US Travellers Are Banned From Doing These Things in Cuba

A revolutionary billboard in Cuba
A revolutionary billboard in Cuba | © Pablo Trincado / Flickr
Photo of Jack Guy
24 November 2017

The confusing rules for US travellers who want to visit Cuba were updated once again in November 2017 under President Trump. Travel to the island is still possible under a number of different visa types, but there are now a number of places that are banned under the new rules. It’s not clear how the ban will be enforced, but here are some of the top places in Cuba you can’t go if you’re from the US.

Hotel Ambos Mundos

This popular hotel in Old Havana found fame thanks to the fact that esteemed writer Ernest Hemingway used to stay there. US travellers are banned because the hotel is owned by Habaguanex, a holding company linked to the Cuban military.

The view of the Hotel Ambos Mundos from the street |

Ron Varadero

Keep your eye out for this rum brand, as US travellers officially aren’t allowed to drink it. Again, it’s because the company is owned by a company linked to the military, which is the main focus of the ban. Luckily there is plenty of Havana Club rum around.

Steer clear of Ron Varadero, but get stuck into the others |


Cuba’s knockoff Coca Cola also makes it onto the banned list. It might be hard to spot whether or not it’s used as a mixer in you Cuba Libres, but you can at least try not to buy it in the shops. You will also find Coca Cola for sale if you want the real deal.

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski

The luxurious Kempinski hotel sits in a fantastic location near the Capitolio in Havana, but it’s now banned. It’s one of the best in town, but you’ll have to stay elsewhere. The ban is a blow to the luxury tourism industry in Cuba, which the Kempinski was expected to boost.

Cuban license plate | © Pedro Szekely / Flickr

Coleccion Habana

If you are out shopping for souvenirs in Old Havana, you’ll have to avoid Coleccion Habana. It’s home to reproductions of colonial-era items such as ceramics, ornaments and jewellery.

Gaviota Tours

Everywhere you go in Cuba you’ll see Gaviota tour buses disgorging visitors at famous sites. Under the new rules, US travellers are banned from joining the tours. You’ll have to find a private tour company instead.

Memories Varadero

The Memories hotel chain is a major name on the banned list, and the Varadero outpost is one of the most popular for US travellers. Don’t let it put you off visiting the beautiful beaches of Varadero though.

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