Cuba was hard travel. That’s what I tell people when they ask if I’ve traveled there. The airport was modern and efficient. The taxi services and food establishments were abundant. The opportunities for entertainment and learning were nearly endless and crime was just as nearly non-existent. So why difficult?  In terms of travel and the tourism industry, Cuba is playing catch up. Many of the tech advances that we have become accustomed to globally (e.g. wifi, ATMs, etc.) aren’t available there yet and when you pile on the many restrictions for Americans (e.g. inability to exchange USD or use government-sponsored hotels), you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time sweating the small stuff. Cuba will make you realize how much you rely on your ability to google something you don’t know, or how many times you whip out a debit or credit card and get more cash on the fly. Yet, like many difficult things, a visit is worth the sweat. Further, if the many cranes that now dot the Havana skyline are any indication of how quickly the country is preparing for you, then go quickly – in five years, the country won’t look the same.

In light of many U.S. visitors who are now hopping on planes legally or boarding cruise ships bound for the island, we wanted our 2nd destination issue of 2018 to explore Cuba. Like a virtual time capsule, we look to preserve the historical and political events of a time long gone by digging into holidays like Revolution Day. The country’s history juxtaposed next to their growing economy and shifting socio-political environment make for a great landscape of creativity. As such, in this issue, you’ll find articles on everything from going to med school in Cuba to a Michelin starred Cuban chef entering the burgeoning app industry.

As usual, we cover a range of subjects that are unique to Cuba and Cuban tourists, but more importantly, we deep dive into matters that are particularly a concern to you – the traveler of color. From the misreported conditions in Puerto Rico and the #MeToo movement and how it’s affecting Latin American countries to Outdoor Afro’s Kilimanjaro Expedition and fixing your credit, we aim to appeal to the entire traveler in you. And believe me…it’s worth the sweat.

Travel Safely,

Davita McKelvey, Archivist


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