As travel restrictions lift and embargoes soften, AD's Mitchell Owens heads to Havana, where the mojitos are sweet, the architecture is astounding, and society is embracing a new era.
Americans rushing to see Havana under the eased travel restrictions are finding rooms few and far between this season. Havana's high-end hotels are said to be booked solid for months. And it's not likely to get much better.
On a recent CODEPINK trip to Cuba with a 150-person delegation, we found the island crawling with Americans taking advantage of the relaxation of U.S. travel restrictions and the historic thawing of U.S.-Cuban relations.
I don't pretend to be an expert on Cuba but I have a patchwork knowledge--the equivalent of snapshots assembled from twenty-some trips, the first in 1...
With relaxed restrictions for American travelers to Cuba making headlines, our Deal Experts are champing at the bit to visit this Caribbean nation that's so close to the U.S., but has been out of reach for so long.
At breakfast this morning in the hotel, the laden buffet stretches around the perimeter of the open, airy room: salad, fruits, vegetables, three kinds of sausage plus bacon, roast pork, prosciutto, chorizo and a whole tray of slices cold cuts and another of assorted cheese.
Today we are going to check into the Melia Cohiba, part of a Spanish chain of hotels I love in both Bali and Madrid.
Despite the beckoning beauty of the scene, we are completely alone except for a vacationing German couple who kindly take a group photo of us. Wandering up the beach a few yards, I find sandwashed glass, coral fossils, and tiny orange shells. It is clear that beachcombers are rare here.
Since President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would ease diplomatic relations with Cuba, the number of people looking to travel to the largest country in the Caribbean has steeply risen. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how the recent decision will affect Americans traveling in Cuba, but there are reasons to be optimistic.
A 15-minute cab ride takes you just outside of Havana to this idyllic beach that attracts locals and tourists alike. Flag down one of the roaming vendors for a refreshing rum-coconut water combo sipped right out of the coconut.
After lunch, we walk the cobblestone streets of this colonial town, stopping into local shops and art galleries.
The parking lot is a mix of cars from the 1930s all the way up to modern day -- American Chevys sit cheek-by-jowl with small Russian box cars; most vehicles look like they've seen better days.
If Cubans cannot help themselves, why continue to deny them access to the global stage?
She is thinking back to that day, four years earlier, when her son asked if he could take up ballet, the art that propelled his parents from this Caribbean island to the United States more than two decades ago. Francisco was 13; she had started her own training at 8.
I didn't go to Caibarién on purpose. My bus pulled into Remedios where I had planned to disembark. But when I looked out the window at yet another gorgeous colonial town, it left me dead.
A survey of 423 Americans who have traveled to Cuba as part of U.S.-licensed cultural exchange programs (known as people-to-people programs) shows that visiting the island nation dramatically transforms their opinions about Cuba, its people and U.S. policy toward that country.