Following the re-integration of Cuba into international relations, travelers visiting the country have been multiplying rapidly.
For years, Cuba has fascinated travelers from certain parts of the world, as a place that preserves a time past, both for man-made objects and in natural landscapes. Its close proximity to southern Florida and parts of the Caribbean make it incredibly easy to get to, but for years sanctions were in place that prohibited travel to Cuba from certain regions, including the United States.
Now, recent diplomatic efforts have started to open Cuba back up as an international travel destination, and it is sure to attract more and more visitors as time goes on.
Tourism in Cuba
Like many other Caribbean and tropical nations, tourism is one of the chief economic industries in Cuba. It is estimated that over 3 million people visited Cuba in 2014, to take in the historical sites and to enjoy the beautiful beaches.
In the heyday of Cuban travel, the early 20th century, it was by far the most popular Caribbean destination for tourists. However, by the 1960s through the 1980s, tourism to the area basically dropped due to concerns between the US and the USSR.
Now, sanctions from some of the world's global powers ? principally the US ? have meant that only travelers from certain areas can go to Cuba. Canada reestablished positive relations with Cuba in the 1970s, and today Canadians constitute about one-third of annual visitors to the island.
It has been estimated that many visitors from the US have entered Cuba over the years by flying from Canada or Mexico, but since easing restrictions in early 2015, it is believed that this number has increased by 36%, despite still technically not being allowed to travel to Cuba from the US for individual vacations.
The Modern-Day Cuba
One of the fascinating things about visiting Cuba is that it transports visitors to the 1950s. Because there was a lot of money and industry funneled from the US to Cuba in the early 20th century, a lot of infrastructure there reflects the luxury and high life of the era. However, as time goes on, some of these buildings fall prey to wear and tear, and require extensive renovation to be useable.
Cuba's communist regime also meant keeping Cubans separate from tourists, and there were major attempts over the years to designate resort areas and tourist-friendly locations to promote luxury travel, but these were mostly off-limits to the Cuban people.
How to Get There
For residents of areas that still prohibit travel, there are more and more ways to visit Cuba. In the early 2000s further restrictions on travel were made to educational programs, one of the few ways Americans could legally visit. This year many of those restrictions have been reversed, which allow groups to more easily receive legal paperwork for travel.
It is still best to travel to Cuba with a special legal allowance, despite easing regulations. It is likely that in the coming years legal travel to Cuba will be an option to vacationers from around the world, but for the time being the island nations retains its reputation of mystery and intrigue.
Also worth reading...
As restrictions are eased and Cuba is slowly re-integrated into international relations, dozens of travel companies are eager to supply the growing demand for travel to Cuba.