I have been to Cuba about 10 times. Not by boat
however, I am a Canadian, and it's perfectly legal
for us to go.
Here is the basic things you need to know.
You will not be able to go without spending money
. Cruising in Cuba might not be as easy and fun as you might expect.
1) You are not allowed to Anchor
where ever you please, actually most places are out of bounds.
2) You have to file a sail plan when you arrive, and will need to list all the places you plan to go, and spend the night. You will need it approved by their Guarda (Coast Guard). They will deny many of the places you plan to anchor
3) They want you spend money in their Marinas
4) If you can't make it to an anchorage or Marina, as part of your sail plan, they will look at you suspiciously.
5) Cubans are not allowed to be on a boat or even in the water
in some extreme cases. They are always worried about them escaping.
6) You are not allowed to leave your boat unattended at an anchorage, fear of locals stealing the boat to escape. Forget about Dinghying especially if you are alone.
7) If you get stuck on a reef or sand bar, or anything. You will not get any assistance. They want you to leave your boat to look for help. Then they will claim your boat as salvage
8) If you hit a reef, and manage to get yourself off, if the Guara are aware of it, they will in pound your boat, and demand payment for damage to the reef. The last two points, I am personally aware of Canadians who suffered exactly that. They demanded $50,000 for reef damage. Put the skipper
in jail until it was paid. He had a choice of paying it, losing his boat.
9) Cubans, don't care if you are American, Canadian, or European, they just want to make money. THey will not stamp your passport if you ask. It can be done, but be very careful, Make sure you have good charts
. I don't think there are any chips available, but I could be wrong.
10) Lastly, if you still want to do this trip I would suggest doing it in a floatilla of cruisers. When we were in Georgetown
, there were several cruisers planning to do it together, share charts
, and help each other when grounded, and go shopping
while others watched their boats.
Otherwise it's a very nice country, beaches, but they make it difficult to enjoy.
My blog: Blogging aboard Black Diamond!