Recommend Jan 2018 - 36

Despite the current chill in relations between the United States and Cuba, Delta continues
to serve Havana. This is a city whose history (both colonial and 20th century), architectural
greatness, and political system-visible everywhere, from the mansions converted to public
housing to the neighborhood clinics on almost every corner-makes it arguably the most
interesting capital in the Caribbean.
SEE/DO: The naughty and exuberant mid-20th-century nightclub culture of pre-Castro
Cuba, the country's prolific music and dance styles, and the contradictions of modern
Cuba all come together for each night when 200 dancers, singers, and instrumentalists put
on an outdoor show of shows at the Cafe Tropicana. Anyone on a tour that offers this
extravaganza for an extra charge should go for it.
SIGNATURE EVENT: Cuba is one of the few truly Marxist countries left on earth, so
its parades on May Day, the Communist labor day, are central to its political system.
Obviously, the big one is at the Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, but just as interesting
is the one in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba's second largest city and the place where Castro's
revolution began.
STAY: Because of the new restrictions announced by the White House this past summer,
stays in hotels with ties to the Cuban government are problematic for most U.S. visitors.
Consequently, there's no point in recommending a hotel. However, since visitors are staying
in small casas particularies, many are asking tour operators for accommodations in the
older part of Havana, near the Catedral and Plaza de Armas.

BEST TIME TO GO: There is no true low
season. For most Americans, the right time
to go is whenever they can
GETTING THERE: Delta flies Miami,
Atlanta, and New York (JFK) to Havana
ENTRY DOCUMENTS: A valid passport, a
return ticket, Cuban health insurance, and a
"tourist card" aka visa
CURRENCY: The Cuban peso (CUP) is
worth about US$.30; 24 CUP is equal to
1 Cuban Convertible peso (CUC), which is
what most Americans use
INFORMATION PLEASE: Cuban Embassy;
2630 16th St. NW; Washington, DC 20009;
cubadiplomatica.cu/sicw/EN/
ConsularServices.aspx; (202) 797-8518

The Dominican Republic attracts more than six million visitors
annually, including about three million U.S. and Canadian
citizens, the majority of whom spend most or all of their time
at the resorts that line PUNTA CANA'S 40-mile stretch of soft,
wide beaches. These resorts are more varied in style and price
than many North Americans realize, but serious golfers have
a firm grasp of this fact: that Punta Espada and other courses
here are among the best in the Western Hemisphere.
SEE/DO: Manati Park offers a mix of diversions, ranging
from a performance featuring pre-Columbian Taino music and
dance to a show that spotlights some of the smartest twolegged creatures in the Western Hemisphere: parrots. There's
a wide range of other birds (e.g. flamingos) and reptiles on
exhibit, as well. The iguanas and crocodiles, in particular, are
must-sees.
SIGNATURE EVENT: On the first Saturday of March, Grupo
Puntacana holds a Punta Cana Carnaval in Puntacana
Village, near the airport. This is a unique event because of
its international flavor: Not only does it include terrific bands
and dancers from the Dominican Republic, not to mention an
upbeat concert, but it also involves top carnival troupes from
other Caribbean countries, such as Aruba, Curacao, and nextdoor neighbor Haiti.
STAY: Excellence Punta Cana recently reopened after a $45
million renovation. Guestrooms at this adults-only resort have
new furnishings, and the new 950-sq.-ft. Excellence
Club Suites have private pools. The beachfront pool is new,
as is the look of other public spaces such as the lobby.
In short, Excellence looks like a new resort-but with an
experienced staff.

Visitors can wile away their days on Punta Cana's stunning beaches.
22

FASTFACTS

PUNTA CANA

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

CUBA

HAVANA


http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/sicw/EN/

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