New Opportunities to Visit Cuba
Before the victory of Cuba’s revolutionary forces in 1959, the island nation was a popular vacation destination for Americans. After that, foreign tourism in Cuba was virtually non-existent until the 1990s, when the country once again began to promote itself as an international destination.
The largest of the Caribbean islands, Cuba is surprisingly diverse. Havana’s infrastructure and lodgings may not be what North Americans are used to, but a stroll along the seaside Malecón, or boardwalk, is exhilarating. Many visitors take their time touring Old Havana, which has beautifully restored colonial-era buildings, browsing the Calle Tacón market for keepsakes, and sipping mojitos. In the evenings, clubs come alive with Cuban reggae and rap music, jazz, or salsa dance tunes.
Outside the capital city, Cuba has lovely stretches of white sand beach and farm markets overflowing with fresh tropical fruit. There are lovely rural areas to explore, including the mountains and caves of Vinales National Park, and the Valley of the Sugar Mills, a World Heritage Site that was once the thriving heart of Cuba’s sugar industry.
For Americans, travel to Cuba has been restricted for more than 50 years, ever since the U.S. government declared an economic embargo. However, recent changes made by the Obama administration are designed to encourage more travel to Cuba.
Previously, it was possible for American journalists or students to obtain a special license for travel to Cuba from the Treasury Department. Now, the Treasury Department is also issuing "people-to-people” licenses, which allow more U.S. travel providers and other organizations to coordinate tours to Cuba. The tours must have an educational component, and itineraries include activities – such as conversations with local artists and tours of farming operations – that provide a fascinating look at Cuban culture.
Residents of Canada have no restrictions on travel to Cuba. You will just need a tourist visa card, which Cuba requires. This card may be provided to you during your flight to Cuba, or it is possible to purchase one when you land in Cuba. For Canadians, these cards are valid for 90 days, and can be extended for another 90 days. Ask your Cruise Holidays personal travel expert for more information.
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