Cuba’s Art Scene Awaits a Travel Boom

 

Kadir López was working in his studio at his elegant home here when the doorbell rang. It was Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. “I had no idea they were coming,” said Mr. López, whose work incorporates salvaged American signs and ads that were torn down after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution. About an hour and $45,000 later, Mr. Smith had bought “Coca ColaGaliano,” an 8-by-4-foot Coca-Cola sign on which Mr. López had superimposed a 1950s photograph of what was once one of the most bustling commercial streets in Havana. A year later, recalling the event, Mr. López is still happily incredulous.

Cuba sees record bookings as tourists rush to see it before it changes

Tour operators around the globe are reporting such high demand for travel toCuba that hotel rooms in Havana are selling out months in advance, with some agencies unable to offer availability until April 2016.  This has been a historic year for Cuba, with the recent papal visit, not one but two handshakes between US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, and the reopening of the US Embassy in Havana, after a five-decade standoff.

Some of World's Best Art Is Made in Cuba

Cuban artists are creating some of the most exciting and innovative contemporary art in the world. The best Cuban art can stack up against the best contemporary art being created in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London or other world art centers, while still maintaining an essential Cuban spirit.

Havana: One of the World's Great Cities on the Brink of a Fraught Transition

 

To visit Havana in the late spring, before the torpid humidity and showers of summer, is a glorious thing. Strolling through the streets of La Habana Vieja, its derelict and weather-worn facades still elegant, one encounters the grandeur of squares such as the Plaza de la Catedral, its church built in 1727, where leisurely cats and songbirds find refuge from the exhaust fumes that plague so much of the city.

America has a new envoy to Cuba: Shaquille O'Neal

 

Shaquille O’Neal, the legendary basketball star, has been named a State Department sports envoy to the island nation. His role is part of U.S. efforts to increase cultural exchanges with Cuba in the wake of the two countries’ restoration of diplomatic ties nearly a year ago.

As an uncertain future inches closer, it’s still a step back in time

 

not so much a vacation but an immersive experience, sharing the food, sharing language and picking up on the tiny details that shape daily life. Whether or not you desire it, this is the kind of experience the average traveler is likely to have in Cuba, because it is practically mandated by law.

Cuba’s the Hot New Destination, if You Can Satisfy All the Rules 

It’s best to clear up one thing first, if you’re a U.S. citizen: Cuba isnot the new Aruba or Montego Bay.  Hurdles or not, plenty of Americans are likely to hop a plane to see an island that’s been verboten for decades, mixing wanderlust with the allure of the unknown. 

Fidel Castro Dies at 90

Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died on November 25, 2016.