At its closest point, The Bahamas is only 45 nautical miles from the Florida coast. Hundreds of American cruisers are welcomed each year. It couldn’t be easier to visit. The official website (bahamas.com) includes up-to-date information on entering and exiting the country and you can print out the customs and immigration forms ahead of your trip, as well as fishing regulations, marina guides, and nearly anything else you want to know before you go.
Cuba is also close—only 94 miles from Key West to Havana. Yet with the U.S. embargo keeping American tourists away for nearly 60 years, the island had nearly become the stuff of myth. So of course we wanted to go! But we had decided on two requirements before we would make the trip: We wanted to spend an extended period of time cruising and exploring, and we wanted to do it all legally. Given that the U.S. government only issued permits for visits of up to fourteen days, we were stymied immediately.