If you’ve been considering a trip to Cuba, you might be disappointed to hear that it may soon be getting a lot harder for average Americans to make that trip. On April 17, the Trump administration spokesperson indicated that unless you have family in Cuba, it will soon be next to impossible for average Americans to make the trip.
There are a couple of things we can suggest in the face of this new information. First, there has been no indication from the Treasury Department (the entity that enforces these rules) when official changes will go into effect. So, if you already have travel to Cuba booked you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
On the other hand, there are a few destinations we can recommend that you should consider as excellent alternatives to a Cuban vacation.
Once you open your mind to neighborhoods beyond South Beach, you’ll find Miami has plenty of affordable accommodation to recommend it to the budget traveler. In addition, you can get the flavor of Cuba just by spending some time in Little Havana. Our best recommendation is to spend time on the beach during the day and explore the rich culture of little Havana, home to the largest population of Cuban expats in the world, at night.
The hotels in Cuba are still scarce and of a lower standard that travelers in the U.S. are accustomed to for the most part. The best accommodation in Cuba by far is the network of bed & breakfast style casas particulares, where you can typically meet the host family and get breakfast as well. Ireland is also an island nation, with a vast network of bed & breakfasts. The vibe is remarkably similar – it’s the best way to get to know local people, a delicious Irish breakfast and explore a beautiful green island.
Visitors always rave about the spectacular colonial architecture in Cuba but there are many places in central and South America where you can see stunning architecture. Morelia is one spot closer to home where you can scratch that itch. It’s north of Mexico City, has cobblestone streets and a pink cathedral, for your Instagram selfies.
New York, New York
Some of the best Cuban food outside of Cuba can be found in New York and New Jersey, so we can recommend a couple of delicious options for traditional fare. Gunatanamera in Manhattan, serves traditional cuisine seven days a week, and is known for their complimentary rolled cigars on Friday and Saturday nights and delicious mojitos. La Isla in downtown Hoboken has been serving up Cuban breakfasts for years to locals and tourists alike.
For some people, a visit to Cuba is all about the cigars. You may not know this, but Nicaragua is the next best place to get a cigar grown from Cuba cigar seeds. When the communist party took over in Cuba, one of the country’s most prolific cigar-growing families fled the country with seeds in hand, and settled in Nicaragua. Now, visitors to the country can buy boxes of Oliva cigars – at a very affordable price.
Perhaps the most similar destination to Cuba is Colombia – a country with a complicated history, colonial architecture, delicious food and warm, welcoming people. Colombia also has nightlife and coffee to rival anything you’ll find in Havana. Add in opportunities for jungle treks and some unexpected and underrated beaches? Colombia ticks just about every box.
Don’t forget that CheapAir.com is still the only online travel agency booking flights to Cuba. And for now, you can still make the trip. But if you need a backup plan, maybe give one of these alternatives a shot!