Legal Travel, Practical Info

The Moment is Magic, But More Visitors Won’t Ruin Cuba!

Cuba travel
A vendor in Havana adorned his cart with two American flags.

Lately we have seen a lot of travel articles on Cuba, in major media outlets that just get the story wrong.

A common theme, especially in Europe, is that there is a tiny window now to experience the “real” Cuba before a huge expected influx of American travelers spoils it all.

It is true that this is a great moment to see Cuba. And Cubans’ engagement with the world – via travel, incoming visitors, increasing connectivity – will surely help shape the country’s evolution in coming decades.

But, it is way too much of a stretch to suggest all the things make Cuba an attractive destination are about to fade away. Almost nobody who really knows Cuba would agree. Certainly few Cubans would.  To paraphrase the Cole Porter song (that you can still hear in some of Havana’s amazing retro clubs and bars), Cuba’s love is here to stay.  In fact, it will probably grow.

For instance, more visitors, and various reforms  underway, will undoubtedly mean more resources to accelerate the ambitious restoration projects Cuba launched in historic Habana Vieja  years ago.  And, yes, when more Americans visit, tips in restaurants will creep up. This isn’t exactly the stuff of ruin–quite the contrary.

We’re talking about a tenacious, resilient, and well-defined culture that has been 500 years in the making. It has staying power. Cuba was a crossroads for centuries, and the culture you’ll experience today is unmistakably a fusion. That it sparkles brightly, despite hardships, says a lot about how it is likely to continue to weather, absorb, and shape change.

Some moments in time are more poignant than others. This is one of the more poignant moments. But the seductive uniqueness of Cuban culture isn’t ephemeral. That culture is a source of strength and identity. We suspect Cuba’s future development will reflect the traditions, values, and esthetics that have woven themselves into its society over hundreds of years. They are distinctive, but also familiar to Americans because of the continuing strong human links between our two countries. These links are only getting stronger and that’s why we are doing!