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A car parked on the side of a road in Cuba

Travel restrictions lifted on Cuban Rum and Cigars

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Photo Location: Parque Central – Havana, Cuba © Thrifty Traveler


Good news for travelers to Cuba! The Obama administration on Friday further lifted restrictions on Cuba, announcing that US travelers can now bring back more Cuban cigars and rum. The actual limit is likely 100 cigars and 1 liter of rum, which is the limit of set by US Customs for travel to most countries. This is yet another move the administration has taken to normalize relations with Cuba. Just a reminder the goods must be for personal use only, and can't be purchased in another country, such as Mexico, and then brought back to the US. The goods must come directly from Cuba. The prior rule limited travelers to $100 worth of cigars and alcohol.

When I visited Havana in April 2015, I brought back the $100 limit of cigars. When I arrived at US Customs in Minneapolis, they told me since I didn't have a receipt, there was no way to prove the cigars were purchased in Cuba, and not another country such as Mexico. They let me keep the cigars, but it's a good reminder that if you declare items make sure you can prove where they were purchased.


Enjoying a Romeo and Juliet cigar on the Malecon in Old Havana
Enjoying a Romeo y Julieta cigar on the Malecon in Old Havana


Bottom Line 

Depending on who the next president is, I imagine that other Cuban travel restrictions will be lifted in the near future. Most US airlines have now started flying to several cities in Cuba, and flights to Havana will start running over the next couple months. We've seen some incredibly cheap deals to Cuba lately, and anyone can now book directly online through their favorite airline. The airlines will need to fill those seats, and will likely put additional pressure on the White House to further loosen restrictions. Just a reminder that you still must qualify under one of the 12 allowed categories for travel, but these are loosely enforced. Not that I am saying you should break the law! Happy Friday everyone!


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