960x0HAVANA, march 18th (FORBES) The warming of relations between the United States and Cuba has spurred an increased interest in traveling to the island, with search traffic for flights up 500% from last year as more online travel agencies begin to list flights. Several airlines have applied to fly additional routes and it seems to be only a matter of time before regular air travel commences.

Recent rule changes have made it much easier for Americans to legally visit Cuba. Travel is still only permitted as long as it fits within 12 fairly broad, legally permissible purposes, but a key update to the rule now permits individuals to embark upon personal trips self-determined to meet the criteria. No advance license required.

So while the travel embargo still technically remains in place, the real obstacle for Americans who visit Cuba are the high flight prices. Currently flights from the United States to Cuba cost an average of $717 round trip, which is significantly more expensive than flights to other Caribbean destinations near Cuba.Screen-Shot-2016-03-17-at-9.27.59-AM

So what’s a would-be traveler to do? For most Americans, the cheapest way to visit Cuba as a tourist is via a lengthy and indirect flight through a third country, with Canada and Mexico being the obvious choices.