U.S. law does not specifically ban travel to Cuba, but instead it forbids Americans to spend money there without a license. To U.S. authorities, spending more than one unlicensed day in Cuba is proof that money was spend and the law was broken.
While the U.S. Treasury Department does issue licenses to American citizens for travel to Cuba, tourism is not considered a valid reason and is prohibited. This includes traveling to Cuba by flying through a third country such as Canada.
Even with a proper travel license, importing even personal goods from Cuba into the U.S. is still banned. U.S. Customs can seize anything of Cuban origin, excepting informational items such as books, newspapers or pamphlets.
Tourist Visa Card
All visitors, including Americans, must get a 30-day tourist Visa on Arrival upon reaching Cuba. This is a tourist visa that takes the form of a card instead of a stamp or sticker inside a passport, and applying requires two passport photos, proof of travel arrangements and a fee of either 15 British pounds or 25 Euros.
There are two currencies in Cuba, the peso and the convertible peso (CUC), and the official exchange rates between the CUC and both the regular peso and foreign currencies are grossly inflated. In July 2009, the CUC and regular peso were quoted as being equal and worth slightly more than the dollar, but the street value of the regular peso is usually between 25 and 30 times less than that of the CUC.
Cuba is one of the few places in the world where ATMs are still not common and mostly found in Havana. Visitors will need to plan carefully if they intend to rely on ATMs to meet their money needs while there.