Published March 05, 2013
It is becoming easier to visit the once forbidden land of Cuba.The island was a popular U.S. tourist getaway until Fidel Castro took power in 1959. In 2011, the Obama administration relaxed the rules preventing American travel to the island, so “people-to-people” trips are back. Here are five uniquely Cuban experiences.
5…A Colorful, Warm Welcome
The objective of “people-to-people” tourism is supposed to be to connect with the locals, and each tour offers unique opportunities. For example, a weekend trip via Insight Cuba could include meeting a ballet troop during a rehearsal or traveling to the Quisicaba Community Project.
One of the many fascinating aspects of Cuban life is the presence of classic cars on the street. New cars cannot be imported to the island, so many of the vehicles date back to the 1950’s and have been repaired numerous times so that they are in prime working condition.
3…Groove to Cuban Beats
Cuba boasts a style of music all its own. The streets are filled with the sounds of Afro-Cuban drumming and Spanish guitars. Insight Cuba offers a five-day/four-night Jazz in Havana Tour, but all visitors are sure to have ample opportunities to tap their feet and sway to an outdoor beat.
It is illegal to bring Cuban cigars back into the U.S., so make sure you get your fill while on the island. Watch these world-famous cigars be rolled, but be leery of buying them off the street -- if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
1…Arrange Trip Through a Licensed Travel Agency
As mentioned before, the only way to travel to Cuba as a tourist is through a licensed travel agency. These trips don’t run cheap, and should be booked far in advanced. Check out the Treasury Department’s list of authorized agencies here.