Cuba is a beautiful country and is a place on virtually everyone’s to-see list. Getting there, however, can prove to be a pretty big hurdle to get over in the first place as well.
Travel into and out of the country has proven to be a pretty tall order, thanks to decades of travel restrictions from the Cuban government.
This has also made it very difficult for many foreigners to visit the tropical paradise too.
This is especially the case for citizens of the United States, where decades of trade embargoes and political tensions have made traveling to and from the country a pretty difficult take.
Taking a vacation from the US to this Caribbean island is a logistical nightmare if you are not prepared!
This doesn’t mean that traveling is impossible, keep in mind. If you know what you are doing, it’s not even particularly difficult.
What it does mean is that, before you even consider visiting the shores of this little island nation, you need to know what avenues for travel are available for you.
For most travel from America to Cuba, you need to pick one of several categories for officially authorized travel to Cuba.
In this article, we are going to break down one of these categories that you are most likely to use for a visit, known as ‘Support for the Cuban People’, what exactly it entails, and what it requires of you as an American traveler to this vibrant part of the world.
What Is ‘Support For The Cuban People’?
To summarize, the ‘support for the Cuban people’ (or SCP) license is a general traveling license that citizens of the United States need to travel to Cuba.
Whilst there are generally 10 other categories that someone can use to gain permission to travel to Cuba, SCP is the license that most traveling Americans will end up using to be able to visit the country.
The statement that this license is put forward with, is to support the people of Cuba with your transactions whilst you are visiting.
In practice, this means that a traveling American, with this license, must spend their money in a way that supports the private citizens of Cuba, rather than any services that are provided by the Cuban government.
This is the result of a decades-long trade embargo between the United States and Cuba.
As a result, if you are going to visit Cuba, this traveling license means that, when possible, you need to spend your time and money on smaller Cuban businesses, rather than any businesses that are run or supported by the Cuban government.
This can include anything from choosing to book with an Airbnb hotel or apartment, rather than a government-run establishment.
What Support For The Cuban People Entails
So, it seems simple enough, right? If you are visiting Cuba with this license, simply don’t spend your money on government-run services, right?
Well, it’s not quite that simple.
If you are traveling with an SCP license, then you need to have a full schedule for your visit where you are supporting the Cuban people, at least six hours to be exact.
That doesn’t mean that you will not be allowed to relax on a beach, but it is to encourage you to see a little more of Cuba than just the far side of your beach parasol and apartment.
So, when traveling with an SCP, most Americans often have some kind of Itinerary or schedule planned out for their visit.
What A ‘Support For The Cuban People’ Schedule Might Look Like
Whilst the idea of a full schedule may sound a little intimidating, especially if you are a holiday-goer that isn’t always keen on planning things out, don’t worry!
A day’s schedule with an SCP license won’t look too different from any other holiday where you would be busy doing activities.
The only major difference is, as we have already mentioned several times, you will be creating your schedule based on activities and businesses that help support the smaller business owners and private services of the country
We have already used the example of booking with a private rented apartment or building, rather than booking with a government-run hotel, but this extends to pretty much any sort of activity you take whilst you are staying.
- Instead of going on a government-sponsored or supported business, you should book a cultural tour with a private firm, such as one provided by wherever you are based, or maybe even your host themselves.
- Instead of eating at government-owned restaurants, you should instead eat at a privately-owned restaurant for your lunch or dinner.
- Rather than using a state-sponsored transport system, you should instead rent out a private cab firm that can take you to where you need to go.
- There are also several private firms that will let you rent out classic American cars during your stay!
These activities don’t just support local private businesses, but also allow you to meet, talk, and interact with locals on a more personal level, rather than just doing activities through a government-approved filter.
In short, whilst it might sound a little confusing to travelers at first, a ‘Support for the Cuban People’ license is simply a travel license that allows you to support the Cuban people.
So there’s no need to worry. Just apply for one now, book your activities, and you’re good to go!