Big Up to Patrick Swayze (God rest his soul) and Jennifer Grey, but I’m a 90s baby and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights did it for me. Ever since I watched that movie for the first time when I was 11, Cuba became my dream destination in hopes that one day I would travel to Havana and find my very own Diego Luna. Fast forward another eleven years and I may not have to dream another minute. Finally, Havana is a possibility.
With the recent legislation, new regulations for travel to Cuba have made stepping foot on Castro’s soil a bit easier. Although it’s still not as simple as purchasing a round trip ticket from JFK to Havana, grabbing a fedora and aviators, then boarding a plane. There are a handful of ways interested travelers can get to from the US to Cuba, legally. Globetrotting for leisure is not an option, but some other acceptable reasons for entrance into the country are:
- visiting relatives
- athletic competitions
- public entertainment
- professional research
- journalistic/religious activities
I personally think these regulations are way overdue. I mean, it’s like a dysfunctional family… Yea, you may have deep-rooted problems with that one cousin who loves doing the most, but that doesn’t mean you involve the kids. When I was 11, I didn’t even know what the issue was between the US and Cuba, and furthermore, I didn’t understand why leadership and egos had the power to stop me from visiting a culturally rich nation 90-miles from the southern tip of Florida to find Diego. Now, I am a college student, slightly more aware, yearning to travel more, embrace different cultures, experience new things, learn from exposure to new people and places. The amended regulations give me something to look forward to.
Of course, adjustments to the new directives will come in time, but until then you may want to dig up your long-lost Cubano relatives or find a mission trip to jump up on . Sites like InsightCuba are helping to relieve the hassle of planning a trip by providing plenty of information about hotels and accommodations. Commercial airlines have also started taking steps towards easier travel to and from Cuba. JetBlue recently announced that with the help of their partners ABC Charters, they will be hosting Friday flights from Tampa to Cuba beginning on June 5th. Other airlines have expressed interest in following suit overtime.
Well, that’s getting there, but what about once you’ve landed? MasterCard has agreed to relieve U.S. citizens of the block on their accounts from transactions made in Cuba. Good to know. In the event you run out of cash, MasterCard has you covered. Sweet.
All I can say is thank you to the Obama administration and the Cuban government for making this happen. I’m looking forward to planning a trip to Cuba and developing my own insight on the country from experience, not the pages of a biased textbook. Of course, just because these regulations were made, does not mean Americans are now welcomed with open arms. Promise to bring back a cigar for you and hopefully a Diego for my own.