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Have the Proper Travel Visa
Fun fact: Cuba is located ninety miles off the coast of Florida, but it is the only country in the world where American “tourist” visas will not be granted. Since the Eisenhower administration only specific visa categories such as participating in an athletic event, performing in a concert, working on a humanitarian project, professional research, or taking part in educational activities will grant an American traveler access to the country. Cuba has recently relaxed its legal requirements for travel, but we still recommend checking out the Treasury Department’s new criteria for first time Cuba-bound travelers:
Show Up Really Really Early for Flights to Cuba
Ordinarily it’s a good idea to show up an hour or two before your flight takes off depending on the time of year, time of the flight, and where you are going. For travel to Cuba, double your normal precautions and show up around four hours before your flight. Many of your fellow passengers will be Cuban natives taking home goods to their loved ones. That means more luggage to for the airline to check, ergo it will probably take longer for you to get to your seat. The flight itself should only take about an hour if you’re flying from Miami to Havana. Remember that cruises are always a good option for Cuba. The cruise line will take care of all your travel arrangements getting in and out of the U.S. Check out this cruise opportunity from our vacation facilitator:
Explore Old Havana
One of Cuba’s most popular attractions is Old Havana or Habana Vieja as it’s called by the locals. As a UNESCO world heritage site, the location is extremely well-maintained looking almost exactly as it would have appeared 200 hundred years ago. Be sure to stop at Bodeguita del Medio, a famous restaurant known for the patronage of Ernest Hemingway, Nat King Cole, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It’s also supposedly the birthplace of the mojito, a popular drink choice on their menu.
Plaza Vieja is in the center of Old Havana and was once the location of choice for bullfights, fiestas, open market trade, and executions. Today, visitors will find shopping, eateries, cafes, fountains, and an eclectic collection of preserved Baroque buildings. The central structure of note is the Casa del Conde Jaruco, an 18th-century house ordained with magnificent stained glass windows.
Explore A Fortress
Another protected UNESCO site is Castillo del Morro, widely accepted as the most well-preserved Spanish fortress of the 17th-century. Construction started on this building in 1587 and was mainly used to thwart pirate invasion in the early years of its history, but was converted into a prison, then back into a fort in the early 1700’s. Located on a cliff top right over the Bay of Santiago, the fort gives way to once in a lifetime views of the coast and offers tours of the building and grounds.
To start exploring Cuba, visit myvacationquest.com today.