Though many of the restrictions on traveling between the US and Cuba have been eased, it’s still hard to travel between the two countries without navigating a whole lot of red tape. US citizens looking to visit Cuba and then return to the States through Miami need to receive special permission from the US government to visit Cuba (which can be granted for those who have close relatives in Cuba or those who are visiting on a tour or as a journalist). If you are not a US citizen and you will be flying from Cuba to the US, you’ll still have to go through some extra steps to do so.
If you have the money, you can choose a charter flight available from Havana to Miami or you can take an indirect flight which would fly you from Cuba into a non-US airport, such as one in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Mexico or (to take the long way) Canada.
Flying from Cuba, you’ll most likely leave from Jose Marti International Airport , located just 9 miles from the capital of Havana. Several US carriers fly from Miami into Havana but their flights are listed as charters (so pay attention when you look for them).
When you need to fly back to Miami, there are two airports to choose from. On the busiest airports in the entire USA is Miami International Airport , which offers plenty of domestic flights and also serves as a major gateway into the US from Latin America. It can be very busy though, so if you need to connect here and go on to another US city, be sure to give yourself 2-3 hours to make the connection. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, is located just 21 miles north of Miami. It is a major hub for Spirit Airlines and a popular gateway for those flying into the Caribbean, including Cuba.
Best airline choices
American Airlines fly from Cuba (Havana) to Miami but the flight cannot be booked via the company’s website or the booking engines. Charter flights from Cuba to Miami can be booked via a travel agency.
You can also book flights on Bahamasair (and fly via the Bahamas) or on Mexican (and fly via Cancun) but you’ll need to book these via non-US booking engines or book with a travel agent once you arrive in country you plan on traveling through.
It’s hard to talk about typical prices for flights from Cuba to Miami given the circumstances in which these flights are offered.
If you choose to fly via Bahamas on Bahamasair, prices start at $555 for a round trip in early October. Prices on Mexicana Air range from $400-600 per person round trip. As the peak season approaches in the Caribbean (mid-December to April), the prices start to go up.
Money saving tips
It’s pretty much impossible to use a standard web-booking service to arrange for flights from Cuba to Miami. Priceline and Expedia just tell you that they don’t sell tickets to the destination, while Travelocity says that due to the restrictions they cannot book the flight. On the other hand, some European booking engines allow you to look up prices and book tickets (for example skyscanner.net). The charter flights can be booked via a particular travel agency. The method most people recommend is to wait until you are in the country that you will travel through and then contact a travel agent there. Just be prepared to pay cash.