Planning to go to a fiesta in Cuba and drown yourself in its culture of cigars, rum, music, and all? Should you decide to travel by water, know that the time it takes depends on the boat’s type.
How long is a boat ride from Miami to Cuba for ferries? Expect the trip to last for 10 hours at most. By speed boat, you can shorten that to 4 hours or less.
Other boats fall within the middle of these estimates. The time varies, since we have to account for wind and current for sailboats and overall differences in speed.
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Distance and Time
Take Note: I’m going to assume that you’ve acquired the special permit from the USGC to enter Cuban territorial waters (which is quite hard to get at present) when reading these facts I’ve shared.
Moreover, the country has become pretty strict when it comes to American boats reaching their ports nowadays.
Are you also planning to take a ferry from Miami to Cuba? Well, to be clear from the get-go: there are NO cruises and ferries to Cuba from Miami operating now.
At best, everything is still up in the air. Ferry and cruise ship companies have been waiting since 2017, but there has been no update even up to now.
You can check most cruise websites. You’ll see for yourself that there is no day cruise to Cuba from Miami at present, narrowing your choices further.
However, if you’re still curious, companies have revealed that a ferry service may run between Miami to Havana or Port Everglades to Havana in the future. The boat will go through approximately 250 nautical miles and will take around 10 hours.
That’s a more accurate answer to “How far is Cuba from Miami by boat?” instead of just minding the distance in miles, which is fairly shorter at just a little over 228 miles.
Naturally, the ferry price remains undetermined, and that may be the case for a long time.
For comparison, by air, it’s 294 miles from Miami to Cuba, which should only take 1 hour and 5 minutes for most flights.
Types of Boats
Now, let’s say you did get that elusive permit and have a boat that’s ready to go.
If you wanted a static answer to “How long does it take to get between these two places regardless of the type of vessel?” prepare to be disappointed.
There are way too many factors that come into play. For instance, when considering the distance from Miami to Cuba by boat, which port of entry are we talking about?
At present, there are 6 ports of entry for foreign boats, with Hemingway Marina as the primary one for yachts.
- If you take a speed boat that can manage 30 knots to make the crossing, the entire trip will only take you 3 to 4 hours. You’ll go in a southerly direction then head west to Key West, where you will be crossing from.
- It’s been put on record that a cigarette boat going at least 70 miles per hour can manage that trip in 2 hours. That’s assuming Key West, yet again, is the starting point.
Take note that that’s already the ideal option for most if your number one concern is to make the passage from Florida to Cuba in the shortest amount of time possible.
- Any average-speed yacht or watercraft will likely take the same time as the “hypothetical” ferries above – and probably more.
- If the winds and currents favor sailboats (i.e. with the winds hitting abeam), it may only take these vessels 5 to 6 hours. Otherwise, they’ll fall under the average travel times of Cuba to Miami by boat or possibly longer.
Things to consider before riding to Cuba
Besides asking, “How far is Cuba from Florida by boat?”, you should also be mindful of these other factors that directly apply to this itinerary at present.
- Acknowledge the fact that it’s far harder for private American boaters, especially South Floridians, flying their homeland’s flag, to enter Cuba.
- The lack – if not total absence – of cruise ships, tours, and ferries that operate on this specific route complicates your planned trip further.
- The special permit provided by the US Coast Guard is difficult to acquire.
- You can now travel to the country even if you’re unvaccinated for COVID-19, but testing is still being done upon arrival.
- Getting travel and medical insurance is highly recommended and may actually be asked of you once you arrive.
- Don’t attempt to use your American credit cards when paying for items and services. Naturally, you’re left with only cash as the main mode of payment.
- Spring is the best time to travel, which means March or April should be your month of departure.
Advantages of Taking the Trip
- You’ll be able to get a taste of Caribbean culture with a distinct Cuban touch. Besides trying out cigars and rum that most people can’t get enough of, there’s also Cuban music to soothe and please your auditory senses.
- Be sure not to miss its exquisite beaches. Places like Varadero Beach, Playa Ancón, and Guardalavaca can definitely tick “Visit a memorable Caribbean beach” off anyone’s bucket list.
- The island’s colonial architecture is just as visually appealing, as showcased by Plaza Vieja, Trinidad, and Old Havana.
- You will have been able to complete a nautical voyage from American to Cuban soil, which not a lot of people have the privilege of doing nowadays.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you bring on the trip?
Before getting on the boat to Cuba from Miami, bring plenty of cash, already converted to Cuban pesos. Don’t forget the insurance and special permit I mentioned above.
Besides those three, there are no other major considerations. Obviously, some light clothing that’s suitable for the hot, tropical weather will keep you feeling cool for your entire trip.
Bring plenty of sunblock, your beach outfit, mosquito repellant, your camera/smartphone, and basic necessities for most tropical destinations.
How fast can a boat go from Florida to Cuba?
Regardless of the average distance between Miami and Cuba shared above, it’s tough to arrive at an exact figure. Based on the different travel times I’ve mentioned, expect the range to be between 3 to 10+ hours.
While I did say that it’s possible for a cigarette boat to achieve 70 mph, it’s highly unlikely that it will be able to retain that speed for the whole voyage. Weather will always be the X factor because that same boat’s speed may greatly dip to just a measly 10 mph when faced with strong northwest winds.
On the other hand, a speed boat may be able to maintain a 20 mph speed, especially if the weather’s cooperating. There are way too many variables, in short.
It’s unfortunate that travel to Cuba from Miami is relatively restricted at the moment. Still, that doesn’t stop people from asking, “How long is a boat ride from Miami to Cuba?”
The fact that there’s a noticeable difference in traveling times illustrates the relatively irregular nature of most nautical trips – and this specific trip is not an exception. It doesn’t help that there are no ferries and cruises running currently, which could have been better points of reference.
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