Cuba. By virtue of its turbulent history, the name is charged. Politically, anthropologically, passionately charged. For an American, the word gives off more than a just standard-issue vacation-destination buzz. It’s still quasi-taboo, the forbidden land. Our collective temptation for mischief embodied in a tropical island nation. That gets the blood pumping, right?
Sure, recent developments have mostly eliminated the old stigmas, and even non-intrepid types have Cuba on their travel wish lists now, but the future still remains murky. Right now, an American booking a legal trip to Cuba needs a permit for one of the 12 purposes approved by the U.S. Department of State. Sadly, none of these purposes include, “Just laying on the beach drinking rum and spitting game.”
Which leaves the still-kinda-illegal route. On that tip, most online advice comes from Canadian or European websites and aren’t of much use. If they do come from American sources, they’re often outdated, written ages before Obama’s big visit.
Recently, I visited. It was a short, breathtakingly-awesome trip. This is not an account of that trip (this is an account of that trip). This is a guide to get you to Cuba, without the state department, before the embargo lifts. Cruise ships are on the horizon. With them come Starbucks and Pizza Hut. I’m not here to discuss the cost or benefit of those imports to Cuba. I’m just stating what seems to be fairly obvious: things are going to change.
We’ve already covered how to get to Cuba, really well. And I may repeat a fair bit of what’s on that list. I can only speak to our encounters, our research, and our experiences. Any corrections or suggestions are welcomed.