Cuban laws requires that U.S. citizens carry a passport, a return ticket, travel insurance and a visa to enter their country. The U.S. Treasury does not allow citizens to visit Cuba on a tourist visa, but has approved travel for other specific purposes under general licenses.
There are 12 categories of approved travel to Cuba. These categories include journalism, education, religious activities and even people-to-people contact, among others. It isn't necessary to apply for a general license, but a traveler should work out a full-time itinerary of activities that support her affirmed purpose in visiting the island. It's also important to keep any receipts that can prove that travelers followed their itineraries. If visiting on behalf of a specific organization, the traveler should carry a description of her work on the organization's official letterhead.
Trips for leisure are still prohibited, such as all-inclusive beach vacations. The island's tourist infrastructure is still developing, as of 2015. There aren't many ATMs, and most American credit cards do not work there. Direct flights to Cuba are available, but they are all booked as private charters. Many U.S. citizens choose to work with special travel agencies that help visitors plan a trip within the new guidelines.