Getting to and from Cuba is getting a lot easier. Yesterday, President Obama gave the go-ahead to the treasury department to issue licenses to two ferry companies that allow them to boat up to 1,000 people back and forth from Florida to Cuba multiple times per week. This coming on the heels of Jet Blue’s announcement that they will be offering direct flights from New York City to Cuba in July.
Despite the new burgeoning means for travel between the countries, tourism is still limited. It’s still illegal to travel to Cuba for regular old tourism visits. To get there you must be a licensed traveler to Cuba, visiting relatives, or traveling for educational and cultural tours.
But this shouldn’t stop you from going to Cuba as soon as you can buy a ticket! With the proper massaging of the facts, any vacation can be written off as “educational and cultural.” I’ve put together a handy guide that will help you hoodwink the authorities and get you sipping cold drinks in front of a Havana sunset in no time.
If they catch you suntanning on one of Cuba’s beautiful beaches:
“Uh, hi, this isn’t what it looks like, I swear, officer. I’m not relaxing, I’m researching, yeah that’s right, I’m researching how the sun’s rays affect human skin at this location in the world with its proximity to the equator and, uh, oh yeah I’m seeing how … um … the sand tastes [grab handful of sand and pour it into mouth till mouth is so full you can hardly talk]. Sand good!”
If they catch you enjoying some fine Cuban cuisine and a daiquiri at a boardwalk bar:
“Oh, yes, hello officer. Well I am traveling for educational purposes, not for leisure. I’m testing out pH levels in the drinks here in Cuba so that I, um, well the thing is that I … [grab handful of sand and pour it into mouth till mouth is so full you can hardly talk] Sand good!”
If they catch you taking in a baseball game, Cuba’s favorite sport:
“Hi officer, good to see you. Yep, I’m not just a tourist traveling for fun, I’m here on an, um, educational mission. Yeah, that’s the ticket, I just wanted to check out if they hold baseball bats differently in Cuba and, oh look at that, they hold them the same well-gotta-go-to-the-library-now-byyyyyyyyeeeeeee! [run out of the baseball stadium and grab a handful of dirt from the field and eat it on your way out].”
If they catch you strolling through historic downtown Havana checking out shops:
“Oh my goodness officer, you startled me! Yes of curse I’m here for educational purposes. I’m checking the shops in the downtown center to see if Americans could learn anything from Cuba’s Marxist-Leninist ways. And it, uh, turns out Cuban retail is WHOA these shoes are cute. [create a diversion by shoving a handful of loose sand that has collected in your socks, hide the cute shoes in your bag as the authorities are trying to stop you from choking on the sand, and then get the heck outta there].”
If they catch you attending a lecture on Cuba-America relations at the University of Havana:
“Oh yeah, uh jeez, officer, I was just, you know trying to, um, learn … some … thing … I swear! [they take you to prison and as a protest you refuse to eat the food they give you and eat only sand and dirt from the prison floor].”
If they catch you trying to leave Cuba to go back home to the United States:
“Yes of course I have all my paperwork, officer, I appreciate you checking [eat casually from baggy of sand and enjoy it because you’ve acquired a certain taste for it]. Now you’ll notice that I have everything in order there and I’m just trying to get home [start to worry that you won’t be able to get any more delicious Cuban sand once you get back to the U.S.].
If they catch you trying to get back into Cuba because you crave their delicious golden sand and will stop at nothing to get more:
"Please officer, you can’t make me eat anymore Florida sand, it’s disgusting [show the officer a handful of disgusting Florida sand. It smells so bad!]!”
If they shoot you down after swimming to the Cuban shoreline just to get one more mouthful of sand:
“[at least you’ll be buried in the thing you love most now: Cuban sand]”