If you are going to wed within the next year and have an intellectual curiosity, encourage your fiancé to consider a honeymoon in Cuba.  To me, the vacation would be a trip of a lifetime and one you will be able to share with future generations as you recount the time when Cuba and the United States began a renewed relationship.  Fortunately, travel to this part of the world is a lot less restrictive now provided you have an interest in exploring the culture.  Americans still cannot travel freely for tourism purposes but a cultural exchange is possible.

Cuba, the largest of the Caribbean islands, has become the hottest destination. The interest stems from the latest announcement by President Obama with regard to ease of diplomatic relations with Cuba. The new regulations will allow American citizens to bring back as much as $400 worth of goods for personal use. This includes up to $100 combined worth of alcohol and tobacco products. If ever, you wanted the prized Cuban cigars, you’re in luck!

Americans are now able to travel to Cuba through a program (people-to-people) arranged by tour operators, namely Insight Cuba (my favorite), who have obtained a license to travel to Cuba by our government. The participants will have the opportunity to engage in experiences to gain knowledge of the Cuban culture.  Each participant must keep a log of their itinerary for documentation.  However, the advantage of travel with a group allows you to be chaperoned by professionals who are familiar with the country. Additionally, often times you will be housed in hotels that are more modern such as the Melia Cohiba in the Vedado district of Havana or the Melia Las Dunas in Cayo Santa Maria.

What does Cuba have to offer that makes it worthy of a visit? Cuba has stunning beaches, year round warm climate, a rich culture, awe-inspiring museums, vibrant music, unique architecture, vintage cars, incredible food, and Salsa!

The Havana Art Biennial 2015, May 22-June 22, is held throughout Havana in museums, galleries, restaurants, on the Malecon Prado, in churches, squares, on the water front—anywhere one walks the city is filled with art, music, dancing, parades, and varied performers.  The event will certainly awaken your senses and expose you to a culture unseen by Americans far too long because of the embargo set over 50 years ago. However, you now have a chance to taste Cuba–the once forbidden fruit! Contact me to help arrange this once-in-a- lifetime opportunity.

Sherra Jones

traveldetailsbysj@gmail.com; 862-222-2134

photo:Havana Street Musicians by Jeremy Johnson 2003

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