Posted April 23, 2010 by Jaclyn Liechti
Holguin, Cuba, is said to be the spot where Christopher
Columbus first landed in 1492, calling it the most beautiful place he’d ever
seen. The province is known for its natural beauty, and has several beaches and
national parks. The city of Holguin is known today as “the city of parks,” and is filled with tree-lined squares.
Bahia de Naranjo Nature Park: The Bahia de Naranjo Nature Park holds more
than 2,400 acres of hiking and windsurfing fun. Naranjo Cay, in the center,
offers an aquarium where you can watch a sea lion show or see tropical fish and
sea turtles. The main attraction, though, is the chance to swim with the
dolphins. The lively animals literally jump at the chance to let friendly
visitors kiss and pet them, giving guests an experience they won’t soon forget.
(Photo: iStockphoto/Steven Miric)
Posted April 5, 2010 by Jaclyn Liechti
White-sand beaches and azure waters have long drawn the rich
and famous to Cuba’s Varadero Beach. Located on the Hicacos Peninsula, visitors
to this area arrive expecting sunshine, and with an average temperature of
about 77 degrees, they aren’t disappointed.
Casa del Habano: Cuba is well known for its top-of-the-line
cigars, but visitors should beware of purchasing counterfeits from street
sellers. The Casa del Habano (located on 1st Avenue and 63rd
Street) is one of the most highly regarded cigar stores in the city. Browse
through the government-certified boxes of cigars held in the humidor, then
relax in the tea room, where both smokers and non-smokers can enjoy tea,
coffee, and desserts. Besides cigars, the store also sells pipes, cigar
holders, humidors, and postcards.
(Photo: iStockphoto/Graca Victoria)
Posted June 25, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk
Fifty years ago, the United States got fed up with a little country known as Cuba and instituted a travel ban. Now, our government has loosened the travel restriction on Cuba for Cuban Americans who want to visit their families. The next question is, of course, how’s about a little Cuba for the rest of us?
A relatively new website has sprung up called OpenCuba.org which purports to be “Connecting Americans and Cubans Through the Freedom to Travel.” Interestingly, though, you won’t find an “About Us” link to tell you more about this organization. Instead, you’ll find a posting at the very beginning of the blog section about how this is basically an initiative on behalf of Orbitz to open up travel to Cuba. Which is cool, I guess, for them to do some outreach work…but if it works, it should also certainly boost travel bookings to Cuba. Hmm…conveeeenient.
Anyway, a point this site brings up is that “Today, Americans are free to travel anywhere in the world except Cuba.” Which is true. There are some places you might not want to visit like, say, Siberia in deep winter or, really, anywhere that’s infested with locusts. But you’re free to. The Cuba travel ban was created as kind of a human embargo (we don’t like you, we withhold our big American travel bucks) but embargos don’t tend to have a great track record:
“We don’t like how you rule! We will stop sending food and aid to your people! Oh, part of why we don’t like how you rule is because you’re not very good to your people in the first place. Darn. Good point.”
Now, in a pretty-much-post-Fidel Cuba, the political climate has mellowed some, and an influx of good old American travel bucks might have a positive effect on government behavior. Not having a direct line to El Jefe’s office (or, now, El Hermano of El Jefe), I don’t know for sure. However, I’m guessing—and apparently Orbitz is, too—that there would be plenty of Americans who’d be more than happy to schedule a few weekend getaways to Havana and drop a bundle on Cuban cigars.
Readers, what do you think? Are you interested in putting Cuba on your “Must Visit” list?
Posted March 12, 2009 by Carl Unger
A recent decision to ease some travel restrictions to Cuba has many wondering if the U.S. will lift its trade embargo against the island nation. The new rules will allow U.S. citizens with family in Cuba to visit once a year for as long as they like. Existing rules permit one visit every three years and limit the length of stay to 14 days.
I know what you're thinking: CIGARS! Well, let me put that stogie out for you, because it doesn't sound like the Obama administration has any intention of lifting the decades-old embargo against Cuba. This embargo prevents Americans from traveling to Cuba without a special license, and imposes big fines on anyone who does (and gets caught). The embargo, in place for 47 years, is meant to pressure Cuba into making democratic reforms by depriving the communist nation of U.S. trade dollars.
But the fact is that Cuba is still a communist country, which suggests the embargo has done little to sway Cuba toward democracy. Many are now calling for President Obama (who has, at times, said he favored easing some restrictions) to take further steps toward undoing more of the embargo.
Could a Cuba vacation be in your future? Maybe, but probably not in the near future. Still, the prospect seems likelier than ever, so I ask: Would you travel to Cuba if the U.S. lifted its embargo?