About Us

Marazul has been arranging travel to Cuba since 1979.
This year we celebrate 40 years!

Our story

Marazul has been arranging travel to Cuba since 1979. This year we celebrate 40 years! In that time, we’ve pioneered American travel to Cuba, and we’ve been at the forefront of the easing of restrictions. We’ve spanned  seven presidential administrations, have succeeded through low and high times, while maintaining expert service and excellent programming.

Our history runs parallel to the fight for the right to travel to Cuba. Get to know us a bit better and scroll through some of our company’s & travel history highlights!

  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1979
  • 1979
  • 1980
  • 1982
  • 1985
  • 1986
  • 1990
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 2000
  • 1982 - 2003
  • 2003
  • 2009
  • 2009 - 2014
  • 2017
  • 2019
  • 1977

    President Jimmy Carter lifts the restrictions on travel (by putting all tourist travel under a General License). Young Cuban Americans in the Brigada Antonio Maceo travel to Cuba as an act of friendship and reconciliation.

  • 1978

    600 young people from the US attend the World Youth Festival in Havana: Meeting in Havana, representatives of Cubans living abroad in the United States, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Mexico establish a Dialogue with the Cuban Government. Cuban American leaders establish the Committee of 75 to help push forward the dialogue. This same year, Francisco Aruca and other Cuban Americans take part in a dialogue with the Cuban government. Upon returning to the United States, the idea for Marazul was born!
  • 1979

    Marazul was founded by Francisco Aruca with three purposes:
    1.  Help Cuban Americans reunite with their Cuban Families
    2. Bring as many groups and people as possible from the US to Cuba to see Cuba firsthand, and to experience it personally.
    3. End the restrictions on travel to Cuba, leading to an end in the blockade
    First-Time regular charter service is established between Miami and Havana.
  • 1979

    In response to the founding of Marazul Tours, the Cuban government founded the land operator Havanatur to provide the arrangements for Cuba Americans travelers, returning to Cuba for the first time since the revolution.
  • 1980

    During this time, Marazul was the only travel agency sending groups and individuals to Cuba!
  • 1982

    President Ronald Reagan re-imposes the travel restrictions. (Marazul continued to send group legally to Cuba, while always maintaining compliance with US and Cuba law.)
  • 1985

    Marazul is subpoenaed by the US Treasury Department for the names of all Marazul Tours clients who had traveled to Cuba. Marazul refused and with the crucial assistance of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, and the National Conference of Black Lawyers fought back and won in court.
  • 1986

    Marazul is bombed for the first time — It would happen again in 1989 & 1996. Many other Cuban travel agencies would, unfortunately, experience that same fate as well.
  • 1990

    Due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba faced an unprecedented economic crisis, referred to as the “special period.” In order to grow the economy and continue their commitment to social programs, Cuba invested heavily in the tourist industry. New hotels such as the Melia’s & Parque Central were built. Under the leadership of City Historian Eusebio Leal, a massive restoration of Old Havana was undertaken, Cuba also opened the Latin American Medical School, providing free medical education to people across the world.
  • 1996

    The Cuban Friendship Institute’s travel agency; Amistur, opens its doors! Marazul is their 1st US partner.
  • 1997

    The World Festival of Youth and Students is an international event, organized by the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), a United Nations-recognized international youth non-governmental organization, jointly with the International Union of Students since 1947. In 1997 Marazul Tours worked with the prep committees for the 14th iteration of the festival which was taking place in Cuba, assisting those interested in traveling legally under a license.  The licenses were unjustifiably denied, but 900 unlicensed young people defied the restriction and attended the festival. It was the largest single travel challenge in US history. None of the 900 students were fined.
  • 2000

    President Clinton modifies restrictions allowing increased travel – but only under licenses.
  • 1982 – 2003

    Hundreds of universities, colleges and high schools, professional and cultural organizations, religious institutions and groups, and thousands upon thousands of individuals flood the Treasury Department with applications for travel – many enlisting the aid of their congressional representatives. Over 750 universities and colleges receive licenses.
  • 2003

    OFAC under the direction of President George W. Bush, eliminated the People to People travel category, the 2nd largest category after family visits. Marazul applied for specific licenses for all remaining categories of legal traveled and continued sending groups to Cuba.
  • 2009

    President Obama’s OFAC decides to issue a General License for Cuban American travel once every 12 months to visit ‘close’ relatives. This is the first action to broaden travel to Cuba in 10 years. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus led by Congresswomen Barbara Lee visit Cuba and meet with President Raul Castro and former President Fidel Castro. Call for an end to the embargo and the travel ban and respect for Cuba’s sovereignty. Marazul Tours coordinated the travel of the Congressional Black Caucus.
  • 2009 – 2014

    In 2009, prior to meeting with Latin American heads of state – excluding Cuba – President Obama announces ‘new beginning’ of US-Cuba relations and orders the opening of unrestricted travel by Cuban Americans to visit their close relatives. Revised restrictions are finally issued in September. In 2014, President Obama & President Castro announce the establishment of diplomatic relations between the US & Cuba.
  • 2017

    President Trump announces the return on regime change policy towards Cuba. Announces the elimination of the individual category of travel, as well as announcing that the OFAC regulations would be updated later in the year. Despite a change in US travel regulations, Cuba experienced a surge of tourism in 2017. They surpassed their goal of over 4 million travelers from around the world… Marazul continues to send hundreds of groups and thousands of people to Cuba on educational, academic, professional, religious, health and cultural groups.
  • 2019

    Marazul Celebrates 40 Years of Supporting Travel to Cuba!!!

Let us show you
the real Cuba

40+ Years of Experience

We are very proud to say that we can give you the best advice for your trip.

Reasonable Price

We offer one of the most reasonable price throughout the market.

Professional Local Tour Guide

You will be full of information with our exceptional local tour guide.

Friendly Support

Any problems will be solved in just a minute with our support staff.

Let us show you
the real Cuba

40+ Years of Experience

We are very proud to say that we can give you the best advice for your trip.

Reasonable Price

We offer one of the most reasonable price throughout the market.

Professional Local Tour Guide

You will be full of information with our exceptional local tour guide.

Friendly Support

Any problems will be solved in just a minute with our support staff.

Thinking Cuba?

drop us a line and keep in touch