|0||by Kaeli Conforti||Cruises, Art + Culture, Historical Travel, Literary Travel, Nature Appreciation, Pop Culture and Travel, Wildlife Appreciation, Cuba, Cruises|
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Being the first of your friends to visit Cuba is like having the best lawn in the neighborhood: Bragging rights alone are a souvenir.
Going to Cuba isn't as simple as clicking "book" yet, but thanks to new regulations, U.S. travelers won't face as much red tape. Trips still need to fit into one of 12 acceptable categories, such as family visits, participation in religious or educational activities, performances, sporting events, or people-to-people tours, but you'll be spared the hassle of waiting for license approval on a case-by-case basis and allowed to bring home $100 worth of Cuban cigars in your $400 souvenir limit.
|0||by Kaeli Conforti||Boat and Ferry Rides, Art + Culture, Food + Drink, Music and Dancing, Romance, Water Parks, Wildlife Appreciation, Cuba, Cultural Etiquette, Trip Ideas|
For those of you who've enjoyed ferry rides to prime destinations like Sausalito, Nantucket, and Mackinac Island, hold on to your hats: The U.S. just approved ferry service between Florida and Cuba.
Granting licenses to several cargo and passenger companies, the federal government opened up the possibility of ferry service in the Florida Straits for the first time in more than a half century. The Miami Herald reports that some ferry companies say they may offer service within weeks from ports like Key West, Miami, Port Everglades, and the Tampa area.
|0||by Robert Firpo-Cappiello||Boat and Ferry Rides, Food + Drink, Romance, Havana, Cuba|
In every issue of Budget Travel, we feature one of the best reader photos on our back page. Now, see the stories behind them.
The University of Wisconsin students have a real sense of humor. Their Lady Liberty on the Lake prank is a classic image of Madison that has made it onto postcards all over the city. During the summer, I'm usually sailing on Lake Mendota, but when it's five below zero, you've got to take advantage of it, too. So one February, I decided to see it for myself. I took this shot from the Memorial Union Terrace, but I actually went out on the lake and took some close-ups as well. I know how deep the water is and it was completely disorienting to be walking on it. I've live here for 35 years, but sometimes you need to look at your own hometown through a tourist's eye.—Cliff Koehler, Madison, Wis.
|0||by Budget Travel Staff||Islands, Asia, Japan, Vietnam, Havana, Paris, Santorini, Rome, Portugal, London, Guatemala, Chile, Easter Island, Cuzco, Hawaii, Maui, Brooklyn, New York City, Virginia, Madison, Photography, Questions and Opinions, Travel Photography|
Ever been to Cuba? When I was a kid, that question would have been just about unthinkable. The only people I knew who'd been there were those who'd fled the Caribbean island in the wake of the communist revolution that put Fidel Castro in power at the height of the Cold War, raising the specter of a Soviet satellite nation just off American shores.
|0||by Robert Firpo-Cappiello||Beaches, Art + Culture, Food + Drink, Historical Travel, Mountains, Music and Dancing, Pop Culture and Travel, Cuba|
Cuba has long been forbidden territory for Americans. Only the most intrepid travelers have made it to the country, mostly by going through Mexico or Canada.
|0||by Laura Michonski||Adventure, Cuba, Real Deals|
|0||by Michelle Baran||Cuba|
Finally, all Americans can now travel to Cuba, so long as they go with a licensed tour operator performing "people-to-people" trips.
Although the Treasury Department still requires travel to Cuba to be "purposeful," you no longer have to be pursuing a degree program or be a journalist to go there, thanks to policy changes made by the Obama administration earlier this year. The trips are, however, meant to be educational, so you'll follow busy itineraries with meaningful interaction with the locals. In other words, you're not just hanging on the beach in Havana for a week.
|0||by Laura Buckley||Cuba|
Earlier this year, President Obama spoke about easing a number of travel restrictions in an effort to help the relationship between the United States and Cuba grow stronger. With more and more people now able to visit the island nation, the country has the potential to one day become a major tourist destination, if it isn't already.
|0||by Kaeli Conforti||Cuba, Trip Ideas|
A year ago, we blogged about Congress's debate over lifting the travel ban for Americans to Cuba. Here's an update…
Cuban officials are banking that the ban will end soon, and they have begun to prepare for a boom in business. The country recently announced plans to open nine new hotels this year, adding about 50,000 rooms to the island. (For perspective, consider that Las Vegas added only 14,000 rooms in the past year.)
|0||by Sean O'Neill||Cuba|