CheapAir Offers Five Reasons to Visit Cuba Now
Photo by David Cogswell
When it comes to Cuba, there isn't really a bad time to go. That said, many are claiming that this is the best time to go. That claim comes partially from the fact that now you finally can, but a large part of the urgency to visit Cuba stems from the fact that normalization of diplomacy, travel and trade will inveitably change Cuba.
The latest to add their voice to that chorus is CheapAir, which claims to be the first company to offer direct scheduled air service to Cuba from the U.S.
CheapAir says that this current, brief, shining moment is a very good time to go to Cuba. And it’s not just an empty promotional pitch. CheapAir is willing to back it up with a list of five reasons why now is a great time to go to Cuba.
Here they are, courtesy of CheapAir:
The diplomatic thaw is real
The series of events since President Obama’s announcement last December has sped up a process of opening relations between the countries that previously seemed at the same time inevitable, yet almost impossible. In January Obama’s announcement became more than words, as trade and travel restrictions were actually loosened.
CheapAir began selling tickets online to qualified travelers, and nonstop flights from various U.S. gateways began in May. Movement toward establishing embassies is now gaining momentum with tangible efforts visible. The change is taking place gradually but inexorably.
Accommodation options are better than commonly believed
Although the high-profile five star hotels that cater to business travelers may be approaching capacity, Cuba also offers many options in casa particulares, the new rising class of small, entrepreneurial lodgings that are springing up across Cuba. Similarly to locally owned bed and breakfast establishments in other countries, these hotels offer much more of the local color and cultural immersion anyway. Airbnb is also now involved in the Cuba market and offers more than 1,000 rentals in Havana.
CheapAir is offering first-class seats
Last month, CheapAir began offering first-class seats to Havana out of Miami. For example, a first class ticket from Miami to Havana was recently priced at $607, just $136 more than the economy fare of $471.
Cohibas are no longer contraband
Under the new relaxed regulations, Cuban cigars are no longer illegal for Americans to purchase. Travelers from the Land of the Free can now bring up to $400 worth of Cuban goods back into the U.S. This includes an allowance of $100 total for Cuban cigars and alcohol. The $400 limit does not apply to art, music or informational materials, for which there is no imposed limit.
It’s still kind of forbidden
Those who love to experience the danger of expressing their inner criminal tendencies (and don’t we all have them?) can get a little rush from pushing the envelope of the current U.S. government restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba. There are still many people, and certainly many politicians, who are incensed by the opening of trade and travel with Cuba. So by traveling to Cuba you can be part of the scandalous class who defy convention and stare danger in the face.
However, CheapAir says that you defy the limitations on travel to Cuba merely by being a person who sincerely wishes to engage culturally with the Cuban people. And once again we are historically at a unique juncture as the old, isolated and embargoed country emerges onto the world stage.
“In the current limbo between an open tourist market and a closed single-party state lies an opportunity to foster some genuine cross-cultural communication before sweeping changes are underway,” says CheapAir. “So while U.S. citizens talk of seeing a Cuba that is frozen in time before it modernizes, it’s also an even better time to normalize relations between Cubans and Americans. And what better reason is there to travel to another country?”
CheapAir now offers direct flights for authorized travelers from New York and Tampa to Havana and from Miami to Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Santa Clara, Camaguey, Cienfuegos and Holguin.
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