More tourists visit Cuba every year than any other island in the Caribbean except the Dominican Republic, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. In fact, Cuba has more than 3,000,000 tourist a year according to the World Bank. That’s more than Iceland, Cyprus, Ecuador, New Zealand, Qatar, or Costa Rica.
For the past 50 years, Americans have been forbidden to visit Cuba but even with the ban, more than 100,000 US visitors found their way to Havana in 2014 according to Quartz.com. Now that the US has announced an easing in diplomatic tensions with its southern neighbor, that number is sure to rise.
Oddly enough, if you are a US citizen and want to visit the island, you can mingle with the Cuban people but you cannot go to the beach or go scuba diving. And you must arrange your travel through an organization that is licensed by the US State Department like Insight Cuba or Central Holidays.
Fortunately, Cuba has much more to offer than just beaches. Once the center for all trade between Spain and the New World, it features stunning architecture and a lush countryside kissed by the warm Caribbean sun. Havana shares its architectural heritage with Old San Juan in Puerto Rico. It’s a place where history whispers at you wherever you go. The music and food of Cuba blend all the unique richness and texture of Caribbean culture to delight the ear and excite the palate.
A trip to Cuba should still be on your list of preferred travel destinations, even if your government says you aren’t allowed to just go sit on a beach while you are there. Who knows? Maybe in another 50 years our government will let us do that, too.