How I Traveled to Cuba in 2023

Posted on

When the opportunity to go to Cuba came along, I jumped at the chance. As an American, getting to the island that’s just 90 miles off the coast of Florida is often in flux depending on who is in the White House and what restrictions are in place from the current administration. At the moment, there are twelve approved reasons you can travel to Cuba and visiting for the sole purpose of tourism isn’t one of them.

So how did I travel to Cuba in 2023? I went on a mission trip! Filter of Hope partnered with my church to take water filters to the people of Havana. Since 2012, Filter of Hope has been going to countries in the Caribbean and Central America, providing people with clean drinking water. The filters last 10 years and their goal is to see the end of the global water crisis and to spread the gospel.

Our flight left Indianapolis bright and early. Before boarding, we were required to fill out a health form and also had to obtain a visa at the Tampa airport. Customs were very easy, but I have heard it varies so it’s always good to be prepared if you get any questions about your travel plans.

For the entire week, our group of 20+ Americans stayed at a lovely Airbnb type house. The staff at the house work for Filter of Hope and they cooked our meals for us and kept our rooms fresh. We also had clean drinking water at our base camp, but due to the contaminated water supply. couldn’t wash our face or brush our teeth with the tap water.

Throughout the week, our team left base camp each morning after breakfast and took vans to the host church we were working with in Cuba. From there, we were paired with interpreters and church members and we went out into the community, which was deemed “The Viper.” We installed water filters for several homes in the morning, took a break for lunch, then resumed installing filters and sharing the Good News in the afternoon. In total, our team was able to reach 80+ homes and get the filters set up for them.

Even though the Cuban government forbids new churches from being planted in the country, existing churches are allowed to grow and maintain their buildings. A large percentage of Cubans are Catholic and many also practice Santería, which is a mix of Catholicism and a religion derived from African tradition. Those who practice Santería often have idols (we saw lots of statues in people’s homes) and practice animal sacrifices. Several times we came across trees where chickens had been sacrificed to an idol or god and they were also happening on the beach close to our base camp.

We also witnessed many lines for rations, gas and learned that the government turns their water off every other day. It was definitely a huge change from the American way of life and made me appreciate everything I have here in the states.

Despite the very sad living conditions, the Cuban people are very proud of their heritage and many told us they love their country, just not what their government does to them. If you get a chance to travel to Cuba, I would absolutely tell you to go. It’s a once in a lifetime trip – just make sure you are doing your research and supporting the people NOT the government owned businesses, restaurants and tour companies. That might get you into a sticky situation as an American since there are still restrictions placed on us as citizens when it comes to travel and business in Cuba.

Read more about my trip to Cuba in my next post and be sure to check out my YouTube channel for an upcoming vlog.

6 thoughts on “How I Traveled to Cuba in 2023

  1. Coco

    April 26, 2023 at 10:34 am

    Thanks for sharing! Would love to visit Cuba

  2. Taylor

    April 26, 2023 at 11:11 am

    This seems like a really great experience, thank you for sharing!

  3. Just One Passport

    April 26, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    This would have been such a great experience for you and also provided the opportunity to help the people of Cuba. I haven’t been yet, but I’ll get there one day. Thankfully I’m in Canada and the Cuban borders are open to us.

  4. Elyse

    April 26, 2023 at 9:22 pm

    Cube is such a beautiful country, and would have been wonderful to have to opportunity to help the local people. Well done

  5. Alex

    April 28, 2023 at 2:31 pm

    Awesome, love that you were able to visit and help the community!

  6. Exploring Cuba - Lost Between the Pages

    May 8, 2023 at 6:46 pm

    […] my last post, I talked about the travel process to Cuba and some of the mission work we did there. This post is all about the sightseeing portion […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: