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Discover All There Is To Know About The USA Ban On Medical Travel To Cuba!

Imagine a night out with friends in sapphire seas lapping against powdered white sands. Lush swaths of lush tropical flora going all the way to the horizon? Endless warm sunshine giving way to stained-glass evenings? Welcome to Cuba!
August 30, 2022
Medical Travel in Cuba

Do you know that every year thousands of Americans, in fact, people from all over the world, travel to Cuba for what is known as medical tourism? Medical tourism is traveling overseas for surgery or other medical care—often because it is more affordable or not offered where the patient lives.

Hence, from medical tourism to your dream vacation, Cuba has you covered! Honestly, what’s better than a getaway from daily life with Cuba’s sun, sea, and slower pace? Once you’re there, it’s easier to forget about your job, commute, or parent-teacher conferences when relaxing on a tropical beach. 

Imagine a night out with friends in sapphire seas lapping against powdered white sands. Lush swaths of lush tropical flora going all the way to the horizon? Endless warm sunshine giving way to stained-glass evenings? Welcome to Cuba!

Unfortunately, in 1962, the state department of the U.S. government imposed a trade embargo on Cuba and the country. Although the restrictions have now been removed, Americans are bound by specific constraints, unlike their friends from Canada and the U.K. Their vacation must fit into an authorized travel category because “tourism” isn’t allowed, whether medical or for some other purpose.

Wondering if it’s possible to visit Cuba for medical purposes as a US citizen? Continue reading; this article is all about it! 

Cuba & Its Medical Sector

Old Hospital In Cuba

After its 1959 revolution, Cuba prioritized health care and has since gained a reputation for offering its citizens high-quality and essential free healthcare. Not only that, but the government of President Ral Castro receives hard currency or goods like oil in exchange for the thousands of Cuban doctors who work overseas in Venezuela, Brazil, and other developing countries.

But the question is, what’s so special about Cuban medical? There are a lot of reasons.

For example, eye surgery and accompanying treatments developed at a clinic in Cuba are not offered anywhere in Canada or the US! They have also caused controversy. Independent studies have raised questions about the effectiveness of the treatments, and doctors at the clinic have come under fire for failing to disclose study findings in peer-reviewed medical journals.

Yes, it’s true; while Cuba is well known for its government-run health care, there are still issues with it. For example, doctor appointments and hospital stays are free, but most patients are required to pay for their medicines, which can be difficult on the island’s typically low wages. How sad!

Moreover, hospitals may not have the most recent technology, and some medications are challenging to acquire or unavailable, despite current government investments in renovating some institutions, according to doctors. Last year, salaries for healthcare employees increased significantly as well. Some higher-paid doctors saw their monthly salaries go from $26 to $67. Finally, something positive to hear! 

American Gail Reed, an editor of a medical magazine based in Havana, expressed her hope that additional income from Americans traveling to Cuba for medical care would be invested back into the Cuban health care system.

Ms. Reed states, “Any injection of real, new funding sources into the health system would be a boon to Cuba and Cubans.”

Cuba Is Promoting Health And Medical Tourism

As for the US ban, there is some history. Let’s see what! 

Before anything even started, a contract needed to be reached to have any possibility of American patients visiting the island for medical care. It took months, but eventually, there was a deal! Boom! 

Today Cuba is promoting health and medical tourism with contracts with 132 organizations across all continents, an upcoming medical tourism fair in October, and service investments. Also, Cuban Medical Services Marketing (SMC) is celebrating three decades of medical travel on the island. How cool is that?

The good news is that the US government has relaxed travel restrictions and resumed flights to and from Cuba. However, Americans must follow the rules and be aware of the restrictions before planning their trip to the country of dreams; Cuba! 

According to a report, commercial flights will be returned to other Cuban cities; previously, US airlines could only fly to Havana, the capital. With the new regulations, it will be simpler for families to visit their relatives in Cuba and for authorized visitors to interact with Cubans.

Moreover, there are some other changes; for example, the family reunification program has been reinstated, group travel for academic and professional purposes is now permitted, visa processing times have increased, the family remittances cap has been lifted, and the private sector is now supported.

Remember that you need a visa before you plan anything, and look for hospitals and treatments! Most nations, including the US, require visitors to Cuba to possess a Cuban Tourist Card (also known as a Cuba Visa) to enter the country. You can purchase it from  Airlines (often at the airport), travel companies, Cuban embassies, and authorized online sellers. Visitors much acquire a “Pink Tourist Card” for those flying from US airports, while those flying from non-USA airports need a “Green Tourist Card.” 

Time To Get The Best Medical Treatments In Cuba!

Medical Hospital in Cuba

There is a lot when it comes to what Cuba offers its visitors! Cuba has everything from treatment for cancer to diabetic foot ulcers, vitiligo, retinitis pigmentosa, detoxification, and injuries in high-performance athletes! 

There has also been international investment in facilities at thermal springs, initiatives to connect the Caribbean, the development of Cuba as a regional medical hub, and partnerships with hotel companies.

Nevertheless, we hope the two countries won’t have any future limits. Then, tourists can travel to Cuba and take in all of the fantastic healthcare treatments and the island’s attractions. They will be able to discover Cuba’s colonial cities and experience Havana’s atmosphere along with Trinidad, Remedios, and Camagüey. 

So what are you waiting for? Book a flight today! 

Browse our list of Kanana Caribbean hot spots and also checkout our news page for more updates.


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