By Susan Berman Hammer + Footnote by Honey Good
We hope that after you read last week’s Travel Edition (Part 1), you began dreaming about a long-awaited trip to an alluring place. If not, maybe this travel idea will strike your fancy. What about a flight, ferry or cruise to Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean? It's doable now that travel restrictions have eased for Americans.
Gorgeous beaches, history, architecture, music and a vibrant culture all await you on this island, only 90 miles off Florida's Coast (and a short 45-minute flight from Miami). Not only does Cuba offer sun, sand and turquoise waters, but also festive streets and plenty of sightseeing, water sports and educational opportunities. And of course, the vestiges of American life on the island are everywhere:
- The colorful 1950’s American cars now serving as taxis
- Hemingway’s home, 10 miles southeast of Havana, now undergoing restoration by a U.S. Foundation and...
- Hershey, Cuba (or “air-say,” as the locals call it), a suburb 30 miles east of Havana, founded in 1916 as a factory workers’ community by Milton Hershey himself.
The most surprising development about U.S. travel to Cuba is how quickly the country has become easier to get to, particularly since the Obama administration began easing travel restrictions. And more travel options are opening every day, 52 years after that February day when President John F. Kennedy prohibited travel to Cuba and made financial and commercial transactions with Cubans illegal for U.S. citizens.
Major U.S. airlines - Jet Blue (weekly flights every Friday), American and Delta - are scheduling charter flights from the U.S. They fly directly to Havana from New York’s JFK Airport as well as from Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, FL. This year, American projects it will fly nearly 1,100 charter flights to the island. American offers flights to four other Cuban destinations as well – Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Holguín and Santa Clara. Beginning next month, HavanaAir in partnership with Eastern Airlines, will also begin service to Cuba from Houston. (To review airline schedules, visit kayak.com or contact a charter provider such as ABC Charters, Cuba Travel Services or Marazul.)
Cruise and ferry lines (9-hour overnight trip) are getting in on the act, too, as are online lodging agencies. AirBnb has recently added 1,200 listings in Cuba by plugging into Cuba’s extensive network of casas particulares (guesthouses) and Carnival, the world’s largest cruise line, will begin offering trips next May.
Google has even proposed to the Cuban government that it can bring better Internet service to the island, revolutionizing the way information becomes available to visitors and Cubans alike.
Tener un buen viaje!
Footnote by Honey Good:
Darlings, you must visit Cuba; it’s a must-see! Shelly and I visited the colorful and unforgettable tropical island in the Caribbean and it's one of our favorite trips! We toured Havana, known for its sunshine and its waterfront, the Salsa, the Ballet, Cuban cigars and the factories where they are rolled and inhaled by as many women as men! The famous Tropicana, the Arts and Fidel Castro complete its magical personality. Cuba is in a fascinating time warp with old Chevy's from the 1950's and Hemingway's room where he penned “For Whom The Bells Toll” and “The Old Man and the Sea.” And I love the fabulous painting I purchased of a Cuban woman whose head is wrapped in a bandana. She’s wearing religious beads and smoking a cigar! I hung it in our California home for all to see!
SUSAN BERMAN HAMMER - News
Susan Berman Hammer brings more than 35 years of professional communications, management and parenting experience as well as journalism training to The Honey Good team of writers. Susan is also PR counsel and a business strategist to HoneyGood.com. Susan previously served as the Senior VP-Account Supervisor of a Chicago PR agency and later headed her own agency. She earned graduate and undergraduate degrees from Northwestern University. Follow Susan on Twitter: @SueBermanHammer