Friday,  October 30, 2020  9:20 pm

These Canadian airlines are heading back to Cuba—soon!


These Canadian airlines are heading back to Cuba—soon!
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch: christine@paxglobalmedia.com.

Cuba's Ministry of Tourism, in partnership with the Cuban Ministry of Public Health, has implemented a rigorous certification program across the island for members of the tourism sector.

The Cayos (CCC, SNU, CYO) reopened to international tourism on July 1st, 2020. 

The new program aims to provide insight on health and safety protocols for hotels, non-hotel services, support services, transportation and other companies that fall within the tourism sector.

Required documents and entry requirements for Cuba remain the same. There is no pre-testing required prior to departure, and no quarantine upon arrival.

Getting into Cuba from Canada

While Canadians who go to Cuba might not have to quarantine in destination, the Government of Canada's mandatory 14-day quarantine upon return to Canada remains.

A number of Canadian airlines have the intention of restarting flights into Cuba once more, including Air Canada, Sunwing, and Air Transat.

Air Transat, which serves a number of destinations in Cuba (Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Havana, Holguin, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba, and Varadero) has confirmed that flights to Cayo Coco from Montreal and Toronto are currently set to resume on Oct. 2nd.

"It is important to note that our flight schedule may change, depending on the evolution of travel restrictions and demand," said Marie-Christine Pouliot, public relations and marketing advisor, Transat. "Official resumption dates for each of these routes will be unveiled on our website shortly."

Air Canada Vacations' managing director, Nino Montagnese, confirmed with PAX that Air Canada's flights to Cuba are starting back up again in early September from Toronto and Montreal, and additional destinations to the South will be announced in the coming months.

Sunwing Airlines has suspended all flights through August 31st, but has just announced that it will be offering a limited schedule for September with flights from Toronto to Cancun, Varadero, Cayo Coco, Punta Cana and Montego Bay as well as from Montreal to Cancún, Punta Cana, Varadero and Cayo Coco.

WestJet's current schedule for the Caribbean does not include Cuba.

The airline's planned routes from now through Sept. 4th, 2020 from Toronto include Montego Bay, Jamaica (2x weekly Aug 3 – 9 and 1x weekly Aug 10 – Sep 4) and Cancun, Mexico (1x weekly).

"We believe the ability to travel can be opened responsibly and the immediate focus must be standardizing intra-provincial travel advice to ensure Canadians can move safely and freely across our country," Morgan Bell, media spokesperson, WestJet, told PAX. "The patchwork of domestic travel restrictions and quarantine periods that are currently in place within our own borders are severely limiting Canada's economic recovery and putting hundreds of thousands of jobs in our critical industry at risk."

At the airport & hotel

Upon arrival in Cuba, travellers will undergo a temperature check and a COVID-19 test. There is no charge for passengers, and results are available in 24 hours. 

Clients that test positive will be asked to quarantine at the resort's clinic for international travellers, where a medical team of doctors, nurses, and epidemiology specialists will monitor symptoms to ensure the health and wellbeing f every guest and staff member.

Masks are mandatory at the airport and on the bus during the transfer to the hotel. At the hotels, protocols are in place for health, safety and physical distancing so no mask is required inside the resort.

Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Cruz, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Ensenachos and Cayo Largo are off the coast of main island of Cuba.

No permanent residents live on these islands, and no cases of COVID-19 have been reported here. 

For more information, travel advisors can contact the Cuba Tourist Board by phone at   416-362-0700 or by email at info@gocuba.ca.


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