Destination: Yes, Cuba is still open to travel!
The United States began placing embargoes, both trade, and travel, on the country of Cuba starting in 1958 and lasting for more than 50 years. All of this due to the political atmosphere of this island that only lies 90 miles off the coast of Florida. It has only been within the last 10 years that travel to this Caribbean nation has become possible. It is lucky for the rest of the world because Cuba is a gem in the sparkling Caribbean. It just takes a little planning to travel to this unforgettable destination!
Synonymous With Cuba
It is an amazing place where rumba rhythms are the soundtrack that will move anyone to dance and the tropical sun is the spotlight that shines on this colorful culture. There are so many great things to do and see in Cuba, but there are certain things that Cuba is known and associated with.
These 6 things are recognized around the world as being synonymous with Cuba.
Did you know that baseball is the national sport of Cuba? Baseball is a sport that was played as a form of rebellion against the Spanish authority. At one time, baseball was banned by the Spanish because they believed the Cuban people preferred it to the mandatory Spanish bullfights. Who doesn't love BASEBALL?!
The first coffee seeds were brought to Cuba in 1748 and were imported from the Dominican Republic. The first full-scale plantation was built in the 1790s. The process of growing coffee was perfected by French and Haitian refugees that were flocking to Cuba to escape the Haitian Revolution. The coffee plantations are a beautiful representation of the history of Cuba, so much so that some of them are considered to be UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Coffee-lovers won't want to pass up the opportunity to try a Cafe Cubano. And the culinary offerings of this destination are will delight food-lovers .
Vintage American cars from the 40s and 50 are commonplace throughout Cuba. Following World War II, American car companies were looking for new markets because of the lack of a market in Europe. Cuba was one of those markets. Castro would later ban the import of American vehicles and the cars that were already there would become priceless. Many of these cars are now considered to be family heirlooms and are passed down.
Throughout the colonial period, sugar cane was a serious money-making agricultural product and it is a product that brought much wealth and foreign influence into the Caribbean. Cubans discovered that rum could be produced from molasses (a by-product of sugar cane) and they perfected their process. In the 19th century, Cuban rum becomes world famous and during the prohibition era in the United States, it regained its popularity. Consider a distillery tour!
Even if you are not a smoker, you have heard of Cuban cigars and you are aware of their fame and popularity among cigar aficionados. Tobacco cultivation is a major economic process in Cuba, and they are one of the world’s largest growers of tobacco. The traditional methods that have been perfected over many generations are still practiced, including the process of hand-rolling. Cigar-lovers will be in heaven. Tours of factories and plantations are quite common.
Narrow cobblestone streets lined with brightly colored buildings are a flashback to the time when Cuba was colonized by the Spanish following Columbus’ landing. These buildings are still maintained in their brightly colored glory and are a real outward reflection of the fun energy of this island nation.
The country of Cuba has sat quiet and isolated for more than 50 years and the world was not able to enjoy what it has to offer. Whether it is by foot, bike tour, or vintage car, there is so much to do, see, and explore throughout Cuba. Now that these political barriers are being dissolved, Cuba can share the aspects of their culture and history that are important to them and that represents how far it has come and where it can go in the future.
Sound like something you would like to experience? Get in touch today, and we can start planning an amazing trip to Cuba, tailored to your interests! Keep Cuba on your radar!
Erin Smith ~ Affinity Group Travel Advisor