The announcement comes after a nearly four-month period in which the State Department advised that Americans not travel to Cuba under any circumstances. Tensions are still running high between the two countries after the sonic attacks last September, which prompted the State Department to set the “do not travel” warning.
Despite the current foreign policy difficulties between the United States and Cuba, some people are foraging ahead with their business ties with the island. Although many announcements have been made about the reversal of Cuba-friendly Obama-era policies, not much has actually been changed on a policy level; the most significant recent move was the mutual removal of diplomats.
Susan Leger Ferraro is a social serial entrepreneur who has been looking to affect social change since first started Little Sprouts, an early education center in at-risk communities, when she was just 17 years old. In 2015, Ferraro first visited Cuba and has since set out to support the development and expansion of infrastructure in order to meet the needs of its growing tourism industry. Now, she’s sharing some of her wisdom from her experience in Cuba, and on a more ecumenical scale.
Good news for Cuba-bound cruisers – your options for a Cuban cruise vacation are increasing by the day. As demand for cruises to the Caribbean’s largest island increases, more and more companies are adding tours of Cuba to their menus.
With the first American cruise ship visiting the island just last year, it’s a market that is still developing. And with President Trump’s proposed rollback of Obama-era regulations that allowed for a broad category of “people to people” visits, the future is relatively uncertain for tourists. After all, trips to Cuba for the sole purpose of tourism are still not allowed. Cruises, however, seem to be safe from future measures, as most cruise lines have an official group people to people program; President Trump has only indicated that he would be tightening up individual travel to the island.
Cuba’s Disco Ayala is housed in a space that has been around for many thousands of years. You would have found a different kind of club there ten thousand years ago. That’s right: older than the Pyramid of Giza and the city of Babylon, the Disco Ayala is located in a natural cave formation one hundred feet below the surface of the earth in Trinidad, Cuba.
At party time, the cave’s dreary interior is lit up with the neon lights of a New York City nightclub and disco balls and projector screens hang next to stalactites. Don’t think that just because you’re surrounded by rocks that the Disco is stuck in the stone-age. Everything from top 40 hits to classic funk and hip hop are echo off the stony walls every night as throngs of energetic youth dance the night away.
The Obama administration’s lifting of travel sanctions to Cuba made the city come abuzz with new life. From that initial stirring comes the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, the first five-star hotel the city has welcomed in a long while. The new luxury hotel had its soft opening on May 22 and an official opening on June 7; it hopes to cater to the new visitors and business people swarming to Cuba.
Developers renovated the Manzana de Gómez building, located in historic Old Havana, to create the luxury hotel. The Manzana de Gómez building was erected in the early 1900s. While it initially housed the first European-style shopping arcade in Cuba, it soon grew to include offices, theaters, and even a school. Once travel opened up between the U.S. and Cuba last year, the distinctive white building became the home of high-end shops like L’Occitane and Lacoste. Continue reading
In the wake of new restrictions on travel to Cuba from the Trump administration, American travel seems headed in two different directions. A new cruise from Tampa to Cuba took off on Thursday, while Southwest Airlines announced that it would discontinue two of its three routes to Cuba.
The Carnival Paradise, which is headed for Havana, Cuba for a four-day excursion, will be the last individual certified tour available because of the new travel restrictions. Any cruises from now on will need to be certified group tours, which will ensure that Americans visiting Cuba are doing so for educational purposes and not for regular tourism.