Originally Posted by capta
Has anyone first-hand knowledge of cruising Cuba in 2010 or 2011?
Leaving the VI soon and I am considering spending some time in Cuba on my way north. Done the Bahamas to death, but Cuba's always been "off-limits", so possibly it's more relaxed these days?
Sorry, this is not very up to date: We visited Cuba in May 2010 by sailing from Curacao to Santiago de Cuba near Guantanamo Bay in the south coast. Cuba to us was most relaxed. In fact, talking to cruisers who were there and those who had been there, we heard only positive reports. Cubans are very warm and friendly people and they will welcome you with open arms. As far as the US / Cuba situation goes, it is the US that is unrelaxed about its citizen's visiting Cuba, not the Cubans.
You need a visa beforehand - look for your closest Cuban consulate - and upon arrival the authorities will only stamp your visa (a separate ticket called "tourist card") and not your passport. This is to protect you from any hassles by countries that may have travel restrictions in place. While in the country, your life will of course be limited to some extent. For example, you can not invite locals onboard and your yacht and the movement and mooring of your vessel will be restricted to places allowed by authorities. Life for the tourist can also be quite expensive. Only basic agricultural produce is cheap. Our experience in Santiago was one of the best we've had in our circumnavigation. Authorities were friendly and helpful.
Cuba is not off limits to any cruiser to my knowledge. In case you sail under US flag, visiting Cuba requires you to break the US rules, not the Cuban rules. No-one is stopping you from visiting
PS. This comment comes from a non-US yacht, so perhaps you want to put your question out again with a little more detail about what flag you sail under and why you feel Cuba might be non-relaxed or off limits in the first place. Happy Cruising! Hope Cuba for you is as lovley as it was for us.