What US-Cuba re-established relationship means for travelers

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FORT MYERS, Fla.- WINK News is learning more about what Wednesday’s developments mean for travel to Cuba.

The change in diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba does not lift the ban immediately but there will be some changes.

Right now, Americans can only go with an educational group or by obtaining a license but that protocol is likely to change in the coming months.

WINK spoke with a Fort Myers woman who recently took a trip to Cuba in March.

“There’s no fast food places, no supermarket chains… in the countryside I didn’t see any cars,” said Irene Brammertz.

Brammertz recalls her trip to Cuba as traveling to a place frozen in time but she says that’s part of the island’s charm.

“We visited the Bay of Pigs Museum which was interesting because we as Americans have been told one thing, the Cubans have been told another thing, and I believe the truth is somewhere in-between,” she said.

The Cubans were overall very friendly to Americans, Brammertz says, but being a tourist wasn’t easy with the many restrictions from the United States–like not being allowed to use a credit or debit card.

Travelers are also required by the U.S. government to keep a journal while there and keep that record for the next five years.

“It was very hard actually because we had no free time. The itinerary was approved by the state department and we couldn’t deviate,” said Brammertz.

President Obama’s announcement to re-establish diplomatic ties doesn’t lift the ban on tourism immediately but it does give hope to airlines, hotel chains and cruise companies; as well as give some relief to travelers.

They’ll be able to use credit and debit cards and will not be able to bring home $400 worth of Cuban goods–including Cuban cigars which Brammertz told WINK News even pictures of the cigars were not allowed when she was there.

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