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Here’s my final post about my recent trip to Cuba (if you missed the first two, you can find them here and here, plus check out the photo gallery). My editors at ShermansTravel and I have enjoyed reading your comments and input from my initial post regarding the new regulations for U.S. travelers to Cuba, so if you have any additional thoughts – or travel tips of your own – please feel free to share in the comments section below. I’ve already heard about some readers who have trips planned – buen viaje!
Since returning from Cuba as one of the first everyday American tourists to visit the country legally in about five decades, I’ve been asked over and over again how the experience was. Here’s how I’ve been describing my trip: Fascinating. Exhausting. Eye-opening. Unforgettable.
But there are a few things I wish I’d been better prepared for – which is where this (and next) weeks’ posts come in. Here, some tips I picked up from my trip for those of you who also have Cuba on your travel wish list – and want to get there legally. (And if you have your own tips to add, I’d love to hear them in the comments section.)
Around midnight on my last night in Cuba, my travel buddy and I rumbled toward our hotel in a 1951 Chevrolet cab with the driver and his girlfriend, whom we’d become friendly with. Along the Malecón, Havana’s seaside esplanade, we spotted a group of locals hovering around a large fish that someone had caught and hauled onto the sidewalk.
But when we stopped to snap a few photos, it was evident that the sea creature isn’t a fish, but a shark. Exhausted fishermen struggled to hoist the four-foot body of the predator onto a bike taxi to sell at market; a few feet away, teenagers circled around the severed head, touching its fearsome teeth and screaming with skittish delight.
In a way, that scene – at once chaotic and colorful, raw and wild – helps illustrate a visit itself to this island nation, which has been all but off-limits for U.S. citizens over the past five decades. But, thanks to policy changes passed by the Obama administration earlier this year, the average U.S. citizen can now travel there legally, without the hassle of sneaking through Mexico or Canada, and the fear (and fines) of getting caught.
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