictive regulations. Your article unfortunately seems to portray that traveling to Cuba is as easy as flying to the Bahamas. It is not !

  6. Mike,
    Really enjoyed the article and your insight. Could you provide a better break down of the expenses I could expect for such a trip? Any issues with obtaining 100LL in Cuba and did you have to pay cash for the fuel? What were the restrictions on returning to the US with “souvenirs” (Cuban Cigars, etc.)?

  7. Gabriel Penagaricano !!! you cannot have flown into Cuba without the 4 digit landing permit number provided by IACC Cuban Civil Aviation. George, from South CArolina did that and was turned back by the Cuban aviation when trying to land his bonanza a few weeks ago !. Went back to KEYW called us and got his permit, ready to go, VISAS waiting at the other side. I dont know how Gabriel managed that one…There is no FBO, the people handling the fees are called ECASA (Government handlers) and yes, you will pay that much in fees ! on top of 75 CUC (85.00 USD) VISA for everyone. It is indeed very high, but you can make up in the fuel ! Fuel is cheap. You can get someone to do all the filing and the landing permits for only 100 USD and you can even get someone to prepay your fees and VISAs ahead of arrival so you are cleared to go ! and free of worries.You definitly have to be ready and have everything filed ahead of time: EAPIS, flight plan etc… internet there is very difficult to get, you can get the best internet at the Parque Central hotel downtown Havana or the Melia, anywhere else can be difficult. We will be flying a VFR corridor in october with special permision from the Cuban Civil aviation and FAA., but at this point you cannot fly VFR without special reason or permision. We fly the largest groups to the Caribbean including Cuba: 22 Twin Cessna aircraft in May ! 80 people… so if you need to know more contact us airrally.com

  8. Just return from Cuba with a group of 22 Twin Cessna. You cannot fly to Cuba without a Landing Permit. It is not free! You can get the permit and the Immigration Services for as low as 100$. As far as VFR there a trip organize in October under a very special condition. It will be AirRally.

  9. Cuba is definitely different than the Bahamas. And it is more expensive than the Bahamas for private aviation but still less expensive than buying four charter tickets to Havana. However, your trip to Cuba will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the remarkably rich culture and history of a previously isolated island nation only 90 nm from the Florida Keys.

    And yes, there are Cuban and U.S. rules to be aware of, no question. And they are changing almost monthly. I appreciate Mike’s comments about the service provided by Caribbean Flying Adventures. We have provided landing permits and ground arrangements for over 200 aircraft since June 2015 and are the lowest cost provider by far in the industry. We are also totally up-to-date with Cuban and U.S. regs. There are very, very few private or commercial pilots who could on their own obtain the landing permit, notify Cuban customs of their arrival, notify Cuban handlers of their arrival, comply with U.S. and Cuba regs and procedures, pull together a comprehensive checklist of arrival and departure procedures, find the Cuban SIDS and STARS, know about fuel availability or even where to taxi after landing in Havana, know how to obtain a Cuban tourist card/visa, currency exchange, accommodations, what to do, guides, etc. etc.

    Anyone that tells you as a first time visitor to Cuba in a private aircraft that it is a piece of cake it not someone you want to listen to. I have been to Cuban 15 times since May 2015 in a C172RG and have flown into seven different Cuban airports. It is definitely doable. It is a trip you will never forget.

  10. Thank you very much for talking this way about my country, I am Ricardo de Cuba and I am happy to have been one of the causes that you are exprecen this way about my country, thank you one more time and hope to see you around here soon.

  11. Hello. I am Art from Flashpass by Lobo:Labs. Here are a couple of tips when filing an eApis Manifest:
    1. Sumbit at least 24 hours before departure. Sometimes CBP is slow with email confirmations.
    2. Submit your inbound manifest at the same time you submit the outbound. Some Islands have spotty internet service and it is best to send it ahead of time. It is easy to make a change by phone directly to CBP with a manifest in the system.
    Hope this helps.

  12. Great information. Are you allowed to hop from airport to airport. There are many small airports on the island.

    I just returned from Holguin and Gibara on the east end of the island.

    As a note, I have been to Cuba many times and have never seen one of the old American cars with the original engine. Most have diesel Russian tank engines.

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