Welcome to Cuba!
If you’ve already been here, you understand just how beautiful and unique of a place it is. Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and it’s located less than 500 miles off the coast of Florida. It’s also very close to the Bahamas, but even so, many travelers hesitate to visit Cuba due to its controversial past.
With that said, here are five reasons why Cuba should be on your travel list — and a little bonus information on how to get there.
1) Beautiful accommodations
Cuba has a number of local casas particulares, which provide an authentic Cuban experience. Casas particulares are old mansions transformed into guest houses where foreigners can stay. These family-owned homes offer an incredible experience and an up-close look at everything from the local cuisine to culture.
2) Vintage cars
We’ve all seen photos of the iconic, vintage Cuban cars. Not only can you see these when visiting, but you can actually ride in them!
3) Local culture and history
Cuba has a rich history, and visiting famous landmarks — such as Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and the Bay of Pigs — will give you the opportunity to understand Cuba and its people from a historical perspective.
4) Activities galore
When you visit Cuba, you should take the time to go east from Havana to visit Santiago De Cuba. Many people tend to stay in Havana but miss the opportunity to get out and visit other incredible parts of the country. The far eastern corner of Cuba is home to a city known as Santiago De Cuba, which is the country’s music capital. Listening to the local music is always a highlight!
5) Traditional Cuban food
With any experience focused on people and culture, it is important to understand what people eat! The fish, seafood, and even rice and beans are quite delicious in Cuba, and they’re worth trying during your time there!
Can Americans travel to Cuba?
This is a common question that I get, as traveling to Cuba is commonly misunderstood amongst most American travelers. We’ve all heard of the Cuba travel ban — but do we actually know what it is?
Since there is a lot of confusion about how to travel to Cuba from the USA, let me shed some light on how you can visit Cuba.
There are 12 categories in which you can legally travel to Cuba as an American citizen. The most common of the 12 travel categories is called the “people to people category,” which allows American travelers to visit Cuba with an authorized organization or guide that has curated a full itinerary of educational activities, local experiences, and interactions with the Cuban people.
People-to-people experiences (or tours) do not allow for a lot of free time, and include interactions with lots of local Cuban people, such as artists, entrepreneurs, and musicians.
Now that you know you can visit, how do you actually get there?
Travel to Cuba from the USA is actually quite easy, as Cuba is located right off the coast of Florida. Flights to Cuba depart daily from major US cities.
When booking your flight to Cuba, it is always a good idea to check whether your airline includes the visa in your ticket price (as some airlines have stopped doing this). Getting your visa through your airline, or having it facilitated by your airline, is the easiest way to obtain a Cuban visa — so be sure to check this before booking your flight!
Cuba is a beautiful country, where the people can boast of unique culture, fascinating history, and delicious cuisine. Don’t let the Cuba travel ban keep you from visiting this hidden gem and making friends who live right in our own backyard.
Grab your backpack, there is more to explore! Get started by checking out our official guide to Cuban music and salsa dancing.