Jose Martí International Airport, outside Havana, is the main gateway and is served by major airlines from points in Canada, Mexico and Europe. A direct flight to Beijing was introduced in 2016. There are also regional flights from other Caribbean islands. Cuba’s national airline, Cubana de Aviacion, connects the island with a handful of destinations in Mexico, South and Central America, Canada and Europe. With the easing of sanctions against Cuba, direct flights from the main US will begin in 2016.
Flights from Miami to Cuba are available for authorised US passengers. Try calling Cuba Travel Services (CTS Charters). They offer daily non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Miami to Cuba. There are also regular holiday charters to resorts like Varadero, and these flights are sometimes cheaper than those to Havana.
The airports are all fully air-conditioned and quite modern compared to other Caribbean destinations. They offer good medical care in case of problems and are usually relatively unproblematic. Your checked baggage, on the other hand, is at great risk. It is increasingly common for your luggage to be opened and valuables stolen. This used to be a problem only at Jose Marti International Airport (Havana), but it seems to have spread to all airports. It is extremely risky, if not foolish, to place valuables in checked luggage.
Please note that if you have purchased an oneworld ticket, all further flights to America during this year will be banned by American Airlines.
While Havana is by far the most popular port of entry, there are also flights to Santiago de Cuba from some of Cuba’s closest neighbours in the Caribbean, Jamaica and Haiti. There are also flights from cities further afield, such as Miami, Toronto, Madrid and Paris. Santiago de Cuba is connected to the rest of the country by road and rail.
There are also regular charter flights to resorts like Varadero, which can sometimes be cheaper than those to Havana.
With the boat
There is currently no ferry service from Cancun to Cuba as the sole operator of this route, Aqua Cruises, no longer operates this route. There is also no ferry connection between Florida and Cuba, but several cruise companies have announced that they will operate this route when the embargo is lifted.
Boaters are expected to anchor in public marinas. Most marinas are closed and tourists are not allowed to enter. Private boats can moor at Hemingway Marina in Havana or Acua Marina in Varadero. There is no visa requirement. Expect to hand over several $10 notes to facilitate your entry.