Just like Tulum, Mexico, exploded as a hip vacation spot, Cuba will be the destination of choice for young, adventurous creative types in 2017. First Beyoncé went there. Then Chanel hosted a fashion show there. And last year Barack Obama became the first US president to visit Cuba in almost 90 years. The visit followed improved diplomatic relations between the two countries, including the lifting of many travel restrictions beginning in December 2014.
Travel by Americans to Cuba went up soon after Obama’s relaxation of laws, according to Brendan Sainsbury, a Cuba expert for travel guide Lonely Planet. US visits went up a reported 77 percent in 2015, and while figures aren’t out yet for 2016, Sainsbury predicts a dramatic rise after the reintroduction of commercial flights in August 2016 and the first docking of US cruise ships since the early 1960s. “Five more cruise lines have been approved for 2017,” he noted. Today, you can fly commercial to Havana directly from Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Miami.
With its beautiful beaches, colorful buildings, delicious rum, and famous cigars, Cuba has grabbed the imaginations of adventurous American travelers. Sainsbury calls Havana “one of the world’s great cities.” Highlights include Havana’s art scene, music (from rumba to classical), and ballet. And the old town boasts preserved colonial forts (Habana Vieja) and a uniquely Cuban atmosphere.
Havana is said to give the feeling of time-traveling to an enchanted place. It’s true that in Cuba the infrastructure is worn, and you still can’t use American debit cards or credit cards. But Sainsbury says “there’s almost no hostility towards Americans.”
This is number 14 in our 15-part series on 2017 lifestyle trends. Check out the entire Big in 2017 feature to find out what else will power your style, friendships, and home life this year.
Annie Gabillet, Popsugar
February 22, 2017