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Cuba ‘BOOM’ in tourism

I have been selling & travelling to Cuba for 17 years now and Cuba ‘BOOM’ in tourism is very noticable. I have probably been there 12 times over the years & without doubt the biggest changes have happened in the last 6 years. Most changes have been for the better as the transport standards improved, the Casa Particulars (licensed Cuban homes- B&B’s) we use are of a great standard & with the free enterprise the Cubans are able to be self-employed, opening up lots of opportunities that visitors can enjoy – the private restaurant (paladares), shops etc.

Cuba is a fascinating & unique island. The cities of Havana, Trinidad & Santiago de Cuba are my favourites. West of Havana there are the areas of Las Terrazas & Vinales Valley, areas that I currently consider as being the real Cuba, as there is no mass tourism here – yet. The beaches are beautiful, accommodation standards in both hotels & Casa’s are great, the food is excellent- especially compared to when I first went many years ago, & let’s not forget the Cuban Rum – cheaper than water!! I personally love Cuba & have some very good Cuban friends, many feel like family to me.

Since the 1962 USA trade embargo against Cuba, the country has struggled. Now that the embargo is about to be lifted I wonder how it will change Cuba. I am sure the fast food chains & coffee shops will be a significant arrival, along with new routes for all the US airlines. With the US’s close proximity to Cuba (only 90 miles from Key West & 140 miles from Miami) these new flight routes from all over the USA will bring in hundreds of thousands of new visitors. American Airlines alone are apparently planning on having 110 flights per day from various US cities to Cuban Airports. This incredible potential increase in visitors is bound to affect prices & availability. Already the historic Hotels Inglaterra & Santa Isabel, both in Old Havana, are to become part of the US Starwood (Marriott) hotel chain. The Sheraton are hot on their heels to make their own deals.

For anyone wishing to visit Cuba for the 1st time, or re-visit, before the big changes happen, I strongly urge you to go ASAP.  Even if you can only go for a week it will be worth going – if only to experience Havana & 1 other area, before the fast food chains arrive & change the whole vibe. I don’t think walking along Calle Obispo in Old Havana will look or feel the same once we have KFC, McDonalds, Starbucks etc. taking the place of the local bars, restaurants & artisan shops.

Virgin Atlantic have the only, scheduled airline, direct flights from the UK & increase the frequency to 3 times a week in November. But we also have indirect flights from London & UK regional airports with other airlines, such as Air France, KLM & Air Europa.

If you want to visit Cuba, or revisit, before it changes please do give us a call on 01202 232335 or email me on

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