I just returned from 10 days in Cuba, which I will report more about shortly. Something immediately evident , was that American visitors to the island are down drastically in numbers. I flew from Los Angeles to Havana round trip on Alaska, and came back thinking that something was going to change. There were only 44 people in coach out of 160 odd seats filled on that return flight.
So, I was not surprised when I heard two days ago that Alaska Airlines had decided to cancel their service to Havana as of January 2018. This is sad news for those of us living on the West Coast, and an unfortunate consequence of recent changes in Washington. While in Cuba, I was asked non-stop by Cubans as to why the US and Trump were changing things yet again. People were upset, and in disbelief that their hopes of getting help through increased visitors from the United States was going away.
The worst part of this is that US citizens commonly think that Trump's recent changes mean that they cannot visit Cuba. This is NOT TRUE! That said, visitors are under more strict guidelines, much like they were 4 or 5 years ago. In short, people must go in groups, and have the same daily itineraries. Those itineraries must adhere to one of the 12 legal reasons for travel to Cuba. Anglers generally use research, and travel under a license issued through the Bonefish/Tarpon Trust. And, there must be a group leader who reports on the trip once finished.
We are leading and organizing trips to all of Cuba's fishing destinations for 2018. If you are interested, please let us know and we will get you organized. Let's continue to enjoy Cuba, and help our Cuban friends in any way we can.