15 Reasons to Drop Everything and Head to Cuba NOW You know you want to go. Here's a special behind the scenes look at what's happening in Cuba now. Budget Travel Wednesday, Jun 3, 2015, 6:00 PM For the first time in decades, Cuba's doors are opening to American travelers eager to visit this beautiful island nation where the rum is plentiful, smiles are infectious, and dancing is always encouraged. The easiest way to visit: people-to-people trips offered by tour companies like Intrepid Travel, SmarTours, and Friendly Planet Travel. Here's an inside look at the places you can visit on Intrepid Travel's brand new 9-day Hola Cuba tour. (Courtesy Intrepid Travel) Budget Travel LLC, 2016
 

VACATION IDEAS

15 Reasons to Drop Everything and Head to Cuba NOW

You know you want to go. Here's a special behind the scenes look at what's happening in Cuba now.

  • Colorful buildings in Old Havana, Cuba
  • man with a cigar and a hat in Cuba
  • City view of Trinidad, Cuba
  • Streets of Cuba
  • mountains in Cuba
  • Horse drawn carts in Cuba
  • green car in Cuba
  • Man with hat and cigar in Cuba
  • doorway in Cuba
  • A beautiful beach in Trinidad, Cuba
  • Cuban taxi ride
  • Red car on the street in Plaza Vieja
  • painting in Cuba
  • Man smoking a cigar in Cuba
  • locals in Cuba

For the first time in decades, Cuba's doors are opening to American travelers eager to visit this beautiful island nation where the rum is plentiful, smiles are infectious, and dancing is always encouraged. The easiest way to visit: people-to-people trips offered by tour companies like Intrepid Travel, SmarTours, and Friendly Planet Travel. Here's an inside look at the places you can visit on Intrepid Travel's brand new 9-day Hola Cuba tour.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

The faces of Cuba really tell the story of its tumultuous history, and there's nothing quite like meeting the people who have lived that history. People-to-people tours are specifically designed to introduce Americans and Cubans to one another.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

People come for Havana but stay for Trinidad. This colorful city is in a league of its own. Not pictured: mojitos, cigars, and the heady beat of Cuban drums.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

In a country where internet is scarce and computers are still a rarity, the streets still abound with activity. Sports, coffee, lunch, cigars, rum, dancing, animated conversations—every cobbled lane is a social hub.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

The dramatic mountains that seem to erupt from the endless tobacco fields of Viñales make this one of the most naturally spectacular places to visit in Cuba. Walking through the fields, meeting farmers, and sampling local cigars surrounded by such incredible beauty is a true highlight.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

Watching horse-drawn carts amble the colorful, quiet streets of Viñales really catapults you back in time. These aren't for tourists—they're still a legitimate form of transport.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

The colors, crumbling architecture, and old cars coordinate so beautifully it's hard to believe it's real.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

Locals with cigars line the street keen to take photos with tourists. It's all in good fun and smiles, just be sure to toss them a few CUC.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

The doors are always open in Cuba, giving travelers a peek into local life.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

Cuba remains home to some of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches. Soak up the sun on the south coast here in Trinidad.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

Catching a 'taxi' that was designed in the early 50s through winding rural streets is a quintessentially Cuban experience.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

From sultry salsa clubs and the opulence of Plaza Vieja to kids roaming the sprawling backstreets, Havana is surely one of the most vibrant, character-filled capitals of the world.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

There is something intoxicating about the colors and relaxed beauty of Cuban cities. Watching a man painting his home in the heat of the day somehow captures that so perfectly.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

The beautiful people of Cuba are such an integral part of the country's spirit. Cigars are a permanent fixture.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)

After a few days in Cuba, you'll find yourself happily detached from the claws of technology and falling back into the pace of the real world. Do as the locals do: sit back and watch life unfold.

(Courtesy Intrepid Travel)
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