Destination: Cuba

Travel Song of the Day: ‘Ojalá’ by Silvio Rodriguez

‘Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World’ Premieres Tonight—He Goes to Cuba

Andrew Zimmern’s Travel Channel series “Bizarre Foods” has evolved into Bizarre World, and it debuts tonight at 10 E/P. The first show goes where few American travel shows have gone recently: Cuba. Judging from the description of the show, it would seem that bizarre foods still have a place in “Bizarre World”:

Andrew participates in the Santeria ritual that leaves him covered in blood. He devours the biggest tree rats he’s ever seen, and he discovers how to grow world-class tobacco.

Travel Song of the Day: ‘Me Gustas Tu’ by Manu Chao

Photo We Love: Cubana Con Cigarro

Photo We Love: Cubana Con Cigarro REUTERS/Desmond Boylan
REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

A street entertainer in Havana yesterday.

Aboard Cuba’s Hershey Train

It was built by chocolate baron Milton Hershey in 1916, and, according to Michael Scott Moore, the Hershey Train is a reminder of how much the U.S. and Cuba have in common.

There’s a slideshow, too. See below:

View the Hershey Train slideshow »

NPR on Cuba’s Tourism ‘Allure’

NPR on Cuba’s Tourism ‘Allure’ Photo by Eduardo Deboni via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Eduardo Deboni via Flickr (Creative Commons)

With a possible end to the travel ban in the works, Jason Beaubien takes a look at Cuba from the potential American tourist’s perspective. One tour guide he spoke to acknowledged that, infrastructure-wise, Cuba may not be ready for an American influx. “But,” he added, “if you ask me about the will of the Cuban people, I would say, yes, we are ready. We would like to have more exchange with the American people coming from the U.S. to Cuba.”

The End of Cuba’s ‘Tourism Apartheid’?

The End of Cuba’s ‘Tourism Apartheid’? Photo by lepiaf.geo via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by lepiaf.geo via Flickr (Creative Commons)

It’s been more than a year since Raul Castro rescinded the ban on Cubans in local hotels and resorts, but the shift is only now seeing tangible results. Writes Nick Miroff of Global Post: “Given that the average wage on the island is less than $20 a month, the change was largely considered a symbolic one at the time. But this summer, something unusual has been happening up and down the beach at Varadero. The hotels are filling with cash-wielding locals.” Apparently, the influx is largely a result of steep discounts in a recession-hit off season. I never thought I’d say it, but this might be one “staycation” I can get behind.

U.S. Airports Antsy for Cuba Access

Several U.S. airports—Tampa’s, Key West’s and Houston’s among them—are angling to be added to the list of locations from which flights to Cuba are permitted. Currently, only L.A., New York and Miami are allowed to handle the charter flights that carry Americans with the appropriate permits to and from the island, but with an easing of travel restrictions seemingly on the horizon, nobody wants to be left out. Said Key West International’s airport director, Peter Horton: “[T]he last thing that we want is to get lost in the shuffle as people scramble to try to fly there.”

I Violated the Cuba Travel Embargo and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

I Violated the Cuba Travel Embargo and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt Photo by walterbjoern via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by walterbjoern via Flickr (Creative Commons)

And a few refrigerator magnets. And a green and red Che Guevara beret. And some postcards.

Crazy story here about an American freelance entertainment news producer who wants to be fined for his Cuba visits so he can challenge the travel ban. So far, to his chagrin, he has been met with little more than indifference from U.S. authorities.

Here’s hoping that U.S. officials have quietly stopped enforcing the stupid law—and that President Obama and Congress will act soon to revoke it.

In Celebration of the Daiquiri

It’s been 100 years since the daiquiri—now practically the official drink of the warm-weather getaway—first made its way from Cuba to the United States. The Daily Beast takes a look back at its origins and many more modern variations, including the El Floridita daiquiri, reportedly Hemingway’s favorite.

Seven Images to Inspire Wanderlust: From Nicaragua to New Delhi

Cerro Negro volcano, Leon City, Nicaragua REUTERS

Indulge your armchair traveler with seven wanderlust-inspiring travel photos from around the world

See the full photo slideshow »

Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa

See the full photo »

Interview with Kelly Westhoff and Jen Paulus:

Interview with Kelly Westhoff and Jen Paulus: REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Eva Holland talks Che and the meaning of his ubiquitous image with the founders of a new travel photography site

Read More »

Havana, Cuba

havana cuba REUTERS/Claudia Daut

A vintage car drives past elephant sculptures made of metal displayed along Havana's seafront boulevard El Malecon.

See the full photo »

Anthony Hopkins Takes Lead in Upcoming Hemingway Movie

Anthony Hopkins Takes Lead in Upcoming Hemingway Movie Photo by Samuel Negredo via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Samuel Negredo via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The veteran, Oscar-winning actor has been cast as Ernest Hemingway in an upcoming indie titled “Hemingway and Fuentes,” reports. Andy Garcia—who will also co-write and direct the movie—will play Gregorio Fuentes, a friend of Hemingway’s in the author’s final years who is said to be the real-life inspiration for Santiago of The Old Man and the Sea fame.

As always when a beloved literary figure or book is involved in a Hollywood production, my first reaction to this news is gut-clenching anxiety. Hemingway’s stories and novels—not to mention his Paris memoir, “A Moveable Feast”—have done as much as the “official” travel literature canon to make me curious about the world over the years, and unfortunately the movie industry has let book-lovers down too many times. But on the other hand, Anthony Hopkins is a fabulous actor who makes smart script choices more often than not, so I suppose there’s reason for hope.

What do you think of Hopkins as Hemingway? (Via Alltop)