Day trips from Key West to Cuba – can it be done this year? The short answer is:
YES, day trips from Key West to Cuba are possible! Can you just imagine taking one day out of your Key West holiday and scooping over to Havana, Cuba?
Well, there are issues, of course, despite the short physical distance between Duval Street in Key West and Obispo Street in Havana, Cuba, but this is a great place to do it from.
The political distance is bigger than from the Earth to Mars, which impacts how you can travel to Cuba, a beautiful island nation, from Key West or anywhere else in the US.
I have traveled regularly from the US (and from Europe) to Cuba since 2019, and I know all the ins and outs of traveling to a Cuban airport!
There are a few ways to travel to Cuba from Key West, but none of them are currently commercial options.
Here are 4 ways to do a day trip and a fifth way to do a multi-day trip that does not include an airplane.
What Is The Best Way To Travel Between Key West And Havana, Cuba In 2024?
Can we go from Key West to Cuba?
Yes, we can do Havana day tours (as long as we have a valid passport), and the best way to travel between Key West and Havana, Cuba, in 2024 is to book a chartered flight!
There are two “best” options for this: book the flight only, or book a chartered flight that also has an itinerary of Havana to follow!
1. Chartered Flight Day Trips To Cuba From Key West
If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to travel from Key West to Cuba, you can actually do a chartered private jet flight!
A few companies offer chartered flights from Key West to Cuba, and they typically depart from the Key West International Airport.
The flight time is between 30 and 50 minutes, so it’s a quick and easy way to get From Key West to Cuba for a day trip.
One thing to keep in mind when booking a chartered flight (or any flight) is that you will still need to obtain a Cuban tourist card beforehand.
If your tour operators do not provide this, the easiest is to buy a visa from an online provider and have it sent right to your door before your trip.
Ensure you have your visa before arriving at the airport (unless you can buy it there or the charter company has provided it for you), as you cannot board the plane without one!
📍 Quick guide for Cuba travel:
- Buy a Cuban Tourist Card.
- As a U.S. citizen, you need to get the pink tourist card.
- Choose one of the pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel. The most common reason is “to help the Cuban people”.
- Get travel insurance with health coverage.
- Book the flight, and a casa particular, or a hotel
- Register your entry to Cuba online on d’viajeros.
- Consider getting a VPN that works well enough in Cuba.
- Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months more.
- Remember that you will only be able to get Cuban peso CUP when in Cuba. Bring all the foreign currency you plan to spend in cash, Canadian dollars, US dollars, or euros.
- Bring all the medicine you sometimes or regularly use. Cuban pharmacies are empty; you will not be able to get anything when in Cuba.
- Bring a water bottle with a filter to ensure you always have access to drinking water.
- Check out my best advice for Packing for Cuba here!
- Also read about Money In Cuba & Wifi In Cuba before you go!
Price example for a private jet fare from Key West to Havana, Cuba (*before taxes and fees):
|A One Way Flight for 3-9 people||$3000|
|A Return Flight for 3-9 people||Enquire!|
2. Organized Day Trip To Cuba From Key West
Our Key West is now organizing day trips from Key West to Havana twice a week from Key West Airport!
These trips are available on Tuesdays and Fridays and must be booked at least 48 hours prior to departure.
You will check in at Key West Airport at 7 a.m. in the morning and be back in Key West by 7 p.m. in the evening!
The itinerary for the Havana day tour activities with a tour guide in Cuba is:
- Guided tour Ernest Hemingway’s home in Havana Finca Vigia with ground transportation
- Cojimoar village visit, a picturesque fishing village outside Havana
- Old Havana walking tour visiting important plazas and sights like La Bodeguita del Medio and the Plaza Vieja.
The price per person for this day trip with itinerary from Key West to Havana is $1195, which includes airfare, visa, transportation in Cuba, local guide, taxes, fees, and entrances!
😎 Find all the information you need to research & plan your Cuba journey!
📍 Can Americans Travel To Cuba? How To Travel From US in 2024!
📍 42 Legendary Things To Do Havana Cuba! Ultimate Guide 2024!
📍 9 Best Tours In Varadero Cuba 2023!
📍 19+ Unique Things To Do In Trinidad Cuba 2023!
📍 14+ Amazing Things To Do In Vinales Cuba 2024
📍 FAQs Cuba Travel
You can also join this charter trip to Havana without following the itinerary for the stay in Cuba and book only the flight to have free time in Havana.
In that case, you pay for the flight, and the Cuban tourist card and any other expenses are in addition to the flight price.
3. Charted Boat Trips From Key West To Cuba
A slower but fun way to travel to Cuba (if you like the Atlantic Ocean) is by chartered boat.
Pro Tip: Get an elegant travel duffle bag with room for your bikini, towel, a pair of shoes, a change of clothes, and the necessities for your day trip!
I love this one from Bagsmart!
There are a few companies that offer chartered boat trips from Key West to Cuba, and they typically depart from the Key West marina.
You can do a single-day round trip Havana day tour between Key West and Cuba, so it is actually possible to go on a day trip by boat!
The trip over takes a few hours, and it’s a convenient and fun way to get to Cuba for a day trip, even though quite a bit of the day is spent on the boat!
If you like boats, well, it probably is perfect.
You can also make multi-day trips by boat to Cuba, where you are able to visit more than one port.
You can contact the provider for information and possible itineraries for a Cuba boat charter!
Also read: Amazing Havana Rooftop Bars & Restaurants!
4. Get A Commercial Flight From Miami To Havana
One option is to not fly from Key West to Havana at all, but drive up to Miami to find your Havana day tour option.
There are flights from Miami to Havana or Varadero every day in both directions.
This is a lot cheaper than chartering a private jet, and it is around a 50-minute flight.
The drive from Key West to Miami is just under four hours and might be worth it if budget is a factor!
You can also get a Cuba flight from Key West with one stopover; fly from Key West Airport to Miami International with American Airlines, and from there, onwards to Havana, Cuba!
Remember, you still need the Cuban tourist card to enter Cuba, and you can buy one online beforehand or at the American Airlines check-in at the Miami International Airport before Cuba flights!
Find out exactly how to plan and make a day trip to Cuba from Miami if you really want to do that!
Price Example Return Flight Miami – Havana
This is a price example of a return flight Miami – Havana – Miami in one day:
|A Return Ticket Miami – Havana 1 person (6 am – 9 pm)||$695|
|A ONE-WAY Ticket Miami – Havana 1 person||$298!|
(5. Slow Multi-Day Sail Trips From Key West To Cuba)
If you’re looking for a truly unique but slower way to travel from Key West to Cuba and around Cuba (so not just a day trip), sail trips are the way to go!
Sail trips from Key West to Cuba typically depart from the Key West marina. You can check out the various boat types, travel itineraries, and destinations here.
To-Do List Before Your Day Trip From Key West To Cuba
No matter how you choose to travel, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your day trip to Cuba.
Money In Cuba
Another thing to keep in mind is that Cuba is mostly a cash-only economy.
There are ATMs, and some restaurants and shops accept credit cards, but most places don’t. Also, remember that US credit cards are not accepted in Cuba.
So be sure to bring enough cash, preferably in euros or Canadian dollars, to cover whatever you intend to spend while in the country.
Currently, you can also use the US dollar, although formally, it was rendered illegal after a change of law in Cuba in the summer of 2021.
As the dollar is still flooding the informal currency market, the government decided to create an amnesty for the dollar, and because of this, you can still pay most places with the US dollar in cash.
Day Trips To Havana: One Day In Havana Itinerary
Take it from a Scandinavian ex-pat living in Havana for almost two years; here are the best things to do in Havana when you have the one day!
I am assuming your flight takes off super early in the morning from Key West, so you have the entire day at your disposal!
- Walking tour of the old town: Old Havana
- Classic American Old Car tour of the wider vibrant city of Havana
- Have lunch at El Dandy or Km Zero
- Walk the Prado Avenue and get some artsy memorabilia
- Cocktail at Floridita, a favorite hangout for Ernest Hemingway
- Take a break on the Malecon and have a Cristal Cerveza
- Casa de la Musica Havana or Salsa Havana are two of the best places to shake your dancing feet (if you are allowed to stay out late)
American Tourists Visiting Cuba
Because of the travel restrictions, most United States visitors’ travel reason is to “help the Cuban people”, and not as “tourists”.
There is no paperwork connected to this; you just need to state your reason if anyone asks.
Make sure you are familiar with the 11 pre-approved reasons for US citizens to visit Cuba.
As an American citizen, you will still need to buy the pink tourist card before entering the country, as opposed to the green one that the rest of the world is using.
If you plan on staying for a few days at a hotel or casa particular in Cuba, you also need to make sure it is not on the US restricted list.
Most are not, so don’t worry, but it is smart to check before you make your booking.
Remember that Cuba is a (mostly) cash-only economy and that the US dollar was formally banned in Cuba in June 2021.
However, as there are plenty of dollars in circulation on the black currency market, the Cuban government has issued an amnesty to change US dollars in the banks.
Therefore, you can still use dollars in cash in Cuba now.
Be sure to bring enough cash to cover whatever you plan on doing while in Cuba, and again, remember that US credit cards can not be used in Cuban ATMs or anywhere else due to the ongoing sanctions.
Lastly, be respectful of the Cuban people and the Cuban culture. Cuba is a wonderful place to visit, with lots of natural beauty and historic sites, and we hope you enjoy your day trip!
How To Find Flights From Key West To Cuba
You will not be able to book a commercial flight from Key West to Cuba this year. Currently, it is not possible to foresee any changes to that situation as long as the political climate remains as it is.
Your option for finding a flight from Key West to Cuba is to book a seat on the chartered flight to Havana that departs from Key West to Cuba twice a week.
You can do this in two ways: either book the flight with a one-day itinerary included, or book just the flight and then spend the day in Havana as you prefer!
If you book the flight with the itinerary, the Cuban tourist card is included in the tour package price.
On the other hand, if you choose to book only the flight, you need to buy the Cuban tourist card on the side.
Don’t worry, though; this is a formality, and you can buy the Cuban tourist visa (which it is also called) at the International Airport in Key West prior to check-in on your travel day.
Why Travel From Key West To Cuba?
The amazing little town of Key West is not only the southernmost point of the entire United States, but it is also just around 90 miles from the shores of Cuba and Havana!
There is no doubt that Key West is a stunning destination in itself and had historical events in Cuba.
Had the relationship between the US and Cuba developed differently, it probably would’ve been commercial ferries crossing the short distance over to Havana.
Did you know Ernest Hemingway had homes in both places?
Why Havana Day Trips From Key West To Cuba?
Well, a Havana day trip from Key West is done in one hour; it is a super short distance! The flight across is less than one hour.
Situated in the northern Caribbean region around 100 miles from the Florida Keys, Cuba travel has been a popular destination for day trips from Key West since way back.
Cuba is a beautiful island nation, rich in culture, history, architecture, nature, and so much more.
In fact, in the first half of the 21st Century, the relationship between Cuba and the US was great, at least from a strategic and business point of view.
Up until the Cuban Revolution, I have written the story about that in this article about the Cuban revolution.
US and Cuba – Before!
The trade was blooming, and lots of American companies had businesses in Cuba, trading in rum, sugar, honey, and more.
During the prohibition period in the US, in the 1920ies and 30ies, there was also an “invasion” of bartenders and local bars owners buying and opening bars, restaurants, and clubs in Cuba – where there was no prohibition at all.
That, of course, was before Fidel Castro, the revolution, the Cuba crisis, the failed invasion of Playa Giron, and all the details in Cuban history.
But back to day trips.
To sum up, currently, there are no commercial flights, ferries, or cruise ships traveling between Key West and Cuba due to the tightened sanctions implemented by President Trump before he left office.
The Trump administration also put Cuba on the dreaded list of “nations that support terrorism,” which did not help tourism, but it is not illegal to travel to Cuba for Americans, Canadians, Europeans, or anyone.
Is Cuba Safe?
Yes, Cuba is very safe for travelers. The Island is one of the safest travel destinations in the region.
One reason for that is that in Cuba, there are stiff penalties, including prison, for even petty crimes like theft against foreigners.
How Long Is The Ferry From Key West To Cuba?
There is currently no commercial ferry option for travel from Key West to Cuba due to ongoing sanctions.
The distance from the southernmost point of Key West to Havana is 106 miles in a straight line across the sea!
How Long Is The Boat Ride From The Keys To Cuba?
First, you need to know that there are no commercial boats or ferries running between Key West and Cuba.
Secondly, that would depend on from which key you depart and what kind of boat you would be driving!
The fastest crossing of the ocean between Key West and Cuba was done in a speed boat in 2017, and that crossing took 1 hour and 18 minutes!
How Long Is A Boat Ride From Miami To Cuba?
If you have your own speed boat, you would be able to do the boat ride from Miami to Cuba in about 4 hours!
The fastest-ever boat trip from Key West, all the way on the southernmost tip of the US, to Cuba, took one hour and 18 minutes.
This boat ride was conducted in 2017 by Nigel Hook and Jay Johnson, and they raced the distance at more than 100 miles per hour!
Is It True You Can See Cuba From Key West?
No, unfortunately, it is not true that you can see Cuba from Key West.
Even though it is not very far, it is too far- and the curation of the heart also will hinder you from seeing across to Cuba from Key West!
You can read the whole explanation here if you are interested.
Is Key West 90 Miles From Cuba?
Yes, Key West is more or less 90 miles from Cuba.
That number is the most common number referred to when talking about the distance between Key West and Cuba.
However, if you do a straight-line check with Google maps, you will see that the distance between Key West and Havana will be pretty much exactly 100 miles!
Can You Do A Day Trip To Cuba?
Yes, it is possible to do a day trip to Cuba.
If you travel from a destination with direct flights, like Miami or Fort Lauderdale, the flight time to Havana, Cuba, is around one hour.
As long as you have your Cuban tourist card and passport and have registered your entry at the d’viajeros.cu home page, you can enter and exit Cuba in one day!
Although, I would recommend you stay longer!
Can You Get A Ferry From Key West To Cuba?
No, there are currently no commercial Cuba ferries from Key West in the United States over to Cuba.
How Much Is A Day Trip From Key West To Cuba?
A day trip from Key West to Cuba is going to cost you, as the only option is to charter a private plane or a boat.
So, you are probably looking at $ 5,000 or more for a return private flight.
A more budget-friendly best option is to head up to Miami and travel from Miami to Cuba instead.
Are There Boat Trips From Key West To Cuba?
There are currently no commercial boat trips from Key West to Cuba. The only option is to charter a private boat if you want to visit Cuba across the sea.
Why are US citizens not allowed to travel to Cuba?
This is NOT correct. US citizens ARE ALLOWED to travel to Cuba.
Americans can choose a reason for Cuba travel among 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba, determined by the US Government.
Can US citizens travel to Cuba as a tourist?
Technically, US citizens are NOT allowed to travel to Cuba as a tourist. Americans choose between 12 pre-approved reasons for Cuba travel, among which the most common one is “to help the Cuban people”.
What are the 12 requirements to travel to Cuba?
You can read about the 12 pre-approved reasons to travel to Cuba for US citizens here.
The easiest and most common reason for Cuba travel is “to help the Cuban people”.
There is no paperwork or application process connected to this, you just choose your reason and state that reason if anyone asks.
What happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba?
Nothing happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba apart from, hopefully, the US citizen will have a fabulous holiday and encounter with Cuban culture.
Selected airlines sell this visa/tourist card, or you can buy one online.
What documents do I need to travel to Cuba?
You need the following documents to travel to Cuba:
- Passport valid for 6 months after the date of entry
- Cuban tourist card / tourist visa
- Proof of travel insurance, including health insurance
- Fill out the d’viajero.cu digital document before your journey
Do Americans need to be vaccinated to enter Cuba?
No, there is no requirement for specific vaccines prior to entering Cuba.
Your country’s health department probably has recommendations for what vaccines you should consider before entering Cuba.
How Do I get a tourist card for Cuba?
You can buy a tourist card online from Easy Tourist Card, or from the Cuban embassy in your country.
You might also be able to buy a Cuban tourist card from your airline or at the airport prior to departure.
It is possible to buy a Cuban tourist card at Miami International Airport at the check-in counter with American Airlines and Delta Airlines.
How Do I Get A Tourist Visa For Cuba?
- Buy one online from Easy Tourist Card
- Buy one from your airline if they offer this
- Buy one at the airport of departure if they offer this
- Buy one from the Cuban Embassy in your country
Is Travel To Cuba Allowed Right Now?
Yes, Cuba travel is allowed right now. There are no COVID or health restraints from entering Cuba right now.
There are no political constraints from entering Cuba right now for most international travelers.
American citizens need to, in addition, choose one of the 12 pre-approved reasons for traveling to Cuba (Americans can not travel as “tourists”) and follow some simple guidelines for traveling in Cuba.
Wrap-Up Day Trips From Key West To Cuba
It is not cheap, but you CAN take a day trip from Key West to Cuba and Havana!
You can also travel commercially from Miami to Havana for a day trip, which might be a good idea. If you want to do that, read the linked step-by-step tutorial with an itinerary on how to do it!
Or, go to Cuba for the weekend instead? Or what about one week in Cuba?
Plenty of things to do and experience in Havana and surroundings; you will not regret it! Havana is a natural habitat for dancers, for example!
Related blog posts:
My Resource Go-To List For Best Travel Booking Deals!
Travel Insurance: IMG Medical Travel Insurance
VPN Secure Internet: ExpressVPN
Cuba Visa Online: Easy Tourist Card
Car Rentals Online: Discover Cars