The détente between the U.S. and Cuba began on December 17, 2014, causing travel-related costs to spike with 100 to 400 percent price increases. These jumps were due to the influx of American travelers visiting the once-forbidden island nation. But for the first time since, travel prices that are controlled by Cuban government-run agencies and hoteliers have decreased for the spring, summer, and fall of 2017.
“This is the first time we’ve seen costs come down instead of up, in three years,” says Tom Popper, president of U.S.-to-Cuba travel operator travel operator Insight Cuba in a release. “The question was, for how long were prices going to increase or stay at artificially inflated levels. At some point the market would force a correction.”
This means Cuba is cheaper to travel to than ever, and with the current U.S. political climate the way it is, your best bet is to book your trip to Havana now. The mad rush of Americans traveling to Cuba after Obama’s 2014 détente announcement caused demand for travel — and travel prices — to go through the roof. Commercial flights direct from the U.S. to Cuba offered by bigwig airlines such as Delta and Jet Blue made logistics simple for American travelers. The combined factors of the détente, commercial flights, and the 12 categories of travel allowed popularity and prices in 2016 to climb rapidly — with summer 2016 being the peak of travel and costs. Now with the initial rush past us —and with a future political relationship that could go either way under the Trump administration — a small trough between the waves has rolled into the Cuba travel sector.
But since most legal travel must be booked through a third-party operator (who use government price drops in Cuba to make a wider margin of profit for themselves), most American travelers won’t see the savings. But instead, of pocketing those savings they get directly from the price cuts from the Cuban government, Insight Cuba is passing on savings directly to travelers who book their legal travel to Cuba with them. According to Popper, you can save up to $250 per person on a trip booked for spring or summer 2017.
“While we’re looking at a decrease in costs for this spring, summer, and fall, anything can happen for the 2017 and 2018 winter season,” Popper says. He suggests for travelers to book now to take advantage of lower costs this spring, summer, and fall or to book winter trips now to lock in pricing — as well as to bypass any other concerns regarding travel to Cuba. “Now is the best time,” Popper says. “As far as choosing a destination, Cuba is a great choice. There are no safety concerns. It is easy to get there.”
Insight Cuba is currently offering eight tours of the island ranging from four-day/three-night stays to a 12-day/11-night excursion, with each priced 15–20 percent lower than normal rates to reflect the Cuban government’s decrease in travel costs. You can book here.