For years, Cuba seemed trapped in time. The visible effects of the Communist regime and US trade ban –1950s finned American cars, the faded grandeur of colonial buildings, predominant trades of coffee, tobacco and sugar cane – all gave the country a unique appeal, but one that seemed to be stuck in the past. Recently, however, Cuba has been catching up with the rest of the Caribbean islands and its tourist trade has boomed.
These days, Cuba isn’t just about the glories of old Havana: mojitos, salsa and promenades along the Malecon. The abundance of powder-white sand beaches has been drawing in tourists on flights to Cuba and a rash of all-inclusive resorts (particularly around Varadero) has sprung up. Regeneration is being carried out in the towns; new buildings are rising and repairs taking place on the old, especially in Havana.
All of which may have made Cuba the perfect holiday destination: step off a Cuba flight and relax and enjoy the Caribbean climate and setting, take in the culture of towns such as Havana or Santiago de Cuba, discover the unspoiled interior and plantations, or just lie back at the pool of a five-star hotel with some local rum.
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